Featured Sessions

As an appetizer, some featured sessions are presented below.

Practice what you teach: UDL & Communities of Practice in Adult Education – Dr. Bonnie Stewart

This presentation explores the gradual integration of Universal Design for Learning principles into an online adult education course in a combined college/university context. It outlines how integrating UDL into the course design as both a topic and a guiding principle of delivery served not only to strengthen the adult learning principles the course centered on, but also helped foster a more authentic community of practice within the class context. UDL’s minimization of barriers to participation is examined here not just as a factor in individual learning, but as a potential positive contributor to social learning.

Bonnie Stewart Photo
Dr. Bonnie Stewart

Dr. Bonnie Stewart is an educator and social media researcher fascinated by who we are when we’re online. Founder and Director of the media literacy initiative Antigonish 2.0, and Coordinator of Adult Teaching programs at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, Bonnie’s work explores the intersections of knowledge, technology, and identity. Community capacity-building and the implications of networks for contemporary institutions are the focus of her current research. Bonnie writes and speaks about networked scholarship, digital strategy, leadership, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) around the world. She blogs ideas athttp://theory.cribchronicles.com, and does her best thinking out loud on Twitter as @bonstewart.

Crawling inside your students’ heads and designing for empathy – Denis Boudreau

Parallax scrolling, ghost buttons, placeholder labels, micro-interactions, card-based layouts, chatbots and hamburger menus on desktop are only but a handful of design trends that can seriously affect user experience as we create digital content to support our curricula. These popular trends shape not only the look and feel of the sites and applications we create, but also the overall experience others get when using those products. As a result, popular design trends can create significant barriers for students who use the web in different or alternative ways. However, by combining principles of universal design with the very idea of designing for the extremes, we can create experiences on the web that meet the expectations of the many by closely looking into the needs of the few. This session will begin by analyzing some of the most prevalent web design trends of 2017, and provide actionable insights that will ensure students with disabilities, seniors and anyone marginalized by their use of technologies are not excluded from the content we so diligently try to craft as content authors.

Denis Boudreau PhotoDenis Boudreau is a Principal Web Accessibility Consultant, Strategist and Trainer working for Deque Systems. He is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the Education and Outreach Working Group, advocating social inclusion on the Web for the past 16 years. Denis has been running the a11yMTL monthly meetings and annual conference in Montreal, Canada since 2010. An admitted nerd with an unhealthy fixation on UX and digital inclusion, he has a passion for design that emotionally resonates, is beautifully engaging, and delightfully accessible.

UDL and the work of inclusion: Inching closer to social justice within education – Sam Johnston

Improving social justice within education requires us to better balance the demands that learning places on any one learner and the resources they have to meet those demands. If we simply lower demands by providing easier content or limiting access to advanced subjects or to modern tools and technologies for learning, we fail to prepare students, especially students with disabilities, for higher levels of education, the world of work, and full participation in society. Further, learning goals must be both challenging and attainable to be worth pursuing. Low expectations result in low motivation to learn.

This talk will focus on how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can help us think more systematically about ways to balance the demands that learning places on learners with the resources at their disposal to help them learn. Thinking about UDL and user experience design together requires us to question what we are asking learners to learn, test assumptions about how they go about learning and what supports they use, and listen more to what learners actually think a good learner looks like. A more expansive view of expert learning, coupled with a way to design learning environments that better balance the demands of learning with the resources to do so for all students is essential for a more socially just education system.

Sam Johnston photoSam Catherine Johnston is a researcher at CAST. Her primary research focus is on social learning processes and the use of online and blended learning to support peer-to-peer knowledge transfer. She has conducted design-based research in the fields of mental health care, human services, criminal justice and education.

Sam is co-principal investigator for two National Science Foundation research studies. The first grant focuses on stereotype threat, which, refers to being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s group (Steele & Aronson, 1995). The goal of this grant is to understand how stereotype threat impacts learning processes in middle school classrooms that use inquiry science pedagogy, and, how to reduce negative impacts on learning that are the result of students experiencing stereotype threat. The second grant focuses on the design and research of an online STEM career exploration and readiness environment for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 that are disconnected from both school and the workforce.

With support of the Gates Foundation, Sam also recently led the development of UDL On Campus (udloncampus.cast.org)–a collection of online resources to aid postsecondary educators in implementing UDL. Sam also currently works on the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) focusing on postsecondary and workforce take up of AEM. Before joining CAST, Sam was a Senior Associate and Distance Educator at the Center for Social Innovation (C4), where she led the company’s online and blended learning strategy. Sam holds a BA from McGill University and a master’s and doctorate in education from Harvard.

Addressing the unexpected – Frederic Fovet

UDL implementation in Higher Education is usually imagined and attempted by advocates as a straight forward process of ‘spreading the word’.  This presentation examines to what degree implementation on post-secondary campuses quickly grows in complexity as it gains momentum.  Strategic cross campus implementation is examined here as an institutional process through the lens of ecological theory, with the hope that it can encourage organizations to plan proactively and to foresee pitfalls.

Frederic Fovet PhotoFrederic is an Assistant Professor in Education (Fixed Term) at UPEI.  He has in the past headed the Office for Students with Disability at McGill for several years and has, in that capacity, been responsible for institution-wide efforts to roll out UDL across faculties.  He was the instigator of the first Pan-Canadian Conference on UDL which took place in 2015. He is also a UDL consultant and has worked with colleges and schools, in Quebec and Ontario on the issue of pre-implementation planning.  For more information about his work around UDL: www.implementudl.com  @FFovet

Open Educational Resources: Why OER is important to UDL and how your Librarian can help – Donald Moses & Meghan Landry

The presentation will discuss the role of Open Education Resources (OER) in the context of the Open Education Movement. The roles of administration, faculty, instructional designers, librarians and students will be examined, and how each group can get involved. Various resources will be discussed at a glance, as well as the importance of understanding Creative Commons when using these resources. Barriers to OER and how to overcome them will also be discussed. An overarching theme of how the Library and Librarians can help instructors and researchers, and the evolving role of Librarians in OER and the UDL landscape, will be evident.

Donald Moses photoDonald Moses is currently the Interim University Librarian at the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island.  Donald is interested in all things “open” and has contributed to open source software, has helped build the University’s open access repository (IslandScholar) and its data repository, chairs UPEI’s Open Textbook Working Group, and is fortunate to work with a dedicated team of librarians, technical and support staff, and instructional and multimedia designers.

Meghan Landry photoMeghan Landry is a Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island. Meghan graduated from McGill University in Montreal, QC with a Master of Library & Information Studies in 2015. She returned to her hometown in Charlottetown, PE and has been employed at UPEI since graduation and has been involved extensively in facilitating Virtual Research Environments and related digital repositories for the campus community, as well as promoting information literacy and digital pedagogy in the classroom. She has received a UPEI Internal Research Grant for 2017 to continue her research in digital repositories, community collaboration and crowdsourcing through a project called PEI Postcards.

UDL Principles and English Language Learners: Enabling Success – Ashley Clark & Christina Perry

With a growth in international student enrolment across our campuses, the demographic of our classrooms are changing. Students are coming from a variety of contexts, bringing with them a spectrum of educational experiences, learning habits, areas of expertise, and academic cultures. This session will have participants discuss and examine the ways in which the principles of UDL enable instructors to present accessible material, utilize teaching and learning methods that appeal to all students, and take into consideration students’ linguistic, cultural, and academic influences.

Ashley Clark photoAshley Clark is the international student academic coach in the Faculty of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island. She completed her Master of Education with a specialization in Teaching English as a Second Language in Halifax, NS, and has worked as an instructor, curriculum designer, and academic program coordinator at various institutions across the Maritimes and in Quebec. She is passionate about intercultural communication, and dedicated to working with all levels of administration, faculty, and staff to ensure international student success.

Christina PeChristina Perry photorry (MEd, TESL Level 2 Cert.) has worked in the EAL field for the past 14 years in various capacities as a teacher, program coordinator, and English proficiency assessor. Her current role is Program Coordinator with the English Academic Preparation Program at UPEI. Her work centers in EAP methodology and encompasses: curriculum and instructor development, student mentorship, faculty liaisonship, and English assessment. She has also taught TESL Methods as a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Education, UPEI. Her professional pedagogy is rooted in student-centered learning and has a genuine interest in helping students reach their full potential.