This week’s readings

A few more items you may find interesting:

Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms (April, 2016)
Karen E. Willcox, Sanjay Sarma, Philip H. Lippel, MIT

Ignore Edtech at Your Peril
(June 6, 2016)
Jonathan Rees, Colorado State University – Pueblo

How Ten Key Developments Are Shaping The Future of Technology-Enable Learning

Kivuto and CICan Launch Partnership to Help Colleges and Institutes Go Digital

Work Study

The University’s annual Work Study Program is now accepting applications from faculty and staff to create jobs for students for the coming 2016-2017 academic year:

We often hear about interesting course or curriculum projects that just need a little bit of extra help – so why not consider hiring a UofT student to help out – it’s good for you, and good for them 🙂

ACT does not run the program (although we’ve definitely benefited from hiring students in the past) – if you have questions that can’t be answered from their website, you can also write to directly.

Please feel free to let others know.


As many of you know, the University of Toronto has been going through an extensive process we’ve been calling our ‘Academic Toolbox Renewal.’ As part of that process, we recently posted an RFP for a ‘Learning Management Engine’ – which is our attempt to actualize the theoretical model defined in Brown, Dehoney and Millichap’s seminal ’The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment’ report.

Many people have asked us for our RFP documents, as they are going through similar processes at their schools.

Now that the RFP submission phase is complete (we still have lots of work to do, but), we are happy to make the document available:

We hope you find it interesting, and maybe useful.

No matter what, we are happy to receive feedback.

Interesting Reading

More interesting reads that have crossed my desk:

Mobile Strategy at SFU

Canadian Universities and our Digital Future: A workshop by Universities Canada. Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2015, Vancouver

A New Architecture for Learning by Rob Abel, Malcolm Brown and John J. Suess. Monday, October 7, 2013.

Technology in Higher Education: Guiding Aspiring Leaders

O365 Clutter changes

From: Luke Sutherland
Academic & Collaborative Technology – Operations Group

It has come to our attention that a feature of the O365 mailbox (Clutter:  has been flagging some internal messages sent by the University as ‘clutter’. This means the message bypasses the inbox and is deposited in the “Clutter” folder. The tool is adaptive based on user activity and therefore customized to each user. Details of the algorithm are not known.

To prevent this we are putting some changes into production on the morning of June 2, 2016 (Thursday). Consultations with peer institutions suggest no appreciable impact on mail delivery performance from these changes.

If you have technical questions about this change specifically please contact

UofT News RSS Feed Change

If you’re using an RSS feed of U of T News top stories on your website please note the link has changed with the launch of the new site. The new RSS link to top stories is:

– From S. Green, Director, Online Communications,
Digital Creative Services, University of Toronto Communications

Interesting Reading

Here are some more interesting reads that have crossed my desk. I certainly don’t agree with all the opinions, but it’s good to understand different perspectives:


Why Audrey Watters Thinks Tech Is a Trojan Horse Set to ‘Dismantle’ the Academy By Jeffrey R. Young May 18, 2016

Innovation in Learning Spaces: How We Are Reinventing the Classroom
May 16, 2016 – by Mark Robbins

6 Ways to Bridge the Gap Between Faculty and IT – Finding your own “unicorn” and other ways to create healthier relationships between academia and the IT department. By Michael Hart 03/10/16

What’s Really to Blame for the Failures of Our Learning-Management Systems
By Michael Feldstein March 08, 2016

Advancing Technology and Online Learning – An Ideal Match for the Future
TeachOnline Blog

Gamification, personalization and continued education are trending in edtech
Posted Apr 8, 2016 by Sean O’Connor

Technology and the Imminent Disruption of Higher Education: Is Fear the Path to the Dark Side? by David Wheeler

Tyler Cowen Says Online Professors Should Think Like Bloggers
By Jeffrey R. Young April 12, 2016

Scholars wary of technology ‘over-promising and under-delivering’-
McGraw-Hill Education chief executive says companies must work to allay ‘legitimate concerns’ of higher education staff April 14, 2016  By Chris Havergal

Only 1 in 5 Students Obtain All Learning Materials Legally  – A new study on student piracy makes a convincing case for open educational resources in higher education. By Sri Ravipati 04/13/16

“Integrate” service launches

For the past few years, UofT has been working towards a new model of deploying educational technologies, and the ‘new idea’ recommendation service called Integrate allows instructors, students and staff to suggest ideas, and then allows other members of the community to show their support for those ideas by casting a ‘like vote.’

Read more about it here:

and visit the Integrate site here:

Prof. Melody Neumann wins IMS Global App Challenge

A big congratulations to Melody Neumann, Associate Professor at University of Toronto, who has won the IMS Global 3rd Annual App Challenge in the Institutional App category for the online tool Team Up!.

Team Up! started as a tool for synchronous online group work that enables groups of students to work on problem sets remotely in real time. The tool can be used in any discipline and was designed to facilitate good group dynamics during synchronous online group work, as well as provide a mechanism for peer teaching, immediate feedback, and part marks for approximate answers.

Read more about Melody’s award here:

Janice Patterson to Provide Leadership Around LME ‘Test Drives’

For several months, the University has been working towards issuing an RFP for a Learning Management Engine, a core piece of our Academic Toolbox Renewal Initiative. A key process of the LME RFP will be a chance for members of the UofT community to “test drive” a select number of solutions that make it through a rigourous evaluation process.

We are very grateful that Janice Patterson, Associate Director of the Centre for Teaching & Learning at the University of Toronto Scarborough, has agreed to help design and provide leadership around this test drive phase of the Toolbox Renewal Initiative.

Janice is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary leadership for this phase of the initiative. First, as Associate Director of one of UofT’s premier faculty development and teaching support groups, she has an in-depth and intimate understanding of the entire landscape. Second, Janice has been directly involved in the Toolbox Renewal Initiative from the outset.

And third, and perhaps most importantly, Janice brings a heightened awareness of divisional needs to the conversation.

For the last two years, the initiative team has been consulting widely and deeply with divisions and other major stakeholders. The, toolbox, is, after all, a pan-university ecosystem. But as we moved towards the LME RFP, with its community test drive phase, the project team, and our executive sponsors, felt that it would be a great opportunity to have a deep partnership with someone from a major division, who could really ensure we capture as wide a range of feedback as we could. We are very grateful to Janice, and the Centre for Teaching & Learning, for the willingness to provide this necessary leadership for the test drive phase.

For now, the actual RFP is still being developed, but you soon will be hearing more from Janice about the test drives. Please stay tuned.