The Catch: Issue #5, Part 2

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01.12.2017 - 7 min. Read

What’s happening in technology-enabled learning?

There was just entirely too much great stuff by Ontario post-secondary educators coming out of last week’s Technology-Enabled Seminar and Showcase (TESS) to fit into one episode of The Catch. As luck would have it the Internet is a seemingly infinite space in which we can add another page! Here is part two of The Catch: Issue #5 – The TESSening! (See part one here).

Network Connectivity

The Network Connectivity section aims to offer up a potential new node for your professional learning network (PLN). In other words, we suggest someone that you may want to follow because of the great work that she or he is doing. Today, might we suggest that just such a person is Kory Wilson? She is the Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives & Partnerships at The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). She was at TESS to give a presentation titled To Open or Not to Open & Other Things.

Here is the description of her talk:

“How do we convert Reconciliation into ReconciliACTION and who is responsible to ensure this is done? In an age of social media, electronics and heightened intolerance, how do we ensure everyone is included? There is no question that the ‘Academy’ must change and this discussion will examine the keys to keep in mind and the how.”

She has generously shared her slides with us. You can find them here. Check out her Indigenous 4 R’s to consider alongside the 5R’s of Open. It’s 9 R’s now! Follow Kory on Twitter @korywilson.

Trickle Up

During TESS, the Student-Experience Design Lab showcased what it has been doing and how we’ve gone about doing the doing. Since its inception, the SXD Lab has empowered teams of students to design, potentially build, and help implement openly-licensed ‘things’. Students do this work by adhering to a design process that (sometimes frustratingly) encourages students not to jump to solutions. We don’t know exactly what the outputs of these projects will become. What we do know is the focus has been to define a set of problems and eventually design solutions to those problems. Admittedly, every student knows (or at least can guess) what the end goal of the project may be.

Showcased at TESS were presentations from the student projects and the process the student teams follow, i.e., Student-Experience Design (presented as Human-Centered Design for Education led by Design Storyteller Denise Withers). Here is one of those presentations.

Another group, the ‘Exponential Learning’ team, delivered a presentation that highlighted the concept of disposable assignments, which are really just plain old assignments. Sound familiar? If you attended the TESS keynote by Christina Hendricks you are familiar with the concept of disposable assignments, i.e., work produced by students (often at 3AM) that is looked at once by Grad students and then tossed, never to be seen again.

The interesting revelation from showcasing the SXD Lab work did not come from the students and/or the facilitators, it came from the participants. The majority of participants have never considered students (the end user of education!) as a valuable stakeholder for learning design. What the presentations show are that students, if set up in the proper environment, can help test and build on ideas that have value for the PSE system. Students can do great things for PSE beyond simply absorbing/regurgitating information!

P.S. The SXD Lab also ran a full-day Co-Design Studio at TESS, which brought together students, librarians, faculty members and other PSE peeps to look at ways of supporting PSE innovation through student-experience design. Stay tuned for the deets on the SXD Co-Design Studio.

Behind the Content

On Sunday, November 19, just prior to the start of TESS, we began a three-day Canadian History ancillary resources sprint. The purpose of the sprint was to create open educational resources (OER) that complement John Douglas Belshaw’s open textbooks, Canadian History: Pre-Confederation and Post-Confederation (two separate books). Several Ontario post-secondary educators are currently using these textbooks in their history courses. We are aware of 700 Ontario learners that are benefitting from these adoptions in the fall semester, with more anticipated in the winter term.

The extra resources the group created included a template for a beautiful visual syllabus design, and what the faculty members called an Open History Seminar Reader. It is a digital reader composed of primary and secondary history resources to complement each of the chapters in Belshaw’s textbooks. The educators that provided subject matter expertise in our sprint were Sean Kheraj, Associate Professor, Department of History at York University, and Tom Peace, Assistant Professor of History – Huron University College at Western University.

In partnership with eCampusOntario Program Managers and a graphic designer, we were able to create 5 of 24 chapters. Tom and Sean will continue the work we began, and hope to present the work (to encourage collaborative creation of additional chapters and national adoption of these open textbooks). The reader is in Pressbooks draft form and may be reviewed at:

Now and Next

It has been revealed that one of the sessions at TESS had the ulterior motive of trying to motivate people to get involved in a different, but related, project to the one advertised. The nerve! When people go to a session called The Open Faculty Patchbook, they probably expect to hear about The Open Faculty Patchbook and not be cajoled into helping get the ball rolling on The Open Learner Patchbook, which hopes to get similar stories about learning from the students rather than faculty. If you’d like to do some interrogating to help get to the bottom of this case, or to help get the ball rolling on The Open Learner Patchbook, email

Open Treasure

People are treasures too, you know. It’s not all rubies, doubloons and open repositories. Want to know which particular people are treasures? The Ontario Open Education Rangers, that’s who. The new ones extra in particular:

The new ones are Mark Lipton from the University of Guelph and Lilian Ringling from Western University. Welcome, new rangers! Your horses are in the mail.

There are also some honorary Rangers from afar! Billy Meinke at the University of Hawaii as well as the team from OER Hub in the UK (pictured below). Without doing any fact-checking, we believe this means that Ontario Open Rangers now have safe houses in Honolulu and at Martin Weller’s in Cardiff (in case of Open Ranger emergency).

The OER Hub team are rocking their OER Rangers look after being inaugurated! 

Martin Weller being enclosed into the Ontario Open Education Rangers by David Porter at ICDE World Conference of Online Learning.

Adoption Announcements

Usually in this section we announce new homes for textbooks from our Open Textbook Library. Today we simply give some thanks to those who have helped to make sure that the books are healthy enough for their new homes. If you are one of these unsung heroes/open textbook reviewers, please see the following message directly to you from Peg French, eCampusOntario Program Manager:

“Thank you for the interest at TESS in reviewing textbooks from eCampusOntario’s open library. Because of your enthusiasm, we have almost reached our 25 review target. To the unknown woman scouring TESS “desperately seeking Peggy”, there is a spot or two left. And although I was excited to be in demand, I would prefer to be “desperately sought” by single men 40+, still healthy, and not in a conference setting. Either way, email me at or check for more info.

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: