2020 in review (or, the 12 days of Edubytes)

In the December edition of Edubytes, the Edubytes editorial team look back on the resources, articles and stories that stood out across the year in teaching and learning. The Edubytes editorial team consists of Sunah Cho, Manuel Dias, Will Engle, Stephen Michaud, Jeff Miller, and Jason Myers.

As we reach the end of the year, many of us tend to reflect on the year that’s been. What’s changed? What have we learned? And 2020 has undeniably been a year of major changes and challenges, not just for the teaching and learning world, but in how we live and work around the world.

We recognize that this year has contained challenges. But the teaching and learning community, here at UBC and more widely, have risen to these challenges, and we acknowledge the work and ingenuity of instructors and those who support them, to continue supporting student learning. We are grateful to have you as part of our community.

As we looked back on this year’s Edubytes, three particular themes seemed to resonate with our readership — UBC teaching resources, promoting academic integrity, and tips and reflections on the online learning space. We hope you enjoy visiting (or revisiting) these resources, reflections, tips and more. And from all of us on the Edubytes team, we wish you and yours a safe and restful winter break, and all the best for the year to come.

3 core UBC resources

Throughout the year, Edubytes has shared a number of UBC resources developed to support the transition to an online teaching and learning environment. Some UBC instructors are now onto their second or third term of online teaching, and so these resources continue to be updated and offer support and best practice pedagogical advice for remote teaching and beyond.

Guiding principles for teaching online 

In July’s Edubytes, our guest editors Catherine Rawn, Professor of Teaching in the Department of Psychology and Provost Office Fellow (Faculty), Tiffany Potter, Professor of Teaching in the Department of English Language and Literatures, and Kieran Forde, PhD student and Provost Office Fellow (Students), introduced the Guiding Principles for Teaching in Fall 2020.

“Created in April and May by more than 100 members of the UBC Vancouver community, the resulting document is both faculty-facing and student-centred, offering best practice advice for the range of teaching at UBC.” Although developed with the initial transition in mind, the advice and resources it contains continue to be relevant while teaching online and beyond.

Read the Guiding Principles

The Online Teaching Program 

In our June edition, Christina Hendricks, the academic director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) and Professor of Teaching at the Department of Philosophy, introduced the CTLT’s Online Teaching Program and its role in supporting a thoughtful online transition.

“With more time to prepare for fall courses than we had during the emergency transition to remote teaching, many educators are looking to learn more about effective online teaching to help them design their courses for an online format.

“At the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), we have been thinking through this transition as well, and how we can help support faculty and graduate students during this time. This month, we launched the Online Teaching Program (OTP). We cover topics such as designing online assessments, developing engaging learning activities, and creating a supportive learning environment. The flexible program includes online workshops with experiential learning opportunities, self-paced online modules, and one-on-one consultation support with an educational consultant. We hope that the OTP will be helpful for educators at UBC and beyond, and have developed the OTP modules to be publicly available and openly licensed so that they may be adapted and reused. Please get in touch with us at the CTLT if you have any questions about this program.”

Explore the Online Teaching Program

Remote Teaching Institute workshops

Edubytes in April shared curated resources to support the transition process as instructors were planning for online courses. To support designing online courses, the CTLT’s Remote Teaching Institute workshop series aimed to help instructors explore teaching and learning in remote learning spaces. While those dates have passed, new workshops continue to be added as part of the Online Teaching Program. Additionally, resources from many of those workshops are available online.

Explore workshop resources

4 resources on academic integrity 

Academic integrity tools for students & faculty

In our August guest editorial, Dr. Laurie McNeill, professor of teaching and chair of first-year programs at the Department of English Language and Literatures, and Kim Kiloh, director of the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, explored (Re)Orientations: Small strategies to support new learners (including ourselves). Amongst the themes in their editorial, academic integrity resonated with readers.

“Many students come to university with a limited understanding of academic integrity or, more importantly, why it should matter to them (other than not getting caught for cheating). Offering students an orientation to our expectations of academic integrity and how to meet them is one small way we can make university life more accessible.

“This year, we have developed ‘Introduction to Academic Integrity’, a short (30-minute) Canvas module for first-year students in Jump Start and Imagine UBC, but also available for use in other courses by all instructors at UBC. In this module, we situate academic integrity in the context of why it matters to us — as a core element of how we as scholars and professionals do our work (and live our professional lives) at UBC and beyond (instructors can find additional resources for teaching academic integrity on this faculty guide, based on Laurie’s ‘Cheating Hearts’ Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund project).”

Exam design: Promoting integrity through trust and flexibility

In November, we shared this post by Laura Killam, a nursing educator from Northern Ontario, in which she shares ten effective practices to design online exams. The recent pivot to online forced her to redesign her assessment strategies and move away from invigilation software. Her exams are based on learning outcomes to meet the program requirements, and most importantly, on good communication.

Cheating by student or faculty — What can be done?

Academic misconduct and plagiarism are significant problems in higher education. However, with so many parties involved, there are often no easy solutions. This article, shared in our October edition, provides seven guidelines on what colleagues and universities can do.

5 of your favourites on online learning  

Removing barriers to online learning through a teaching and learning lens

In July, a favourite was this BCcampus report on strategies to improve online learning conditions for a diverse spectrum of students. Download the report (PDF) to explore themes of access to materials, digital literacy, quality of instruction and resources, and pedagogy.

Advice to those about to teach online because of the coronavirus

In this blog post, shared in April, Tony Bates provides some pragmatic advice to instructors being asked to move their courses online. Drawing on his extensive experience with online and distance education, he provides strategies to adapt approaches for creating materials and engaging students, while considering the need for instructors to find ways to organize their time and resources.

10 simple rules for supporting a temporary online pivot to higher education

In May, as instructors began planning for the start of the academic year, it was essential to shift mindsets from emergency remote teaching to a temporary pivot to online education that integrates pedagogical approaches that are known to be effective in online learning. This article presents ten rules to guide instructors in their course design as they pivot online to create the best possible learning experience for students, fairly and equitably.

Turns out you can build community in a Zoom classroom

As shared in July, Rachel Toor shares her experience teaching on Zoom and the strategies to build community in her class. She further considered other ways of creating a sense of community in a virtual space, more personal interactions through emails and office hours, and giving students more responsibility in their learning.

12 key ideas: An introduction to teaching online

To help prepare faculty to move their teaching online and understand the internet as a platform, in June we shared this short textbook designed to help with preparing to teach online. Subjects include how to design activities and assessments for the web, keeping it equitable and accessible, keeping your course simple and engaging, teaching with care and much more.

Enjoyed reading the 2020 in review (or, the 12 days of Edubytes)? Learn about other topics we covered in the December 2020 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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