Design Thinking

Below is a design thinking process I went through with students to help solve an issue they are facing. This is part of #extendMOOC Technologist module. We went old school for our solution but are looking to support it with student-created video. 

Some hiccups uploading Paper design process to WordPress. 

◦ International students struggling with paraphrasing and citation
• “Can’t do it” – Manpreet
• “Confusing” – Harmandeep
• “When do I use inverted commas?” – Navjot
• “I used a quote so why is it wrong?” – Biprendeep
• “I don’t want to plagiarize” -Varindar
◦ Confer with colleagues
• Same patterns – deeper than misunderstanding.
• Holding students back from successful completion of a program due to communications requirement
• Concern from colleagues about simplifying curriculum meaning a less robust course that does not achieve learning objectives

◦ What if students were provided with a template they could follow?
◦ How might this activity be re-imagined with tech support as a first step in understanding?

◦ Research shows we need to teach paraphrasing , quoting and citation differently to international ESL students
◦ How does this happen in an integrated classroom?
◦ Many international students do not have the tech they require (using phones instead of laptops, etc.)
◦ Maybe we need to go old school but leverage tech as well?

Connect – I flipped connect and prototype. I felt it best to weigh in with students to get their input before moving forward. I pulled together a focus group and asked some questions:
◦ What do you need?
◦ How would you prefer to be helped?
◦ What would make this easier for you?
◦ How can I support you?

From these discussions, I went back to Define (redefine) and Ideate .
◦ Changes- important to note that reading the articles to identify evidence is part of the struggle

◦ Old school – this is what this group of international students prefer
• Examples and practice sheets with sample activities
• Formula… writing a paper with evidence 1) make a point; 2) add evidence (quotes only) starting with ‘According to…’ + Quote + Citation; 3) Find a corroborating Quote + Citation; 4) provide explanation
• Above document co-created by students and faculty
• Set up additional practice session using simplified article excerpts
◦ Tech Support Project
• Could there be a video made in Hindi to support students?
• Volunteer from stronger students to help develop this with professor support
• Storyboarding for video to take place after break with development and video creation to satisfy part of curriculum
* will return to connect with students and repeat process as required as this gets fine tuned.

Made with Paper /


Digital Literacy across the curriculum

Part of ExtendmOOC… module 2. 

Digital literacy. What do we mean by that?

In communications class, I tell students it’s about navigating multiple channels. No longer do I “just” teach reading and writing… the way in which we gather and present information is fast-paced and multi-modal.

Text. Reports. Yes.

Also: Video, podcast, weblinks, online portals, visual, oral, gifs, social media…

Sometimes all together.

Oh, and it needs to be shareable, not static. 

A few has back, realizing all this, I started to weave multi-modal into all my classes and assignments. On Twitter, I came across the acronym WOVEN by Rebecca Burnett, Director of Writing and Communication at Georgia Tech, and with her permission began using it as a framework for my communications class. Later, the idea was adapted into our revised cross-college first semester communications course as a key learning objective: to use, respond effectively, and create in ways that encompassed written, oral, visual, electronic, and non-verbal elements. WOVEN.

I encourage students to think in terms of WOVEN and to adapt the technologies that work best for a particular purpose. It has to make sense and not just be technology for the sake of technology. As one of my favourite online professors once said “Technology is not (just) innovation” (Al Filreis of ModPo) – this from someone who uses tech everyday to connect with a massive online class!

An example of one assignment was for students to read, watch, listen to, and respond to a variety of sources about the digital world we live in. Then as groups they created shareable presentations about their learning in a variety of modalities (link here is to a Prezi I created as a model) and submitted them to a Padlet board – but images below included because links are slow on devices….another lesson in digital literacy.

Digital literacy is adapting, changing, figuring out the right technology or mix of technologies for an audience. It’s about being comfortable with change, because there’s always something new around the corner. 

Prezi -screenshot 

Padlet – screenshot 

I made this for fun as part of an #ExtendmOOC Stretch…creating my teaching philosophy in a bun (why a bun is a question I still have but I’m learning to live with ignorance😊)

…and someone was kind enough to ask me to elaborate. I was happy to because it gave me an opportunity to articulate what I do mean. 

  • Open classrooms for me is about doors being open, employing #OER, being available to students (I have off campus and extended office hours, as well as virtual meeting options), Making class handouts and slides available online for students who miss class.
  • Student agency is giving choice for assignments and how students achieve & demonstrate learning objectives. 
  • Self Assessment… I have students assess their own writing and performance and then confer with students if there are big discrepancies
  • Creativity – whatever I can do to be creative in class and for assignments. Creating podcasts, video, art, using twitter for discussion, alternate assessments that include creative license (poetry, screenplays, comic books, movies, paintings…)
  • Student Voice… striving to capture what’s important to them and encourage their authentic voice to emerge. Making their ideas centre stage. Listening to what they have to say and recognizing publicly the value in their ideas.
Teacher for Learning – Application for module 1 badge 

Teacher for Learning – Application for module 1 badge 

Identified a concept that is often misunderstood in my discipline and created an analogy to help make sense of it (Prior knowledge)

Created a concept map of a syllabus for a course I teach (Organization)

Practiced my note taking skills (Organization)

  • Explanation in discussion board re Paper and Cornel system  

Brainstormed a list of “What’s in it for me?” from a student perspective (Motivation)

Identified a concept in my discipline that is like driving a car and specified the component skills that are required to master this concept of skill (Mastery)

  • I should have thought of this in  y original post. Sometimes you drive an old Westfalia camper van across Labrador and citation is much much tougher than imagined 😊)

Created an introductory activity, connected to my discipline, to get to know my learners (Climate)

Found a nugget and made it as meaningful as possible (Metacognition)l

Articulated a metaphor to describe my teaching philosophy (Culminating Activity)

  • Explanation on discussion board 

Misunderstood: Bricks in a Wall

This is part of the #ExtendMooc I’m participating in with e-campus Ontario. 

Sometimes I think students believe I make them incorporate evidence and cite it to torture them.

Not true.

The analogy I use is to explain that building on other people’s experiences/breakthroughs is like building blocks – and that the writer’s job is like the cement between the bricks of an idea, making connections, pulling it together, and adding layers of depth and understanding. 

Oh, and just for fun, I play a little Pink Floyd