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[Institutional Report] UBC-Okanagan and UBC-Vancouver

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Submitted by Janine Hirtz & kele fleming

 Blackboard Connect – moving from transition to focus on the Best of Blackboard

Over the past 3 years, staff and faculty at both UBC-V and UBC-O have led a Learning Management System (LMS)  transition project.  Both campuses have successfully transitioned from WebCT Vista to Blackboard Learn, branded Connect at UBC.  A key achievement of the transition project has been bringing the faculty voice into the LMS governance structure via a Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) that straddles both campuses.  The committee has undertaken a series of in-depth explorations of various tools, their functionality and workflows in Connect with a view to helping to improve both the use and functionality of the tools from a teaching perspective.

At UBC-O, enthusiastic members of our FAC have proposed a 1/2 day pre-conference workshop where they and invited colleagues will present some of their best tips and tricks in using Blackboard to help student learning and increase teaching efficiency.  The focus will be on ‘cool tools’ and ‘outside the box’ strategies that support sound pedagogical practices.
Flexible Learning Initiative – Undergraduate course transformations well underway
In Spring 2013, the UBC Board of Governors and Executive identified Flexible Learning as a key strategic priority for the university over the next five years.  UBC defines flexible learning as an approach (sometimes referred to as blended) that combines the expertise of the instructor, the nature and requirements of the discipline, and the way the material is taught, with appropriate technology in order to improve student learning outcomes.  (source: http://flexible.learning.ubc.ca/what-is-flexible-learning/faq/ ).
At UBC-O, many faculty have implemented flexible and flipped teaching strategies using learning technologies in innovative ways to engage students in their own learning.  This has been fun and rewarding for faculty and students.  Faculty members are learning how to use new tools and teach in new ways using technologies that promote student-centred learning opportunities and student-created content and knowledge.
At UBC-V, a short course for faculty called T-BLE (Teaching in a Blended Learning Environment) is currently in development.  The T-BLE is a short, immersive blended course aimed at mid-career instructors who are interested in exploring new teaching approaches and learning technologies that support flexible teaching and learning environments. It will be offered as a pilot in the summer 2014 and delivered in a blended format of online and face-to-face sessions.
Read more about Flexible Learning projects at UBC-O: http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan/ctl/flexiblelearning.html
Read more about Flexible Learning projects at UBC-V: http://flexible.learning.ubc.ca/implementation/undergraduate-course-transformations/
Flexible Learning Open House – UBC-V
June 10, 2014
UBC-V will host a Flexible Learning Open House to showcase the first round of course transformations over the 2013-14 academic year.  The showcase will also highlight the FL evaluation initiative and report out on the impact of these course transformations to date.
UBC-O’s 10th Annual Learning Conference – May 7-8 2014
Reflecting on Scholarly Approaches – Keynote: Dr Marsha Lovett
This is a well attended conference with great presenters, good food and a beautiful setting in the Okanagan – wouldn’t be complete without our wine tasting event!  Sign up early to avoid disappointment!  Registration Link