Oct. 27, 2023
New video series captures innovation in teaching and learning
How do you keep your teaching practice meaningful and relevant? It’s a big question for many post-secondary educators as they design their courses for incoming students each year.
When the global pandemic hit, many educators saw an opportunity to try something new and innovative in the courses they were teaching. It was a challenging time as they searched for creative ways to meaningfully engage and support student learning.
Dr. Corey Flynn, PhD, wanted to share the creativity of course instructors from the COVID-era and the ways they advanced teaching and learning. The result is a new video series called Innovator/Educator that captures the tools, techniques and thinking of innovative educators at UCalgary to inspire others to look at their teaching practice with fresh eyes.
“I think the series will spark conversations about what our learning environments can be and how we’re not restricted to a typical lecture format,” he says.
Flynn, an associate professor (teaching) in the Faculty of Science, has always had a personal interest in video creation. He developed the project in his role as an Educational Leader in Residence in blended and online learning at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Through an initiative funded by the Flanagan Foundation, Flynn and his colleagues wanted to capture the lessons learned as a result of the shift to remote and online learning during the pandemic.
Flynn hopes that sharing stories of UCalgary innovative educators during COVID can influence the landscape of teaching and learning.
“We have all these recent tools at hand and really interesting ways to use them. Not only can educators deliver content in new and innovative ways, but utilizing new tools can provide an untapped opportunity for increasing student engagement and ensuring students drive their own learning experience, which is a good thing.”
The first video in the series features Dr. Lora Oehlberg, PhD, talking about her use of Miro — a cloud-based whiteboard app that she describes as an “infinite canvas” — to create collaborative online learning environments for her studio classes. Oehlberg is an associate professor in the Faculty of Science and director of the Computational Media Design program.
“Lora demonstrated really well how you can have multiple individuals in an online space that has the structure and flexibility to allow students to do their own thing,” Flynn says. “I think it’s brilliant.”
Innovator/Educator shares relevant and practical techniques and tools for educators to incorporate into their teaching and learning practice. But Flynn says it’s about more than just picking up trendy new technology for your classroom.
“It’s about how these tools allow educators of all experience levels to deliver material in new and effective ways,” he says.
“It’s really unique to have an in-depth conversation with somebody who’s talking not just about how they use the tool but the rationale and how they used it to achieve a particular learning goal. It’s such a great opportunity to learn.”
In 2021, a transformational $1-million gift from the Flanagan Foundation provided us with a unique opportunity to catalyze and set a bold new vision for blended and online learning at UCalgary. With this funding, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning led a three-year plan to identify innovation in online teaching, support the creation of new and refined blended and online courses, and empower academic staff to create meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for students. This investment has accelerated innovation in teaching and learning at UCalgary, supporting us on our path to be a leader in blended and online learning.
Learn more about the Flanagan Foundation’s initiatives to advance blended and online learning.