Contributed by Hope Miller, Douglas College
My name is Hope Miller. I am one of three Online Learning Designers/Trainers for Douglas College in the Academic Technology Services unit. My primary role is to assist faculty in integrating educational technologies in their courses, including training them to use Blackboard, Collaborate, and various other programs. We also offer instructional design consultation to faculty who are new to teaching with technology.
Founded in 1970, Douglas is a post-secondary institution with major campuses in New Westminster and Coquitlam, and a Training Centre in Surrey.
Douglas offers Bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, post-degree and graduate diplomas; general university-transfer courses in the arts, sciences, and business; as well as career programs in health care, human services (Child, Family and Community Studies), business, and creative arts. Our annual enrolment is around 14,000 students in credit courses, with another 10,000 in short-term, non-credit courses for career or personal development.
DC’s ed tech
Strategically, Douglas College is comprised of three main technology steering committees: Administrative, Enterprise, and Learning Technology. The Learning Technology Steering Committee (LTSC) develops the vision, strategy, innovations, policies and projects which promote, encourage, and recognize the use of educational technologies for superior teaching and learning.
And, although Blackboard powers the engine behind our courses, we are constantly researching new technologies for use in enhanced, hybrid, and online courses. Examples include creating Camtasia videos, recording lectures with lightboard technology, integrating social media (like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit), incorporating programs like PowToons, Prezis, etc., all in pursuit of student engagement.
New or noteworthy
Right now, much of our attention is devoted to a new initiative at Douglas titled the “Faculty Hybrid Development Network” project. We have formed a working group with certain faculty to transition them into hybrid or online teaching by introducing a new Blackboard template for hybrid developments. Faculty are paired up with one of our team, who assists them in achieving their learning goals and outcomes. We meet frequently to talk about ways of integrating technology—while maintaining a balance between face-to-face and online course activities—and providing the necessary training and resources to ensure the faculty are successful in teaching hybrid.
We’ve also initiated a new Guest Speakers Series, inviting experts from other institutions to come to Douglas to speak to our faculty on their specific academic pursuits. First out of the blocks were Alan Doree and Rob McTavish, from SFU’s Centre for Online and Distance Education, who spoke about “Online Learning: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” on October 9. We plan to have a new guest speaker every other month; therefore, ETUGgers, we may be calling you very soon!