All posts by transmediaethics

The TA Intro to D2L

I am posting the presentation slides that I did for a short introduction in Communications, Media, and Film for TAs. The goal of the presentation was to provide an overview of the Learning Technologies Coaches program and let TAs know how to access additional resources.

I will be adding further D2L resources to this page soon, but in the meantime, please take advantage of the resources available at

Helping Your Students Use TopHat


I have worked with a number of Faculty of Arts instructors to introduce the use of TopHat into their classrooms. The easiest way to think about TopHat is as a way to allow a student’s cellphone to act as a clicker. It can be a useful tool for gauging the attentiveness and understanding of students, taking attendance, and administering quizzes in real time inside the classroom environment. TopHat allows for a variety of quiz formats and provides instructors with tools to automatically mark quizzes and deliver immediate feedback.

I will be giving a TopHat workshop as a part of a Lunch and Learn series the Learning Technologies Coaches program is creating for the Faculty of Arts later in the Fall Semester. In the meantime, if you are interested in working with TopHat in your classroom, or planning to use it in the Winter, please contact me ( and I will do what I can to assist you.

For those of you using TopHat in your classrooms, here is the Student Guide to TopHat.



Mike Webster–Learning Tech Coach (Arts)



The Faculty of Arts has hired a team of Learning Technology (LT) Coaches, with the generous support of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Mike and Anna are graduate students from the Faculty of Arts who will provide learning technology support for instructors and teaching assistants as needed.

The LT Coaches are trained and ready to help faculty use technology in smart and effective ways to support your teaching. They’re ready to help in two ways: first, by supporting your existing projects; and second, by helping you develop new projects. They can come to your office to help you face-to-face (or faces-to-screen, perhaps) with different learning platforms, and they are available for consultations by phone or by e-mail.


The coaches’ main focus is to help you integrate technologies to support and enable student learning. Coaches will provide tech support and advice on how you can meet your teaching goals. They won’t be able to fix your hardware, but they will focus on training you in programs to reach your goals and promote student learning.


If you already know what you’d like to do with a given technology, the LT Coaches are your support team. They’re trained in D2L and TopHat but they’re not limited to those officially supported platforms. They are familiar with tools and resources less common in university teaching like WordPress and Twitter, Basecamp and Slack, Coursera and Udacity.

In short: if you’re using it, your coach will learn it and support it. Their goal is to help you reach the learning outcomes and stick to the principles that prompted you to adopt your technology in the first place.

Coaches are here to make you more comfortable with whatever technology you want to leverage. They won’t judge your knowledge level even if it means showing you how to turn on your laptop.


If you’re part of the 80% of faculty who have those principles in mind but don’t know which platform or tools will help your students reach them, the LT Coaches can help. They are leading-edge thinkers educated in the principles that technologies promote. They can transform your goals into technological solutions. They’re familiar with a range of tools and what learning each one enables. They can navigate the mysterious realms of D2L, but why not create your own classroom domain or course blog?

The LT Coaches can help you inspire students to take ownership of their own learning. For example:

  • > set up an online poll that allows students to vote on their readings
  • > encourage students to participate in discussions and debates through your course’s unique hashtag on the social media sites they already use
  • > actually encourage students to use mobile devices in class to participate in a live, interactive lecture with a backchannel
  • > create a Google Doc for every class that students can collectively edit to create collaborative course notes

The LT Coaches can also help you leverage technologies to reach your teaching goals. For example:

  • > use the hidden features of the smart podium to draw diagrams, or annotate texts to model expert inquiry
  • > make audio or video podcasts to cover some of your materials, and free up some class time for active learning
  • > integrate materials from other institutions’ online courses, from platforms like EdX, Coursera or Udacity
  • > invite a guest lecturer to address the class by videoconference


Right now, there are colleagues in the Faculty of Arts doing many of these things. The LT Coaches will work to build networks of like-minded technologically inclined instructors. They’ll know who’s implementing what system and how it worked. They’ll arrange meetings and colloquia to promote conversations within and between units. They’ll develop lists of people with interests and expertise in various tools and techniques. And they’ll run workshops to help spread the word and build those networks.

*This post was originally written by Michael Ullyot, and originally appeared on his blog. Minor update edits have been made to this version. The original post can be found at