LRTN 523- Assignment 1: People in the Field

Photo source: engaeli

Let me introduce… Dr Daphne Koller

Dr Daphne Koller is a highly regarded Computer Sciences professor at Stanford University who focuses on biomedicine and machine learning (Daphne Koller, n.d.).  She is the founder of insitro, a company that focuses on machine learning and drug discovery/ development (insitro, n.d.). In our class book club chat on September 16, 2022, a facet of the conversation discussed the gap in ed tech being pedagogically driven and the lack of adoption by educators. This led to a discussion about the need for interdisciplinary collaboration, sharing resources, and educators’ involvement in ed tech development to encourage adoption. I chose Dr Koller because, besides AI and biomedicine, she is an educational forerunner developing quality ed tech that is open, accessible, and engaging.

Her list of achievements and publications is long.  Notably, she was listed in 2013 on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people because, with her business partner, they founded Coursera, an open learning platform.  According to Koller (TED, 2012), they recognised a gap between degree programs and employability; additionally, various access challenges (monetary and otherwise).  The platform provides high-calibre, interdisciplinary, open courses in collaboration with various educational institutions.

“We wanted to create the best quality education for as many people as possible. So, we formed Coursera, whose goal is to take the best courses from the best instructors at the best universities and provide to everyone around the world for free.” (TED, 2012, minute 3:27)

Within the video (Ted, 2012), she demonstrates how students use the platform that encourages innovation, creativity and problem-solving through active learning.

In 2020, Dr Koller founded engaeli.  This platform is designed for higher education and corporate environments with active learning principles (engageli, n.d.).  The secure platform can integrate with many learning management systems (LMS) and other collaboration tools while offering face-to-face, online and hybrid learning options (engageli, n.d.).  It has recently won awards (pictured above). It appears to be an exciting development in ed tech because it was built from the ground up with engaged, active education and learning theory practices as the foundation of the design.  I would be interested to know more about analytics and data collection; however, what I find essential about Dr Koller’s work is that she is an educator who designs meaningful ed tech for educators that can be quickly and widely adopted across disciplines and formats. The gap we acknowledged in our class session.


Daphne Koller. (n.d.). Home [LinkedIn page]. LinkedIn. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

engageli. (n.d.). Engageli: Where engaged learning happens. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

insitro. (n.d.). insitro. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

TED. (2012, August 1). Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education [Video]. YouTube.

LRTN 523- Assignment 1: People in the Field

PrefaceThe pathway to decide

The requirement for this assignment in LRTN 523 was to introduce a significant contributor to ed-tech. Inspired by the readings of Weller (2020) and the accompanying audio file discussions (Between the Chapters: Blogging – 25 Years of Ed Tech: The Serialized Audio Version, n.d.), I sought to read about various contributors to the field but was unsure.  Audrey Watters piqued my interest, but I noted that Michael had covered her already. After some consideration, I settled on Neil Selwyn because I was drawn to his critical views and assessment of ed tech.  It appeals to me that he acknowledges the benefits of ed tech on learning and looks at the broader implications of using it, such as sustainability. Here is a list of articles from his blog that you might find interesting. He is clearly, a significant player in the field; however, when I returned to the assignment outline, I considered the instructions regarding the unheard voices and whom we chose for the task, and I reconsidered my choice.

In this effort, I uncovered this article (Ivus, 2022) about Marissa Hill:

‘Marissa is the Indigenous Innovation Lab Manager at the Indigenous Innovation Initiative, where she is co-creating a first-of-its-kind pre-seed through scale Indigenous innovation lab in partnership with community, partners, and innovators.’ (Grand Challenges Canada, n.d.)

I could not find much information on Marissa, and I realised she is in the tech realm more than ed tech.  Thus, I decided to introduce you to her here and not focus on her for the assignment but encourage you to see what type of projects she participates in.

Now over to my other post for the assignment focus.


Between the chapters: Blogging – 25 years of ed tech: The serialized audio version. (n.d.).

Grand Challenges Canada. (n.d.). Marissa hill – Grand challenges Canada. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

Ivus, M. (2022, April 20). Indigenous women in tech: “we belong here.”. ICTC Digital Think Tank.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 years of ed tech (1st ed.). ACP – Athabasca University Press.

LRTN: Activity 3- Reflections on 25 Years of Ed Tech

Photo Source:

Second Life

I had never heard of Second Life (SL) until reading Weller (2020). From reading the chapter (Weller, 2020), the motivation for universities to have virtual islands was unclear.  There was discussion of the great possibility of SL and that it could integrate with learning management systems (LMS) such as Moodle, but I did not get a true sense of what it hoped to achieve in education.  SL, as it was being used in education by universities in the mid-2000s phased out; however, SL is still being used.  It is one of the largest spaces for virtual commodity exchanges, such as Bitcoin (Virgilio, 2022).  Thus, while SL was not strongly adopted in the education realm or valuable to what I teach currently, it remains relevant in our lives behind the scenes. 

As discussed in the post-chapter discussions online (Between the Chapters: Blogging – 25 Years of Ed Tech: The Serialized Audio Version, n.d.), SL has also paved the way for virtual reality (VR) to be used in education.  There is space for the virtual world in education; educators were not necessarily creative in how SL developed in education in the mid-2000s. I see this growing in medical education specifically because my cousin works in VR and is currently building VR technology for NHS medical students to train them in surgery. What he is developing allows medical students to perform surgery without performing surgery on cadavers which has numerous limitations, including enormous costs.


Although not widely adopted, E-portfolios had merit in their intent to showcase student achievement, competencies, and skills in a tangible way to future employers (Weller, 2020). I recently took over a course taught by the same person for 5+ years.  Within the course, one assignment was an e-portfolio which I removed from the course. Namely, I did not see it as the valuable tool for future employers that the previous instructor had hoped it would be.  I also felt that learning the tool the portfolios reside in was less important than the content on the tool, but a considerable amount of time was needed to perfect the tool. Something the students did not have. Both points, I now read months later, are noted by Weller (2020) as some of the issues with adopting the e-portfolio. 

I received pushback for wanting to remove this assignment.  As a compromise, I created an assignment that still had the desired artefacts and showcased their work through LinkedIn. They cultivated their online professional presence in a space where employers already reside. I listened to the online chat regarding their best practices for not being too prescriptive, giving students license over what they publish, and how they publish (Between the Chapters: Blogging – 25 Years of Ed Tech: The Serialized Audio Version, n.d.) and confirm that my choices for this task were on point.  Cultivating the content meant for an e-portfolio has a place in academia, but the format needs to be something that aligns with the professional realm to be useful.


Between the chapters: Blogging – 25 years of ed tech: The serialized audio version. (n.d.).

Virgilio, D. (2022, February 9). What comparisons between second life and the metaverse miss. Slate Magazine.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 years of ed tech (1st ed.). ACP – Athabasca University Press.

LRNT 521: My Visual Network Map

As part of an activity for LRTN 521, students were asked to create a visual network map. Admittedly, I am a few days late to the game. Life got in the way last week of my studies, but with a few personal items off the deck and readings well on the way, I felt like I could tackle the challenge. I looked at what others have produced and the varying rationale for approaches to the task or medium they chose and pondered over my pathway for the task.  Based on what people were reporting, I felt Kumu would suffice because it was quick to learn and conveyed the details I wanted to represent in my map in an easy to read format.

I had considered downloading my content from LinkedIn, similar to what was depicted in Veletsianos (2016). However, I did not feel that was a complete representation of what I wanted to map.  I also looked at adding social media or pathways that I communicate on but then felt that overlapped the previous digital mapping task.  After some consideration, I decided to consider the concepts of community, group, and network (Dron & Anderson, 2014) as well as “activity-driven and interest-driven” (Veletsianos, 2016, p. 244) to create my visual network map because they seemed like a fit for the process and how I envision my network and its interconnectedness. 

I thought about those I am connected to and why we are connected.  Groups of family and friends were obvious choices.  I thought about the organisations I am a part of and whom I am connected to within those groups, and what groups overlap.  The organisations were all placed on the left of the visual map, and then the people to the right; this was to lengthen the connections and create a divide visually.  The organisations and groups of people are either networks (activity or interest-driven) or communities. 

What you may note in the center is “Personal Gill,” “RRU student Gill,” “RRU Instructor Gill,” and “Restaurant Worker Gill.” This division represents the varying groups, communities, and networks I reside in.  “Restaurant Worker Gill” is a past life that no longer defines me. I barely identify with that person anymore, but I recognise that I have an extensive network and community from that life. As an instructor, I call on them as guest speakers and informants for research, which is why they are linked in that respect. Also, this former self informs my teaching practice in terms of the content I teach.

The roles of both the student and instructor at RRU are different identities and connected differently because how I network, the tools I use and how I connect with groups are not the same.  However,  at the same time, because they are in the same organisation, group members are connected to many of the same people. It’s a work in progress, but I welcome feedback and questions.


Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. AU Press.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In Handbook of learning technologies (N. Rushby & D. Surry ed., pp. 242–260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.

LRNT 523: Activity 2- Reflections on 25 Years of Ed Tech

My knowledge of the history of education and technology is minimal.  I remember in 1994 being part of the first year of students at UVic to receive a school email account, so the start of the textbook (Weller, 2020) seems apt to me, and my technology experience in education beyond word processing.  I dropped out, and until I had a laptop and a smartphone in the mid-2000s, technology as we use it today was not a fundamental part of my daily life. Thus far, the reading content has been new to me.

The consistent theme or preference for face-to-face and traditional modes of education presented in chapters I have read (Weller, 2020) is not shocking because we are still seeing educational institutions struggling with this shift during and beyond the pandemic twenty-plus years later.  As I read through the early days of ed tech and various chapters (Weller, 2020), I can see how the technology needed to be less cumbersome, accessible and user-friend for people to adopt.  However, I do wonder why resistance to change is prevalent now, when in was demonstrated as early as 1999 that students wanted an opportunity for flexible online learning (Weller, 2020).

Is it because many instructors (even now) are subject matter experts (SMEs) employed as educators but are unfamiliar with educational theory and practices (Weller, 2020) that benefit the learning experience?   Is it the fear of technology and/or lack of ed tech digital literacy? Is it that institutions do not want to invest the funds into developing their offerings? Maybe it is a bit of all of these things.

I adopted numerous best practices and ideas from my online courses and revised them to suit my needs. I wonder if you need to experience a well-designed online class with openness to embrace educational technology and tap into the 4Rs (now 5) (Hilton III et al., 2010).  Is the experience of well-designed online education needed to scaffold the resisters into the ed tech realm?   I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Hilton III, J., Wiley, D., Stein, J., & Johnson, A. (2010). The four ‘r’s of openness and alms analysis: Frameworks for open educational resources. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 25(1), 37–44.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 years of ed tech (1st ed.). ACP – Athabasca University Press.

LRTN 521: How have Digital Learning Platforms Impacted the Dissemination of Misinformation

(Figure 1)

For the latest entry on our blogs, we were asked to work in small groups and discuss how digital learning has impacted fake news and misinformation (our chosen topic). According to Farmer (2019), the term fake news refers to “misleading news”, which has been created to misinform for several reasons, including to “gain power or influence” (p. 223). While misinformation and fake news are not new phenomena, the way people receive it, their frequency, and the networks they share it have increased (Auberry, 2018).  

The impact of digital learning on misinformation and fake news comes from it being primarily shared on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook (Auberry, 2018). Social networking platforms like Twitter are networks which exist in digital learning environments (DLEs) (Veletsianos, 2016); thus, the dissemination of misinformation and fake news can be through DLE networks. We have categorized the impact of DLEs on misinformation and fake news into three talking points access, skills and content (Figure 1) because of how they affect both students and educators. The aim of this task for each person in our triad (Marion, Nicole and I) is to discuss the positive and negative impacts of access, skills and content. I will be discussing access.

Access to fake news and misinformation has increased, and the quickest way this information is transferred is through social media (Parthenis, n.d.). As we noted above, social media sites like Twitter are networks which live in DLEs (Veletsianos, 2016); thus, in this respect, the DLEs impact the spread of misinformation and fake news and facilitate access to these materials, and the sheer volume of content people receive. It is noted that the spread of misinformation and fake news is more robust on informal and anonymous accounts compared to official institutional accounts (Kouzy et al., 2020, cited in Hartley & Vu, 2020). This means that the spread of misinformation and fake news on a university social media account is less than on a private account; however, students and educators have quick access to other accounts to read and share. The spread and access of misinformation and fake news can negatively impact people and society when readers believe and share false claims through social media. The information consumption can affect voting decisions (Sydell, 2016 as cited in Auberry, 2018) and help fuel civil unrest such as the Capital Riots in Washington DC in January 2021 or the Freedom Convoy of 2022 in Canada.

The platforms also facilitate access to unverified content by grabbing headlines that help spread untruths (Auberry, 2018). It becomes difficult in a DLE where we encourage students to use media tools to decipher what is truthful when the content they receive is filtered through an algorithm based on their search behaviour (Farmer, 2019). This reminds me of a heated argument in my ethics class this past winter over fake news circulating about the Ukrainian war. A large portion of the international students was pro-Russia, gathering their news and sourcing through Chinese news sources, and others were pro-Ukraine, getting their sourcing through western media. There was misinformation and fake news on both sides based on their algorithm. Still, it did bring about a large conversation about validity and reliability while forcing me to include media literacy more explicitly in the lessons.

I would not say there is a solid pro-argument for the access to misinformation and fake news because of its divisiveness and the negative impacts we have seen across the globe. The list is endless if we begin to cite examples; however, as educators, I think the one positive effect is that the increased access, presence and spread of misinformation and fake news has forced educators to think about and integrate media literacy as part of the curriculum in a manner that was not introduced when I was in school (or likely most of you). The skills that help build media literacy, such as “active inquiry and critically thinking about media” (Farmer, 2019, p. 225), were not encouraged when I was in school, and I wish they had been.


Auberry, K. (2018). Increasing students’ ability to identify fake news through information literacy education and content management systems. The Reference Librarian, 59(4), 179–187.

Farmer, L. (2019). News literacy and fake news curriculum: School librarian perceptions of pedagogical practices. Open Information Science, 3(1), 222–234.

Hartley, K., & Vu, M. (2020). Fighting fake news in the Covid-19 era: Policy insights from an equilibrium model. Policy Sciences, 53(4), 735–758.

Parthenis, D. (n.d.). Chapter 9: To what extent does fake news influence our ability to communicate in learning organizations. In Ethical use of digital learning environments: Graduate student perspectives. University of Alberta; Creative Commons.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In Handbook of learning technologies (N. Rushby & D. Surry ed., pp. 242–260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.

LRNT 521: Cultivating my DIDP

Photo source: Pixabay

When I look at the digital map I created for an earlier activity in our course, I am satisfied with my digital identity and digital presence (DIDP) because I reside in the realms I want to live and with whom I want to interact. The questions posed in Schryver (2013) surrounding how we present ourselves online, how it makes us feel and if we would be Googled positively were something I addressed 6-years ago. I made a conscious choice only to have “professional Gill” in the online sphere and limit the public spaces I reside in to better my mental health.

The task of cultivating a DIDP assumes that we want to do so. Cultivate infers development or growth. Thus, how can I cultivate a DIDP throughout this program when I am satisfied with what I have already taken the time to create< consciously? What can I explore within the realms I already reside in to achieve the learning outcomes? 

My purpose for being in this program is to explore and improve how I design and facilitate digital learning environments that build digital competencies in a barrier-free environment. “If we become the creators of tools and environments rather than developing simple learning content, we must learn to do it right” (Dron & Anderson, 2014, p. 33). I am one of those instructors Jenkins (2013) notes who want to learn and invest in creating participatory cultures in my classroom. I think my goal is to amplify the digital literacies of “educational student Gill” and expand my digital capacities through engaging with my cohort with a community of practice mindset and tapping into our “shared repertoire” (Dron & Anderson, 2014, p. 56) because there is considerable value being a part of this cohort. I need to lean into this process and the opportunity because building my digital literacies and increasing my digital capacity will, in turn, pass on to my students.  

I want to learn more about CSS and learning tools others use in their practice. I would also like to learn more about editing and creating more polished recorded portions of my courses. To achieve this goal, I will actively participate, ask relevant questions and contribute to the shared safe spaces of our program, such as this blog, our Slack group and the LinkedIn group, as well as my own profile. I will set a goal for LinkedIn of adding two relevant posts to our group per month and my faculty group for a total of four because the subject matter is different.

I am also keen to explore reducing my digital presence in terms of how many APPs I use in the classroom for a more streamlined approach. However, while aiming to use less, I can see how I will likely use more with the acquired knowledge from my cohort, which will increase my digital presence by default based on some of the skills I would like to acquire. This can be started immediately and continued through the program.

Another way I have considered increasing my digital identity professionally is by designing and publishing open learning activities that can be adapted for online or face-to-face models.   This is in the far future but would be a long-term goal beyond the program. 

What are your thoughts on my plan? Do you see any gaps or have suggestions to help me cultivate my DIDP while staying off social media? 


Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. AU Press.

Jenkins, H. (2013, May 7). Henry Jenkins on participatory culture (Big thinkers series) [Video]. YouTube.

Schryver, K. (2013, March 5). Who are you online? Considering issues of web identity. The Learning Network Teach and Learn With The Times: Resources for Bringing the World Into Your Classroom. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from

LRNT 521: My Digital use Map

I was surprised by how many items I had on the map because of my deliberate goal of having very little digital presence (or so I thought). However, what became clear as I mapped out my actual digital presence, was the difference between having a strong presence versus visibility. 

What is pictured above, I think is an accurate representation of my digital footprint.  I feel like news, online shopping, and daily internet use falls under “searching” in my case.  I rarely use YouTube and if I do it’s under a search generally for work and I don’t follow blogs (other than MALAT as of two-weeks ago). 

This was an interesting task to undertake that had several iterations over a period of a few days before deciding that I was ready to post and receive feedback.  Then, I considered how I would explain parts of it and needed to make changes (four more times).  It was where items overlapped and the connection between them that I had to keep reconsidering. 

Moodle is where I spent a lot of my time for work and now school, there are offshoots of that.  But varying APPs I use for work, live in Moodle for my students, which is why there is so much overlap. Netflix, Hulu and Spotify end up crossing the line into residents due to shared accounts with family members and the occasional family playlist.   WhatsApp I use more for personal contacts but a few students use that to get a hold of me.  Conversely, WeChat is primarily for students.  Neither APP do I use beyond the messaging functions.  

I invite feedback and questions.  Let me know if you see anything that should be changed.

LRNT 521: Activity 3- Reflections on the MALAT Virtual Symposium 2022

Personal photo: Taken on my walk as I pondered what to write. Being flexible where I do my thinking 🙂

After reviewing my notes and unpacking all that I listened to this week, I was not entirely clear on what the key talking points would be for this entry because there were so many, but I kept coming back to a concept surrounding meeting students where they are (Einarson, 2022).  This was the last presentation I watched, and I was surprised by how that one line sat with me because each presentation had valuable takeaways.  What was it about this one? 

My initial interpretation of the concept relates to the presentation where Dr Sophia Palahicky discusses understanding the needs of the learners (Royal Roads University [RRU], 2021). This was presented in adapting to student needs and approaches to change.  Furthermore, considering the personal challenges, students may have and being mindful of access and ensuring that all students have access through alternative means when necessary (RRU, 2021). A focus on flexibility and access appeared to be a theme in several presentations I watched. However, as I delved deeper into the notion of meeting the students where they are (Einarson, 2022), I uncovered that it not only speaks to a learner-centered approach but to reconstructing the systems, models and practices we use in education (Rudenstine et al., 2017).

I realised that this theme was running through most of the lectures I watched, regardless of the topic.  I heard themes surrounding assessment, reflection and improvement of the frameworks or tools we use and how we teach.  While designing the RRU Learning, Teaching and Research Model (LRTM), it was mentioned to examine what is being done, what should be done and how learning outcomes can be achieved without being prescriptive (Hamilton & Childs, 2022). These both speak to the reconstruction of systems and focusing on the learner while reflecting on what might be done differently to improve students’ success and capacity.  They also speak to the Universal Design for Learning model (UDL) that requires flexibility in curriculum design from the start of the process (Hamilton & Jiang, 2022).

The notion of designing for varying circumstances and times (Veletsianos & Childs, 2021) was a particular moment that stood out to me because it is what I have had to design in my courses from the moment I started as an educator. Teaching in multi-lingual programs in China with a translator as my first teaching experience taught me to assess and pivot on the spot and re-examine modes of assessment and delivery term over a term.  Appreciative inquiry is a term I have heard before but never considered as something I practice.  However, the notion of working within our systems and focusing on strengths (Gedak & Waddington, 2022) is something that I do regularly, even partway through a course when needed.

Listening to Earl discuss his pathways before his MLAT experience and realising that, similar to him, much of the theory and frameworks I learned about in the symposium are things I practice without always having a term to attach to them (Einarson, 2022).  His affirmation of the MALAT positively scaffolding his prior knowledge and practice to his current scenario (Einarson, 2022) confirms to me that I am on the right path by enrolling in the program because my passion is driven by creating a learning environment that is flexible and learner-centered.  I am inspired as well as grateful for the experience this past week. Thank you.


Einarson, E. (2022, April 11–15). Designing from a place of Indigenous knowledge systems [Conference session]. MALAT 2022 Virtual Symposium, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Gedak, L., & Waddington, L. (2022, April 11–15). SOARing into educational change with appreciative inquiry. [Conference session]. MALAT Virtual Symposium 2022, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Hamilton, D., & Childs, E. (2022, April 11–15). Teaching and learning frameworks in Higher Education – what they are; why they are useful and an example of one in practice (the RRU LTRM [Conference session]. MALAT 2022 Virtual Symposium, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Hamilton, D., & Jiang, M. (2022, April 11–15). Designing a blended dual language graduate program – design considerations, successes and lessons learned [Conference session]. MALAT Virtual Symposium 2022, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Royal Roads University. (2021, October 6). Top trends emerging in learning and technology [Webinar]. YouTube.

Rudenstine, A., Schaef, S., & Bacallao, D. (2017). Meeting students where they are (iNACOL- National summit on K-12 competency- based education). Aurora Institute.

Veletsianos, G., & Childs, E. (2021, April 12–16). “PowerPoint Improv” [Conference Session]. MLAT Virtual Symposium 2021, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Hesitancy and intentions

Before we delve into the academic entries, I thought I would practice using the settings and write a little a note about this process.

While I love technology, I really dislike social media, blogs the like. I turned the “noise” of social media off when I was working on my thesis 5- years ago and never turned it back on. I am a more productive and peaceful person without it.

I have a LinkedIn page for work because I recognise the importance of professional connections and teach that to my students in Career Development. However, I actively seek to not have a digital footprint.

I have had unsafe experiences with social media that lead me be very closed regarding who I am connected with online and how I am connected to them. Much to my chagrin, I am here writing a blog that is being shared with people I have just met. You won’t find me on Twitter, but I am willing to open my mind and embrace this platform as part of the program.

Therefore I will:

Lean into using the blog

Embrace the opportunity to create an online presence in a safe space

Enjoy the fact that all the “noise” on the blogs is from likeminded people who are focussing on education

Respectfully I ask that my blog posts are not shared outside of this platform.