One stop learning: New campus and new opportunities at Emily Carr

This post closes off the 2017 series highlighting teaching and learning centres across B.C.’s post-secondary sector, but we will start up again in 2018. In previous instalments, we spoke to Tim Paul from Douglas CollegeJanni Aragon at the University of Victoria,  Carrie Nolan from  Northwest Community College, and most recently, Laura McKay from Capilano University (Cap U).

Post by BCcampus’ editorial team 

Closing the series is Grant Gregson, Teaching & Learning Centre Coordinator for Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Grant was kind enough to make time for us, despite a jam-packed schedule as Emily Carr opens their new campus.

BCcampus: What can you tell us about LyndaCampus?

Grant Gregson:  LyndaCampus was introduced by the Teaching + Learning Centre (TLC) at Emily Carr as a pilot initiative with a small multi-user program account in January 2008. It was offered specifically to faculty and technical staff. A second multi-user account was added the next year and offered to graduate students over several years. Interest and demand grew, and an institutional license was purchased in 2013 for all students, staff and faculty. There is a high usage rate by the entire community. For students particularly, it provides an essential training and reference tool for the software systems used in classes like Film, Animation, Communication and Interaction Design.

BCcampus:  Emily Carr uses Moodle, how does this help students?

GG: Distributing curriculum through Moodle (learning management system) enables students to quickly locate a centralized repository of course materials and engage online, to reinforce knowledge and understanding of coursework. Faculty can use video and images within a Moodle course. Students can also submit their work through Moodle. We are currently integrating the Kaltura video platform into our Moodle LMS, to allow fuller integration of video assignments and presentations.

BCcampus: How will the new Emily Carr campus affect the centre?

GG: The Teaching + Learning Centre at Emily Carr’s new Great Northern Way campus is now integrated into the Ron Burnett Library and Learning Commons, partnering with the Library and Writing Centre in one location. Previously these services were spread across the Granville Island campus; this new physical setup makes Learning Commons resources far more accessible. The Teaching + Learning Centre can now communicate more efficiently with staff of these areas, on a daily basis, for aligning its resources, services and programming. There is now a library area for books supporting pedagogy, learning design, and teaching and learning practices.

The new location has a larger main physical space, including computer workstations, comfortable seating, a meeting table, a projection screen, a large flat screen 4K monitor, and an office space with whiteboards for its coordinator. It also has a dedicated production space with two video editing suites, and storage for its video production equipment for our busy media team.

BCcampus: This move has been years coming. What are you most excited about?

GG: I love imagining the possibilities with programming the new TLC space, in consultation with faculty and staff, and the TLC’s new physical situation within the Learning Commons. Fall 2017 was focused on moving, setup, and getting operational, so I’m looking forward to developing new initiatives with institutional partners within Emily Carr and the wider B.C. teaching and learning community.

BCcampus: What differentiates yours from other Teaching and Learning Centres, particularly as a School of Art and Design?

GG: Emily Carr’s TLC is very similar to many others, in that it supports the practices of faculty with the design, development and dissemination of course curriculum in the classroom or online, through various educational technologies.

Emily Carr’s TLC supports its many initiatives by hiring students and casual CUPE staff and supervising student interns from media courses. For a small unit with one full-time staff member, I believe we provide countless resources and services to the Emily Carr community. These include a drop-in learning centre, production studio, the creation of a cost-recoverable film and media unit, the administration of Kaltura, WordPress Blogs, Wiki, and the Moodle LMS applications and usage support to faculty and staff. We also provide broader institutional support such as the setup of the YouTube, Vimeo and iTunesU services, the Graduate Virtual Studios initiative, the procurement of the environment, and are currently researching virtual reality and 360 video technologies.

Many faculty members are practicing artists and it’s important to build resources and services that support their learning development as instructors in a relaxed area within the TLC, where they can both be supported by teaching resources, but also engage in personal growth. Technology is a vital part of education today and this presents more challenges for faculty. There is a scaffolding process that must be accounted for as part of developing expertise and structures in teaching practices – it’s a lifelong career practice – that is not just focused within Emily Carr. Hopefully, Emily Carr’s Teaching + Learning Centre can support a little of that journey.

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