W4 – Assignment 1 Environmental Scan of Teaching Environment & Resources

This environmental scan assignment is based upon my knowledge of teaching at Selkirk College, as a marketing manager, who proposes to be an Online Marketing Instructor for Fall 2014, teaching 100/200/300 level courses in an online capacity only.

1.    Environmental Scan

Selkirk College is a regional community college with over 550 employees and instructors, eight campuses and learning centres and approximately 2,000+ full-time students and over 10,000 continuing education students.

Modality of Learning & Nature of Interactions: The education is delivered through apprenticeships, some online courses (blended and distance), work terms, co-op education, practicums and hands-on face-to-face classroom training. Our programs are typically held in a synchronous manner as they will ladder in requirements.

My Role: My ‘proposed’ on-line marketing courses that I would instruct would be some 100, 200 and 300 level courses which would require the pre-requisites to advance. They would be delivered on-line both to distance students and on-campus students. I would have online support only for these courses.


  • Laptops / Ipads
  • Iphones
  • Scanners
  • Cameras/video cameras

Note: This hardware is college provided but would be required for the students to have access to through their own resources.


  • Presentation Tools: Skype, Teleconference phone line (teacher only), Prezi and Wordle.
  • Collaboration Tools: Zoho docs, Google Drive, Dropbox, Zoho Projects. Missing:
  • Communication Tools: Prezi, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Missing: Video editing tools and formal training on Social Media.

Technical Assistance: Selkirk has support from its ITS Department for both students and staff through a help ticketing system that are available M-F 8:30 – 4:00 pm. www.Helpdesk.selkirk.ca  This can be limiting when there are students that need access to their work through Moodle and it is down over a weekend etc so that would be a risk to consider.

Pedagogical/instructional Design Assistance: Some as we have an ecampus.selkirk.ca already in operation. We offer some of our courses within our programs online. I would look to expand my network in this regard, as we are not leaders in this area and other schools like TRU are more advanced. As a consumer of online education, I have seen a fairly high standard in design and would want to at least emulate that…high hopes.

Tutorial Assistance: I propose to provide at least 60 min per week of chat time and spending at least 60 – 90 minutes in Discussion Forum Support.

Technical Assistance For Students: During the first class and few days surrounding that, I propose to provide a few extra hours of assistance to ensure everyone is ‘on’, logged in, able to ‘hear’ if required etc.

Funding Available Annually: Should more video or photo editing be required, I could see Adobe Creative Suite licensing be a request for myself but students would be responsible for their own licenses. Obviously, they get an education discount but that is the extent of the support. For extra funding I would turn to the annual Learning Resource Fund, which is to provide funding for projects that align with our strategic directions and specifically enhance the student’s learning experience. Applications for funding are received from April 1 – May 15 of each year and the approval and funding allocation process follows shortly after. It helps cover Purchase or upgrading of technology equipment, short term staffing requirements to support initiatives undertaken by the fund (lab monitors, etc.), acquisition of learning and instructional materials which are deemed to be extraordinary and have not been included in the budget development process and activities and resources that support the removal of learning barriers.

Professional Development Resources: There is typically around $1,500 per staff member for PD available. This can go into online training or conference attendance.

 2. Technology-Enhanced Learning Opportunities

I have been very interested in understanding the online world more and last fiscal year, I attended a conference on web design, An Event Apart http://archive.aneventapart.com/2012/seattle/?/2012/seattle/.

It has been excellent for understanding the importance of organizing your content, how it is distributed/perceived, as well as the W3C Standards of Accessibility http://www.w3.org/WAI/.

Our department has purchased a www.Lynda.com membership that has many helpful starter tutorials on many areas relevant to online teaching from all skills around video, web, Microsoft Office to classes like Teaching with the iPad: Creating a Classroom Research Project.

Further, our Teaching & Learning Department puts on various workshops like http://selkirk.ca/news/selkirk-college-embraces-vodcasting-technology-teaching.

3.  Technology-Enhanced Goal

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn1l333nuvU[/youtube]


I have summarized my answer below, in a little video testimonial of sorts. I will definitely set as part of my training goals, to learn how to hold the camera at a better angle, and choose a more appealing thumbnail to save the video with as well.

As I intend to teach marketing, communications, online marketing and social media courses, I will constantly need to keep up to date on the latest changes in these fields. This will serve a dual purpose of keeping me on my ‘technology’ game as well. This includes being able to create videos, photo editing, presentations and run online meetings.

Social Media: I intend to take advantage of online tutorials Lynda.com membership mainly but will be considering social media updates as I feel it is a very engaging tool with students, even outside of a social media class.  The Lynda.com membership is provided by Selkirk College at this time and I will allot several hours weekly to upgrading my skills in various areas.

Privacy & Cloud Based Educational Technology: In BC, there are two main information privacy laws that set out the minimum standards that employers, employees and service providers must follow to prevent unreasonable, unnecessary or unsafe sharing of personal information belonging to staff, clients, customers and the general public.

  • FIPPA – Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
  • PIPA – Personal Information Protection Act.

For public sector employers, employees and service providers in BC, which includes staff of publicly-funded educational institutions, the governing law is FIPPA.

Since obtaining consent is a key part of protecting privacy and exercising due diligence, I would need to establish a privacy protocol for ensuring student notice, knowledge and consent whenever using social media or other cloud based tools as a teaching aid, as required to meet FIPPA standards. This would require collaborating with other faculty teaching in this area, across the province, on their protocols and adapting something to fit Selkirk’s standards, as at this time, Selkirk does not have a Social Media Policy.

Video Filming & Editing: In the next year I intend to upgrade my competence in video editing which will allow me to officially request the most appropriate tool for the job (e.g. IMovie may be enough or do I need to ask for something more complicated like Adobe Premiere (http://video-editing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/) which I have found too complicated in the past.

WordPress Design: I also intend to increase my design skills in WordPress with responsive templates as a tool for teaching that will allow students to access the lectures via IPhone.



W2 Activity Three: UDL Reflections

 Elements of King-Sears & Edyburn UDL readings as they speak to online learning materials I have used, the environment in which I find myself using them and how they address my desired online teaching environment (blended or distance).

The online materials I have used in my work environment.

The online materials I have experience with for my own learning are Blackboard, Moodle, Dropboxes and WordPress. For my role as a communicator/marketer, I am manage the re-design, content generation for selkirk.ca, Selkirk social media  and my.selkirk.ca using WordPress, Drupal, T4 content management systems, along with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

My experiences in web design projects and ongoing communications have me a support of Edyburn’s Prop #1: That UD in education is fundamentally different from UD in the built environment. I see more consistency with Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines (WCAG) that are developed with organizations around the world with the goal of a ingle shared standard of web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations and governments internationally.

In designing the college websites, with the goal of engagement and effective communication in mind, the following principles from Sears-King impacted our design and content generation approach and pedagogy.

  • Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of student preferences and abilities and Proposition 6 (Provide an array of supports in a digital environment that students come to expect.) The design of Selkirk.ca was ‘responsive’ to ensure the content could be displayed on iphone, ipad and typical computer screens as today’s student’s are using their phones more and more. This is part of the WCAG2.0 Design Standards, in particular the Adaptability Standard (Create content that can be presented in simpler layout without losing information or structure.)  Further, to reach the target markets, the research shows that they are all checking social media (facebook, twitter) to learn more about colleges etc, so we have added this medium to our print, email, web, display communications etc to ensure we can reach them.
  • Equitable use of technology to help those with LD & perceptible information by combining visual with written content.    We designed our site to meet accessibility standards as best as possible. These can be found at http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/ and are quite similar (1.1 Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so it can be changed into other forms like large print, braille, symbols; but could easily be improved. 2.2 Provide enough time for users to read & use content etc)
  • Simple & intuitive use to present content in a straightforward manner considerate of students’ background, knowledge etc. In designing our primary navigation and site map, we worked to ensure it was navigable by providing a primary menu based on our organization across the top and a secondary audience-based menu (future students, aboriginal students, international students, parents etc) across the left of our home page. Our footer also had many quick links. All three systems help our users to navigate, find content and determine where they are.

Key factor for my desired online teaching environment…

Proposition 10, that UDL is much more complicated that people think, is a principle I believe important.

Unfortunately, in designing our websites in the past, we only gave ‘lip-service’ to designing for user personas, where you lump groups of users into similar needs/wants/styles etc and create content specifically for these groups needs. We started off with this but have let this drop as we continue forward in the busy day to day.

Wherever possible, I would like to be involved in creating curriculum and learning experiences towards each learner’s learning style preferences (aural/verbal, visual/physical, logical, social/solitary). An example of the Learning Style Test, for streamlining a learner experience, can be found at North Carolina University Index of Learning Style Test.

I believe we should tailor our content/curriculum to provide the preferred options to each type of learner.


W2 Activity Two: What Are We Using?

Technology I am using in my work

As a communications professional, I am equipped personally with the following equipment and licensing for software:

  • 2 Digital Cameras
  • 1 Video Camera
  • Creative Suite editing software (Photoshop, Indesign etc)
  • Digital tools like Imovie, Iphone, Pixelator, Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi
  • PC Desktop
  • Macbook Air
  • Iphone

Personal technologies (students) are using to support their learning in the classroom.

As we are a community college, I see all the tools above used by various students but they are on their own to provide. The college will provide IMacs, video screens, green screens, cameras for filming that are required in the Digital Media & Technology program.

Why you/your students are using them, and if your efforts are impacting learning for both you and the students.

Best tools available for our budget(s) that help keep us current and competitive with the markets.

The one piece of technology that you currently do not have access to that you would dearly love to have...

A quick answer would be Ipads in the hands of all my staff or students I have to communicate with. This would move more of the teaching online and away from print ideally. Currently our students are caught 1/2 way in print and 1/2 online.

But honestly, I do not have an answer to this YET. I have been given fairly liberal access to technology in my roles but have found that the linch pin has often been the ability to support it.

W2 Activity 1: Technology Hardware Found In Classrooms

Took a look at the Tech Pictures and feel confident that I find ‘most’ of these things in my workplace.

What we have…

  • Iphones, Airbooks, Blackberries, Cell phones and Laptops (which like to sleep, when not touched every 30 seconds during a presentation) 
  • Speakers
  • Scanners
  • Screens & projectors (also mounted in ways meant to continually challenge, lol) and cameras.)
  • Flatscreens (meant to work for skype-type calls, but have shown to have connection challenges when video is on).
  • JAWS (32-Bit)…a computer screen reader program that allows our visually impaired staff to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille display.

What we don’t have…

  • Math Manipulatives
  • Kindle (though will see students and staff with them personally)
  • Slipper (Portable CCTV)

What I am not really sure about…

  • Other assistive technology gadgets

Unfortunately, I am on a vacation away from the college so I have not been able to take the photos of the technology I have available, so making a gallery or slideshow will have to wait until further into my homework. Looking forward to it.