What We Do

Our unit works with colleges and departments of the University and external partners to develop and deliver individual courses as well as entire certificate and degree programs. We work to serve the unique needs of on-campus students looking for flexible schedule options, off-campus students, and distance education students throughout our province, country, and beyond. We use a wide variety of delivery methods and work closely with Saskatchewan’s regional colleges and several First Nations.

What We Can Help With

Online Course Design

Our Instructional Design team has experience designing over 100 online courses in a wide variety of post secondary disciplines as well as Continuing Ed and Certificate level curriculum. The Instructional Designers can recommend dynamic web tools to help you deliver interactive and engaging content in either the institution supported Learning Management System (LMS) or in an open and flexible platform like WordPress. Let us help you navigate the technology landscape and ensure your course is both dynamic in it's presentation and pedagogically sound in it's design. Click the Online Course Design header to learn more about the Online Course Design process.

Online Instructional Strategies

Being an effective online instructor takes more than answering emails and marking papers. Let us help you find the Instructional Strategies that fit your teaching style and schedule. The Instructional Designers can provide a variety of strategies and best practices for creating a community of practice within your course. Let us help you create a participatory environment where students are motivated to both contribute to the conversation and assist their peers in a collaborative online setting. Design interactions of discovery where students can make connections and construct their own understanding. Click the Online Instructional Strategies header to learn more about how to create a community of learning in your online course.

Educational Technology

There are literally thousands of Web 2.0 and 3.0 tools available to help you deliver your curriculum dynamically, interactively and effectively. For the Instructional Design team it's not about technology for technology's sake. We can help you find tools that are effective, not disruptive. Our team has the skills and experience to build anything from embeddable widgets with interactive timelines, quiz tools, and dynamic visual presentations to producing media such as course trailers and intro-videos. Let us help you set up discipline specific syndication through content curation tools and RSS feeds to keep your course content up-to-date. From Twitter to transmedia we have the tools and the teaching strategies to design, build, and embed your message through technology. Click the Educational Technology header to learn more about some tools and technologies that may improve student engagement and learning in your course.

Open Textbooks

UsaskOpenPress is an online open textbook publishing platform that employs a local install of Pressbooks which is quickly becoming the standard platform for open textbook publishing at post-secondary institutions. Due to student demand, changing educational paradigms, and administrative policy changes such as the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, open textbook adoption, adaption and creation initiatives are on the rise at the University of Saskatchewan. We can help ensure that you not only have the right tools for publishing your open textbook, but that your project follows best practices for cross-institutional compatibility of adaptable formats and provides a variety of deliverable file formats for your students including ePub, Mobi, PDF, and more. Our instructional design team can help you organize and sequence your publication as well as provide both pedagogical alignment and technical support when working in the Pressbooks platform.

Copyright Compliance

Copyright compliance is a major concern for Departments and Colleges when developing a new course. With changing Canadian Copyright Laws and evolving University policies and procedures, it’s often intimidating for Course Authors to curate the content needed to enhance their courses. Our team not only applies their experienced knowledge in clearing copyrighted material, but can work with you to find Open Educational Resources and Copyleft solutions to build robust and up-to-date academic resources. Click the Copyright heading to find out more about our copyright team and the services they provide.

Open Pedagogy

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessment. Open resources make use of intellectual property licenses that permit their free use by others, and can be adapted, revised, and remixed to meet the needs of specific learning contexts. Open pedagogy takes OER a step further by reexamining traditional relationships between teachers, students, and knowledge, and building environments in which the acts of synthesizing learning materials and contributing to a body of knowledge no longer need only be representative of the role of teacher. In such a context we can move away from students as passive consumers of fixed knowledge, and instead foster the creation of dynamic, enduring learning products.

How Your Course Can Be Delivered

Online (Blackboard 9)

These are degree-level, certificate, and continuous intake classes that are offered entirely online or may have substantial online components. Online classes hosted in the Blackboard 9 (BB9) Learning Management System offer the advantage of being tied directly into the PAWS system. This means that student registration systems, grading, and communications tools all work seamlessly to reduce the administrative tasks of the instructor.

Together with an integrated design plan BB9 offers a variety of tools to help develop interactive and engaging learner experiences including:

  • Video Streaming Server (ShareStream)
  • Synchronous Web Conferencing (Blackboard Collaborate)
  • Mash-ups (YouTube)
  • Quiz tools
  • Discussion forums
  • Student performance tracking
  • More...

Online (WordPress)

Our newest and most flexible online delivery platform. SITES.USASK.CA is a multi-site install of WordPress that offers remix friendly tools for flexible, modern, and mashable curriculum design solutions. These tools, paired with a changing paradigm of online instruction, allow instructors and designers to collaborate without system enforced restrictions and rethink how we learn from one another online. SITES.USASK.CA is a breeding ground for imaginative methodologies and promotes increased digital literacy among faculty and students. Social, interactive, and collaborative connections make use of the world wide web removing the confines of the standard digital classroom. Click on the Online (WordPress) heading to visit SITES.USASK.CA for more information.


Televised classes are offered at up to 50 receiving sites across Saskatchewan. The classes comprise televised lectures, a live televised interactive discussion with the professor each week, a discussion period at each receiving site, locally-based tutors or proctors to facilitate discussion and learning at sites that have six or more students, telephone or email access to the professor at no charge, and specially developed print packages to guide students through the class. Many televised classes also have online resources. Each course has a Course Syllabus that is updated for each term delivery. Click on the Televised heading to access some samples of televised class recordings.

Independent Studies

These classes used to be called correspondence classes. They include a print package consisting of a Course Syllabus (updated each term) and a Course Guide of learning modules to direct students through the class. Readings are, at times, provided online in Blackboard 9 Learning Management System, so students may need access to a computer. Communications with your instructor can be done through email or by telephone. Click the Independent Studies heading to see an example of an independent studies class module.

Who We Are: The ID Team

Julie Maier, B.Ed, B.Sc, M.Ed

Julie Maier, B.Ed, B.Sc, M.Ed

Instructional Designer

Before joining the DEU team, Julie worked as an Adult Education math and science teacher in the regional college system, becoming familiar with the many barriers faced by rural students while constantly seeking technological tools and flexible pedagogical approaches to reduce and eliminate them. When designing online and distance education solutions, she strives to deliver solid pedagogy with seamless and purposeful technological integration, while always considering the needs and wants of the students who will soon learn and work within the environment created.

Email: julie.maier@usask.ca
Phone: 966-5570

JR Dingwall, B.Ed, M.Ed

JR Dingwall, B.Ed, M.Ed

Instructional Designer

-bio coming soon-

Email: jr.dingwall@usask.ca
Phone: 966-5562

Kristine Dreaver-Charles, B.Ed, M.Sc.Ed

Kristine Dreaver-Charles, B.Ed, M.Sc.Ed

Instructional Designer

-bio coming soon-

Email: kristine.dreavercharles@usask.ca
Phone: 966-6080

Jordan Epp, BFA, M.Ed

Jordan Epp, BFA, M.Ed

Instructional Designer

Jordan’s research interests include digital literacy and citizenship, open education, remix culture, social learning environments and strategies for employing connectivist theories in online learning. With a background in Media Production (BFA) and a M.Ed. in Educational Technology and Communications, Jordan is a strong believer in disruptive technologies and the language of media as a tool for teaching and learning.

Email: jordan.epp@usask.ca
Phone: 966-5357

Robb Larmer

Robb Larmer

Instructional Technologies Coordinator (ICT)

Robb Larmer is our technical translator, Blackboard bug slayer, and intermediary for all things {code}. Robb provides the Instructional Design (ID) Team with support, consultation, and solutions around learning technologies. As our liaise between the ID Team and ICT, Robb translates our needs into technical solutions. Robb also works closely with Faculty and Instructors as they prepare for the pilot delivery of their new development and ensures they are comfortable with the tools and technologies in which their curriculum has been designed.

Email: robb.larmer@usask.ca
Phone: 966-1739

Cindy Klassen

Cindy Klassen

ID Assistant / Copyright Coordinator

Cindy works tirelessly to create and maintain the copyright records for every image, figure, chart, table, article, video, file, and folder that requires copyright clearance. With literally thousands of spreadsheet pages under her belt, Cindy’s knowledge and experience is immeasurably valuable to the development process. Finding solutions for clearing important materials the Copyright Coordinators uses her understanding of the University’s Fair Dealing Guidelines, Creative Commons Licenses, Open Educational Resources (OERs) and their relationship with the U of S copyright office to ensure that our clients have a course that is not only compliant with copyright law and policies, but provides the best quality materials to students.

Email: cindy.klassen@usask.ca

What Our Instructors Say

At times it is really difficult to imagine how your face-to-face course will translate to online delivery, especially if the class is really interactive or experiential in nature.  However, the instructional designers provide wonderfully detailed templates and accompanying guidance that take the subject matter experts through the design process in a manageable way.  Trusting in the process allowed us to design modules that will not only facilitate rich student learning in the online environment, but will also provide lots of resources and tools for teaching in person as well.  No matter how you look at it, our course has become better!

Robin Alison Mueller, B.FA, M.CEd, PhD

Department of Educational Administration University of Saskatchewan

The ID team played a key role in transforming our vision into reality by helping us rethink and restructure the way we provide our pre-departure orientation. Their expertise ensured that key learning objectives, effectiveness and flexibility were taken into account at every step of the design process. With the help of this team, we now have a new set of engaging and relevant learning activities and a 24/7 accessible orientation that focuses more on the application of information than merely pouring it on students. As a subject matter expert I felt extremely supported by everyone.  A daunting project turned out to be very manageable through their easy to follow step-by-step process.

Pirita Mattola

International Student and Study Abroad Centre, Student and Enrolment Services Division University of Saskatchewan

Working with Jordan and Jeanette on translating a face-to-face course to its online version was invaluable. I went into the process thinking that writing up our course would be pretty straightforward, and that while the instructional designers may be able to answer a question or two about the online format, we’d be able to whip it up pretty quickly.  After the first couple of meetings with the IDs, I think we all realized that translating a course to its online version is no easy matter if you haven’t done it before. Jeanette and Jordan have worked so hard with us, have been very patient with us, and have given us good guidance. The quality of the course is much better than it would have been, and it’s safe to say that the deeper thinking about the course — spurred on by the IDs — is going to make the face-to-face version of the course much better, too.

Liv Marken

Lecturer, College of Arts and Science and University Learning Centre University of Saskatchewan

My first experience developing a course with (this team) has been very rewarding. The people are incredibly helpful, respectful and knowledgeable. The respect everyone on the team demonstrates towards each others’ areas of expertise and the ease of communication between members and with the course creator greatly facilitated course development. Everyone I have worked with has been helpful and timely in responses to queries. Overall, the team made the process educational, easy and enjoyable. My thanks to the team.

Dianne Winkelman-Sim, Ph.D (Genetics)

Sessional Lecturer, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, Dept. Animal and Poultry Science

My primary concern of translating the BMSC 200 course into an online format was to ensure that the quality of the course did not suffer for convenience of delivery. My concerns were completely unfounded. Thanks to the efforts of the Instructional Design team the course now has much better organization, presentation and student participation. Jordan and the team were a tremendous help at each step of generating the online course as well as ongoing support once the online class was up and running. Their experience and patience with the development and implementation of the online format was an incredible resource.

Scott Napper, Ph.D

Faculty, Dept. Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan Program Manager and Research Scientist, VIDO-Intervac

I had never developed an online course before and thought the process would be difficult and intimidating. The curriculum team, however, made it a very easy and enjoyable experience. They were accessible, efficient and friendly as well as having numerous helpful suggestions for what would work with an online environment. The finished product ended being a much better one thanks to their involvement.

Jason Zorbas, Ph.D

Sessional Lecturer, Department of Political Studies, Department of History, University of Saskatchewan

I found that the curriculum team provided me with a helpful framework for the online course I developed. This addressed the key differences between teaching in-class and designing a course for online-only participation. They helped me to determine the full range of what the students needed in the online environment, especially in terms of anticipating many possible questions they may have, phrasing assignments in a clear way, ensuring that supplementary materials were properly provided, and integrating the variety of digital formats that go into an online course.

Dr. Jesse Stothers

Department of English, University of Saskatchewan

Having been involved in distance education for many years (correspondence courses dating back to 1982), and working with online courses since 2001, I have had the opportunity to experience the development process from many perspectives.  With each course development and redevelopment I have seen improvements in design methods and new opportunities for presenting the material to the students.  My most recent experience (GEOG 381 redevelopment) was one of my favourites.  I felt that (the instructional design team) were very supportive of my ideas, but also very helpful in making suggestions and creating a product that I felt reflected what I wanted to see.   The positive feedback from students further confirmed this.  For me, it was another great learning experience.

Peter Goode

Sessional Lecturer, Dept. Geography, College of Arts & Science, University of Saskatchewan

It was consistently a pleasure working with the curriculum development team. Staff helped me envision my course in a much more vital and interactive fashion; they set up a template that was exactly what was needed, and were always there to troubleshoot. The team has a great positive can-do attitude. Together we made this course more fun, better suited to a full range of students, easier to manage, more modern, and of course, more current. And enrollment is up.

Brenda Frick, Ph.D

PAg Sessional Lecturer, Dept. Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture & Bioresources University of Saskatchewan