At this year’s Teaching and Learning Symposium “Intersections: Where Instructional Design Meets Learning Science,” Liisa Sorsa visually captured the two opening keynote speakers. Now, apparently this is a thing, but it was the first time I’d seen it in person and it was astounding. In an interview with Canadian Business Magazine, Ms. Sorsa suggests that graphic recording increases effective communication by “tapping into the creative side of your audience.” I certainly found this to be the case, reviewing and thinking about the “doodle” long after the speakers had finished speaking.

When finishing up planning for the EdTech Workshop, Estelle (who’d hear of graphic recording long before I had) and I thought very hard about how we could incorporate this idea of tapping into our creative sides as well as showing off a little bit of the Education Technology Office’s equipment. And so the idea to collaboratively doodle was born!

For the past few years, we’ve used our beautiful 22.5” Wacom Cintiq Display Tablet to record lecture and solutions videos. We train Instructors on how to create their own videos (you can view a sample of Prof. Belinda Wang’s videos here or view the entire project). Many instructors, though, aren’t aware that we have a few of these tablets for their use (unfortunately, they are both booked for the summer of 2017). This seemed like a great opportunity to blend two ideas – showcase what instructors have at their disposal AND get everyone to think a little bit differently.

We wanted to give everyone a new way to think what they learned. When you left the room, what were you still thinking about? Could you give an overview of the session? How did it jive with your personal experience? We wanted to capture all of that – just think of the expertise in that room! And you know what? It was surprisingly hard!

When attendees arrived for the workshop, we had our projector set up on a portable backdrop (yes, you can book us for filming, too!), and it was managed by Joanna Lau, our Instructional Technologist, and Cristal Buemi, our media technician. The question we had prepared was, “Why are you here?” This was the result:

While not a tonne of responses (people were getting coffee after all), there are a few really interesting ones:

  • To share experiences
  • To learn from peers
  • To expand their teaching arsenal
  • To explore new technologies
  • To meet new people (or at least Jason’s)

By sharing these thoughts, a lot of people walking by commented things like, “Oh, that’s interesting, that’s why I’m here, too.” Not only do we have a quick snapshot of why people attended, we also ensured that others felt welcome, included, and in the right spot for the right reasons. It was very affirming.

Prof. Susan McCahan, Vice Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, opened the conference with several thought provoking questions – “What does it really mean to learn?” “Do we teach alone anymore?” and “What does room design imply about teaching?”  After the talk, we cleared the image and added a new question. The result is below:

Since it was an EdTech conference, the last question we asked was, “How can technology enhance your course?” This had the most response – either because it was “easier” to answer or because people were getting the hang of the activity. Here’s the result:

Do you agree? Does technology facilitate collaboration? Does it provide better feedback? Does it make learning more available to students? One of the elements that I thought most interesting about this activity is that it was not about getting the “right” answer – it was about thinking deeply and reflecting on what these questions meant to you on a personal level. Hopefully, this led to more discussion.

Do you think that an activity like this might work in your course? Perhaps it could be used for a “Muddiest Point” activity. Other ideas?