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Adventures in Edtech – Lessons Learned

I've been involved in the creation of learning technology inside the university and outside the university. I've led a Faculty-level learning tech and IT team in the creation of new tools and the marketing and support for new and existing tools. I've started two edtech companies and done application development, UI/UX design, legal, marketing, sales, user onboarding, and user support.

What have I learned? Don't be naive. Be realistic.

Using Notion for Courses with Group Work

I teach a course with students in a small group through the whole term, building public facing websites. I give lots of feedback along the way, essentially coaching more than teaching.
In 2020 I tried using Notion for the whole process: all of the scaffolded group work, my coaching, and then the public-facing website. It was a huge success. This is the story.

Prograds – The Grad Student Progress App

For years I was frustrated with how we track grad students' progress and supervise them. PhD committees don't share notes, department information is inaccessible to supervisors, students are stressed that their committee doesn't know what they're working on and what stage they're at. So I solved this problem with a web application built on no-code platform Bubble. It's live at and we're bringing our first customers on board.

Research in Political Behaviour

My academic research career has been focussed on Political Behaviour. That is, mostly the study of the actions and choices of citizens in democracies. I've studied vote choice, referendum choice, media effects on voters, the formation of attitudes, judgments of governments under federalism, the effect of election polls on voters, survey design and survey modes, the effect of the number of parties on voters, and the factors influencing citizens' satisfaction with democracy.

Building an ePortfolio platform:

As Director of Arts ISIT I led a project to build an ePortfolio tool from scratch on the Wordpress platform. Collaborating with Jason Myers, Michael Ha, Letitia Henville, Heidi May, Ricardo Serrano, Angela Lam, Leanna Chow, and Julie Walchli, we did it.

The Rich Transcripts Project at UBC Political Science

I am leading an effort to collect information on the learning experience, learning activities, and output of students in all UBC Political Science courses. We then aggregate that information by student to produce what we call a "Rich Transcript" showing what each student did in the course in their Political Science major. Feedback from students has been very positive.

POLI308D 2018 & 2019: A radical course design to build the and the websites

In 2018 and again in 2019, 45 students collaborated to build the website (2018) and the sites (2019). The first site provided information and guidance for citizens as they made their decision in the BC Electoral Reform Referendum of 2018. was a set of 6 student-built websites to inform voters and analyze the 2019 Canadian Federal Election.

‘Teaching’ at UBC

I've been teaching Political Science courses at UBC since 2001. Graduate and undergraduate. I've taught the required quantitative methods course at both levels. Colleagues and I redesigned POLI380 to be a so-called 'flipped class' in 2012. Students have a lukewarm reaction to the material and the course design. I've also taught in my research specialties: elections & public opinion. But...
I have now rejected the 'standard' way of designing and teaching a university class.