video learning wrapper for the digital tattoo site

Learning Wrapper for Video

Learning wrappers take many forms (exam wrappers, homework wrappers, metacognitive wrappers). Their purpose is generally to provide learners with framework for reflection on their learning: what did they learn, what confusions surfaced and what do they need to explore further, change or seek clarification on as a result of what they learned? The use of learning wrappers need not be confined to exams and paper writing). Musician and scholar Jose Bowen, wrote a piece for his blog: Teaching Naked, where he described his use of cognitive wrappers to help students reflect on performance or rehearsal activities. The key is in the brevity and flexibility of the design of a wrapper. Bowen offers a 4 part model for designing a wrapper:

  • Rationale
  • Reflection
  • Comparison
  • Adjustment

Since reflection and self regulation are important aspects of learning in any self-guided learning situation, I wanted refine the learning design approach we were using for our Digital Tattoo website, and implement a modified learning wrapper for some of the video content we are curating or creating. Our goal with the site is to provide a space for learners to reflect on their own experience related to themes around privacy and online identity. We use questions as a springboard for reflection, video (or case studies) to help tell the story, and curated collections of resources to facilitate further exploration or taking action. We were inspired by the video wrapper design used for TedEd.


Since we are working in WordPress (CMS version), our wrapper was built for that environment. We chose the framework (headings):

  • Watch: obviously! leading with the video.
  • Think: a few questions in self assessment form to provoke thinking related to personal experience/reaction.
  • Explore: some curated content for wider context, further exploration.
  • Discuss: an opportunity to propose questions to encourage conversation

The coding work was done by my awesome colleague Rie Namba, with support from John Hsu. Plug-ins used include:

  • gravity forms: for the self-assessment in Think
  • display-comments plug-in shortcode: to get comments into the learning wrapper.


From Digital Tattoo:
Social Media Personalities
Privacy in the Cloud


* Learning Wrapper on the UBC Wiki: code for implementation on UBC’s CLF Theme in WP.

* plug-in shortcode for displaying comments in the wrapper: this was developed by Rie for UBC’s CLF theme in WP. Shared via GitHub


My most favorite thing…leads to my least favorite thing

My most favorite thing about my job is when I have the opportunity to facilitate a great discussion.  I got the chance to do this, World Cafe style recently with colleague Jan Johnson and assisted by our intrepid co-op student Victor Ng.  We posed 2 questions to learners and teachers on separate occasions:

  • what are the qualities of a really great learning (or teaching) experience you’ve had lately?
  • what are the necessary ingredients to make a great learning experience from your perspective?

Here are some of the results in graphic form (thanks to Victor and Wordle). Teachers on the left – learners on the right.

Detailed results were assembled on our  wiki

And talked about (yes, this was my least favorite part) during the Learning Conference last week – here’s the video:

If you have any responses to those questions – I’d love to hear them.

Choosing technology: considerating openness

Some time ago, Drs Tony Bates and Gary Poole developed a framework for technology use and selection called SECTIONS.  They described it in their book: Effective Teaching With Technology in Higher Education: Foundations for Success (2003)

We were looking for a resource to use to support faculty in making good decisions around technology use. We liked the SECTIONS model, but (in our view) a couple of things were missing:

  • a consideration of whether or not the technology supports an open approach (to content or participation)
  • a way for faculty to indicate the level of importance that they place on each of the considerations (for example, if the tool/approach does not support collaboration, is that a make or break issue?)

We also thought that we needed to refine the considerations in such a way that they would apply to a specific learning context, class or even learning activity – more at the level of an instructor’s concern than an administrator.

This is what we came up with as a draft.  We are starting to pilot its use through our Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth (which we are about to join forces with to become the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology).

At any rate, have a look, feel free to use and send us your comments/feedback and critiques.

Assessing Technology: Using the SECTIONS model (view and download the pdf)

Distributed Publishing Framework: a couple of ways to look at it…

My excellent colleagues and I have been mapping out a few ways to describe what is essentially a framework for authoring content that gets the most bang for the buck in terms of re-usability. If you want to know how we are leveraging the concept of embed code across blog and Mediawiki environments, Brian Lamb has put together a great screencast – hosted on If you’re interested in the broad strokes related to conceptualizing what this means to the average content author (instructor or student), you may be interested in these few slides I put together on Slideshare:

Parting Thoughts

I am wrapping up my participation the Open Ed course with a few reflections. Here goes:

  • Open educational resources are everywhere. The support provided to learners (either through institution based instruction or organization based guidance) plays a major part in making those resources useful.
  • Learning requires certain ingredients in order to take hold: new ideas, time to integrate, discuss and reflect and some guidance in the process.
  • Learners contribute to the creation of some excellent and relevant open educational resources – but I think this takes intention. I’m thinking about how much I have learned from the fellow bloggers in this course – I’ve added many of your blogs to my set of learning references. The intention ( I think) was to use blogging as a way to document our learning processes and (by accident or intention – not sure) we ended up with some really great learning resources that have contributed much to the OERs relevant to open education.
  • Facilitating learning requires both intention and support and this (at the meta level) requires resources – both human and infrastructure. Access to information is not enough to ensure learning – though, in many places, it is a good beginning.

The diagram below is a mapping out of some of my thinking about all of this. Not that I have it worked out. Not even close. Just trying to make some sense of the landscape and of the potential outcomes for learners. The red side represents the more formal learning, institutional environments while the green side, the more informal.

Learners Using Open Education Resources

click on the image to view full screen.

That’s all for now – thanks for sharing OpenEdders!!