Inquiry through Blended Learning

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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rethinking Higher Education: Beyond the Buzzwords Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Conference - November 2013

Link to pictures

I was very excited to be invited to be part of a panel session for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Conference's - Rethinking Higher Education: Beyond the Buzzwords in Toronto, Ontario. Here are a few of the conference highlights for me:

David Johnston - Governor General of Canada
He has also been the President of the University of Waterloo, the Principal of McGill University, and the captain of the Harvard University hockey team. The focus of his talk was on the internationalization of education and the importance of providing post-secondary students in Canada with international experiences, He's also a big believer in experiential education in the form of co-ops and practicums. Diplomacy of knowledge across disciplines and cultures.

John Baker - President of D2L
University of Calgary has now moved to D2L from Blackboard so I'm going to get some first hand experience with this learning platform in the winter 2014 semester with my online graduate course in blended learning. John is now focused on different methods of assessment - primarily through the use of portfolios to document classroom and experiential learning experiences.

David Helfand, President of Quest University

  • Goal - student engagement in undergraduate education
  • Structure - no departments - circular building and circular classrooms - 16 to 20 students around a table
  • Curriculum - liberal arts curriculum - 16 specified courses during the first two years, 4 month experiential project
  • Delivery - focus on individual inquiry (questions of interest), block system borrowed from Colorado College System, 4th year capstone course

International experience stats

  • 2.6% of Canadian undergraduate students report that they have had an international experience
  • 8% of MRU students
  • 80% of Quest students (other 20% have had a Canadian-based experiential experience)

Canadian MOOCS
University of Toronto experiences with Courseara
Fanshawe College experience with self-organized MOOCs

King's University College, University of Western Ontario, November 2013

Links to pictures

I was invited by Samantha Pearson to travel to King's University College in London, Ontario to be part of a Technology and Pedagogy (TaPs) Conference that she had organized.  Sam had been an online graduate student in my blended learning course during the winter 2013 semester and it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person.

I was really struck by the beauty and the hospitality of the people in London, Ontario.  I had no idea that Western was such a large university with separate religious colleges and a very beautiful campus. For the TaPs conference, I facilitated a keynote session on student engagement and blended learning and then in the afternoon I conducted my usual workshop on Designing for inquiry through blended learning approach.

I stayed on in London for the weekend and had lunch with my Aunt Catherine (my father's older sister) and  then attended a Western football game and had dinner with Phil Walsh (my room mate and best-man from Queens).

Friday, November 08, 2013

Singapore Management University - September 2013

Link to pictures

Wowsa, what a wonderful way to begin the new academic year with a trip to Singapore!!  The purpose of the trip was to visit the Singapore Management University and facilitate a keynote session on blended learning and then follow-up with an afternoon workshop on designing for an inquiry-based approach to blended learning.

The Singapore Grand Prix was taking place during my visit and it was amazing to see how quickly race cars can move on closed city streets during the night.  I also made sure to stop at Raffles Hotel (named for the British Thomas Raffles who claimed the river port for Britain in 1819.

Bowron Lakes Canoe Trip - Summer 2013

Link to pictures

For Marie's 50th birthday, just the two of us returned to the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit. Once again, we were very fortunate with the weather and the winds plus this time we were able to find "private" camp sites :)

Summer at the Cottage 2013

Link to cottage pictures

My bad - after months of ignoring this blog - I'm finally trying to "catch up" on my posts during a Friday afternoon at the Toronto airport waiting for a flight to snowy Calgary :(

The next few posts are going to be rather brief - mainly links to picture collections and conference links.

I was very fortunate to have Alex with me for almost a month at the cottage this summer - sigh, this may be one of the last ones that we have extended time together as he now enters the world of "summer jobs".  Definitely the highlight of the summer was the August long weekend birthday pot-luck to celebrate Bill's 75th and Beth's 50th birthdays :)