The Pre-mOOC Peak

a group of people at the top of a hill, with an arrow pointing to them saying "us right now"

Looks like we made it.

Shania Twain. Or Barry Manilow.

Huzzah! The Trent Online Extend mOOC Crew has completed training and preparations for their hosting of the 2021 Ontario Extend mOOC. Just in time, too because it starts next week. Let’s check in with the crew for final updates on the various learny journeys.

A reminder of the different paths we are on:


My final activity for the Collaborator Module involved mapping my Personal Learning Network (PLN) which I decided to undertake somewhat literally (see the TweepsMap in my post) as well as figuratively. To see some of the key nodes in my PLN (spoiler alert – some of the names may sound familiar), take a look at my Response to Activity #4.


The Curator Module culminates in contributing to the amusingly titled Curation as Creation | Creation as Curation Padlet. The final activities ask you to put some skin in the game (something I’ve gotten quite used to with our learny journey) and consider the quality of your curated resources. As luck would have it, my efforts have earned me the badge for this module! I’ve detailed this leg of the adventure within my super secret, publicly available mOOC journal.


I’ve considered myself an experimenter for a long time, but now it’s official – I’ve earned my Experimenter badge!!! For my third experimenter activity, I chose to use H5P to present some of our university policies and resources in a more creative and attractive way for students. The result is something I’m able to use in current and future course developments. To finish the module and receive the Experimenter badge, I also had to create a video reflecting on my work in the module. Creating my video ended up being the most challenging part of the module for me because there was so much I wanted to do with it. I finally had to accept that “Perfection is the enemy of progress” to submit it. In the end, I definitely stumbled over some word choices, my GIF wouldn’t loop, and the audio quality/volume isn’t consistent, but it was fun to make and a great learning experience (my biggest takeaway was that I should probably leave the movie-making to Christian in the future 😉 )!


After my marking was all finished and uploaded, I turned my attention to the last few activities of the Scholar module, and found myself thinking and detailing my plans around how I would refine and adapt my research around the trans-Atlantic slave trade for use in the classroom. This isn’t as easy as it seems, particularly when you’re approaching these kinds of lessons consciously rather than intuitively. While some students may be largely uninformed about the horrors of the trans-Atlantic trade, other students, particularly those of African descent, are sharply aware and as an educator, the last thing anyone wants is to retraumatize their students! Building an explicit methodology around what I instinctively do was a real eye-opener, and I was very proud when I was awarded my Scholar’s Badge for my work!


I finished up the Technologist Module by designing and developing a trailing-edge technological solution in the form of a series of folders for my students to use on their offline travels. The timing could have been better however, as by the time I had it ready there were only a handful of students left who still needed to travel to Canada. My students gave me a thumbs up, nice try, thanks anyway response so that was nice! Regardless, the practice of working through the module to identify a design gap and activities like creating an empathy map is endlessly useful. I plan to run through this practice again and again. Maybe I’ll get a new copy of the badge every time! Here’s a link to my workspace again, if you want to dig in.

So What’s Next?

We begin the real deal! On next Wednesday, May 5th we will be sending out log in instructions for the community space and hosting an optional launch party. From our experience, optional parties are the best parties. If you’ve signed up for the mOOC, you will receive that email Wednesday morning. If you haven’t signed up yet, but you still want to, what you need to do is sign up! Pop your name in here: and we will follow up!

Ontario Extend mOOC: The Penultimate pre-mOOC Check In

I am of the opinion that you never pass up an opportunity to use the word penultimate, so what we have here is the next to last post reporting in on our pre-mOOC Learny Journey through the Ontario Extend modules. To give you the bigger picture, in this post we are each around half way through our respective modules, and the next post will (hopefully) be us celebrating us receiving more badges (yay!). Blog posts after that will be coming to you from the real actual Ontario Extend mOOC 2021 hosted by Trent Online!

A reminder of the different paths we are on:

So without further ado, let’s hear about the progress that’s been made in the last couple of weeks!


It is that time of year. The snow has melted away, green shoots are beginning to appear on the landscape and many people, including yours truly, are thinking about the joys of creating a kitchen garden over the coming weeks and months. Soooo, my most recent activity for the Extend Collaborator module – titled Cultivate Your PLN – was quite inspirational and definitely on theme! To learn more about my plans to tend to my personal and professional development “garden”, take a look at my Collaborator – Activity #3 Response.


Because the questions of engagement with my SoTL were pretty rapidly done, I decided this time to bounce excitedly onward to my official Scholarship of Teaching and Learning plan! I decided to chew into the challenge that is always part of my work as I educate learners around the trans-Atlantic slave trade: how do you teach trauma without minimizing or retraumatizing? Having a plan was a very helpful way to come at the problem, and think my way through pedagogical approaches to address it. On my Google Document workspace, I’ve laid out the Extend Activity 2 and linked through in Extend Activity 3 to my plan. Check it out!


For my next activity in the Experimenter module, I thought I’d tackle A Serious Use for Silly Media and create a GIF! I use GIFs daily but always in casual messaging and for the purpose of conveying emotion and evoking smiles only. I’ve never used it as an education tool so the challenge was on. This was also the activity I thought I would try to complete using my phone (a suggestion in the module criteria) because actually has an app, and I thought it would be pretty straightforward. Epic fail! I got completely frustrated on my phone only to find out that it’s not even possible to create the kind of GIF I wanted to on the app. I was able to create it really easily using my laptop, but it was certainly a great reminder to always consider limitations when designing activities in online spaces!

Here is my GIF – a quick Blackboard lesson on why it’s important to use Student Preview mode when designing your online course. 



What I’ll say after attempting this second Curator activity is that the process of ‘searching’ most definitely feels like diving underwater for extended lengths of time. You have to be down there long enough to give yourself the time to scour the seafloor and find the shiny things, but if you take too long it becomes a tiring exercise–don’t suffocate yourself! The ‘Find your fit’ activity (which I’ve linked to up above) asks us to put our newfound skills to the test and explore both repositories (places have the stuff) and referatories (places pointing you to the places with the stuff) and bring 3 useful things back to shore. I’ve documented my adventure in the usual place.


In a brilliant move to attract the busy modern educator, the Technologist module activities both build off of each other and result in the creation of something you can use in real life. By the end of it, you have identified a need or a gap that your students have and developed a technological solution to help. If you were to take the time to head over to my Extend workspace, you’d see that I worked my way through the Empathy Map, Learner Challenge #1, completing the SECTIONS model and finally Learner Challenge #2. You’d also see that the tech solution I believe I need is actually ridiculously simple! But effective, I hope. We shall find out. All I have left for the module is a prototype plan and to actually create it.

What’s Next?

Next week we’ll each be tackling some more activities in each of our modules. Don’t forget to add your name to the list if you’re interested in joining us in the spring. See you next week!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Ontario Extend mOOC: Heading off in Different Directions

The Gang Decides to Scatter

The last you heard from us we were celebrating our achievements as we each received our Teacher for Learning Badges from eCampusOntario. WOOT WOOT!

Teacher for Learning Badge

In our 2nd episode of Extend Radio 2021, however, we may have cranked up the drama too much, making believe that we were worried that our work wasn’t good enough to achieve the badge. But it was all in the interest of radio drama. We knew we were good enough, just as we know you are more than good enough to be successful in the mOOC. And we can’t wait to get started with you in May!

So, with that being said, it is time for another update on the learny journey that we are on, as we continue to model the experience for you. If the analogy is that we’re trying to reach the summit of a big ol’ mountain, completing the teacher for learning module together was like reaching a spot to camp out. And this camp happens to have a helicopter pad that we’ve made use of as Kristine is flying off to climb other mountains, and Maureen and Katrina are flying in to continue up from here. Welcome to the team, Katrina and Maureen!

Oh and also we’re each going to head up the rest of the mountain taking a different route. From now on you’ll be seeing:

So without further ado, let’s see those reports!


The first step of the Technologist Module is to complete an unofficial Extend activity. It doesn’t count towards your badge, so if you live life on the edge, you could skip it. I for one live life with the edge in sight, but like not anywhere near it. That simple activity is to share your own definition of digital literacies. Here is what I came up with. It’s not heading to Oxford any time soon, but it works for me. Next up is what I consider one of the most important Extend activities of all, The Empathy Map. I should be able to get real input from my students on it, so I’m excited to see what they come up with!


I imagine that I’ll soon expand my personal learning network (PLN) with a whole new crew of fellow travelers on this Extend journey, so I’m excited to be working through the Collaborator module. I decided to jump in with the first two activities, which the module directly suggests might be shared via Twitter – one of the greatest places around to grow your PLN. Here are my activity responses including their related Twitter links.


I took a swing at the first activity in the Curator Module, which asks us to find an openly licensed image and explain how the process unfolded while making use of different strategies and spaces. After having aced the h5p quizzes testing my understating of the Creative Commons and Boolean operators, I felt geared out, tooled up, and ready to give it my best. From mirrors and movies to artificial bouquets, sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it. As per the continuation of our explicit understanding, you can read about the beginning of my new adventure at the link.


“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I have always loved that quote and am very excited to be jumping into the Experimenter Module. Not only does this module encourage you to try new tools and design with new approaches, but it also offers a lot of flexibility. For this module, you need to complete three activities from a list of ten options. Who doesn’t love having options?! I chose to use Padlet for my first activity as a way of gathering some reflections on the past year of teaching remotely. I included five different reflection prompts and would really love to hear from you on one or all five – Remote Teaching: A Year in Review!


Learning how to bring my methodology from my research work into my teaching is an exciting step, and one I’m thrilled to be taking. Going through the thinking process and reflecting on what my motivations and methods are has been very important in this first activity. Here is what I got up to this week, in the interest of ‘showing my work’ – I began with expectations, and then you can see my notes as I went through each learning activity.

What’s Next?

Next week we’ll each be tackling some more activities in each of our modules. Don’t forget to add your name to the list if you’re interested in joining us in the spring. See you next week!

Ontario Extend mOOC: The First Peak

goat on a peak looking at us

Extend Radio 2021 Pre-mOOC Episode 2

You can think of each of the Ontario Extend Modules as a hike to the peak of a small mountain. Today we find out if the Trent Online team successfully scouted out and reached their first peak in preparation for offering you the Ontario Extend mOOC this May.

We invited eCampusOntario’s Lindsay Woodside to join us for Episode 2 of the rebooted Extend Radio Show. Lindsay’s job was to reveal whether or not Stephanie, Kristine, Terry and Christian would be awarded their Teacher for Learning Badges. You’ll have to listen to find out if they made it! (Although Terry had done it before, so it’s kind of like he took the gondola up.)

We hope you enjoyed the listen! More importantly, we hope you’re interested in joining us this Spring (starting May 5th) for the 2021 Ontario Extend mOOC, hosted by us at Trent Online. If you are, simply add your name to the list by filling out the form here and we will follow up with some details!

Photo by Ray Aucott on Unsplash

Heading Out on Our Learny Journey

Trent Online Hosts the Ontario Extend mOOC 2021 This Spring

Ontario Extend is a professional learning micro-credential from eCampusOntario which helps educators to build on the skills needed for teaching in a digital age. There are 6 modules that make up the Empowered Educator framework: Teacher for Learning, Technologist, Collaborator, Curator, Experimenter, and Scholar. Trent Online is hosting an open offering of the program this spring and you are more than welcome to join us! .

This winter the would-be facilitators of the program are planning to walk the walk themselves by taking the program and sharing their work for you to see the kinds of things you’ll be getting up to. Much like the Beastie Boys were 3 MCs and 1 DJ, the Trent Online Extenders are 3 Designers and 1 Technologist. Stephanie Park, Kristine Weglarz and Terry Greene (eLearning Designers) and Christian Metaxas (eLearning Technologist) have already begun their journey through the initial module, Teacher for Learning. The module seeks to “Examine teaching approaches and strategies that foster student learning in specific contexts.”

One of the great benefits of Extend is that the work you are asked to do results in producing things that will help you in your teaching. Through the rest of this post, you will see what each of us have done with the first two Extend activities: Misunderstood and The Syllabus Concept Map.


I’ve taught Tech Tools, an Elearning Design and Training course at Lambton College since 2018. In the course, students expand upon their work on in another course I teach that introduces them to the basics of teaching online. In this course, students learn, amongst other things, how to use Camtasia to edit and create videos and interactive media for elearning, so we focus a bit on concepts specific to video creation. My answers are here.


For the last eight months, I’ve been neck-deep in assisting Trent faculty with the transitioning of their in-person courses to remote courses containing both synchronous and asynchronous components. I plan to draw on that work as I tackle the Extend activities. I’m really looking forward to having this opportunity to reflect on the rapid evolution of skills, the incredible resilience, and the shifting perspectives that have transpired in the world of online education. Here’s the link to my activities this week. Have a look and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!


Currently my headspace has been occupied with questions about how to improve process for our office and enhance PD for our instructors and faculty. I used these first couple of activities to reframe my thinking about some questions and comments we’ve received regarding one of our LMS resources: a template and ‘How To’ guide that instructors can upload into their course shells and use to implement material fast. Using analogy and visual concept maps, I am to clarify language use and explanations. You can take a look at my working document as it stands thus far by clicking this link.


This semester I am teaching a course called Facilitating Online Learning for Lambton College, in their eLearning Design Training & Development program, so you will likely see some of my Extend work focused on things that support that course. Teaching online about teaching online gets kind of meta, so please excuse me if I get lost in a metaphor or something! Have a look at my response to the first two activities here. Feel free to comment on the Google Doc itself if you’d like.

What’s Next?

Next week we’ll be jumping in to the exciting world of note-taking with the Cornell Notes approach! Don’t forget to add your name to the list if you’re interested in joining us in the spring. See you next week!

Featured Image credit: Photo by Yusuf Evli on Unsplash

The Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast – Ontario Extend

“It is the thing that it’s trying to teach us… it is what it wants you to be.”

Terry Greene (on the Ontario Extend Program)

In this episode of the Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast, Terry Greene chats with fellow Trent Online peers Stephanie Park and Christian Metaxas about their plans and schemes to host an offering of the Ontario Extend Program, which empowers educators in the digital teaching realm, in the spring time. We liken it to off-season training for teaching with technology. Listen in and consider joining us for the Ontario Extend mOOC (medium-sized Open Online Course) in the spring!

If you are interested in learning more and potentially joining us for all or part of the mOOC beginning in April, please add your name to the list here: Interest Form for the Ontario Extend mOOC 2021, hosted by Trent Online.

We hope you enjoy listening to our podcast. If you’d like to get involved in a future episode, let us know by emailing online [at] You can also comment below (and subscribe to this blog below, too!)

Stay tuned for the next episode coming soon!

For a version of this podcast with a transcript, listen on Stream.

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

The Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast with Stephanie Park

“I think it’s really important that people don’t lose their voice in all of this…you can be personal with your students, build that relationship and still be super professional – and have a more successful experience with your students because of it.”

Stephanie Park

In this episode of the Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast, co-hosts Maureen Glynn and Terry Greene chat with one of their fellow E-Learning Designers, Stephanie Park, about her work supporting Trent faculty transition their courses to remote delivery over the summer and fall. It’s the last episode before Christmas break, so we also play a Christmas Ghost Game!

Some resources mentioned throughout the conversation:

  1. Save Me Dog Rescue is the organization Stephanie volunteers for and adopted her dog Cooper from!
  2. As a community-based organization, Contact North | Contact Nord helps underserved Ontarians in 800 small, rural, remote, Indigenous and Francophone communities get jobs by making it possible for them to access education and training without leaving their communities.
  3. Seven Fallen Feathers:  Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga.
  4. The H5P Studio from eCampusOntario is a great tool to help faculty create interactive activities.
  5. The Zoom Whiteboard and How To Use The Annotations Tool
  6. To play along with our Christmas Ghost Game, add these two classic holiday flicks to your must-see list: The Christmas Carol and Elf!

We hope you enjoy listening. If you’d like to get involved in a future episode, let us know by emailing online [at] You can also comment below (and subscribe to this blog below, too!)

Stay tuned for the next episode coming soon!

For a version of this podcast with a transcript, listen on Stream.

Featured image:

The Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast with Dr. David Patton

“I think without question there are going to be some students who will not be comfortable in the in-person lecture hall in the next few years… and that gives us a reason to try and make our courses essentially fully accessible to students who aren’t there in person.”

Dave Patton

In this episode of the Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast, co-hosts Maureen Glynn and Terry Greene chat with Trent University’s sole Astronomer on faculty, Dr. David Patton, about how we took Introductory Astronomy I into a new, online space!

Some resources mentioned throughout the conversation:

  1. Seeing Mars in the Night Sky
  2. NASA image of the day
  3. The H5P Studio from eCampusOntario
  4. Yuja and Badly Dubbed Kung Fu Movies

We hope you enjoy listening. If you’d like to get involved in a future episode, let us know by emailing online [at] You can also comment below (and subscribe to this blog below, too!)

Stay tuned for the next episode coming soon!

For a version of this podcast with a transcript, listen on Stream.

Featured image: NASA image of the day

Add Some Flavour to Your Discussion Boards

Are your discussion boards tasting a little bland lately? Maybe it’s time to pour some homemade sauce on that discussion board to spice things up.

These boards typically have but one ingredient: Endless, endless text. This simple recipe adds just a few more ingredients: openly licensed imagery, any photo editing software, and each other. Here are the basic steps for students to follow (That’s right, your students are doing the cooking):

  1. Skim, scan, or even read deeply through the threads for a quote from a peer that resonates with you. Any kind of remark that you feel deserves some recognition for being a smart one works. Copy that text and take note of who wrote it (for attribution).
  2. Head over to a place where you can get openly licensed images that you are free to use without worrying about copyright issues (like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Creative Commons Search) to find an image. Bonus points for an image that symbolically relates to the quote. For example, if the quote you’re saucing up is about “stretching our resources” your image could be someone pulling apart some play-dough or something. You get the idea. Take note of the source of the image (again, for attribution).
  3. Now that you have the quote and the image, you just need to put them together. Open up that image file in any photo editing tool or app that you have. Whether you’re on a PC, Mac or phone, there are instructions here to add text to an image.
  4. Once you have fancied up that quote with an awesome image, head on back to the original discussion board and post it! Make sure to let the person you quoted know about it, as they would likely enjoy seeing their words on display all fancy-like. Don’t forget to add alternative text to the quote for accessibility reasons.
  5. Enjoy the new taste sensation of a discussion board with some flavour!

Here, have an example (note that the quote is attributed to the writer and the image is sourced).

Terry Greene

Think this is just too crazy of an idea? Maybe, but it has been done before! Check out how Ontario Extend did it in one of their “Daily Extends”. If you try it out, let us know how it worked out!

Featured photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

The Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast with Dr. Liana Brown

“I’m a bit of an introvert and so I find it suits my personality very well to teach online.”

Liana Brown

In this episode of the Not-So-Distant Learning Podcast, co-hosts Maureen Glynn and Terry Greene chat with Dr. Liana Brown about how she worked with us to build an online version of her third year Sensation and Perception course. A “touchy” subject!

Some of the things we touch on:

  1. University-Integrated Seniors Village
  2. Padlet
  3. eCampusOntario’s H5P Studio

We hope you enjoy listening. If you’d like to get involved in a future episode, let us know by emailing online [at] You can also comment below (and subscribe to this blog below, too!)

Stay tuned for the next episode coming soon!

For a version of this podcast with a transcript, listen on Stream.

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash