Case Academy for Students and Coaches

Case Academy is a curated group of tools and resources to help students learn how to analyze case studies and train for business case competitions.

I began by consulting a number of my former case competition students to find out what types of training content they found most beneficial. We brainstormed different categories for content. I also ran a keyword analysis on Google Adwords around related phrases to see what was being searched the most. Continue reading “Case Academy for Students and Coaches”

I can icon (towards a text/image remix assignment)

Just a fun little wordplay as I like to do some times, thinking about a potential new visual assignments for EdMedia practitioners.

Push-button-receive-baconWe do a lot of exploration in visual recording information in the Going Visual module, but our discussion last week got into some of the nuances involved in using text and image together. We always get a positive response on the “Icon Jam” activity, and I have wanted add to our assignment collection with the idea of “Remaking meaning” by adding new (and surprising) text to common and seemingly universal icons, signs and symbols. I was inspired by the above “Push Button Receive Bacon” meme and wondering how difficult it would be to come up with something like this yourself. Continue reading “I can icon (towards a text/image remix assignment)”

ETUG 2015: A Technologist’s edX Case Study



Last week at the ETUG conference here at SFU, I attended a talk, “A Technologist’s edX Case Study,” by Ian Linkletter (UBC).



Drawing on his experience, Ian Linkletter gave us some great tips on how to get people to sign up to an online course, and to stay engaged, especially if it’s free.

One thing I really took away from this talk was in regards to deadlines. It is this: give your students a deadline for assignments that you know is not firm, and then, extend it! By showing the students that you are ready to be flexible allows them to buy in. He also recommended putting a countdown clock on the course website, which gives students a sense of urgency. In Ian’s example, 451 students had met the first deadline, and 721 met the second extended deadline. That’s quite a difference!

Check out my graphic notes for some more tips.



ETUG 2015: Creating Conditions for Well-Being in Learning Environments

At the ETUG conference this month, I attended a presentation by Alisa Stanton, Rosie Dahaliwal, and David Zandvliet (SFU) called “Creating Conditions for Well-Being in Learning Environments.”

I practiced visual note-taking during the talk, with the results below. In essence, the talk was about how instructors can get students to feel connected and at ease in the classroom environment. Because studies have found a very strong correlation between students’ levels of stress and their grades, health in the classroom environment is vital for students’ success. What I took away from this talk was that health in the classroom comes down to three essential parts:

  • sharing
  • understanding diversity
  • being heard/sense of empowerment

Health and Counseling Services at SFU also has a diagram that highlights their 10 conditions for well-being in learning environments, available as a PDF here. This document includes some simple tips for instructors on how to create these conditions within the classroom.

The talk was informative and important, as mental and physical well-being are the foundations for all learning!



Icon a go-go

In last weeks hands on workshop we asked our participants to do an “icon jam”, essentially a visual brainstorming activity, in which we collaboratively (and quickly) generate a series of icons based, and then share the results afterwords and discuss. This can be a challenge for those that have not had a lot of experience drawing, but I believe people come away with a better understanding of the subjective nature of visual language, and that ‘getting it right’ is not as important as making an impact.

Icon Jam 2015 Gallery


Icons will no doubt continue to play an important role in many of the educational media assets being created in our course, so I thought I would share a few extra online resources to help you find and make them, as well as a BONUS CHALLENGE you can use to practice your icon making skills.  But first.. some resources! Continue reading “Icon a go-go”

Make it BOLD


An inspiring post with 50 inspirational quotes all done up with some amazingly creative uses of typography. It was hard to choose the one I wanted to share in this post but thinking back to our “Going Visual” workshop this past week, the admonition to “Keep it bold” rung the most true. These images were meant to give our workshop participants some inspiration as they are preparing to get an edmedia project started, but following the breadcrumbs I realized there were more treasure on this site to be had.

First there are a good collection of design assignments and tutorials and teaching materials covering the basics of graphic design, and some challenges to get you practicing your design skills. 2nd, the site is actually the brainchild of a design software called Canva, that provides tools and software for generating all kinds of design images such as posters, social media icons and web graphics. I havent fully explored this app, (although I’m downloading the ipad app right now! ) but look forward to seeing what it can do. A free and simple alternative to professional design software such as the Adobe Creative Suite.

Drawing and design on the ‘Youshow’

I’ve been following the Youshow faithfully these past weeks, and signed up my personal blog and started doing some of these crazy daily assignments.

This week was of particular interest because they were covering visual design, and drawing and had invited guest speak Nancy White to drop some science on them! I’ve been fortunate to participated in many learning experiences with Nancy over the years, and know she has a wealth of it to go around. In Brians words…

We asked Nancy to elaborate on the ideas of what design means visually as well as for organizations and projects, and come away with some new activities that are introduced in this week’s unit on It’s All By Design (link TBA).

As we have a our own “Going Visual” workshop running tomorrow and an upcoming session on using sound in the classroom, this is a perfect time for me to engage in the YouShow, and build up some of the resources on our session page. If you are interested in design and visual practices, please check out our workshop and the fabulous collection of design resources and activities brewing over at the youshow.

Lynda Barry Lesson Ideas

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.41.25 PMIn my free time, I’ve been making my way through Lynda Barry’s book, “Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor.”  Lynda Barry is an American cartoonist, author and educator who has become well known for her funny and densely packed visual stories. I’ve admired her work for a while, but I didn’t realize she also taught courses on creativity, the unconscious and writing. This book is a collection of her syllabi from her experiences teaching at the University of Wisconsin Madison. But it’s not just that. It’s also an exploration of the imagination and how it works to create art. The book chronicles some of her thoughts on the matter, and how she worked to push her students beyond the ordinary.

It’s engaging both in content and style. You might be inspired by her innovative lesson plans and writing exercises. You can buy it here.


Back of the Napkin Bio Activity



The Back of the Napkin Bio is an activity that is part of our “Going Visual” workshop, in which participants learn to be better visualizers. This activity tends to be a favourite, so we are including the instruction sheets here, for your use.

This downloadable going visual handout (PDF) is an instruction guide for the activity, and the going visual tips handout (PDF) contains some hints that we give participants before the activity. We only go over these very briefly; the second half of the workshop is devoted to going into those concepts in depth.

Feel free to make use of these and enjoy!