The Impact of ETUG: First-time attendee, Daniel Reeve, shares his experiences

We recently sat down with Daniel Reeve, a Political Science instructor from Camosun College to ask him about his experiences at the 2015 ETUG Spring Workshop, here’s what he had to say.

Dan Reeve

Please tell us about how you’re connected with ETUG and about your experiences with this community.

Four years ago, I taught my first online course. Developing the course required me to become much more familiar with our college’s learning platform (D2L). In preparation, I worked closely with Camosun College’s Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). As several CETL staff are active within ETUG, they invited me to join them in attending the ETUG Spring Workshop. The community has been very welcoming and generous with their expertise. The ETUG conference was the most engaging and relevant conference that I’ve ever been part of.

How have your experiences or learnings at ETUG impacted your practice as an instructor?

After my first conference, in Spring 2015, I had a list of about ten ideas that I wanted to apply in the classroom. In the interests of not overburdening my students, I pared the list down to three:

  • Poll Everywhere is now a feature in all my classes. It’s a great way to access the bright ideas of quieter students. I’m still refining my practice with it, but it’s a keeper.
  • It’s not technology related, but the conference encouraged me to be more mindful of the psychological stresses that students wrestle with throughout the semester. I now regularly check-in with my students as the semester progresses. The anonymity of Poll Everywhere is helpful as it not only allows students to not only open up about their particular challenges but also to see that other students struggle too.
  • Tests and quizzes have been banished from my classes because of ETUG. Instead, I assign several low stakes one-page essays. I’ve developed digital rubrics which provide nuanced student feedback. Despite the heavier essay marking load, I don’t spend more time grading than previously. My hope is that my courses have shifted from a learn-and-purge model towards an approach that honors writing and critical thinking most. The Spring Exchange confirmed something I felt in my gut: In the Google Age, memorization should be replaced by contextualization.

What would you say to fellow faculty members and instructors about ETUG and its value to you for your professional learning, sharing of good practice and the opportunities it provides to connect with others in the ETUG community?

My first ETUG conference was a revelation. It seemed like every session I went to provided me with new ways to approach my role as instructor and new tactics to engage students. I now consider the ETUG conferences as essential to my development as an instructor and learner.

The community seems to be one brimming with a sense of wonderment. Several sessions I attended were exceptional not merely because of the innovative content, but also because how the session was run. Sessions guided learners to discoveries in fascinating and memorable ways.

ETUG has changed my relationship with learning technology. It’s no longer that I simply strive to meet students where they are at, but more that technology can help my classes go to places that I never previously imagined. I’m just at the start of this journey, but I’m excited to see what’s over the horizon.

Do you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see the ETUG community do, support, or promote to help advance teaching, learning, and technology in B.C. post-secondary institutions?

It would be great to see ETUG expand to Vancouver Island. The region is small enough that face-to-face gatherings could be possible while sufficiently populated with universities and colleges to build a critical mass of like-minded educators.

Bio: Daniel Reeve is the Chair of Social Sciences and an instructor of Political Science at Camosun College. He graduated from the University of Victoria’s Contemporary Social & Political Thought program with a Master of Arts in Political Science. To enrich his classes, Daniel draws from his hands on experience in Canadian politics. He has served as a senior political aide and public servant for the Province of British Columbia. A lifelong political activist, he helped organize and run numerous municipal, provincial, and federal election campaigns. A consistently popular instruction, his passion for politics and love of teaching is evident in every class. Daniel lives in Victoria with his partner and their two young children.


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