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a toy car, with a chrismass tree on top
14.12.2017 - 6 min. Read

The Catch: Issue #6, Holiday Edition

‘Twas The Catch before…

Photo by Denise Johnson on Unsplash.

Read It and Tweet

Our peers and heroes (peeroes?) over to the left of us in B.C. are always doing things that can be described as neat-o mosquito. The following is no exception. To get us into the holiday spirit in an ed-techy way, the BC Educational Technology Users Group (@etug) has been tweeting The 12 Apps of Christmas. One app per day for, oh we’re guessing approximately 12 days. And they don’t just tweet a link to a cool app. They provide an entire page to describe why they chose it and how you might use it in technology-enabled teaching and learning. Nice work, ETUG! Next year, we will try to outdo them with the 13 Apps of Christmas.

See the first one here, the intriguingly named Liberating Structures.

If you want to participate in this week’s Read it & Tweet, simply go to and skim and scan through the various apps to choose a favorite. Tweet your reasons for faving it using the hashtag #eCampusRT.

The Cutting/Trailing Edge

“The printer’s broken! We can’t print the Naughty or Nice List!”

Who would have thought, when searching for something that is not only a technology-based learning experience but also holiday themed, that something this cool could be found? The Advent of Code is a collection of programming puzzles disguised as an online advent calendar. It is pretty neat to see something designed for fun and for learning that is also appealing to a broad audience and welcoming to newcomers and experts alike. There are just so many ways to make beautiful learning experiences. This is surely one of them.

Catch up on your code, holiday style, here: Advent of Code.

Trickle Up

This section was designed to use the written word to give you the gift of knowing what cool things students are up to in the SXD Lab. There are currently six projects with the goal of supporting purposeful learning for a meaningful life. One of the projects is in an especially giving mood! It is called Free the Learning, led by Karen Ngo (OCAD) and Sheri Burke (Seneca College) and it looks to free up learning and reduce/eliminate barriers to higher education. These barriers include access to the internet; getting and using the required technologies; course prerequisites, credits, transfers and availability; institutional and departmental policies; cost; flexibility, time and control over schedules. You can throw in a little bit of lack of support, especially for online learners, while you’re at it.

The focus of this project has been to look at reducing the barriers to learning for underrepresented students. Students face a number of additional barriers that range from financial, academic, social, emotional, cultural, systemic, time, and health. Students that face multiple barriers can gain the most from additional support and learning opportunities, however the more barriers they experience, the harder it is for students to overcome. The Free the Learning project explores new ways to enable learners to access the educational experiences they need in order to meet their learning goals. What a wonderful goal for a project!

For more information, contact

Network Connectivity

Here is a gift to you of a new node for your open education personal learning network: Nick Baker, The Director of the Office of Open Learning at The University of Windsor. You can follow him on Twitter @nickbaker.

Nick was recently all over the airwaves via CBC morning radio programs throughout Ontario to discuss the impact of Open Textbooks on students. He was not only on CBC Ontario Morning, but also local broadcasts in Windsor, Sudbury, Kitchener-Waterloo, and London! You can hear his chat on CBC Ontario Morning here.

But remember, this is a morning show, so if you are reading this after 12 noon, you should wait until tomorrow a.m. to click that link. Oh and if you want to see some of these Open textbooks, we, uh, got a couple hundred of them here.

Behind the Content

Radiohead has OK Computer, The Beach Boys have Pet Sounds, and course syllabi have this syllabus for Sean Kheraj’s Canadian History Course at York, designed by Ken Hui during eCampusOntario’s Technology-Enabled Seminar and Showcase (#TESS17). Beautiful.

Check it out here.

Adoption Announcements

Some students at St. Lawrence College are in for a late holiday present come January. Those taking Research Methods (PSYC30DG) with Pamela Shea will each be saving $130 by using an open textbook! They will be using Research Methods in Psychology – 2nd Canadian Edition. Actually, the present is not late at all since it is right here in our Open Textbook Library right now. With approximately 70 students in her two sections, that is a student savings of about $9100. That means, potentially, that all 70 students could put those savings together and almost hire Fastball for a concert if kids these days are still into Fastball. Who knows?

Open Treasure

Give yourself and others the gift of you this holiday season! Help us make a new Open Treasure by joining the ECHO listserv (eCampus HigherEd Openers). This will be a place to discuss the development of open texts, other OER development and uses, Open Pedagogy, Open Access… Open anything! Join by emailing and say you’d like to join ECHO. See you there!

Having a hard time deciding what to get us as a holiday gift? We’re sure it’s a problem that’s been nagging at you, so we’d like to help with a suggestion. Give us the gift of an example of your work to add to the Ontario Extend modules! See this link for a description of the activities that we need completed and sign up for one! Thank you! You shouldn’t have!

Please give to The Catch (ideas, not money)

The Catch is like a bike share program, without the bikes. We collect and share stories about Ontario Post-Secondary Educators working in technology-enabled learning. Have anything you’d like to share via The Catch? We have an email address for just that purpose: