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Educational Development Projects and Learning Series: Vancouver Island University

Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL)

Designing for All: A blended learning series focused on flexible and accessible course (re)design

COVID or not, many of us are now (re)considering our course design process and striving to create the most accessible experience for ALL learners. Alongside this, the disruption of our teaching and learning practices has provided the opportunity for us to consider what may or may not work best in those practices. In Designing for All,  faculty participants will engage in an exploration of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and examine the small (or big) changes you could make to your course design to help meet the needs of ALL learners. In the spirit of accessible learning, we have designed this session in a way that encourages faculty to explore the content areas  that resonate with them. As well, the delivery provides a balance of asynchronous self-directed online learning, and synchronous, collaborative online learning. 

Returning to Port: Making Decisions About Our Courses for the Fall Semester

It appears that after a long journey on the open waters, many of us are returning to port in a ship laden with goods. This session encourages participants to consider what they have acquired in the last year and a half in terms of teaching and course design.  What treasures have you uncovered, and incorporated into your evolving pedagogy? And what will you let go of?

After an initial dialogue with the group, we will introduce and provide a framework to participants for deciding what to keep, and what to change. From there, we will use Jamboards in the session (one of our treasures that we found and are keeping) to facilitate this process for individual participants. We will conclude with a discussion on what emerged from using the framework and where participants go next. This session is discursive, reflective and participatory.

International Development Partnerships (Kenya Education for Employment Program; Young Africa Works Kenya)


Thriving in Action (TiA) Co-facilitator 

Thriving in Action (TiA) is an evidence-based program developed at Ryerson University that combines positive psychology and innovative learning strategies to support students in developing the skills and resiliency that they need to thrive. TiA is a group-based course that supports students, prevents distress, bolsters self-efficacy, and supports persistence. TiA aims to deepen a sense of belonging, empower agency, restore focus, and foster confidence. TiA students are taught tools to flourish academically and personally.

The Share Drive: A VIU Teaching and Learning Podcast

In an effort to share more widely some of the great work happening at VIU, I collect, record, and share stories of teaching and learning from across our campus. The Share Drive podcast is a place to store and access the meaningful and inspiring work that our VIU colleagues are working on, passionate about, and making an impact with. For more information and to access the podcasts, see blogpost.

(Re)designing Courses for Alternative Delivery: Best Practices and The Tools That Support Them

Are you preparing to teach a course that will now be offered in an alternate format? Are you wondering how you can design, or redesign, a course that you had imagined as face-to-face but will now be offered differently? In this one hour session, we review basic course design principles (learning outcomes, assessment strategies and teaching methods) and connect those best practices with some of the online tools that support them. For example, if your learning outcomes involve demonstrating group communication and problem-solving skills, how will you support students in developing those skills outside of a face-to-face environment?  This session provides an overview of course design basics, and then illustrates a sampling of methods and tools that can support best practices in an alternate environment.


Show N Share Faculty Series 

Every month I host a Show N Share session at VIU in which various instructors share their successes, their challenges, and their perspectives. Topics have included Open Pedagogies, Effective Lecturing, and Indigenous Pedagogies. 


Taking a Step: Students for Truth and Reconciliation at VIU (2019-2020)

I am one of six co-facilitators that support a student group that is investigating what Truth and Reconciliation means, or could mean, to themselves and to VIU.  This student group continues to impact faculty development and institutional policy and culture by holding space, building relationships, and reflecting. 


The Council for Teaching and Learning Leadership (2019-2020)

Open Pedagogy Working Group

I am a member of a cross-disciplinary working group comprised of a variety of stakeholders.  These stakeholders are working together to bring more awareness of, and support for, open pedagogy and open educational resources (OERs) at VIU. Our work to date has included creating blogposts and supporting learning sessions on open pedagogies.


Students as Partners: Indigenous Perspectives (2018-2019)

Across higher education, and specifically at VIU, Indigenous perspectives are being interpreted and applied in a variety ways.  Yet much uncertainty remains.  We want to address this uncertainty by convening a group of 20 students and supporting them to investigate from a variety of cultural lenses what Indigenous perspectives mean at VIU.  We want to hold space for them--for their relationships, for their questions, and for their ideas.  By coming together, we want to build capacity and give students a voice in this time of transformation.  

Trades Enhancement Projects: Welding, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic (RACM), Applied Business Technology (ABT), Horticulture (ongoing)

The Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) has recently partnered with the Faculty of Trades and Applied Technology to embark on an ambitious six-year committment to enhancing teaching and learning in the 16 trades currently offered at VIU.  I am currently involved in four trades.  

For more information, see blogpost.

Ripple Effect Project: meyugum-thut (ongoing)

The Ripple Project website has been developed to showcase a number of initiatives and collaborations related to Indigenous education at Vancouver Island University.  Bringing Indigenous ways of knowing and being into our institutional fabric is necessary and aligns with our greater values.  We are moving forward, with care and respect, in a good way.

Incorporating and highlighting Indigenous perspectives is not a prescriptive process but rather one that is organic and fluid. The purpose of the project is to share examples of students’ work, community-based programs, teaching and learning practices, Elders’ teaching, and reflections from those engaging in the process.


meyuqum-thut: Like ripples in a pond, the effects of our thoughts spread out far beyond our immediate reach.

Portfoliopalooza: Developing Course Portfolios and Teaching Portfolios (2018-2019)

The Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) offered a week of hands-on sessions designed to help faculty create or enhance a portfolio in preparation for a submission to the Recognition of Achievement in Teaching and Learning.  Sessions included workshops on a variety of workshops (MiniCourseTeaching, or Leadership). We also hosted a lunch featuring an in-depth discussion of the intention and process of the Recognition of Achievement in Teaching and Learning. 


International Students in the Classroom: Exploring Expectations, Assumptions and Approaches  (Co-facilitator, 2018)


  • How do international students experience the culture of the classroom?  How do instructors? 

  • In other words, how do cultures and identities, of our students and ourselves, affect teaching and learning? 

  • And how does culture intersect with academic integrity? 


This session invites participants to explore these and other questions relating to working with culturally diverse learners.  We will work to uncover and discuss challenges instructors and students face in diverse classrooms (ex., facilitating group work, building community, addressing academic integrity), and work toward realizing potential opportunities to meet these unique challenges.  Participants will engage in a variety of activities including a student panel, small and large group discussion, case studies and a workshop on academic integrity facilitated by Raged Anwar, Daryl Smith and Vicki Vogel of Langara College.  Participants will leave with a personalized action plan intended to support and enhance the learning experience for both their students and themselves. 


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Workshop 

In this high impact course redesign program, participants will focus on building a reflective scholarly teaching or research project that provides feedback and insight on teaching and learning practices. Built with the principles of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Boyer, 1990), the program supports participants in a rich, personal and reflective inquiry process around student learning.  The workshop delves into the questions about student learning that faculty are passionate about, confused by, or interested in exploring. In order to do this, participants reflect on their practice, their experiences, and their values. We discuss the formal and informal ways in which we, as educators, inquire into our practice. We also unpack and explore what scholarly inquiry is, discussing how we can situate ourselves in our research, and the somewhat discomforting space that creates. We discuss the dual role of teacher-researcher in scholarly inquiry, and the biases inherent to that dual role.


Teaching the Students of Today: Exploring our Roles and Responsibilities as Educators (Co-facilitator)

 As educators, we play many important roles in the lives of our students – some celebrated, some unseen. In this new professional learning experience, we’ll focus in on the challenges and rewards facing us in our teaching today, and explore approaches that will allow greater success in teaching diverse learners, while enabling students to successfully demonstrate their learning. ‘Teaching the Students of Today’ is of interest to faculty members who want time outside of the classroom to reflect on their teaching practice, share experiences and approaches with colleagues, and re-familiarize themselves with their core set of values as educators.


Recognition of Achievement in Teaching and Learning Program (Member of development team; co-facilitator)

VIU’s Recognition of Achievements in Teaching and Learning program recognizes and celebrates faculty members who are implementing enhancements into their practice resulting in high quality student learning experiences. Collaboratively designed with feedback from faculty serving on VIU’s 2016 – 2017 Council on Learning and Teaching Excellence, the program launched in August 2017 and is supported by the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning. The program acknowledges and celebrates faculty who have implemented strategies and activities in their classrooms related to one of the four topic areas: Student Engagement and Learning; Design of Learning Experiences; Scholarly Reflection and Inquiry; Leadership and Community.

Peer Observations for Richer Faculty Conversations (Co-facilitator)

Post-secondary classrooms have traditionally been highly private places, but a growing number of faculty members are opening theirs up, to create opportunities for feedback and discussion. A few of them have shared their thoughts publicly: “By having someone come into my classroom, it forced me to clearly think about what I was going to do…” “A benefit I did not expect was that we’d end up in rich discussions about teaching…” “I was surprised by how much I learnt…Overall, I feel that peer observation has given me more confidence, and I now know that I am on the right course in terms of how I teach.” There’s joy and empowerment in the process of sharing what you do with colleagues.  In this hands-on workshop we’ll simulate a classroom visit, and practice the procedures that will ensure effective and safe peer observations among and between faculty members. We’ll also look at how an exchange of observations could be organized for best effect.

Participants will come away with a clear understanding of best procedures for peer observation, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls. Join us for an active session and lively discussion.

Capturing your Story: Using Teaching Portfolios to Express your Professional Narrative 
You know you’re awesome, but how will everyone else? How can you demonstrate your teaching excellence beyond that feeling you get when you leave a class, or when a course ends? Critical, reflective and personal, the teaching portfolio is an exhibition of the breadth and depth of your teaching strengths, achievements, and philosophy. 
Teaching portfolios celebrate your efforts as a critical and reflective educator. They go deeper than ‘the what’ of teaching, or the content, to also articulate ‘the why’ and ‘the how’. In many ways, a portfolio is a collation of your exemplary teaching artifacts, including your personal teaching philosophy and the evidence of how you enact that philosophy. In this session, we introduce and unpack teaching portfolios, outlining the reasons why you should have one and suggesting what to include. We will make use of small group discussion and writing activities to inspire or refresh you teaching philosophy and get you thinking about what artifacts and evidence to include in your own portfolio. We also discuss ideas for formatting a portfolio, both hard copy and electronic

(Re) Designing blended and online engagement: A course redesign program for enhancing the digital learning experience (Co-facilitator)

This 3-day course redesign program is an opportunity for faculty members to review and (re)construct one of their online or blended courses.  Working alongside their peers, and in a blended format, participants engage in activities that highlight essential course design principles and that encourage participants to apply those ideas to an upcoming online or blended course.  This particular course redesign program is focused on effective online and blended learning, and pays close attention to designing online activities using a variety of online tools available to instructors at VIU. By the end of the workshop, participants create the basic structure of their blended or online course with a focus on integrating engaging online teaching strategies into that course.   This course redesign program is offered in a blended format (face-to-face and online) in order to give participants the experience of being engaged in the very environment that they will be using in their course.  Like any of our course redesign program, participants will have the opportunity to share feedback and ideas about online teaching, and be inspired with new ideas from their peers.

Aligning, Assigning and (Re)Designing: Course Redesign Institute (Lead facilitator

This program is an opportunity for faculty members to review, enhance and (re)construct one of their courses. Working alongside their peers, faculty members engage in activities that highlight essential course design principles and then apply those ideas to an upcoming course. This course redesign program is focused on meaningful assessment and evaluation and pays close attention to designing summative assessment tools that align with course learning outcomes. By the end of the workshop, faculty members redesign the basic structure of their course including assignments, assessment tools, and course outline. They will also have the opportunity to share feedback and ideas about teaching and be inspired with new ideas from their peers. By the end of this program, faculty members will be able to:
• Write clear and measurable learning outcomes for their course
• Develop/Enhance summative assessment activities that are aligned with learning outcomes
• Create/Enhance rubrics/grading tools that clearly outline criteria for student learning
• Design/Enhance formative assessment strategies for obtaining frequent student feedback on learning


VIU Council for Learning and Teaching Excellence 

The Council for Learning and Teaching Excellence is in its fourth year. During the first three years, a dedicated group of faculty members from across the institution came together to investigate teaching and learning on a deep level. Council members chose areas like inquiry-based learning and metacognition to explore and apply, and then reflect on and share out. The intention was to provide rich and relevant professional learning opportunities, tailored by the group, to support interested faculty in enhancing their practice, as leaders in their classrooms.  This past academic year, the Council has evolved again, situating itself in a more leaderly space on our institutional landscape. Wanting participants to experience the agency and impact that instructors can have in working on institutional initiatives related to teaching and learning, we structured this year’s Council around just that—leading from where you are and shaping institutional level teaching and learning.  With this leadership piece in mind, the Council decided to pursue a project related to VIU’s newly minted Graduate Attributes. Although the attributes are articulated in VIU’s academic planning documents, how they will be taken up, understood, and implemented is yet to be seen. Enter the Council. Read More


Indigenous Learning Circles 

Working with team members, I act as both a facilitator and a participant in a learning circle entitled Creating a Sense of Belonging for Students: Indigenous Perspective to Enrich Teaching and Learning in the Classroom.  This series includes Elders, Aboriginal students and faculty who provide insights and suggestions for creating an inclusive learning environment based on a related Indigenous reading for each meeting. Between each Learning Circle meeting, faculty are asked to apply suggestions to their own classroom teaching, critically reflect on that experience and share out at the next session.


Carpentry Harmonization Project  BLOG POST

Vancouver Island University (VIU) was selected to be the lead institution in developing provincial teaching and learning resources for the recently harmonized pan-Canadian Apprenticeship Carpentry curriculum. Working with province-wide stakeholders, educational developers from VIU worked alongside carpentry instructors from across the province to design and develop transparent and usable rubrics and other tools of assessment for newly developed practical projects across all four levels of the Carpentry Program. In addition, other supplemental materials and resources were gathered or developed to complement the new curriculum. Nearly 150 days were spent on this project.


These rich resources and teaching tools now provide consistent, well-defined, student-centered assessments and activities that instructors can use in their classes across the province to support high quality teaching and learning. A central repository has been set up to share these new materials with BC instructors. 


Show N Share Series (2017)

I am the lead facilitator in a series that encourages faculty to share their best-loved, most effective or most versatile teaching activities in an informal, low-risk environment.  We provide a space for faculty, staff and students to come together, share their ideas and be inspired.  It is an opportunity to showcase the great work that is being done at our institution and to create space for dialogue related to teaching and learning. 


New Faculty Orientation to Teaching (NFOT) Co-facilitator

Working with a team of educational developers, I am collaborating on the design and facilitation of our new faculty orientation.  Offered twice yearly, this orientation introduces new faculty to teaching and learning resources for designing learning experiences for students.  It also seeks to engage faculty in conversations on best practices for fostering critical thinking in students and provides an opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from across the disciplines at VIU.  Topics include:

  • Fostering student motivation and in-class engagement

  • Designing classroom activities that challenge students to think critically

  • Using technologies for teaching to enhance student learning

  • Assessing and evaluating learning effectively

  • Understanding the cultural and intellectual diversity in your classroom

  • Interacting with new colleagues on the culture of teaching and learning at VIU

Vancouver Island University Teaching and Learning Conference (VIUTLC 2017)

Working with a team of educational developers, I am collaborating on the design of VIU's annual Teaching and Learning conference.  The conference theme is "Celebrating Impactful Assessment," and features keynote speakers, concurrent and online workshops, and an exciting set of teaching slams, all focus on sharing different approaches to teaching and learning. 


Teaching Faculty Scholars Program (TFSP)

Working with a team-member, I led the design and facilitation of this full-year, cohort-based, blended faculty development program.  14 faculty members from a variety of departments participated in the program engaging both in online and face-to-face (f2f) environments.  We developed four modules related to active teaching strategies, assessment and evaluation, universal design for learning, and scholarly teaching.  Participants engaged in activities in our learning management system designed to increase their knowledge and understanding of the content but also of online learning.  The online segments intended to help participants spiral towards the f2f sessions where we facilitated deeper and richer discussion, as well as ideas for applying the theory covered online.  Realizing the importance and uniqueness of using the blended format for faculty development, we decided to investigate our own practices, and developed an inquiry project around the program. We applied and received funding from SSHRC and have presented and published our findings. 


Effective Teaching in Higher Education Inquiry Project

Working with two team members and an educational development consultant, I helped design a research project around the question, “What does effective teaching look like in higher education?”  We surveyed students and teachers on our campus about their values related to effective teaching and then analyzed the data.  From the data, we created three broad categories related to characteristic of effective teaching: student-centered, course-centered, and teacher-centered.  We presented on our research to faculty at VIU, and facilitated discussions around these three areas.  We then sought examples of these characteristics in VIU’s teaching faculty and created a video series to highlight our colleagues work and to inspire others.  The videos can be seen here:


Teaching Excellence Video Series

Community of Scholarly Teaching Practice (CoSTP)

Working with the director of the teaching and learning centre, I co-facilitated this academic community of practice.  A total of over 30 participants were divided into two groups, and met monthly throughout a semester to engage seminar-style in discussions related to “hot topics” in teaching and learning.  These topics, and the blog posts we created for each one were:



Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) Project

I supported the design and implementation of a calibrated peer review  (CPR) project with a large department on campus interested in trying a new and innovative approach to teaching writing skills to their students.  Working as part of a team that included an educational development consultant, the director of the centre, and faculty, we researched CBR, created a context-specific plan to implement the peer review project in two first year courses, assisted the faculty in-class to explain CPR and facilitate lessons, and held debriefing sessions with faculty to reflect on the process and determine how to move forward in subsequent years. 


International Student Video Project: What helps me Learn

Based on a panel discussion that the teaching and learning centre helped to facilitate as part of international student week, I worked with a colleague to organize and record international students talking about teaching and learning.  The videos were intended to highlight the student voice as well as meaningful teaching and learning experiences for international students


What Helps Me Learn Videos


Community of Practice for Community Engagement (CoP for CE)

Partnering with the Community Based Research Institute (CBRI), I co-faciliated a community of practice that brought together faculty, staff and administration interested in working toward more community-engaged teaching, learning and research.  The group led to a variety of partnerships and projects including a presentation by CoP members and VIU students at CUVic 2014: Beyond Engagement: Creating Integration, Innovation, and Impact.


Elder College Professional Development Series

Vancouver Island University offers a community-based program for seniors in the area.  Seniors can enroll in courses on a variety of topics that are taught by community volunteers.  Yearly, this group of volunteers comes together for a professional development series, and for two years I was the lead designer and facilitator of these sessions.  Working in conjunction with one of the board members, I unearthed relevant learning objectives for the series then designed and facilitated appropriate half-day workshops. 


Culture in the Classroom Learning Series

Working with the coordinator of Education Abroad and International Student Retention, I co-designed and co-facilitated a four-part learning series looking at diversity in the classroom.  As part of this series, 15 faculty members from a variety of disciplines came together to engage in readings, discussions, reflections and activities designed to raise awareness of cross-cultural issues in the classroom. The sessions were seminar-style, with participant discussion being a major focus of the series. In this way, we acknowledged the expertise of the participants as we worked together for shared understanding. 


Objectives of the series included:


  • building a community of interdisciplinary faculty and staff at VIU interested in learning more about working effectively with international students

  • increasing cultural self-awareness

  • reflecting on our own culturally conditioned identities

  • discussing cultural similarities and differences that arise in academic settings, and that stem from underlying cultural values and priorities

  • uncovering and applying pedagogical strategies to working with diverse learners in the areas of community-building, assessment and evaluation, group work, and communication

  • investigating the field of intercultural communication and related skills, and reflecting on how these can influence pedagogical approaches


Assessment and Evaluation Learning Series

I facilitated a discipline-specific four-part series to instructors who were interested in increasing their knowledge and application of assessment and evaluation.  Specifically, we worked on designing effective rubrics.  For a number of courses within their program.  Together, we explored what assessment and evaluation looks like in their department, especially as it constructively aligns with learning outcomes and teaching strategies. Instructors worked together to design course-specific and program-specific evaluation tools. 


Program Review Support

I have supported four different departments in their program review process, providing assistance in collecting and collating data related to teaching and learning.  This assistance involved meeting with department chairs, instructors and students; discussing curricular design and objectives; encouraging discussion among department members; and providing logistical support with peer review documents. 


Learning Matters Website

The teaching and learning centre was involved in a large-scale web-design project that would create an epicenter of online support for students at VIU.  The website is a digital learning commons and brings together resources from a variety of campus groups such as the Writing Centre, the Math Centre, Disability Services, International Education and Aboriginal Education.  I was part of a large team that designed the project, collected and created resources, and marketed the website. 


Learning Matters


Curriculum Redesign Project

Working with the director of the centre, I assisted in a large-scale curriculum redesign project for a specific trades program.  Together, we assessed the existing curriculum from a variety of points and worked with the chair of the department to redesign a curriculum that was consistent with program, institution and provincial expectations.  My role involved assisting in the gathering of data, and in supporting instructors within the program with active teaching strategies and lesson planning essentials. 



Metacognition: Thinking about thinking (2016)

VIU Teaching and Learning Conference (Spring, 2017; team-member)

Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning in Higher Education

Spring Institute (2013)

I assisted with the design and facilitation of a large-scale teaching and learning conference offered at VIU in the Spring of 2013.  Working with the directors of the teaching and learning centres at VIU, UVic and Camosun, we designed and co-facilitated a four-day intensive faculty development program for both VIU instructors and instructors from other campuses.  Core sessions included:


  • Deep Learning

  • Active Learning Strategies

  • Signature Pedagogies

  • Learning Outcomes

  • Formative Assessment

  • Lesson Planning

  • Designing Learning Materials

  • Learning Technologies

  • Open-educational Resources


Less Marking? Yes, Please! Formative Assessment Strategies and Tools (Co-facilitator)

Formative assessment is an important component of assessment in many courses. In this session we will briefly discuss what formative assessment looks like and why it is important. We will go over some of the exciting technology tools available for formative assessment including polling software, classroom response systems (Clickers), and surveys. This is a hands-on session exposing you to practice elements with the various technologies.


Teaching More, Lecturing Less

This session looks at strategies and activities that disrupt the traditional lecture-style approach to teaching.  The session aims at inspiring ideas by modeling some engaging techniques and by facilitating a participant-driven discussion around your own effective strategies.  Come prepared to move, engage, and share.


Arts- Informed Teaching: Getting Creative in the Classroom

This session looks at a variety of creative approaches that can be incorporated into classroom teaching.  Some of these approaches include using gallery walks, found-poetry, metaphor artifacts, and photo elicitation in the classroom


Community-Based Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Increasingly, higher education is acknowledging the expertise of the community and looking at ways to meaningfully and reciprocally engage with people and places off campus.  This session discusses what community-based teaching and learning is and how it is being taken by some instructors and researchers at VIU.  Participants will be encouraged to reflect on if and how community-based teaching and learning might enhance or inform their own pedagogy, and to share these reflections during the session.



As a curriculum, teaching and learning specialist I often work with faculty one-on-one to provide focused, contextual, and confidential support.  I have worked with a variety of faculty, some new to teaching, some not, who are seeking ideas and discussion related to their courses, their teaching, and sometimes their research.  Working with faculty one-on-one is one of my favourite points of connection in educational development.  It enables me to relate with people, working on understanding and solving issues in teaching through dialogue and relationship.  Consultations are a different type of facilitation requiring authenticity and trust, and for this reason I find these meetings can be extremely powerful and transformational, as much for myself as for the faculty member with whom I am working.     


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