Post-secondary faculty members have developed and adapted a plethora of educational designs, courses and resources in a multitude of formats to respond to student needs for access, alternative approaches to learning, unique and specialized resources, applied learning opportunities, and interaction.
Examples from the Pockets of Innovation Series illustrate the scope and contributions to teaching and learning of innovative learning designs, courses and tools.
Mobile Options: At numerous colleges and universities, including Lambton College, George Brown College, and Nipissing University, all in Ontario, and the Université de Sherbrooke, concerted efforts are applied to the development and/or conversion of resources so they are accessible on mobile devices, offering students anywhere, anytime learning that fits with their complicated and demanding lives. At Conestoga College, Ontario, tablets are part of face-to-face classes in Business Maths for enriched teaching and learning, with lecture support material, the professors’ in-class work and comments, practice exercises, and student notes shared and stored for later review.
The integration of e-books, whether developed as an institution-wide initiative in concert with publishers as Algonquin College, Ontario, or as course-specific resources as at the University of Windsor, Ontario, expands textbook availability to all students. Using their choice of device, students can access text, visuals, quizzes, and other rich media at prices far below that of print textbooks or as open educational resources (OER).
An open source web conferencing system, BigBlueButton, was developed in the Technology Innovation Management Program at Ontario’s Carleton University for students to communicate and collaborate without the necessity of meeting on campus.
Students at the University of Barcelona in Spain have subsidized access to commercial learning resources for self-directed learning of a wide choice of languages on their choice of device. At Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland, faculty worked with flipped classrooms models, universal design principles and other strategies to support access and success.
Unique and Specialized Resources: Online resources provide access to a broad range of resources, including collections that might otherwise be restricted, new resources designed to meet a specific learning and virtual lab specimens. Examples from the Pockets of Innovation Series include:
- the digital archive at Algoma University, Ontario, dedicated to the history of Residential Schools;
- collections of lab specimens and anatomy slides that can be manipulated online from Western University, Ontario;
- videos of chemistry demonstrations and brief lectures available on YouTube from Carleton University, Ontario;
- science and health resources for students, the public, and health professionals from the University of Ottawa, Ontario;
- Ryerson University, Ontario, offers multiple open access videos, documentaries, role-playing games, and learning objects as tools for instructors and students;
- instructional tools for music students to learn theoretical and practical elements of performance from Humber College, Ontario;
- artifacts and documents from the Middle Ages for a course at Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada;
- anatomy videos accessed by using QR codes and mobile phones at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada;
- a web-based argument visualization tool for science students at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada;
- Using Talking Circles as part of a course on Aboriginal Literature at Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada;
- a portal supporting thesis completion and quality for Information Technology students, with an example of a language learning project from Stockholm University, Sweden;
- teaching and learning resources at University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, combining curriculum development and quality improvement in a clearly defined resource development process;
- more than 80 resources, including degree programs, courses and professional development tools, created by the partners at uTOP, the Multi-partner Open University of Technology in France;
- over 34,000 open resources developed by universities and their partners in France with support of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research; and
- a low-cost virtual computer lab for online students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway.
Applied Learning: Online resources offer opportunities for practice, self-testing, and supplementary learning, particularly effective for self-assessment, an essential aspect of students taking responsibility for their own learning.
Through online question banks in Accounting at Carleton University, Ontario, students can practice in a safe environment, receive correction and feedback, and target their areas of uncertainty and need. Learning objects, such as those developed at Ontario’s Fanshawe College and Durham College or integrated from a commercial supplier at Canadore College, allow students, especially those in apprenticeship programs, to perform tasks that could be risky, expensive, and difficult in real-life situations and that reinforce and extend theoretical learning.
In examples at Ontario universities, online modules from York University and McMaster University provide support for students in multiple disciplines for essential learning and workplace skills, such as research, communication, group work, time management, note taking, and project management. At Nipissing University, education students are given access to software and technology to be considered for use in their future teaching careers. A project-based learning approach, at Brock University, is combined with online course content and exercises in project management to offer a learning-by-doing challenge.
At the University of British Columbia, Canada, students use a mobile app to locate and identify soil samples in a provincial park.
The Open University of Catalonia in Spain is introducing a new pedagogical design – challenge-based learning – built around case studies and real-life situations, competency development and continuous assessment.
Interaction: Social media and other apps are featured in many course designs in Ontario institutions, from Twitter-based debates on sports ethics at the University of Windsor, to Facebook interactions in a Muslim Studies course between students on two continents at Wilfrid Laurier University, and posting and sharing of favourite articles and visuals related to weekly topics in marketing at Seneca College.
At colleges and universities across the world, students are accessing multiple ways of interacting and sharing learning, whether creating blogs, videos, and visual displays, using Google Maps and Street View, mind mapping software, and podcasts, or communicating on discussion boards and wikis. In this way, resources that best suit any learning preference are available. Students learn about academic uses of apps they are familiar with and about many more learning tools on the web. New ways of engaging with content, professors, and each other demonstrate benefits in motivation and improved grades.
Interdisciplinary Learning: Online resources for interdisciplinary learning are developed at a number of Ontario institutions, for example to engage groups of students across varied programs in the health sciences at the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University, and for the wide range of professionals involved in responding to a disaster at Centennial College. Case studies form the basis of these tools, with live, online interaction and subsequent discussions. An interdisciplinary diploma in Applied Aboriginal Studies is available to Aboriginal students at Centennial College, using online and hybrid courses from faculties across the college.
Virtual Reality: Virtual reality allows students to participate in simulated real-life situations in environments that are safe and supportive. Simulations stress interdisciplinary learning, cooperation, careful situational analysis, real-time communication, and other skills best conveyed through experience.
The Pockets of Innovation Series includes examples of applications of virtual reality and simulations for archeology, language, security, social work, health sciences, veterinary studies, and other courses at Ontario colleges and universities, such as Durham College, Georgian College, Sheridan College, Nipissing University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (a shared faculty of Laurentian and Lakehead universities) and Carleton University, which offers both preliminary and more advanced applications of virtual reality. Loyalist College created virtual environments for teaching and learning in border security, food processing and hospital careers, and ecology and health sciences. The Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada, developed simulations for its Emergency Management Division that are now used in multiple educational settings.
Seeing an opportunity for improvement or a need for change, faculty develop and adopt online design, courses and resources to improve all aspects of teaching and learning.
Click one of the three links below to see a list of the Pockets of Innovation under each category and a link to the specific Pocket of Innovation.
- Algoma University - The Shingwauk Project: Creating a digital archive to preserve the history of Residential Schools for generations of student learning
- Algonquin College - e-Textbooks at Algonquin College: 100% of the students with 100% of their resources 100% of the time
- Brock University - Using Project-Based Learning in an Online Project Management Course at Brock University, Ontario, Canada
- Canadore College - Developing Online Learning Opportunities for Apprentices in the Motive Power Department at Canadore College
- Carleton University - BigBlueButton: Building an open source web conferencing and collaboration platform to support off-campus students
- Carleton University - Carleton Virtual: Using virtual space as an environment for student learning
- Carleton University - Expanding Reality for Learning: Using Carleton Virtual for Language Learning at Carleton University
- Carleton University - Improving Student Success in Financial Accounting with Online Learning at Carleton University
- Carleton University - Online Interaction to Enhance the Learning of First-Year Chemistry Students at Carleton University
- Centennial College - Playing to Learn: A disaster simulation game for interdisciplinary learning at Centennial College
- Centennial College - Starting with Pedagogy: New learning management system and an Interdisciplinary Applied Aboriginal Studies Diploma Program for Aboriginal students
- Conestoga College - Using Tablets in the Classroom to Enhance Learning in Business Maths Courses at Conestoga College
- Durham College - Critical Care Nursing: Province-wide access to learning from a combination of online theory simulation and hands-on experience
- Durham College - Linking Online and Experiential Learning: A hybrid model for apprenticeship education through a partnership between Sault College and Durham College
- Fanshawe College - Creating Learning Objects: Supporting student learning with online resources at Fanshawe College
- George Brown College - Mobile-Assisted Language Learning: Enhancing student learning with mobile phones
- Georgian College - Experiential Learning through Simulations in a Second Life Virtual Campus at Georgian College
- Humber College - How Do-It-Yourself Technology is Enhancing the Learning Experience for Music Students at Humber College in Toronto, Canada
- Lambton College - Supporting Institutional Change: The Learning Innovation Centre at Lambton College
- Loyalist College - Border Simulation: Student learning in a virtual world
- Loyalist College - Simulations for Learning: Creating a virtual environment for learning
- Loyalist College - Virtual Learning Environment: Developments in virtual reality for learning at Loyalist College
- McMaster University - Expanding Literacy: Online resources in information and geospatial literacy for students
- Nipissing University - Going Mobile: Developing and supporting mobile learning opportunities for students
- Nipissing University - The iTeach Laptop Learning Program: Integrating educational technology into teacher education
- Nipissing University - Making Virtual a Reality: Introducing virtual reality learning opportunities for students at Nipissing University
- Northern Ontario School of Medicine - Communication and Engagement: Towards a seamless network linking faculty and students of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine
- Queen’s University - Active Learning: Using online technologies to support new ways of learning for medical students
- Ryerson University - Setting the Stage for Student Success: Digital Education Strategies at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
- Seneca College - Integrating Facebook and Twitter: Helping Students Learn How to Learn Using Social Media at Seneca College
- Sheridan College - Building a Dog Skeleton: A simulation-based learning tool for students
- University of Ottawa - Interdisciplinary Learning: Creating an online framework to facilitate student learning in multiple disciplines
- University of Ottawa - Online Resources for Science and Health: Extending Learning Opportunities at the University of Ottawa
- University of Windsor - Assessing the Potential of e-Textbooks at the University of Windsor
- University of Windsor - Using Twitter in the Classroom for Student Engagement and Exchange at University of Windsor
- Western University - Online Microscopic Anatomy Laboratory Courses – Including Virtual Microscopy Slides at Western University
- Wilfrid Laurier University - Active Learning in an Intercultural Online Environment at Wilfrid Laurier University
- York University - SPARK, the Virtual Learning Commons: An online resource for academic literacy at York University
- Justice Institute of British Columbia - Praxis: An Online Simulation Training Environment for Scenario-Based Real-Time Decision-Making at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, British Columbia
- Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador - Game of Genders: Using Video and Audio in an Archeology Course at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
- Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador - The Use of Talking Circles in an Online Course on Aboriginal Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland
- Simon Fraser University, British Columbia - Developing Skills of Argumentation in Undergraduate Science Students Through the Use of an Online Dialectical Map at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
- Université de Sherbrooke, Québec - Using iBook Author and iPads to Manage Content for Pre-Medical Students and Faculty at the Department of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec
- University of British Columbia - Using an Online Mobile Gaming App for Soil Identification in Undergraduate Courses at the University of British Columbia, British Columbia
- University of Prince Edward Island - Using QR Codes and Mobile Phones for Teaching Gross Anatomy at the University of Prince Edward Island
- Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland - Innovating with Technology for Enhanced Learning at Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland
- Ministry of Higher Education and Research, France - Available to All – One Portal Featuring More than 34,000 Open Educational Resources Developed by Universities in France
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway - Building a virtual computer lab for online learning at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Research and Development Foundation TISIP
- Open University of Catalonia, Spain - Challenge-Based Online Learning to Develop Essential Competencies at the Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
- Stockholm University, Sweden, - Using ICT to Support Thesis Completion, Highlighting the Example of a Thesis Project to Develop a Tool for Online Language Learning for Immigrants, at Stockholm University, Sweden
- University of Barcelona, Spain - Providing and Supporting Self-Access Language Learning at the University of Barcelona, Spain
- University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland - Enhancing Student Learning, Curriculum Resources, Staff Development, and Employer Satisfaction in the Educational Development Unit at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland
- uTOP, Université de Technologie Ouverte Pluripartenaire, France - uTOP – University Collaboration and Innovation Result in Online Learning Opportunities for Initial and Continuing Education in Engineering and Technology in France