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 Prograds.com 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.
Statistics and Statistical Software Skills
I have used and taught statistics, data analysis, and statistical software since 1995. I am best with Stata but have used R, S-plus, SPSS, Shazam, and more. My statistical and analytic skills are mostly in the realm of econometrics but I have dabbled in Bayesian methods and MCMC estimation.
Building an ePortfolio platform: ubcarts.ca
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.
Political Theory ("Jeremy Betham and the Public Opinion Tribunal")
I was trained as a political theorist as well as a quantitative political behaviour specialist. I published a paper in Public Opinion Quarterly on Jeremy Bentham's theory of Public Opinion in a liberal democracy.
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 UVoteBC.ca and the Elect2019.ca websites
In 2018 and again in 2019, 45 students collaborated to build the UVoteBC.ca website (2018) and the Elect2019.ca sites (2019). The first site provided information and guidance for citizens as they made their decision in the BC Electoral Reform Referendum of 2018. Elect2019.ca 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.
Academic Chair, then Director, Faculty of Arts Instructional Support and IT
In 2013 the Dean of Arts asked me to lead the Arts ISIT unit. I was always a geek and into learning technology. But the position really opened my eyes to all the challenges of management: helping a team of 25 people work together on a wide range of projects and services to help Arts faculty, staff, and students use technology for teaching and learning, research, and administration. In 2017-18 I served in a Staff position as Director of ISIT while also working as CEO of WeVu.
Soccer Coach - Vancouver United FC
I've coached youth soccer from 2004 to the present. U6 to U18. Our VUFC Gold team won the 4-district league in 2016-17. I now coach U15 at VUFC (2019-2020). I emphasize learning how to play as a team and really understanding how the game works. So we attack to the dead-ball line (the goal line) near the edge of the 18 and cut it back or play it across the six! That's where Man City scores from, so it's good enough for me.
Co-founder and CEO, WeVu.video
With two UBC colleagues from Arts ISIT, I co-founded ISIT Technology, which provides WeVu.video. It's a different video platform for education that emphasizes student self-recording of skills practice and instructors watching and giving feedback. It's been a crazy ride.
Experiments on Party Systems
I was a co-investigator on the Making Electoral Democracy Work project. Our UBC work involved experiments where subjects saw articles describing an election campaign in another province. The experimental conditions were different numbers of parties and parties with different degrees of policy extremity. We produced several research papers.
Co-Principal Investigator, Canada Election Study 2011-2015
I was one of four PI's on the CES to study the 2011 and 2015 Canadian Federal Elections. The work involved planning a multi-mode survey in both elections, balancing continuity with past studies and innovation. My specialization was the online survey mode and comparison of survey modes.
Policy Analyst, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
I was a junior policy analyst at INAC in 1991 and 1992. I prepared briefing notes on Constitutional matters and international affairs relating to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit in Canada. This was challenging work at a time when Canada's constitutional politics and relationships between governments and aboriginal peoples came together in volatile ways.