The Challenges of 8:00 a.m. Classes.

The next activity in Module 2, eCampus mOOC is to identify a learner challenge. I thought my empathy map was too broad to identify a manageable challenge for this activity. So after reflection, I decided to ask my students about their current challenges in one of my courses.

I facilitate a health-care communication’s course in a case-based discussion format. This semester that class begins at 8:00 a.m. The weather conditions have led to poor driving conditions and a snow day. On top of the weather issue I have noticed many students coming in late, tired, and very quiet.

I used a modified version of Stephen Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ) (Brookfield, 1995). Brookfield suggests that asking to students to reflect upon their learning and letting students know you have read and considered their responses builds trust between the teacher and her students (Brookfield, 1995). One of the five questions that I asked was What is your biggest obstacle to coming to class regularly? I expected to hear about transportation issues, family morning routines and working too many hours. The overwhelming response was the 8:00 a.m. start time.

We were asked to add our challenge and possible solutions to the mOOC Padlet. Padlet is an online collaboration board that is being used as a way to share our ideas with participants in the mOOC (eCampus Ontario, 2019).

My Contribution to the eCampus Ontario mOOC Padlet

In one of the mOOC small stretch exercises I was introduced to the answer garden (eCampus Ontario, 2019) The answer garden looks similar to a Moodle. Students answer a question with one word as words are the same they grow so that the most important words stand out. Please see their site for a demonstration at I think the answer garden will be an effective way to facilitate the one-minute paper. The one minute paper is a teaching technique in which the facilitator asks students to write down in one minute or less the murkiest point and the clearest point they are experiencing in the lesson. This is a technique I learned years ago while completing my B.Ed. Utilizing the answer garden will be a visual for everyone in the class to see how the learning is going.

After that small stretch, I wondered that building interactive online activities (such as the Answer Garden and Padlet) in the beginning of class would be a way to review material from the previous lesson and engage learners at 8:00 a.m. The flip side to this learner challenge is many learners arrive on time ready to learn and they do not like it if I hold up the class for people who are late. I think by incorporating interactive activities at the beginning of class I may be able to engage the learners who are on time. On time learners may feel that they are getting extra information to assist with assessment. Learners that arrive late can join in once they arrive and hopefully by the end of the interactive activity everyone will be warmed up and ready for the lesson.

Brookfield, S. D. (1995). Becoming a Crticially Reflective Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
eCampus Ontario. (2019). EXTEND 101-EN.1 – Extend MOOC. Module 2: Teacher for Technology.

Solving Challenges With Technology (amended from original posting)

This next activity is to “identify a challenge that could be solved with the purposeful use of technology” (eCampus Ontario, 2019). We started by filling in an empathy map. I considered my Student’s Appraisal of Teaching (SATs), one minute papers that I have conducted in the past, Critical Incidence Questionnaires (CQIs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and verbal feedback that I receive regularly from my students.

I have been using the concept of the one minute paper and modifying as a technique to be responsive to my learner’s needs. This was a technique I learned through my B.Ed. Papers take less then one-minute to complete typically you ask students what is the muddiest point and what is the clearest point in the lesson. I have modified the questions to include what is the biggest barrier to your learning, to your success, and to attending class regularly etc..

eCampus Ontario Extend mOOC empathy map

One of the biggest challenges my students have is how overwhelmed they become due to outside commitments. Many of my students are single parents, in the sandwich generation (looking after parents and children, and/or have part-time jobs (greater then the recommended 15 hours/week).

My institution has worked hard to address these stressors by providing course based registration (CBD) which allows students to build their own schedules. The goal is students may build a schedule around their outside commitments. This in my opinion, has been a purposeful use of technology.

One of the challenges is first-come-first choice nature of CBD. This leaves the students at the end with the left-overs and this may not be a schedule that works with their outside commitments. So, it is here that I ponder if I could do more within my individual classes.

Coincidentally, this week school was closed for a snow day. So with my coach @jesslyndw (see her article below), some willing students and advice from my new learning community (Ontario Extend mOOC participants) I gave an online lesson using Zoom and recorded my screen to post for students who could not make the online meeting. It was out of my comfort zone but turned out to be a positive experience for myself and my students. It is opportunities like this that make me think maybe more lessons could be done this way. I imagine a parent home with a sick child watching my online lesson and maybe feeling a little less stressed about missing a class.

Check out jesslyndw’s article Educators are Like Coaches @

eCampus Ontario (2019). EXTEND 101 – EN.1 – Extend MOOC. Module 2: Technologist.

Digital Literacies: It’s Complicated!

My first activity in the Digital Literacies of Teaching module through eCampus Ontario extend mOOC is to consider what the concepts of digital literacies means to me. I say concepts and not definition because I have had to expand my thinking about digital literacy. Prior to the readings for this activity, I would have said someone is digitally literate if they know how to code, can use technology effectively, and are able to relay that information to other people. The JISC (2018) proposes that digital literacies should develop beyond basic digital performance and consideration should be given to the complexities and the situations. Now I would say it is complicated.

All Aboard Digital Skills in Higher Education

I think the image above captures the complexities as well as the potential that digital literacies can provide to a person’s growth both personally and professionally. Chung, Gill & O’Byrne (2013) identify the following 21st Century skills that they propose need to be addressed in web literacy framework “problem solving, creativity, communication and collaboration”. You can see elements of these skills and their intersections with other skills in the image of above. Now I know these skills are important but The question I have is how do I get people excited about it? As an educator I love these types of images but I am not sure that all of my students would.

Doug Belshaw proposes that in order to get people excited about digital literacies framework we have to find out what motivates them. He suggests memes are an intrinsic motivator. Watch below.

Doug Belshaw TEDx

I have learned through this activity that the concepts of digital literacies is complicated, changes with time and situations. The exciting part is there is something for everyone if we (educators) include opportunities to develop digital literacies. The British Columbia government (2018) provides a digital literacies framework and examples so that educators will be guided to integrate digital literacies into their lessons. In my opinion, a good place to start is to participate in building and maintaining the digital literacies framework.


British Columbia Government. (2018). Digital Literacy. Retrieved 02 12, 2019, from Province of British Columbia:

Chung, A.-M., Gill, I. B., & O’Byrne, I. (2013). Web Literacy 2.0. Retrieved from Mozilla.

JISC. (2018, 09). Developing Digital Literacies. Retrieved 02 12, 2019, from JISC Guides: