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EDDL 5141 Week 12 – Final Blog: Top 8 Takeaways

I want to express my gratitude for such an enriching course experience. Throughout it, I’ve gained valuable insights and acquired a plethora of strategies to integrate into my future online classrooms. I have prepared a short video (6 minutes) that outline my top 8 takeaways. Throughout the duration of the course, I have been continuously inspired and motivated by the valuable insights shared and the engaging discussions that ensued. Each interaction has contributed significantly to my professional growth and development.

EDDL 5141 Week 9: Creating Community

This marks my eighth master’s of education course at Thompson Rivers University, and it’s the first time I’ve been part of a group setting. All my previous courses were solitary pursuits, self-paced and discussion-based, but also distinctly impersonal. I hardly knew my instructors, and reaching out to them for help felt like an imposition. Similarly, my classmates were mere screen names on a discussion board, distant and unfamiliar. I attributed this to my choice of format, realizing later that I had underestimated the value of connecting with peers in an online format. That changed with this class. Here, I’ve not only felt supported by my instructor but also formed genuine bonds with my classmates. Emma, Debra, and I gather weekly on Teams, not just to discuss assignments but to share snippets of our lives – from daily happenings to stories about our pets and vacations. It’s all too easy to overlook the human aspect of online learning, forgetting that there are real people on the other side of the screen and I am glad this class has shown me how valuable it can be.

I used to believe that creating the classroom atmosphere was solely the instructor’s responsibility. However, in Vesely et al.’s (2012) article, they emphasize that both the instructor and the students play a crucial role in fostering a learning community. The more I reflected on this, the more I realized its validity, as learning is a collaborative process. It is true that as the leader, the instructor “must encourage supportive, interactive processes where class members can get to know each other, develop social skills with one another, and accept and support each other” (Vesely et al., 2012, p.234). However, the students have just as significant a role in participating, engaging, and reaching out to each other.

How can a collaborative community be nurtured? According to a video from the University of Saskatchewan, fostering student interactions, including commenting on each other’s work, sharing emotions, and discussing areas of understanding and confusion, can mimic a traditional classroom environment (University of Saskatchewan, 2012, 1:10). Parker and Herrington (2015) provide a comprehensive table on page 2 outlining various strategies for building rapport and encouraging emotional expression. What struck me about this table was its focus on instructors. Shouldn’t students also be involved? Why not introduce these strategies to students at the outset of the course or incorporate weekly exercises aimed at developing rapport and emotional expression? Often, educators hoard valuable insights, hoping to single-handedly mold a community. What if we shared this knowledge with our students and collaborated with them transparently? Transitioning from solo efforts to collaborative endeavors is key to fostering a robust, impactful, secure, and engaging community, whether in virtual or physical spaces.


Parker, J., & Herrington, J. (2015). Setting the climate in an authentic online community of learning. Australia Association for Research in Education Conference , 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.aare.edu.au/data/2015_Conference/Full_papers/140_Jenni_Parker.pdf

University of Saskatchewan. (2012). Maintaining community in online courses [Video file]. Source: https://youtu.be/byCIa1Rw7tg CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 CA

Vesely, P., Bloom, L., & Sherlock, J. (2007). Key elements of building online community: Comparing faculty and student perceptions. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(3), 234-246. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol3no3/vesely.pdf

EDDL 5141 Week 7: Comparing Models

Topic The Five Stage Model v the COI Framework
  • Both frameworks have been developed to enhance the online learning environment. 
  • The models both break up learning into steps or elements.
  • There is a focus on collaboration in both models 
  • Both models involve the learning theory of constructivism
Differences Purpose

The Five Stage Model focuses on the process of online learning, specifically in terms of how learners engage. It progresses through five different stages of development: Access and Motivation, Online Socialization, Information Exchange, Knowledge Construction, and Development.

The COI framework is centered around the notion of a “community of inquiry,” emphasizing the importance of social, cognitive, and teaching presence in online learning environments. It identifies three presences: social presence (interpersonal interaction and communication), cognitive presence (the process of constructing meaning and knowledge), and teaching presence (the design, facilitation, and direction of the educational experience).


The Five Stage Model offers a structured approach to designing and facilitating online learning experiences (Salmon, 2006, p. 39). Educators can use this model to plan and scaffold activities that support learners at each stage of development, ensuring a smooth progression toward deeper understanding and engagement.

The COI Framework: Provides a framework for understanding and assessing the quality of online learning experiences (Garrison, 2007, p. 61). Educators can use this framework to evaluate the degree to which social, cognitive, and teaching presences are present and effectively integrated within their courses, guiding improvements in course design and facilitation.

Additional strategy to apply to my practice Regarding stage 1 (Access and Motivation) (Salmon, G. 2006, p. 40), I would employ a strategy to have screencasting videos showing students how to access and use technology. New technologies can be very stressful to try and figure out on your own, and the stress of academics will compound your emotional response. It is essential to support the students through their technological journey to succeed in their academic journey. As such, adding quick videos of how to use the technology can be invaluable. 




Garrison, D. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: social, cognitive, and teaching 

presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11 (1), 61-72. Retrieved 

from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ842688.pdf


Salmon, G. (2006). 80:20 for e-moderators. In: The challenge of ecompetence in academic staff 

development . CELT, NUI Galway, Galway, Republic of Ireland, pp. 145-154. Retrieved 

from https://eprints.usq.edu.au/18862/2/Salmon_Ch16_2006_PV.pdf

EDDL 5141 Week 6: Draft Course Design

Educational context: 

The online course I am developing is called The Role of the EA. This course focuses on clarifying roles and responsibilities between teachers and educational assistants. Topics include understanding the code of conduct, job descriptions, tasks, Alberta Teachers Association expectations and policies, and how to contribute to a positive school environment. 

Description of Online and Teaching and Learning Experience: 

The online course consists of two-hour weekly live synchronous sessions spanning six weeks. Its primary objective is to thoroughly explore the course material, present case scenarios derived from the information, and facilitate group discussions and debriefings to ensure a comprehensive understanding among students. Recordings of all live sessions will be available for those unable to attend due to conflicting commitments. Furthermore, students are encouraged to review the material in advance, submitting questions before each live class. This proactive approach allows the class to address their inquiries even if they are unable to participate in real-time.

Situational Factors

After a review of the situational factors for this course (Fink, 2003, p. 6), the predominant demographic of students in this program is composed mainly of females aged 18-40, with a significant portion being single parents or young mothers. A considerable number of enrollees in the educational assistant program have faced challenges in their own educational paths, fostering a deep appreciation for individuals committed to positively impacting the lives of young children. Prospective instructors are required to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and have accumulated 5-10 years of classroom experience.

Outcomes Learning Activities Assessment
Outcome #1: By tBy the end of the term, educational assistants (EAs) will apply their knowledge of professional and ethical practices outlined in the Code of Ethics to create a personal code of conduct.

Outcome #2: By the end of the spring term, the educational assistant (EA) will review key roles and responsibilities of educational assistants that differ from those of teachers in the Alberta K-12 education system.

Code of Conduct: 

  • Provide case studies that highlight ethical dilemmas in educational settings. Use student blogs (UNSW, n.d.) to facilitate conversations about ethical considerations in different scenarios.
  • Have students engage in active learning (Fink, 2003, p. 16) by forming small breakout groups and assign students parts of the Code of Conduct for educational assistants in Alberta to analyze and discuss specific aspects of the Code of Ethics.
  • Students will need to complete a personal code of conduct as such the course will incorporate peer review sessions where participants exchange and provide constructive feedback on each other’s draft using Blogs and discussion forums (UNSW, n.d).

Role of the Educational Assistant

  • Have participants create comparison Venn diagrams illustrating the distinctions between the roles of educational assistants and teachers.
  • Host an interactive class on Class Collaborate (UNSW, n.d.) where experts in the field, including both educational assistants and teachers, discuss their roles and responsibilities. Allow participants to ask questions and engage in discussions. 
Code of Conduct

  • Educational assistants will develop a personal code of conduct to apply their understanding of ethical practices required in their professional roles.

Role of the Educational Assistant

  • Educational assistants will engage in an online quiz focused on the distinctions in roles and responsibilities between educational assistants (EAs) and teachers. This quiz will feature scenarios and comparisons, allowing participants to demonstrate their comprehension of the unique aspects that differentiate each role.
  • Alignment: I started planning with a backward design model with asking myself these three questions “What do I want students to know? How will I know that they have learned it? What activities/tools will the students need to show their understanding?” (Center for teaching and learning, 2024). This process allowed me to start with the goal and not get lost in creating activities to ensure there are purposeful learning opportunities in the unit as well as strong assessment that matches the learning. 
  • Learning Objectives: I wrote the learning objectives in student centered language, narrowed the objective down to focus on one skill, and incorporated action verbs which were measurable (Carnegie Mellon University, 2016). 



Carnegie Mellon University. (2016). Articulate your learning objectives. Retrieved from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/learningobjectives.html


Center for teaching and learning. (2024). Backwards course design. https://teaching.uwo.ca/curriculum/coursedesign/backward-design.html 


Fink, L. D. (2003). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Retrieved from 

http://www.deefinkandassociates.com/ GuidetoCourseDesignAug05.pdf

UNSW. (n.d.). Selecting technologies. Retrieved from https://teaching.unsw.edu.au/selecting-technologies

EDDL 5141 Week 5: Situational Factors in Course Design

In week 5, the questions about planning for situational factors are pivotal to exploring the unique dynamics of the virtual learning environment, diverse student profiles, and the subject matter. Initially, this intentional approach prompted me to assess my technological proficiency and awareness of available tools for an online platform. While this is essential to ensure a robust online learning experience, it did not constitute the most impactful aspect of my learning from this activity.

As I continued deliberately reflecting, a significant aspect emerged: the recognition of my students. While I was aware of their rich life experiences, which contribute as valuable resources in the learning process, I had not thoroughly considered their purpose for being there. Unlike children mandated to attend school, these students have chosen their career paths, often balancing full-time work and family responsibilities. Their commitment to working with vulnerable students reflects their compassion, empathy, patience, and resilience. Those drawn to this profession are inherently motivated to positively impact the lives of vulnerable students, viewing their work as a meaningful contribution to a student’s education and quality of life.

This newfound understanding of my students reinforces the importance of what I teach. It compels me to respect their limited time due to other obligations, provide technology for engagement, and, most importantly, recognize who they are and why they chose this career path. Their choice is an intentional act of service, and keeping this forefront in my perspective is essential to cultivating an online learning environment that serves as a role model for my students.


EDDL 5141 Week 4: Design Models

          In our live class, it was clear that the instructor utilizes many of Gagne’s instructional design models. First, the instructor posted a thought-provoking scenario about a student who was sent to the office for a behavioral infraction and asked the students to think and be ready to respond about how this situation could have been avoided. Presenting this scenario not only set the tone for the class but also provided context for the learning of the evening and was effective at getting our attention (Arshavskiy, 2016). It was also apparent that the objectives were core to the instructor’s purpose as they not only introduced them at the beginning of the lesson but at the end of the lesson, we were provided an opportunity to reflect on the objectives and come up with examples of how well we understood and achieved them. The instructor of this class has strong alignment between their intention and process, which aligns objectives, content, activities, technology, and assessment with a learning-centered perspective at its core (Commonwealth of Learning, 2014, 0:40). In the end, her students are presented with a clear guide to process, product, and purpose. 

          In my teaching career, I have had many roles, but most would fall within the realm of humanities. As such, I feel that these courses have impacted which learning theory I feel most connected to because the nature of these courses is critical thinking, not rote memorization. Consequently, I gravitated most to the idea of constructivism as a base for my instructional design. Ultimately, I recognize that all my students come with connections, knowledge, and experiences that have shaped their understanding (McLeod, 2003, p. 41).. As an instructor, I guide their journey and exploration of learning.


Arshavskiy, M. (2016). Leveraging Gagné’s nine events of instruction . https://elearningindustry.com/leveraging-gagnes-nine-events-of-instruction

Commonwealth of Learning. (2014). What is instructional design? [Video file]

McLeod, G. (2003) Learning theory and instructional design. Learning Matters: The journal of the Durham Technical Community College 2(1), 35-43. Retrieved from https://library.digitalnc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/yearbooks/id/8404/rec/1


EDDL 5141: Week 3 Learning Theory Reflection

This spring will be my first time teaching an online course at the post-secondary level. I have yet to be assigned the exact course; however, I know it will be within the purview of the Educational Assistant Certificate. After reviewing Emma’s thoughts on learning theories, I am especially interested in how I can purposefully integrate the use of a poll and cognitivism into my class. I had always considered polls to be a way for students to show their likes or dislikes, understanding levels, or interest levels, but I had not considered the use for enhancing cognition and how it can “form relationships; that is, in networks” (Ally, 2008, p. 22) to encourage learning and memory recall. Polls require students to participate actively by responding to questions or expressing their opinions, promoting engagement and involvement in the learning material, thus encouraging active learning. However, polls can be a tool to “present the materials and use strategies that enable students to process the materials efficiently (Ally, 2008, p. 22), help activate prior knowledge, bridge new information with existing schemas, and facilitate the integration of new concepts into students’ cognitive frameworks. I feel the use of the poll would be an excellent way to gain insight into students’ background knowledge and activate schema moving forward in my course.


Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. The theory and practice of online learning (pp.15-44). Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University Press. http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/01_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf

EDDL 5141: Week 2 Online vs. Face-to-Face Teacher Competencies

Instructor Roles: Online and Face to Face

Reflecting on the articles and videos this week, it became clear that the research on roles for online instructors has predominantly focused on post-secondary students. This observation made me question whether these parameters fully encapsulate the essential traits online instructors need because it does not consider all instructors. As an online instructor in a post-secondary institution with experience in a public school setting in online classrooms, I understand the centrality of the adminstrative roles in synchronous and asynchronous environments for all age ranges. While the planning, managing, and technological expert components are crucial and highly rated (Carril et al., 2013, p. 466-467), they are also the most teacher-centered, hands-off components. These competencies outline how to build the course and ensure students can navigate, which is a fundamental component of success for the learner. However, teacher competency must, more importantly, consider how to address the student’s learning, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the instructor’s role in online education. 

As online environments become increasingly prevalent in K-12 education, it’s crucial to consider the unique needs of these students. Unlike their post-secondary counterparts, who are typically independent learners, K-12 students require more than just clear routines, expectations, and assessments. They need guidance, relationship-building, and teaching that goes beyond procedural organization. As Bailie (2011, p. 88) aptly puts it, ‘ high-quality instruction will continue to be based on an array of distinct competencies attributed solely to instructors and their application of sound pedagogical practice. ‘ This includes all aspects of teaching, whether face-to-face or online. After all, simply placing a textbook before a student does not guarantee learning, regardless of their age.

Teaching Philosophy 

First, I believe education needs to be purposeful in the planning, implementation, delivery, and assessment. Next, all people can and do learn when presented with a nurturing, inclusive environment that is safe and able to meet their needs academically, socially, and emotionally. Finally, all partners in education need to develop a growth mindset where they set goals, reflect, and actively participate in the educational process. My answer would be congruent when I compare teaching and learning online versus face-to-face. They are the same because teaching is teaching, and learning is learning. The location, modality, or flexibility should not change the core teaching ideals or purpose. Both venues should emphasize all the best practices of both learning environments. 


Bailie, J. L. (2011). Effective online instructional competencies as perceived by online university faculty and students: A sequel study. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(1), 82. http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no1/bailie_0311.pdf 

Carril, P. C. M., Sanmamed, M. G., & Sellés, N. H. (2013). Pedagogical roles and competencies of university teachers practicing in the e-learning environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(3), 462-487. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/ irrodl/article/view/147



EDDL 5141: Week 1 Audit Course

The online course I signed up to audit is Fostering Positive Behaviour through Red Deer Polytechnic. Students will review learning and behavior management philosophies to build a repertoire of practical techniques and strategies that foster positive behavior change in the classroom. I have chosen to audit this course as I will be teaching an online course that uses Blackboard as a platform; thus, auditing allows me to explore different teaching strategies and instructional methods the instructor uses. I also hope this audit can offer valuable insights into various ways to present information, engage students, and create a positive learning environment.

EDDL 5141: Week 1 My vision of online learning

Once confined to physical spaces with face-to-face interactions, classroom learning has long been the cornerstone of education. However, contrary to popular belief, online learning is not a new concept. According to the article by Joksimović et Al, “The origins of modern distance education can be traced back to the early 18th century” (2015, p. 15). Most commonly seen in society in higher education, with students being able to complete modules for correspondence courses leading to certificates or degrees. However, in recent years, there has been a significant shift in what online learning can be, including expanding the ages of participants to allow individuals access to educational content anytime, anywhere, fostering flexibility and personalized learning journeys for more than just postsecondary. 

Based on my current understanding and experience, my definition of online learning would be the ability to meet a student’s educational needs and goals through various modalities. This may include fully online courses, hybrid models that combine online and in-person instruction, or blended approaches that allow the students increased accessibility by integrating multimedia resources, interactive tools, and adaptive technologies that cater to diverse learning styles. Prior to the pandemic, my experience with online teaching was non-existent. However, during this time I had the opportunity to see the potential benefits of online learning for some of my students. Some flourished academically without the possible social risks of being in a traditional classroom.  This really did open my eyes to the potential of matching learning styles to individual students for success. 

This shift in online learning mirrors a broader societal move towards digitalization and challenging traditional norms. It underscores that physical constraints do not bind learning, but learning is, in fact, a continuous and adaptable process much like the image I chose of the slinky. The slinky is a timeless toy enjoyed by many generations just like the educational process but the slinky moves and changes to meet the environment it finds itself in.  The slinky and the growth of online learning continues to shape learners’ uniqueness, providing opportunities for so many to keep learning and growing. In the end, is that not what we want from education?


Joksimović, S., Kovanović, V., Skrypnyk, O., Gašević, D., Dawson, S., & Siemens, G. (2015). 

Preparing for the digital university: A review of the history and current state of distance, blended, and online learning. http://linkresearchlab.org/PreparingDigitalUniversity.pdf 

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