Open Books and Resources

UofT BrowZine

BC Campus OpenEd

Rice U OpenStax

Holiday Reading (and watching)

Jeremy Howard:
The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn


Badging: Not Quite the Next Big Thing
By Michael Hart 07/20/16

I Love Community Colleges (and Tech Should Too)
By Alejandra Cervantes Aug 7, 2016

Learning Management System Market Expected to Grow $10.5 Billion in Next 5 Years
By Richard Chang 07/28/16

6 Implications of the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environments (NGDLE) Framework
by Malcolm Brown June 27, 2016

App Assists Teachers With Integrating Digital Content Into Lessons
By Sri Ravipati 08/01/16

Toolbox Renewal Update

At the end of December, the LME Evaluation Committee made its formal recommendation to the Provost via our Executive Sponsors. The next stage of the process will be negotiations, led by the University’s Procurement Services. For more details on the Toolbox Renewal process, please check in at the main project website regularly:

OneClass Easy Invite Chrome Extension


We have discovered a problem with something called the OneClass Easy Invite Chrome Extension which may result in the theft of any username and password you use for websites and services, including Blackboard and other university and/or commercial/community services.

If you receive an email soliciting enrolment in OneClass, do not click on any links or buttons, and delete the email.

The email may have included a link to install the OneClass Chrome Extension. During the installation, the user is prompted to accept permissions to “read and change all your data on the websites you visit.” If you accepted, a fake button will be created within the Blackboard Portal to “Invite your Classmates to OneClass.” If the button is clicked on, the extension will also attempt to send an email to everyone in your class to promote the OneClass extension.

A copy of the phishing email is below:

“Hey guys, I just found some really helpful notes for the upcoming exams for courses at UofT . I highly recommend signing up for an account now that way your first download is free!”

If you have previously downloaded and installed the OneClass Easy Invite Chrome Extension you should immediately cease using your Chrome browser. Then, using a different browser (e.g., Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) you should change all of your passwords to any services (Blackboard, your online bank account, credit card, email, Facebook, etc.) that you accessed using your Chrome browser with that extension installed.

To change your UTORid (Blackboard) password, please visit:

To remove the extension:

1. Open up your Chrome Browser
2. Select the 3 vertical dots in the top right-hand corner
3. Select Settings
4. Select Extensions in the top left-hand corner
5. Click the Trashcan beside the “OneClass Easy Invite” extension
6. Select Remove on the Confirm Removal Popup
7. Close all Chrome windows and go back to the Extensions page to verify the extension has been removed (Steps 1-4)

As we learn more, we will share updates with the community, and if you have any questions, please write to

UofT Portal Week (part of the Academic Toolbox Renewal)

The University is currently testing three new systems that can serve as the “engine” for our new Learning Portal (LMS). The week of November 14-18 has been designated “Portal Week” with many opportunities for members of the community to learn more, get involved, take a test drive, and share their opinions and feedback.

To learn more about the Academic Toolbox Renewal Initiative and to see a schedule of “Portal Week” events, please visit

MADLab Users Publish Scientific Paper

A Versatile System for High-Throughput In Situ X-ray Screening and Data Collection of Soluble and Membrane-Protein Crystals
Cryst. Growth Des., 2016, 16 (11), pp 6318–6326
Jana Broecker, Viviane Klingel, Wei-Lin Ou, Aidin R. Balo, David J. Kissick, Craig M. Ogata, Anling Kuo, and Oliver P. Ernst
Department of Biochemistry and §Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto


We introduce the Mylar in situ method that uses Mylar-based sandwich plates, which are advantageous over established designs. Cognate holders make the method robust and versatile and allow for automated crystal imaging, screening, and goniometer-based X-ray diffraction data collection at room temperature and under cryogenic conditions for soluble and membrane-protein crystals grown in or transferred to these plates.


In recent years, in situ data collection has been a major focus of progress in protein crystallography. Here, we introduce the Mylar in situ method using Mylar-based sandwich plates that are inexpensive, easy to make and handle, and show significantly less background scattering than other setups. A variety of cognate holders for patches of Mylar in situ sandwich films corresponding to one or more wells makes the method robust and versatile, allows for storage and shipping of entire wells, and enables automated crystal imaging, screening, and goniometer-based X-ray diffraction data-collection at room temperature and under cryogenic conditions for soluble and membrane-protein crystals grown in or transferred to these plates. We validated the Mylar in situ method using crystals of the water-soluble proteins hen egg-white lysozyme and sperm whale myoglobin as well as the 7-transmembrane protein bacteriorhodopsin from Haloquadratum walsbyi. In conjunction with current developments at synchrotrons, this approach promises high-resolution structural studies of membrane proteins to become faster and more routine.

Chad Holden

It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you about the departure of Chad Holden from the ACT team. Luckily, however, Chad remains with the University as the new Lead Systems and Support Administrator in the Division of the Vice-President and Provost.

Chad started at the University in 2001 as the Manager of Art Direction in the Faculty of Physical Education and Health.  In 2005 he joined the Shared Services Strategic Computing team as a Senior Web Analyst.

In that role, Chad also provided leadership for the University-wide collaborative Web Working Group, as well as the Accessibility Group for the Provost’s group of websites, where he wrote the original web accessibility guidelines for U of T.

Through a series of reorganizations in ITS, Chad became a member of the Web Services team within Integrated Client Services, and then part of Academic & Collaborative Technologies.

His return to the Provost’s portfolio is a return home in some ways.

Outside of work, Chad, who is a formally trained graphic designer, has several hobbies and a young family that keeps him hopping.

Our best wishes to Chad on this new opportunity.

Varsity Articles about Portal

Our student newspaper, The Varsity, has been covering our Academic Toolbox Renewal Initiative. Read what they have to say:

The Portal to the Future (Feb. 2016)

UofT Seeks New Learning Portal (Sept. 2016)

MADLab @ Gerstein Gets a Shout Out

The MADLab @ Gerstein Library got a nice shout out from the UofT Mechatronics Design Association, a multidisciplinary student group, that has been promoting robotics since 2005. Thanks MDA!

Watch their video:

For more on the MADLab, check out:

The Learning Portal is Changing!

* Please share widely *

The Learning Portal is Changing!

Our current Learning Portal hasn’t changed much in the last decade. Feedback from the University community is that the web interface for the Portal is clunky and out of date, and it doesn’t flow the way people would like. It’s also hard for instructors to incorporate new tools into their teaching.

Instead of an all-inclusive single website with built-in tools, we hope that our future Learning Portal will be a web interface that feels much more like a smart phone.  Like your smart phone, the new environment should have an “operating system” with some core functionality (the ‘Learning Management Engine’). And like your smart phone, the new environment should have an ‘app store’ with integrated teaching and learning apps, and a way for instructors and students to suggest or build new apps. And of course, the new environment needs a cleaner, more contemporary user interface.

Learn more and get involved, including attending Learning Management Engine presentations (starting August 11):

LME Poster

LME Poster