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Transforming lives through stimulating teaching and learning experiences

Cyclical Program Review

This year, as part of the Office of Quality Assurance’s (OQA) new support process tailored to each program’s specific needs, 11 undergraduate programs and graduate programs have been assessed. A plan of action was designed with input from the units concerned at the end of each assessment process to ensure continued program quality and to respond to the challenges identified.

Cyclical Program Review


What instructors are saying

“I very much appreciate the way you are attempting to rethink, restructure, and re-embed the evaluation process. I think that this really has the potential to create a much more favourable attitude towards this process.”

“You’re doing important work through that office and I am grateful for it.”

Active Learning Classrooms

One of the key transformations this year was the use of four new active learning classrooms (C010/040, C020, C030), located at the Learning Crossroads (CRX); workshops on techno-pedagogy were also offered to every professor using this new spaces. The first round of feedback from all users, both professors and students, provided us with information about the impact of these new spaces on teaching and learning...

Summary of CRX Feedback for Fall 2018

Professors and students, provided us with valuable information
about the impact of these new spaces on teaching and learning

What professors are saying...

Active Classrooms

Whiteboards and chair configurations (team tables and free-moving seating) facilitated collaborative student learning. “Because of the space around the tables, I could directly talk to the students.”

Having many screens in the rooms allowed classes to run multiple simulations/videos and to use each to resolve independent problem sets.

CRX Active Learning Classrooms worked well in tandem with traditional spaces when courses included both lecture and group-work elements.

Active Classrooms
Ideas and suggestions

Instructors need to know ahead of time that they will be teaching in the Active Learning Classrooms, so that they can appropriately rearrange the course. “It is hard to commit to redesigning a course without a guarantee that you will have the classroom assigned again.”

Instructors suggested adding additional whiteboard space to allow for live collaboration between students during class.

Instructors recommended that a compendium of successful strategies be shared by former instructors and supported by tech and instructional trainers.

What students are saying...

Active Classrooms

Students frequently reported how the rooms facilitated interactive group discussions and other collaborative activities. 

“Rather than a lecture, it felt like an open conversation.” 

Students favourably reviewed the amount of open and flexible space in these classrooms. 

One class survey found that 90% of those students preferred their CRX Active Learning Classroom to their traditional space. 

Students found that the rooms offered opportunities to collaborate for innovative solutions to problems, and commented on the high-tech aspects of the rooms’ design. 

Active Classrooms
Ideas and Suggestions

Students suggested that additions such as coat hooks and HDMI cables be included in the rooms. 

Limited desk space made it difficult for students in some rooms (C010, C020, C040) to use laptops or take notes. 

“Math class wasn’t well suited to the space because we didn’t have enough whiteboard/blackboard space in C010” 

Students suggested that future active learning classrooms be built above ground to allow for natural lighting. 


What instructors are saying

“Because there is no real “front” or “back” to the room, every student can be front and centre at one point; every students gets the front-seat experience. In larger auditorium classes (like Marion Aud), some students always sit far away and others sit closer and interact more.”

“I was able to run group and individual assignments. The group setting and the moving chairs were ideal to move through different types of activities. Much better than UCU auditorium.” 

“Students felt a kind of ownership of the room. It was something to be taken care of.”
“Students were more willing to raise questions because we were interacting in very close proximity rather than at a greater distance.”

“A lot of colleagues used to teaching in an auditorium were very concerned about standing at the middle. This ended up not being a big deal at all.”

“I was keeping track a little bit to see if more students were talking in the room. Difficult to tell if it was just the room or how much of it was the class itself, but I think because I randomized seating and they got to know one another, it ended up more inclusive and they felt comfortable to put their hands up to speak up.”

What students are saying

“Very different, I absolutely prefer the classes here and I feel that they promote active learning while creating a comfortable atmosphere for learning.”

"Le professeur est plus disponible pour interagir avec les étudiants et les étudiants sont plus encouragés à interagir entre eux."

“There is more opportunity for helpful collaboration and discussion, but also more opportunity for disruptive crosstalk as well.”

On the other hand ...

“I honestly dislike it. There is no need to have smart boards and projection screens on each and every wall (waste of money and electricity) when the classroom will use one main wall to draw their attention to, and at most two additional walls if we break up for groupwork.”

“I’m less likely to actually be paying attention to the lecture/presentation and I’m more anxious because of the prospect of having to do group work.”


Use of Educational Technologies

The mandate of the TLSS is to initiate and ensure the availability and use of innovative educational technologies that support quality teaching and learning experiences for all University of Ottawa instructors and students.

Virtual Campus (powered by Brigtspace from D2L)

of professors use


of students use


Image of a computer open on University of Ottawa Brightspace Home page
Now in its second year of implementation, the Brightspace platform hosts 73% of all UOCampus courses; 88% of which are lectures. We have seen a slight increase in the number of professors using the Brightspace platform; 84% compared to last year’s 80%, and 98% of students access their courses on Brightspace.

What our students are saying

"Having the material available in an easily accessible way and having active discussion forums for the subject are really convenient and they enhance the learning process."

"Discussions and announcements keep me in the loop on what my professor is saying, and what other students may be saying as well."
But also

"Whenever Brightspace changes its interface and the professors have to catch up with it, there’s a risk of losing some material that’s already present for the subject. This can be pretty annoying…"

What our instructors are saying

"I use announcement for FYI’s and for urgent messages that can’t wait until the next class. We use the discussion fora to share information at a class level; I also regularly ask students to upload some exercises in advance of class so we can project each students/groups work as they explain their exercise; We also take pictures from the blackboard holding summaries of our conversation and the minute taker uploads the pictures & electronic minutes as part of record Keeping."
On the other hand

“I have been working with 3-4 different platforms over the past 15 years and this one is by far the most complicated in setting up. I have been a regular visitor to the helpdesk, something I hardly needed to do with earlier versions of blackboard.”

Lecture Capture Tool (powered by ECHO360 and Opencast)

The Echo360 lecture capture software was used in 258 courses by 8,348 students with an average viewing frequency of 7.7 per student. The active learning tools presented in Echo360, including the classroom survey, were used for 360,951 activities, with an average 24.4 activities per student.

Lecture Capture Usage


What students are saying

“Good for interactive learning, much better than just having slides in class.”

« Pour les étudiants qui étudient dans une seconde langue c’est utile d’avoir l’enregistrement ou ils peuvent ralentir ou pauser la vidéo si le prof parle trop vite ».
“Lecture capture tools such as Echo360 was vital to my academic success this year. As an auditory learner with various disabilities that make it hard for me to attend classes as consistently as I’d like, the Echo360 video captures have been integral to helping me understand and consistently keep up to date on my classes.”
« Sans cela j’aurais failli le cours! C’est vraiment génial de pouvoir écouter les cours à son propre rythme à la maison.»

« Interactive learning. Answering questions and getting feedback on our answers and understanding is good.”

What instructors are saying

“Students are able to catch details they missed during the lectures.”

“Students are very appreciative of the availability of Lecture Tools.
“Students that are missing a lecture because of a coop interview, for instance, can still view the lecture. Also, students that are struggling with a given concept can review the lecture.”

Web Conferencing (powered by Adobe Connect)

This video and audio-conferencing tool continues to be widely used for synchronous online courses. The TLSS has supported 361 online courses; 76 of which were via synchronous audio conferencing, 160 via synchronous videoconferencing, and 285 asynchronous online courses. A total of 7,357 students registered to these online courses.

This year, there has been a significant increase in the use of Adobe Connect for remote doctoral defences: from 62 in 2017–2018 to 291 this year.   


What students are saying

However, others are saying

« Il est intéressant de pouvoir prendre un cours avec des étudiants qui se trouvent dans d’autres provinces.»

« C’est très facile de travailler en groupe - surtout avec étudiants à distance. »
« Je ne suis pas convaincu du bien-fondé des cours en ligne malgré tout l’effort mis en place pour appuyer l’étudiant et le professeur tout au long du processus de formation en ligne. C’est juste une question de s’adapter au changement de la prestation des cours. »
« en général apprécié mais du travail à faire pour avoir plus flexibilité du visuel, meilleure connection et meilleure résolution de l’image. »

What instructors are saying

“Thank you for the information and support in making interaction possible for online courses. I am enjoying it and the students are appreciating being able to confer individually about the inquiry process for their papers.”

“The tool is relatively simple. The TLSS team has excellent support.”

Multimedia equipment loans and multimedia support

The TLSS and Centre for Innovative Technologies in Education (CITE) processed 7,779 audiovisual equipment loans.

The CITE continued to provide technological maintenance services for 260 rooms managed by the registrar and responded to 10,179 work orders.

The CITE’s event operations servicewas requested for 127 audio and video recordings, and to support 2,175 events (1,000 more than the previous year). Finally, CITE designed and outfitted 91 campus classrooms with multimedia equipment, including 54 rooms in the STEM Complex.


There are many ways to touch base with our specialists to make a request

By e-mail: saea-tlss@uOttawa.ca, by phone: 613-562-5300 or come see us in person at one of our following locations: Morriset Hall (room 06) or Roger Guindon Hall (451, Smyth Road, room 2010).

Techno-Pedagogic Workshops

A total of 112 professors participated in a series of TLSS workshops that focused on four main themes:


Virtual Campus

Essential strategies and tools for course design

Virtual Campus

Design and Learning - Reorganizing virtual content to optimize learning

Virtual Campus

Following your students’ progress


Organizational strategies to simplify content creation for the Virtual Campus

Distribution per role

Distribution per faculty

Pedagogical Workshops

Being able to provide transformative learning experiences to our students means that University instructors have access to high quality and innovative educational training. The TLSS offers a wide variety of training opportunities throughout the year to accompany instructors in the continual enhancement of their practices.

A total of 557 teaching assistants participated in teacher training provided by the TLSS; 47 of which completed special training on the use of the Virtual Campus with the Faculty of Education.


83 graduates completed the following university teaching courses: ESG 5500/5300, 6500/6100 and 8500/8300 at TLSS; 21 participated in practical training in university teaching, which was double from the previous year.


What teaching assistants are saying

The majority of TAs recognize the positive impact that training had on their current role.

To the question: Following the TA workshops, what have you added or changed in your current TA practice?

Some students responded:

“My correction techniques”;

“Time management”;

“Inclusive activity design—make materials more accessible to all”;

“Work harmoniously with the Professor”;

“Approach the students with confidence”;

“More interaction with students and encourage them to succeed.”

What graduates are saying

“The practicum and certificate, overall, helped me to gain knowledge and competency to have confidence in my teaching. It exceeded my expectations and I now have many tools and resources to use to support my teaching in the future. I’m so glad that I took the certificate. It has made teaching enjoyable and fun!”

“This course allowed me to discover the true facet of teaching and especially, to understand the techniques for becoming a good professor.”

“I really enjoyed the dynamic learning experience that not only helped with learning the material, but also, with how to apply the skills we learned. The self-reflection activities were also very useful and enabled us to gage where we are and to know how to improve our practice and our philosophy in relation to that practice.”

Former graduates said:

“I can see the difference in my classes; it is day and night. I didn’t master these concepts immediately after the course, it took me two or three sessions, but today I am much more comfortable, and the course taught me how to ask the right questions.”

“have mindfully incorporated active learning techniques, principles, and tools within my own classes to much acclaim and recognition by students.”

Regular and part-time professors

Orientation Program

The Orientation Program for New Professors which took place in August 2018 welcomed 33 new professors/researchers who participated in three days of information and training.

183 individuals reached out to TLSS teaching consultants and designers a total of 347 times.

Certificate in University Teaching

This year, 32 professors and 12 graduates registered to the Certificate in University Teaching program which takes three years to complete.

One professor and 12 graduates received their Certificate this year.

About the certificate in university teaching the teachers say

“The concrete assignments enabling me to develop course materials and the first draft of a teaching dossier were brilliant. This has helped me greatly as I become an educator, both in terms of my growth and my job prospects.”

« Il [le certificat] a permis de confirmer certains aspects de l'enseignement que je connaissais de par ma formation en éducation, mais aussi de répondre de façon très concrète et ciblée à des interrogations pratiques qui demeuraient. Enfin, il m'a permis de prendre conscience des faiblesses de ma pratique et de la faire évoluer plus sereinement et efficacement. »


« Je suis maintenant capable d'élaborer une progression qui a du sens, et de pratiquer un 'scaffolding' réussi. Je vois la différence dans mes cours, c'est le jour et la nuit. »

“The certificate allowed me to gain a foundation of knowledge, skills, and tools to be a better instructor/educator. As a result, I have built credibility from a professional standpoint by being able to put the three courses on my CV to show that I take teaching seriously.”

“My whole philosophy changed. I think of my interactions with students far more and have adopted many active learning approaches.”

Distribution per role

Distribution per faculty


531 instructors took part in teaching workshops offered by the TLSS.
170 participated in workshops focusing on pedagogical approaches (23% regular professors; 32% part-time professors; 15% other).
45 participated in course design workshops (blended, online and lectures, equally).

What students are saying about blended learning

“My job sometimes negatively impacted my ability to attend all classes (meet the teacher night, and other events at my school) so the blended format worked really well for me.”

“Switching back and forth from virtual to in class lessons inhibited my learning. It meant I never developed a routine because I had to adjust to figuring out how to use/do different online activities throughout the course.”
« Je dirais que c’est un cours assez flexible, qui me permet de mieux m’organiser car je peux le suivre de n’importe où, je ne suis pas obligée de me rendre en salle de classe. Mais des fois, les soucis techniques peuvent empêcher la fluidité du cours. En même temps, j’ai bien la présence d’un professeur et de mes camarades en salle de classe parce que je trouve le cours en présentiel plus convivial et beaucoup plus interactif. »
71 participated in the three Design-a-thon sessions, offered this year by the TLSS, which focused on blended course design.

Special series

Throughout the year, 175 professors participated in a series of workshops, round tables and panels focusing on the theme of Diversity and Learning. The series was organized by the TLSS in collaboration with the OLBI, SASS, uOGlobal, International Office, Indigenous Resources Centre, and Faculty of Social Sciences’ School of Social Work.

Six subjects were discussed

  • Inclusive teaching practices
  • Linguistic diversity among our learners: an opportunity, not an obstacle!
  • Understanding your role as a professor with regard to mental health and well-being
  • Broadening the uOGlobal community: inclusion through internationalization and developing global competencies inside and outside of the classroom
  • Indigenous perspective and learning
  • Issues surrounding gender and trans identities in your classrooms—Answers to your questions.

What instructors are saying about special series on diversity

« Merci d’avoir partagé votre perspective – elle enrichit notre travail! »

“So helpful! Thank you very much.”

« Excellente formation en ligne! »

But also

« Thanks for offering this webinar. I think it would be useful if TLSS offered an accessible materials sprint — we could all get together in a room and work on making our teaching materials more accessible.”

“As I mentioned to the instructor, we need more of a presence around campus for this issue. Perhaps accessibility champions as the United Nations has ambassadors for different issues. It should not be the problem of the vice-dean of students to convince profs that they have a duty to accommodate when a student is having issues.”
A total of 70 students and professors participated in a series of three events focusing on Open Education Resources (OER) organized in collaboration with the Library during the international week on OERs.

The TLSS offered 11 conferences, symposiums or round tables. A total of 476 people participated in these events including 160 individuals in the Symposium organized by the E21 Consortium; a consortium launched by the TLSS and in which participated other Ottawa-based post-secondary institutions, school boards, partners from the private sector and international partners. The theme of the symposium was artificial intelligence and the education of the future.

The following themes were examined during these events:

  • Active learning spaces — A unique learning experience
  • Academic accommodations
  • Introductory Cell Biology Class
  • Integrating Indigenous perspectives into our programs
  • Come for lunch, leave with a new Growth & Goals module ready for any course
  • Transforming Impact: Teaching and Learning at the Micro-Meso-Macro Levels
  • When Learning meets Experience!
  • Free knowledge sharing — The role of open education resources

Developing blended and online courses

In 2013, the University launched the Blended Learning Initiative, prioritizing the development of hybrid courses and instructor training in blended course design. The TLSS, which is in charge of implementing this project, continues to support and accompany instructors in this initiative.

Developing blended courses

A total of 32 professors submitted requests for funding to develop 38 blended courses; 34 courses were funded.

Number of courses per faculty:

  • Arts: 12 courses
  • Education: 6 courses
  • Engineering: 2 courses
  • Social Sciences: 8 courses
  • Health Sciences: 4 courses
  • Telfer: 1 course
  • Law: 1 course

What instructors are saying

“A blended course makes it possible to include several new elements, both technological and methodological. Students appreciate the flexibility of a blended course, the open and creative content and the multiple interactions both in and out of the classroom.”


“I think the nature of my course didn’t lend itself as well to the blended approach as I had thought when I received funding. Since the course is aimed at developing clinical skills, I find that classroom/laboratory learning is more conducive. Some parts of the course are still offered ‘online’ (about 10 percent), but no more than that. I think the hybrid approach is not necessarily appropriate for all courses.”

What students are saying

“I loved the professor’s personal experience stories, I thought that it added an element of reality to the class, and would like to hear more of them. I did really enjoy the content and presentation of this class as well. Thank you for making my first online class a success!”

But also:

"Satisfied with the course but definitely wished that it was offered in person; I think the professor seems like he would have amazing real-life experience and could be a really positive impact on a classroom.”
To the question: What are the advantages of hybrid courses?

Professors responded:

“Certain parts of the course can be learned without too much assistance from the professor. The blended approach offers students the advantage of seeing the sections/content at their own pace, from wherever they are.”

“Students are able to spend more time doing group work and to learn from each other. This has facilitated innovation, self-discipline, creativity.”

“We go beyond the classroom and meet native speakers from other countries without having to pay for a plane ticket. Students develop strong, lasting ties with their work partners and learn how to work in a group.”

“Deeper understanding of the course material, impossible to detail in class.”


However, others responded:

“People prefer in class, in person activities. It is more difficult to have engaging activities in an online environment, but we [I and my students] are working on finding ways to improve the online learning.” 

Developing online courses

The TLSS and Centre for Innovative Pedagogies and Digital Learning (CIPDL) team completed 22 online course development projects and are currently working on 15 more.

Projects completed

Distribution per faculty:

  • Arts: 7
  • Sciences: 3
  • Law: 3
  • Health sciences: 1
  • Education: 1
  • International Office: 1
  • CNFS: 4
  • Other: 2

Current projects

Distribution per faculty:

  • Health sciences: 1
  • Sciences: 1
  • Social sciences: 2
  • CNFS: 3
  • Engineering: 2
  • Medicine: 3
  • Education: 1
  • Other: 2

What students are saying

“I loved the layout of the course on Brightspace. I was somewhat nervous at first to be taking an online course for the first time, but I was extremely happy with the overall experience. I enjoyed the videos since it would let us have an overview of the different subjects. In addition, I enjoyed the different subjects that were given during the online discussion. I learned a lot during this course and would strongly suggest it to other students. Thank you!!”

“This was my favourite class of the course. I almost wish it was in-class to be able to interact with our professor and students in real time. I did really enjoy the content and presentation of this class as well. Thank you for making my first online class a success!” 

What students are saying

 “I really enjoyed having a flexible schedule being able to complete modules every week when it fit best with my other responsibilities. TA’s responded right away and were very helpful. Overall I was very pleased with this course and I would love to take more online courses.” 

“Bar has been raised for me re: expectations for online courses through Ottawa U. Hoping to see MANY more options using this format. Thank you!”

However, other students are saying:

“Professors need better training on how to use the platform and how to plan an online course.”

What instructors are saying

« Just a quick note to pass on that our screening yesterday was a complete success.  I’ve attached a short video – sadly, this doesn’t do justice to the reaction we got, and I just missed recording one or two loud “woos” that came before.  Suffice it to say, everyone seemed to really love the video.  We got lots of comments about how professional it looked – people seemed to really be in awe.”


Change is inevitable.
Transformation is a choice.


Transforming lives through experiencial learning.


Transformative learning, the foundations of the future.

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