Learning to Teach Online : An Open Educational Resource for Pre-Service Teachers

Child typing on a laptop

Teacher candidates at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education will be doing all of their course work online this fall. Their experiences will give them new opportunities to consider not just what it means to learn in online environments, but also how to teach online. To support their thinking and learning over time this year (and beyond), my colleague Dr. Hugh Kellam and I developed an open educational resource that includes six modules focused on what we think are the most important ideas to consider when designing online learning activities and environments for students. The course is freely available at https://onlineteaching.ca/ and although we continue to edit and integrate video content, we felt it was important to announce the course this week because, with back-to-school just a few weeks away, we know that school leaders and teachers are beginning to plan for online instruction this fall. Even though our intended audience is pre-service teaching colleagues, we hope that in-service teaching colleagues will also find something of value in the work. 

The course architecture is linear and easy to navigate. Modules follow a consistent, predictable organizational structure. We begin each module with an overview of learning outcomes, and offer estimated times to complete the reading, reflection and practice activities. In every module, we provide lists of the references used to inform our work. These references lists can be used by anyone looking to learn more about the research on online teaching and learning, or about methods of instruction that support student learning in any context — face-to-face or online. 

Here are the titles of the modules in the course: 

  • Teaching Online: Relationships are Everything
  • Equity and Accessibility: The Foundations for Good Online Course Design
  • Planning, Pedagogies and Learning Management Systems: The Nuts and Bolts of Online Teaching
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Online Courses
  • Establishing and Modelling Norms in Online Courses
  • Meeting Standards of Practice in an Online Practicum

We are grateful to many colleagues with specialized expertise in online teaching and learning in Canada and the US who provided very valuable recommendations for improvement. Thanks to Gladys Chin, Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf,  Dr. Ian O’Byrne, Dr. Diane Watt, Dr. John Richardson, Heather Swail, Paul McGuire and Tracy Crowe for their generous insights. The course is better because of your feedback. Errors, omissions and oversights, though, are entirely the responsibility of the authors. Hugh and I continue to work on this, but hope that at a time of incredible uncertainty in education, this work can offer teachers a reliable information source to inform their pedagogical decision making. 


Although the course is self-paced, we invite conversation about the course to take place on Twitter using the hashtag #OTL4K12 (online teaching & learning for Kindergarten-Grade12).

In a click: Podcast with Jamilee Baroud

I had the chance to meet up with Jamilee Baroud this week to record an episode for her new Podcast called In a Click. Jamilee is an up-and-coming superstar in the ed-tech/critical digital literacies research community and it has been such a privilege to work with her during her PhD program at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education. Here’s our conversation — 40-ish minutes of us talking about technologies, research, teaching and learning, deep fakes, embodied cognition, VR, makerspaces…and my first ever research project that helped me to reflect deeply on the complexities of digital technologies, teaching and learning. It as a lot of fun to do this — and I feel really lucky to have been invited onto Jamilee’s show.

I hope you will join me in following Jamilee’s work at In a Click as she shines light online.

Tech Integration Resources: Curated by Graduates of our B.Ed. Program

As an ed tech prof, nothing wrangles me like losing institutional access to a set of curated digital resources without warning! Last semester, my B.Ed. students worked tirelessly on many projects — including an e-book on social media integration in classrooms, Maker-inspired lessons and projects, and two-minute tech tip presentations that we then curated into a very useful spreadsheet, categorized by the pedagogical affordances and constraints of the tools each student had reviewed.

We did all of this work inside of Google Classroom — but today, when I went to access that space, I discovered that my Google Classrooms had disappeared from my institutional account. Without warning. This is one of many reasons that teachers hate technology. Systems and IT policies can undermine the real educational affordances of digital tools. I assumed — erroneously — that my students would always have access to the classroom we built together. And today, I found out the hard way that that wasn’t the case.


So, just in case some of my hard-working students are looking for access to those same resources (Tereza S.?!) here they are — hyperlinked for your use.

Social Media Guidebooks

The Preservice Teacher’s Guide to Social Media in the Classroom
(Created by Intermediate-Senior Teacher Candidates in PED 3119, March 2017)

The Preservice Teacher’s Guide to Social Media in the Classroom
(Created by Primary-Junior Teacher Candidates in PED 3119, March 2017)

Tech Tips with Notes on Effective Pedagogical Integrations

TechTip Synthesis (Intermediate-Senior Teacher Candidates)

TechTip Synthesis (Primary-Junior Teacher Candidates)

Course Syllabus

PED 3119 Course Syllabus

If you were a member of one of these PED 3119 classes and are looking for other resources, please contact me directly and I will do my best to provide them to you.





Launching the Digital Hub Strategy: Fall 2017

Students in the Teacher Education program at the University of Ottawa will be expected, for the first time this fall, to create a professional website that documents their development as teachers. Faculty members have piloted this project over the past couple of years and in the spring of 2017, we gathered some survey data from graduating students who created professional digital websites in courses and as part of cohort-based initiatives that has helped us to develop a guiding framework for the launch of this project program-wide. Here are some key take-aways from that survey.

  • Students tended to think of their digital hubs as an online CV rather than a digital identity text, or as a space for developing new understandings of themselves as teachers through curation, reflection and revision.
  • Students wanted more explicit direction from the program about what to include — at least at first.
  • Students who created a website did it because they had to as part of a course or because the program was expecting it of them in some way.
  • Students told us that, at first, they did not have the technical skill set required for the development of a professional digital hub. Many said they struggled to acquire these skills as they were also learning how to teach.
  • Students told us that they needed more support around issues of identity management, privacy and how to ethically and responsibly share their work and their students’ work on the open Internet.

Students entering our program this year will learn, at Orientation, about the Hub, its purpose, and the rationale driving our programmatic choice to integrate it as part of their professional preparation program. Broadly, we see the Digital Hub as one way for teacher candidates to develop foundational professional digital literacies skills while also curating a set of documents that reflect their emerging skills, values and competencies as teachers and teacher researchers.

Information about the Digital Hub initiative can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/edtechuo

This site is for students, but also for Faculty members looking for tips, strategies and resources to support their students’ emergence as digitally literate professionals.

Presentation at CSSE-SCEE 2017 (Ryerson University)

Entre les mois de décembre 2015 et avril 2016, j’ai fait une étude préliminaire sur le contexte d’intégration d’un outil technopédagogique qui s’appelle WIGUP (While I Grow Up) dans un conseil scolaire dans l’est de l’Ontario. Au cours de notre enquête, les participant.e.s ont identifié plusieurs facteurs contextuels qui ont influencé leur choix d’intégrer ou de ne pas intégrer cet outil dans leur enseignement.

Je vais présenter aujourd’hui (le 29 mai) les analyses que j’ai faites avec mon collègue et assistant de recherche, Kamal Imikirene, à la réunion de la Société canadienne des études en éducation.

Voici les diapos.