This post was contributed by Brent McIntosh, History instructor and Faculty Education Technology Facilitator, North Island College and member of the ETUG Steering Committee.
Tell us a bit about where you work and what you do:
I work for North Island College (NIC) and until about a year ago I was teaching face-to-face and distance courses in Physics, Space Science and Astronomy (SSA) and Adult Basic Education Math. I am still teaching the SSA and Provincial level physics on-line. For the last year I have been on partial release to work on the North American Network of Science Labs Online (Nanslo) project that developed out of earlier work on the Web-based Associate of Science (WASc) that developed the Remote Web-based Science Laboratory (RWSL). The WASc project was funded by BCCampus and the Inukshuk Fund in its first year and entirely by BCcampus in subsequent years.
How long have you been involved in teaching and learning and educational technology?
I was originally hired to teach at NIC on the strength of a proposed Apple Programming in Basic course outline in 1981. So I guess you could say I have been involved in all three for over 30 years. Over that time I completed a Distance Master’s Degree in Physics with a specialty in astrodynamics and developed and delivered primarily distance courses. In the late 1990s and early 2000s I developed an online Space Science and Astronomy course (Introduction to Solar System Exploration) under the auspices of C2T2, which Albert Balbon and the NIC Distributed Learning Department placed in WebCT. Extra materials from this course combined with BCCampus funded lab development led to a second Space Science and Astronomy course (Introduction to Deep Space Astronomy) in 2003. A couple of years later we added the live remotely controlled telescope at Tatla Lake (the Tatla Lake On-line Observatory), allowing students to make real time observations and data collection for their labs. The remotely controlled telescope was the genesis of the later RWSL project. I also worked with Dennis Lightfoot to put the provincial level Physics 060 online in the mid 2000s.
What’s one thing you really love about the work you do?
I can’t limit it to one thing. I have had the freedom to come up with a number of new ideas over the years. I really enjoy watching what others do when you give them new tools to work with. I also love working with students.
How long have you been a member of ETUG?
ETUG sort of just happened for me. I was invited to present on the Deep Space Astronomy course and to participate in a discussion concerning what online labs should have in them years ago. I received the 2005 BCcampus Innovation Award for work with the Deep Space Astronomy course and the on-line observatory and have been involved on and off ever since.
What do you like best about this community and its activities?
The community is a good source of information concerning what is new and happening at other institutions.
Do you have a favorite ETUG memory?
That would probably be the ETUG event held at NIC’s Comox Valley Campus. The Wasc project and Inukshuk funding along with a new partnership with College of the Rockies all started to come together at the same event.
What would you like ETUG to provide more of in terms of benefits/value to members? Any input or help you want to ask members to provide?
Nothing, ETUG is doing fine as it is. I do enjoy the workshops when I get to be with others who also teach and work on-line. We could get ETUG t-shirts … or not. I actually wanted one for doing this interview, but Brent promised me digital immortality instead so I’m going to hold him to that. 😉
Do you have any special interests/hobbies?
I enjoy hiking, walking and music, at least music of the non-‘twanging crying in your beer’ variety. I continue my interest in Space Exploration and follow that every chance I get.
Anything special you what to ask or share with members?
Openness. Like many people I came to openness slowly. I used to worry about maintaining ownership of my ideas; over time I have come to value openness and collaboration and providing education as close to free as possible. Our continuing commitment to openness is a very important value.