Scaffolding a Transformative Transition to Distance and Online Learning

Virtual Symposium Series

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs in collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) invite you to participate in Scaffolding a Transformative Transition to Distance and Online Learning, a three-part series of virtual events to take stock and make sense of recent experiences transitioning courses to distance/online modalities and to help advance current thinking about effective design, and facilitation of teaching and learning, in virtual contexts. Among varied sessions on the theme and opportunities to exchange with peers, these events will feature expertise from online teaching and learning scholars/practitioners from across Canada and abroad.

In support of the integration of renewed pedagogical perspectives and practices, this series seeks to:

  • Scaffold reflection and dialogue regarding the transition of instructional practices to distance and online learning modalities;
  • Cross-pollinate and exchange instructional and assessment ideas and practices across disciplinary boundaries; and 
  • Foster opportunities to undertake and showcase action research examining instructional and learning experiences in distance/online modalities.

Snapshot of the Symposium Series

Symposium Series Events

May 10th 2021 – Showcasing Reintegrated Practices and Examples of Action Research

Serving as the final symposium of the series, this event held on Monday May 10th will focus on: 1- making sense of the mass transition to distance/online learning modalities; 2- showcasing instances of reintegrated practices and examples of action research. Stephen Murgatroyd (Contact North), Pascale Blanc (HEC Montréal) and John Baker (D2L) will serve as speakers at this final event to bring together the ideas, practices and potential transformations from the former events along with current forward-looking research.

Keynote Speakers

Picture of Stephen Murgatroyd

Stephen Murgatroyd, Ph.D. FBPsS FRSA

Stephen Murgatroyd has worked extensively in open and distance learning since 1972. At the Open University (UK), Athabasca University (Canada), in corporate training and consulting for Axia NetMedia, as a consultant to The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Commonwealth of Learning, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University of Dubai, Middlesex University (UK) and many others.  He has advised governments on educational policy in Chile, Paraguay, UAE, Australia and New Zealand. Most recently he has been advising the New Zealand Open Polytechnic on its transformation agenda. In the UAE he is working with both the Ministry of Possibilities and the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research on the future of technology enabled learning, especially focusing on Smart Skills and the role of AI and augmented / virtual reality in reimagining learning.

For more information, see http://stephenmurgatroyd.me/

The Challenge of Shifting to a New Paradigm for Learning

All of a sudden 1.6 billion learners around the world and their instructors had to adapt to new ways of learning during the pandemic of 2020. Some created exceptional learning, some "limped through" and some failed to adapt to the opportunities created by technology enabled learning.

What the experience of "remote teaching" (sic) revealed was a limited understanding of pedagogy or the potential of engaged, peer to peer and constructivist learning models and approaches. The presentation will provide insights into what is possible and what we saw happen and draw attention to the need to rethink learning as a process within the college / university sector and to re-examine our assumptions about assessment.

This image for Image Layouts addon

Pascale Blanc, Ph.D.

Pascale Blanc holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris VI, France) and a Master's degree in Business Administration (HEC Montreal, Canada). She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of information and communication technologies, including 15 years in the management of support for teaching, learning and pedagogical innovation. During her career, Ms. Blanc has held several positions of responsibility in various organizations in France and Quebec. In the field of higher education, she was Coordinator at the Vitrine technologie-éducation (VTÉ), Head of Educational and Research Systems at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) and Director of Technopedagogy at the École des hautes études commerciales (HEC) in Montreal.

E-Learning: Opportunities, Benefits, and a Lever for the Digital Transformation of Higher Education

The Internet has revolutionized distance learning through the number and diversity of interactions it has made possible and the number and diversity of digital resources it has made accessible. However, the almost exclusive use of videoconferencing education to address the closure of institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that the use of the Internet, educational technologies and digital educational resources to support learning was still very limited in terms of higher education teaching strategies. However, there is a wealth of practice and research that illustrates the uses and benefits. In this presentation, we will recall some remarkable examples of e-learning and present some avenues to support the implementation of these approaches and the potential for educational transformation that they can bring about.

Past symposium

November 20th 2020 – Challenges and Opportunities of Distance/Online Instruction

This first event examined the essence and meaning of distance and online learning and provided opportunities to share challenges and pedagogical approaches that best facilitate learning. Recordings of each program session (and related materials) are posted on the virtual platform.

Program at a glance

10:00 a.m.

Welcoming remarks
Jill Scott Ph.D.
Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, University of Ottawa

10:10 a.m.

Speaking to Scaffolding the Transition to Online Learning
Aline Germain-Rutherford Ph.D.
Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs, University of Ottawa

10:30 a.m.

Sharing and Reflecting on Transition Experiences
This session will offer an opportunity to reflect on and discuss dilemmas and challenges experienced during your transition to online instruction.

 

Health break (10-15 min.)

11:30 a.m.

Keynote – Benoît Raucent Ph.D., Université catholique de Louvain
Questions clés et réflexions pour apprivoiser l’enseignement à distance / 
Key Questions and Reflections for Approaching Distance Instruction
(Presentation in French)

 

Health break (10-15 min.)

12:45 p.m.

Unpacking Key Instructor and Student Issues
This session serves to unpack and address instructional issues via a series of small group guided conversations.

 

Health break (10-15 min.)

1:45 p.m.

Panel with Instructors – Challenges and Opportunities
A snapshot of the lived experiences of three professors from varied faculties in regards to their recent transition to online instruction.

 

Health break (10-15 min.)

2:45 p.m.

Keynote – Jon Dron Ph.D., Athabasca University
How Distance Changes Everything

 

Health break (10-15 min.)

4:00 p.m.

Snapshot of Resources to Facilitate the Transition

4:15 p.m.

Bringing it All Together and Looking Ahead
Aline Germain-Rutherford Ph.D.
Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs, University of Ottawa

4:30 p.m.

End of the day

Keynote Speakers

Photo of Benoit Raucent

Benoît Raucent Ph.D., Université catholique de Louvain

Benoit Raucent is a professor at the École Polytechnique de Louvain (EPL) and president of the Louvain Learning Lab (LLL) at UCLouvain (Belgium). At the EPL, he coordinated the reform of the first two years of civil engineering studies, called "Candis 2000". Benoit is the author of several publications related to active pedagogy. Within the LLL, he coordinates over twenty pedagogical advisors and manages the collection of the Louvain Learning Lab's resources that explore different facets of university pedagogy.

Key Questions and Reflections for Approaching Distance Instruction

Why move toward a distance modality? Possibly to leverage distance learning as an opportunity to respond to current needs and to make it a common way to access training. This presentation is intended to provide those involved in distance education -- professors, teachers, tutors, advisors, instructional designers, and management personnel -- with insights into the issues that arise when initiating distance education activities, as well as to foster reflection geared toward changing established distance education practices.

This image for Image Layouts addon

Jon Dron Ph.D., Athabasca University

Professor Jon Dron is a member of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute and former Chair of the School of Computing and Information Systems, Athabasca University (Canada’s open, online university). He is also an Honorary Faculty Fellow in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Brighton, UK. Jon is an award-winning teacher, and is a UK National Teaching Fellow.  Jon’s research in learning technologies is highly cross-disciplinary, including social, pedagogical, technological, systemic and philosophical aspects of technology and learning design & management. He is the author of Control & Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose, and (with Terry Anderson) of Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media (https://teachingcrowds.ca). 

How Distance Changes Everything

Like most complex technologies, in-person educational systems have evolved to include a wide range of counter-technologies - including methods of teaching (pedagogies) - that were invented to overcome the problems caused by in-person educational systems, most notably in terms of their adverse effects on learner autonomy and intrinsic motivation. Distance teaching creates new motivational problems of its own, especially with regard to social relatedness. However, it can solve some problems that are foundational and endemic in in-person learning, particularly in its support for learner autonomy. Unfortunately, these benefits are rarely fully realized because we too often needlessly transfer pedagogies that solve problems for in-person teaching, many of which can be positively harmful outside their original context. In this presentation I will reveal some of the central Faustian Bargains of in-person and online learning, and will suggest practical approaches to thinking about how and when to use both.

February 17th 2021 – Transforming Perspectives Regarding the Teaching and Learning Paradigm

Building on the exchanges initiated at the November 20th symposium, this second event held on Wednesday February 17th aims to go deeper and focus on 1- transforming attitudes toward distance/online modalities, and 2- transforming perspectives regarding the teaching and learning paradigm. Keynote speakers include Martine Pellerin (University of Alberta) and Sean Michael Morris (University of Colorado) will share their work on motivation and attitudinal shifts in innovative and digital pedagogies.

Program at a glance

10:00 a.m.

Welcoming Remarks and Overview of the Symposium Theme
Aline Germain-Rutherford Ph.D.
Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs, University of Ottawa

This session will feature a 20min. breakout group discussion about the nature of shifts in attitudes in professors and students with respect to online instruction and learning.

10:45 a.m.

Health break

11:00 a.m.

Keynote – Martine Pellerin Ph.D., University of Alberta

Distance/Online Teaching and Learning in the Age of COVID-19: A Paradigm Shift to Transform Perspectives on Teaching and Learning.

*Presentation in French with simultaneous interpretation

12:00 p.m.

Discussion space

In this space, participants can:

  • Join an informal discussion with keynote speaker M. Pellerin
  • Initiate conversations with colleagues in the participant lounge
  • Consult and contribute to asynchronous discussion posts in the participant lounge

12:30 p.m.

Presentation & Discussion of Resources related to the Enhancement of Online Learning and Pedagogies of Care

Three guest experts will present concurrently, and address lessons learned in the recent transition to online instruction and learning and how these lessons have led to, or leveraged the use of, specific resources.

1:00 p.m.

Health break

1:15 p.m.

Keynote – Sean Michael Morris, University of Colorado 

Teaching through the Screen: Critical Digital Pedagogy after COVID-19.

*Presentation in English with simultaneous interpretation

2:15 p.m.

Discussion space

In this space, participants can:

  • Join an informal discussion with keynote speaker S. M. Morris
  • Initiate conversations with colleagues in the participant lounge
  • Consult and contribute to asynchronous discussion posts in the participant lounge

2:45 p.m.

Panel with Students and Professors
A snapshot of the lived experiences of two students and two professors from varied faculties about shifts in attitudes, perceptions, practices related to online learning and instruction.

3:45 p.m.

Health break

4:00 p.m.

Concluding Remarks and Looking Ahead
Synthesis of the day and launch of a call for participation in action research groups.

4:20 p.m.

End of the day

Keynote Speakers

This image for Image Layouts addon

Sean Michael Morris, University of Colorado

Sean Michael Morris is Senior Instructor of Learning, Design, and Technology in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is also the Director of Digital Pedagogy Lab, an international professional development gathering for educators committed to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, critical digital pedagogy, and imagining a new future for education. He co-authored An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy, co-edited Critical Digital Pedagogy: A Collection, and has contributed to Disrupting Digital HumanitiesDigital Pedagogy in the HumanitiesMOOCs and their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher EducationApplied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, and Critical Examinations of Distance Education Transformation Across Disciplines. His work has been featured by The Guardian, National Public Radio, The EconomistIzvestia, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, along with other publications and numerous podcasts.

Teaching through the Screen: Critical Digital Pedagogy after COVID-19

The precipitate shift to remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic came with no reliable best practices. Finding themselves suddenly distant, learners and teachers had few choices outside of improvisation. A profound lack of literacy in digital pedagogies created a crisis that affected not only the curriculum, but the community of the classroom. The natural synergy of being together in a room abruptly became an unnatural shift to turning mics and cameras on and off in the framework of a video conference. Many have supposed that out of this crisis might grow a new educational approach or institution—one that might support faculty and staff to advance educational equity, and move away from the all too common one-size-fits-all approach of online learning. To affect this transformation, we must consider a critical digital pedagogy, one that integrates digital literacies with equitable practices to create meaningful learning on both sides of the screen.

Photo of Martine Pellerin

Martine Pellerin, Ph.D., University of Alberta

Martine Pellerin is Vice-Dean of Research and Innovation and Full Professor at the University of Alberta (Faculté Saint-Jean). She received her PhD in Educational Technologies from the University of Calgary in 2005. She has taught distance/online education for over 15 years. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the education program in the areas of digital technologies, online education and digital literacy. Her research interests include: the integration of digital technologies in teaching and learning at the primary/secondary/university level; inclusion; digital literacy, digital skills development and digital citizenship; and online education. She is responsible for initiatives related to digital transformation and the transfer of distance/online education at the Saint-Jean Campus. She has received the IT Ambassador Award and Team Innovation from the University of Alberta for her technological leadership.

Distance/Online Education and Learning in the Age of COVID-19: a Paradigm Shift Aimed at Transforming Perspectives Related to teaching and Learning.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a rapid shift to distance/online learning. Despite the crucial role of technology in the adoption of these new teaching modalities, the emergence of a new paradigm regarding pedagogical practices is at the heart of the transformation. For the first time in the history of education, the traditional model of knowledge transmission, with the teacher at the center as the expert and the students as passive receivers of it, is in jeopardy. This paradigm shift is leading to a transformation of the role of the teacher into that of a coach and that of the student into that of an active actor in the learning process. The emergence of new pedagogical practices aims at engaging students through the co-construction of knowledge, the co-creation of content, inquiry-based learning and the development of solutions as global citizens to the global challenges and issues we collectively face. New technologies are also contributing to this paradigm shift by fostering new forms of presentation and expression of knowledge.

Platform Access

Access to the Virtual Symposium Series Platform

To access the virtual platform, please login at : Virtual Platform Login

If you have not registered and set your password, please complete the fields below (if the registration period is still open). We will import new registrations into the platform every Monday and Thursday morning, at which time you will receive a notification with platform access instructions.

The registration for the February 17, 2021 symposium is now closed. The registration for the May 10, 2021 symposium will be open on Thursday.

Event Partners