Students and educators join forces to brainstorm technology-enabled solutions for Ontario higher education
By Emily Carlisle-Johnston
Digital Program Lead
and Chris Fernlund
Lead, Student Supports
You might recall eCampusOntario’s Educational Technologies Sandbox for the opportunities it has presented to explore emerging technologies in the classroom. In recent years, member institutions have experimented with virtual labs, micro-credentials, experiential learning platforms and AR/VR tools through the sandbox.
You also might also be familiar with eCampusOntario’s Student Experience Design (SXD) Lab, where learners co-design and test solutions to defined challenges impacting the student experience. Previously, SXD Lab learners, educators and industry professionals have collaborated on prototypes for experiential learning opportunities, forms of alternative assessments and new ways of working with technology to solve learning challenges.
As both the Educational Technologies Sandbox and the SXD Lab are committed to uncovering technology-based solutions for the needs of Ontario’s post-secondary system, it’s only natural that both programs collaborate to re-imagine how eCampusOntario tests and explores educational technology.
Moving forward, combining the user-centric, problem-based approach of the SXD Lab with the technology review methods of the sandbox, the new approach will facilitate three stages running in parallel:
An exploration stage, focused on uncovering challenges faced by learners and educators in online and technology-enabled learning environments, before brainstorming technology-based solutions.
A candidate technology stage, where tools and technologies proposed during the exploration stage undergo rapid testing and review by select learners and educators in the eCampusOntario community.
A pilot stage, in which tools and technologies deemed to be valuable solutions during rapid review are piloted by institutions to assess their scalability as shared services.
Additionally, recent surveys and crowdsourcing campaigns spearheaded by eCampusOntario have shown Ontario’s higher education community is keen to explore new tools and technologies in classroom settings. Incorporating early opportunities for rapid testing and review will not only support informed decisions about which tools to pilot, but enable the ability to collectively address more challenges and test more technologies with the Ontario higher education community than in previous years.
eCampusOntario’s greatest asset has always been its community. The many talented people who help shape designs and activities are essential when it comes to ultimately serving learners and educators. This new approach is an expression of that communal drive to tap into a collective intelligence of higher education thinkers.