Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

common sense and much more...

Analytical Publishing Project

From the UBC course, ETEC 565M – Mobile and Open Education

Mobility in Blended Environments

This is an analysis that recounts my personal experience with mobility in the classroom. During the past few years, mobile and wireless technologies have advanced enough to make them affordable for most Korean university students. These technologies also, as shown in the accompanying video, provide an excellent way to implement such affordances as collaboration, privacy, and a more democratic decision making process in higher education.

Tap or click to read details about this assignment (straight from the course page).

A1. Analytical Publishing Project

Assignment #1 will be worth 25% of your final grade.

DESCRIPTION:  Individual students will author & publish an original media-based critical analysis of an emerging facet of mobility that is of special interest to the student. Think of this as a self-contained, first-person research product (videocast, podcast, blogpost, media essay, etc) whose value is founded on your credibility and presence as a professional educator & MET researcher. The subject may be a technology, application, cultural phenomenon, social trend, educational program or learning product. No direct connection to teaching or learning is required, but one focus of the analysis will concern education potential, or lack thereof. The primary objective is for the analysis to be published as as a highly relevant, usable & valued Knowledge Mill resource in (at least one of) the Mobile Technology, Mobile Culture, and Mobile Education streams of 565M.

FORMAT:  This is not an academic paper. Employ a presentation format consistent with effective viewing on mobile devices, optimizing relevancy, usability, and value for a prospective, global audience of education technology professionals. Make it just long enough to deliver true audience value (probably between 500 words / 90 seconds and 1,500 words / 6 minutes, as aiming to sustain attention for a longer period might be a dubious proposition). Consult your instructor if in doubt.

SUBMISSION:  The analysis may be posted directly in 565M or embedded from any reasonably permanent web host or platform, using the appropriate Knowledge Mill category or categories. Notify your instructor by email when your post submission is live.


Tap or click to read additional reflections

The Chosen Medium

I chose to produce a video podcast (vodcast) for this project because YouTube videos are always responsive and easy to play in mobile devices. Furthermore, as one who has no respect or time for platforms that force users to download and install a proprietary app just to have access to a bit of content, I chose YouTube because it does not require mobile users to do that.

Current Common Drawbacks

To shorten the vodcast, I edited out the footage in which I talk about two common drawbacks that currently exist with this technology: battery life and Wi-Fi reliability.

If students’ devices are low on power, they may not be able to complete a mobile activity. This can be minimized by proactively advising students that coming to class with a sufficiently charged device is their responsibility and that they will be held accountable if they repeatedly fail to do so.

Regarding the Wi-Fi connection, there is little that one can do, except to either use a different service (Google Forms instead of Socrative, for example) or have a non-WiFi “Plan B” (whatever that may be) readily available in the event of a connectivity issue.

Of course, as the technology continues to evolve, these drawbacks will cease to be an issue and there will undoubtedly be new challenges to deal with.

Tap or click here to check out the references for the above artifact and reflection.


Evaluating Technology with the SECTIONS Framework

Removing Guesswork and Waste

Managing the Costs

Educational technology is expensive – especially for those new game-changing e-learning initiatives that are increasingly necessary in education and business. Because I have been both a user and a supplier of various learning resources, my perspective on the costs of instructional technology is unique. As a user, I have seen enormous benefits to carefully integrating technology in educational programs and, as a consultant who represented various suppliers, I have also witnessed a dismaying degree of opportunism that significantly increased corporate profits while subjecting busy and trusting educators to inflated pricing and slick marketing.

Now that I am back to being solely a user again – and keenly aware of how some educational resource suppliers operate – I am well prepared to ensure that the people I will be working with (and for) will be able to maximize the potential benefits of their allocated technology funds.

Assessing the Technologies

One of the essential requirements for controlling costs is the ability to accurately assess various technologies. There are a number of tools available that enable careful and comprehensive assessments of various technologies in any given educational context and one of the most reliable ones is the SECTIONS Technology Assessment Framework (Bates & Poole, 2003). It allows one to consider various key aspects, including costs, ease of use, and direct benefits to students and it is a tool that I use frequently, as demonstrated in this artifact.

The image on the lower right links to a “draft tool” for SECTIONS, created by Cindy Underhill, a learning resource design strategist at the UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. The tool was originally hosted at a UBC Wiki. Because it appears that the wiki may possibly be “decommissioned” in 2016,  I have posted a copy of Underhill’s tool here because it is an excellent resource that should be preserved.

Applying SECTIONS to a MET Course Assignment

One of the MET Programs newer courses, ETEC 565M: Mobile and Open Education, provided numerous opportunities to link and apply modern learning theories to the three major projects that were assigned during the term. For the Open Educational Resource (OER) project, our group chose to apply our knowledge of the SECTIONS Framework (Bates & Poole, 2003) to the assessment pages of our OER.

The video below is an overview of that application and the survey form (under the video) is a sample survey that anyone who knows PowerPoint can complete.  Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the oldest and most commonly used technologies in the classroom. Most educators are familiar with it, so this would be an anonymous and fun place to share what you really think of it.


Bates, A., & Poole, G. (2003). A framework for selecting and using technology. Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education, 75–105.

The SECTIONS Framework


Overview Video of Our Application of SECTIONS

After viewing this video, try the SECTIONS-based survey below.

Tap/click to use a SECTIONS-based tool to assess PowerPoint:


Tap or click here to check the references for the above artifact and reflection.


Three 300 Word Thought Papers

From the UBC course, ETEC 512 – Applications of Learning Theories to Instruction (core)

Because I was able to critically evaluate and draw logical, clear, objective, and well supported conclusions about learning theories and relevant literatures, my writing received some unexpected (and welcome) recognition from Dr. Jennifer Shapka.

Audio Reflection (2:00)

Personal thoughts about learning theories

Audio Feedback

Feedback on Thought Paper 2 from Jennifer D. Shapka, Ph.D.

Thought Paper 1

Behaviorist Classroom Management – Mechanics of Learning

Thought Paper 2

Empowering Teachers with Neuroscience?

Thought Paper 3

Truth, Knowledge, and Constructivism

Tap or click to read, from the course content Thought Paper Assignment page, about the strict grading policy :

There are a total of 3 Thought Papers that you will need to complete during the course, each worth 5% of your mark. Although the Thought Papers are based on the readings, they cannot be answered directly from them. That is, you cannot simply summarize the readings to answer the question. Rather these questions are designed to provoke deeper understanding about the readings and should be viewed as an opportunity to delve further into an issue. As such, this assignment is evaluated quite rigorously in terms of content. Top papers will be clear and thought-provoking, with well-supported arguments. They will also be well-written and free of any spelling or grammatical errors.

Please do not be discouraged by low marks on your initial Thought Papers; rather, use the instructor’s feedback to develop stronger responses. The Thought Papers are to be 300 words, or the equivalent of 1-page double-spaced, which will be strictly enforced. At times it will seem difficult to fit all you have to say about the topic into 300 words; however, as graduate students, the ability to write clearly and concisely is an important skill to develop. The Thought Papers will be evaluated based on clarity and the degree of insight and thought that is evident. Given that summarizing the reading is worth no points, do not waste any of your 300 words summarizing!

Source: ETEC512 Course Content Page on Thought Paper Assignments


Tap or click to read the papers via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)

Tap or click to check out the references for the above artifact and reflection.


Essay: From Objectivism to Constructivism

From the UBC course, ETEC 530 – Constructivist Strategies for E-Learning

Assignment Information, Reflection, and Professor's Comments

Assignment Information

This first major assignment was worth 40 percent, which is, in my opinion, a bit steep.  However, the instructions directed us to focus on an issue or area of personal interest in our teaching/learning or practice experience, which made the whole thing somewhat more palatable. Given that it is a course about constructivism in E-learning, we were to draw on existing literature that deals with it, as well as related topics, such as situated learning, basic principles of constructivist instructions, etc.


Because my UBC MET journey had been so transformative (from the very first week) and had quickly made a significant influence on my professional practice, this essay was an enjoyable write. According to my professor, Dr. Janes,, it was also an enjoyable read.

It recounts my transformative journey in the UBC master’s program and how it immediately had a positive impact on a new course that I had recently developed for my department. I had just finished developing the course in late 2012, but the Master of Educational Technology program at UBC began in early January of 2103. Within a very short time, my MET courses had made me painfully aware that much of the material that I ha developed was doomed to failure and that, if I wanted the new course to succeed, I would have to make some drastic changes. If only I had started work on my MET degree about 10 years earlier!

Professor’s Comments

Solid job Gary…a very good overview of the issues between constructivist learning and blended multimedia writing as described…clear, concise and easy to read…good use of sources and solid use of APA (actually quite rare so good job)… I wanted a more critical approach in your discussion and you did that, with your own thinking mixed throughout, which improved the final work! Overall an enjoyable piece…39/40

Diane P. Janes, Ph.D.


To access a PDF version of the essay, please tap/click on the word cloud.

Tap or click to read the paper via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)


Tap or click here to check out the references for the above artifact and reflection.


Essay: Pedagogy in the Age of Web 2.0

From the UBC course, ETEC 511 – Foundations of Educational Technology (core)


This was a topic that turned out to be much bigger than I originally thought. The more research I did, the more I realized just how much power and scope I was grappling with. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending on one’s point of view), there was a word limit of 3,000 words, so the essay barely scratches the surface, in my opinion.

The word cloud, based on the essay, is linked to a pdf version of it:

Tap or click to view the course's scholarly essay requirements.

Scholarly Essay

Choose a topic that corresponds with one of the weekly topics (i.e., foundations) or themes and write a scholarly paper exploring media and technology in education (i.e., apps, artifacts, devices, problems, processes, trends, etc.). The essay should provide a clear, cogent, concise exploration or case study of the topic (e.g., topics within or about e-learning, educational technology, learning technologies, ICT, new media, instructional design, curriculum design, etc.). Take a position (state a thesis or argument) and provide evidence, through examples and narrative, to support the position. Be creative and choose a topic that really interests you!

 Source: ETEC511 Syllabus for 2013

Tap or click to read the paper via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)


Tap or click here to check out the references for the above artifact and reflection.