DEU EdTech Quick Tips – Issue 56

In this Issue: Winning with Design Online

    • Bridging the Distance Prize – Entry
    • Bridging the Distance Prize – Call for Submissions
    • Meet your DEU ID: Pt.2
    • Protecting your Development Investments with Canvas Commons
    • Teaching online using an already designed course
    • Hidden Gems: Canvas Chat Tool
    • DEU support and contact information

Bridging the Distance Prize – Entry

In this Bridging the Distance Contest entry, Dr. Kalyani Premkumar describes the launching of the Masters of Health Professions Education program. She discusses leveraging the strengths of online course delivery and collaborating with on-campus support units, the challenges of delivering courses to an international cohort of students from all around the world and showcases the use of ePoster technology and ePortfolios for online assessment. Dr. Premkumar concludes the article by outlining an impressive variety of publications and presentations that resulted from their program launch and shares her lessons learned and some experience-based recommendations.

Read more about Bringing Health Professions Educators Together During a Global Pandemic

Bridging the Distance Prize – Call for Submissions

DEU would like to invite you to contribute to the DEU Digest through a contest and call for submissions. We’re looking to share your short articles and stories highlighting your winning moments with educational technology in online teaching and learning. This just-for-fun contest is open to all faculty, teaching staff as well as learning technology support staff across campus.

As an incentive to participate and a reward for being awesome, DEU will select our favourite story at the end of the term and the winner will receive a Blue Yeti Nano USB condenser microphone! Two runner up prizes will also be awarded!

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • Awesome online learning activities
    • Unique uses of a learning technology
    • Connecting with students through technology
    • Unique synchronous strategies/activities
    • Asynchronous activities students loved
    • Group work students didn’t hate
    • Course designs that brought it all together

Contest Submissions can be made to

See the website for full contest details.

Meet your DEU ID

In the second of four DEU Instructional Designer profiles, we’re pleased to introduce you to Jordan Epp!

A Short Bio

I came to Instructional Design from an atypical path. My BFA is in Film & Video Production with a Minor in Film Studies from URegina (2000). I worked as a documentary filmmaker through grant funding for 5 years before starting work with Media Production at USask in 2005. I completed my M.Ed in Educational Communications and Technology in 2009 from USask and at the same time started working for the Distance Education Unit (DEU) as an ID. I’ve taught as a sessional instructor for both the College of Education and the College of Arts & Science over the years both online and face-to-face. Outside of work my family and I spend most of our time in the woods and establishing an off-grid property in the Thickwood Hills area.

My Approach to Instructional Design

My favourite thing about working as an Instructional Designer is the variety of curriculum I get to engage with from different disciplines across campus. I appreciate opportunities to find creative ways to deliver learning materials that make online learning meaningful to students. I prefer deeply collaborative approaches to instructional design and development where a course author and I can work to find these solutions together and adapt what they do effectively in the classroom into the online environment with a variety of teaching technologies.

Coming from a media-based background I’m often looking to find the narrative within learning materials and supporting instructors to tell a story through their courses. This approach often helps not only organize the content into a “storyboard”, but helps scaffold the learning in such a way that develops a beginning, middle and end to content topics that students can relate to as they construct their understanding.

Some Cool Stuff I’ve Worked On

There have been so many great Instructional Design projects that I’ve had the privilege to work on through my 16 years at the University. Here’s just a few that resonate with me.

    • Early in my career with Media Production I was asked to produce and direct an 8 part documentary series on the Creative City residency program during Saskatoon’s designation as Canada’s Culture Capital in 2006.
    • Working with Dr. Marguerite Koole to establish the College of Education’s ETC Makerspace and to contribute to her research in several publications was definitely a highlight that expanded my perceptions of Instructional Design and how we, as teachers, create conditions for invention.
    • Supporting Lisa Krol in the redevelopment of ECUR 291 made me truly appreciate the power of collaborative development processes as we designed and developed interactive, student lead, online opportunities for peer interactions that ultimately lead to winning the CAUCE Program Award in 2017.

Protecting your Development Investments with Canvas Commons

In this post we’ll look at a brief case study of a USask Department who, working in collaboration with the Distance Education Unit (DEU), invested quality time in the full instructional design process to develop a strategic suite of online courses that aimed to permit several certificates and a three-year degree program to be completed entirely at a distance. We’ll look at how these courses serendipitously served the department during the emergency remote measures of 2020-2021 and how the courses are now stored, administered and maintained through a private departmental Canvas Commons group.

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Teaching online using an already designed course

But the students are clearly learning a lot − including many things I would never have put in the course if I were designing it myself. That’s a bit humbling. But it’s also refreshing.”

Professor George Justice from Arizona State University shares his experience and some of the surrounding discourse regarding being asked to teach an online class during the pandemic that he did not design. Shared via Times Higher Education Campus, Justice’s recent post titled “How I stopped worrying and learned to embrace pre-prepared courses” may be of interest.

Hidden Gems: Canvas Chat Tool

The Chat tool in Canvas is a very simple and low-bandwidth real-time communication option that, if used deliberately, could provide a quick and easy-to-access way to aid communication in your class, improve your presence as an online instructor, or be a convenient way to structure engaging learning activities in your blended course.

This post will include a brief overview of the Chat tool, and cover a few ideas for incorporating it into your online or blended teaching plans.

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