Educational Leadership Overview


Overview of my Educational Leadership Activities

The various parts of the “Educational Leadership” section of this dossier, noted in the menu to the right, give details about some of my educational leadership activities. Here I provide a relatively brief overview of these.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

I have several SoTL research projects ongoing at the moment. One of my SoTL projects focuses on peer feedback in writing, attempting to discover an optimum number of peer feedback sessions in a course for peer comments (given and received) to contribute to improvement in writing. I have given one presentation at a conference, and a poster at another conference, on this research. Another project is tied to the development of a new software tool for watching and reviewing educational videos. I am part of a larger research team for that research. Work on that video tool led to a spinoff project using some educational videos I created: I and a co-investigator will investigate a question related to “productive failure” in students’ use of these videos.  Finally, I have two ongoing research projects in the area of open education, discussed below.

Open Education

Open education encompasses many activities, from making one’s courses “open” in the sense that anyone can join them without cost (such as with MOOCs: Massive, Open, Online Courses), to opening up one’s teaching materials to anyone else to freely view and possibly use and redistribute (i.e., creating “open educational resources” (OER) including open textbooks), to asking one’s students to do some of their coursework openly and publicly, and more.

Nearly all of my teaching materials are shared on course websites that are public. I have learned so much from the generosity of others who have shared their teaching resources that I have decided to do the same. I have also recently worked hard to use as many open, public and freely available resources in my own courses as possible, such as online texts, videos, and podcasts. In this way I not only have been able to save students money, but also to include numerous kinds of works in my courses, rather than only written texts. In Arts One we record many of our lectures and post them on YouTube, and student and professor blog posts are collected and posted (along with the lecture videos and our course Twitter stream) at: For the past year I have been in charge of keeping that website running (and will do so for the foreseeable future).

Some of my research on teaching and learning focuses on open education. I am on a team of researchers that has surveyed higher education faculty in BC on their use of and attitudes toward OER and open textbooks. I have also done research on assessing the quality and effectiveness of “connectivist” MOOCs, which is a particular kind of Massive, Open, Online Course that focuses more on collaborative learning amongst participants than on information transfer from instructor to students. I have an article on open education in philosophy forthcoming from a collection of papers from the biannual meeting of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. I am currently in the process of doing research on UBC faculty attitudes towards sharing their teaching materials publicly and with an “open” license that allows others not only to view but also to use and redistribute them.

Because of my work in these areas I have become a leader in open education at UBC and beyond, being invited to speak about it, facilitating courses about it, and more. I received a fellowship from BCcampus to be a “Faculty Fellow” with the BCcampus Open Textbook program (, through which I have been engaging in advocacy, raising awareness, and doing research around open textbooks and other OER.

Teaching and learning workshops facilitated

I have designed and facilitated several workshops on open education at UBC and beyond, and have also been involved in planning and facilitating workshops on other topics, such as: interdisciplinary teaching and learning, creating educational videos, using audio in teaching and learning, and providing effective feedback on writing.

More broadly, I have co-designed and co-facilitated several open online courses on teaching and learning that are available to anyone with an internet connection to take for free, including courses on educational technology, openness generally (including open education), and teaching with WordPress.

Curriculum development

Most of my work in this area has been in helping to draft program outcomes, for both the Arts One program and the Philosophy B.A. I have also been involved in the Philosophy department’s renewal of the undergraduate curriculum, since 2013. On a course level, I have been working on revamping my Introduction to Philosophy course for the past few years (trying different approaches), and every two years in Arts One we come up with a new theme and reading list for the course.

Arts One Chair

I served as Chair of the Arts One program from 2010-2012, and am doing so again from 2015-2017. In the “Arts One Chair” section of the dossier I discuss some of my accomplishments during the first two years as Arts One Chair, as well as my plans for the next two years.

Publications, presentations, and grants

In the last two sections of the “Educational Leadership” portion of this portfolio, I list my publications and presentations related to teaching and learning, as well as grants I’ve received for work related to teaching and learning.