COVID-19: Faculty of Education Updates: Educational Technology Support

Friday, August 14, 2020 | 9:15 am

Preparing for Online Delivery in Winter Term 1

I am sure you have seen the many resources designed to support those who are participating in remote teaching and learning this fall. Offerings that have crossed my desk recently include Multimodal Assignments and Removing Barriers to Online Learning. Closer to home, Education Technology Support is offering a faculty mentor session entitled “Making Sure Your Canvas Materials are Accessible. Read the full details below and register for the session, which will take place August 18th at 3:00 pm:

Want to make sure your Canvas-based course is as inclusive and accessible as possible? UBC has signed a contract for a tool called Ally which integrates with Canvas. Ally is an accessibility application that helps make courses more accessible. It allows students to download documents in alternative formats (like audio or electronic braille) and provides practical guidance on how to make changes to improve accessibility. Join us to learn more about Ally, see it in action, and find out how to get it enabled in your course.

April 24, 2020 | 3:00 pm

Online Course Design and Management Tips

Questions to keep in mind when designing or delivering online learning activities:

  • Do students have good learning environments in which they can focus well?
  • Are students new to learning online, still adjusting or highly experienced?
  • Is the timing of synchronous sessions convenient for all students? Are there alternatives?
  • Do students have access to all material (PPTs, documents) so they can’t follow along easily?
  • Are there additional learning materials available to support student learning if the course is delivered via online lecture?
  • Is there some level of interactivity to maintain student attention?
  • Are the learning experiences inclusive, e.g., for students with hearing or visual challenges, poor internet connections that cause interrupted reception, etc.?

Course Design … read more

  • Pre-recorded lecture presentations are often convenient for instructors and students. Students can watch and re-watch when convenient.
  • Offering optional video lectures and sharing the recording in Canvas will give instructors better control of the recording access within a secure environment.
  • The Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Canvas integration is the UBC CTLT recommended tool to use to present, collaborate and meet with students. Sessions can be recorded for students and can be shared in the course easily.
  • UBC CTLT recommends using Zoom for live sessions involving 250+ participants. It is possible for instructors to do local recordings (cloud recordings are disabled) and then upload into Kaltura if needed.
  • Instructors can model recording etiquette for students when they inform students in advance and give them the option to turn off their video before recording sessions or parts of sessions.
  • Instructors can be selective about using optional live video lectures to focus on the most difficult concepts, or for interactive sessions and provide recordings in the course in order to keep the sessions shorter and engaging.
  • Provide PDFs of the PowerPoint or other files to students. PDFs format is generally more accessible than other file formats.

Classroom Environment

  • Establish the rules of engagement and etiquette in your invitation to the first synchronous video lecture
  • Remind students about information copyright (protection of intellectual property) in several areas in the online course:
    • Include information in the course syllabus that UBC policy clearly states that content created by instructors is the intellectual property of the individual.
    • Use a creative commons license on the Course Syllabus or home page.
    • Include a written reminder on the PowerPoint presentation that includes copyright material in lecture slides falling under the “fair dealing copyright exception permission” being prohibited from being recorded and distributed outside the course.

Some Guideline documents that can help with the online class management are:

April 17, 2020 | 3:15 pm

Computer/Device Security

A UBC Broadcast was issued this week to reinforce the need for increased cybersecurity controls on all servers and computers that are accessing, processing or storing Medium Risk, High Risk, or Very High-Risk information, as defined in Information Security Standard #01.

Please follow UBC guidelines to mitigate privacy and cybersecurity risks, with specific attention to:

  1. Use the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to remotely connect to the UBC network.
  2. Log out of VPN and your devices when not in use. Note: VPN should not be used when accessing video conferencing services.
  3. If possible, use UBC encrypted devices with appropriate security software and regular updates; if a personal device is used to access UBC systems and data, validate the security set up and controls with your IT department.

For more information, visit UBC Broadcast’s COVID–19 — Action required: New minimum cybersecurity controls for accessing UBC systems and information page.… read more

Online Course Planning

Given that Summer Term 2 courses are now to be delivered online and that the Faculty of Education is preparing for possible online delivery of Winter Term 1 programs and courses as well, please ensure that course planning is done as far in advance as possible to mitigate overloading ETS’s team and resources. Department, unit and school heads and directors can provide further updates.

Please note the importance of maintaining a respectful environment for all course participants in online courses. There are some particular considerations needed at this challenging time. To support you in this work, please refer to these documents:

April 3, 2020 | 5:22 pm

Changes to Zoom for Increased Security

UBC has recently completed a Privacy Impact Assessment in support of the approval of Zoom for Teaching & Learning and Administrative use. As you may have seen or heard, there are a number of articles relating to Zoom security and best practices. UBC Legal has confirmed the privacy and information security requirements for Zoom in their recently completed Privacy Impact Assessment. In response to concerns, Zoom has made some configuration changes, and UBC has also made changes to comply with the recommendations in the Zoom Privacy Impact Assessment. A summary of the changes are below…   read more

Changes to Zoom Default Settings:

  • Screen Share – By default, only the Host can share content. For details on how to approve others to share content, see UBC IT website’s Zoom webpage at
  • Chat Auto-Save – By default, chat auto save is now off
  • Guest Identification – All guests will show in the participants list with an orange background behind their names
  • Blur Snapshot – By default, the iOS task switcher is blurred when shared
  • Cloud Recording – Due to FIPPA regulations, Cloud Recording has been turned off without an option to be enabled. Local Recordings to a personal device (i.e. laptop) will still be available
  • Audio Notifications of a Locally Recorded Meeting – Participants connected to the computer audio or by telephone will hear a notification each time the recording is started, paused, resumed from being paused, or stopped
  • Phone Number Masking – Phone numbers of users will be masked in the participant list, for example: 888****666

These default settings are to provide better security. We encourage you not to change default settings unless absolutely necessary for your ability to run an effective video conference.

Prevent Zoom Bombing
You may have heard of a practice called Zoom bombing where unintended attendees disrupt scheduled Zoom meetings. To prevent Zoom bombings, please use the following best practices:

  • Avoid sharing meeting links on social media or public outlets
  • Avoid using Personal Meetings ID (PMI) to host public events – Your PMI is a persistent meeting room and people can pop in and out all the time
  • Manage Screen Sharing – To prevent random people from taking over sharing, restrict sharing to the host
  • Manage Participants
    • Lock the meeting – By locking the meeting after the meeting has started, no new participants can join.
    • Remove unwanted or disruptive participants
    • Disable video – Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video
    • Mute participants – Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from other participants
    • Introduce a Waiting Room – The Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you?re ready for them.

For full details and best practices to ensure secure and effective video conference sessions, please visit the UBC IT website Zoom webpage at

If you have any questions about Zoom, please contact our Audio Visual Help Desk at or 604-822-7956.

Jennifer Burns
Associate Vice President Information Technology & CIO, UBC-Vancouver
(Forwarded by Dr. Natasha Boškić, ETS, UBC Faculty of Education)

April 2, 2020 | 4:45 pm

Secure Zoom Accounts

For UBC teaching, learning and meetings, Zoom accounts should have in their address. As such, they have extra security and are not limited to 40 minutes as is the case with free accounts. To set up a Zoom account, send a ticket to AV ( UBC has a strict process whereby all new account requests are reviewed to ensure they are only for UBC employees. Under that basis the directory produced inside Zoom is fully compliant with FIPPA.

For those of you who have already created accounts using your UBC email address, please send a ticket to AV ( and ask them to transfer your free zoom account to the UBC license. (This transfer will not work if you used a personal email address.)

Please note that UBC Audio Visual Services will provide support for meetings that are scheduled using Zoom or Skype for Business, helping with orientation, set-up and/or initial assistance with users. The request for support can be sent to with the details about the meeting: day, time and preferred tool. After receiving a request, AV will confirm their availability and discuss the details and specific requirements, if any. They will be in the virtual meeting room 10 minutes prior of the meeting start.

Some additional safeguards for using Zoom are described in this article:

As always, if you encounter any phishing attempts, please forward (with the email as an attachment to show all header information) to UBC IT Security.

Call Forwarding from UBC to Home or Cell Phone

To set up call forwarding from your UBC desk phone to your home or cell phone, submit an IT Ticket through Service Now. UBC IT will respond and confirm that an account has been setup for you at (which can only be accessed with a connection to the UBC network or via VPN) and provide you with a User ID and password, whereby you can turn on/off call forwarding.

Working from Home

Please refer to Working from Home: Temporary Set Up Guide by Abigail Overduin, Ergonomics Program Lead.

March 30, 2020 | 8:51 am

Dear Colleagues,

Communication while working from home remains a critical part of how to work creatively and relationally. There are networking tools that you can access for free, that will allow you to connect your team/s digitally, in a way that is more efficient than email and that is less taxing than meetings. These tools are a good replacement for the f-t-f interactions we have with small clusters of colleagues on a regular basis that have disappeared with remote work.

Keeping Teams Connected
Zoom and Collaborate Ultra are great way to have video meetings. However, you can also set up small and large clusters of colleagues and have immediate communication with the whole office, teams and individuals by using other tools, that are less bandwidth demanding and faster than email…   read more

To have a quick chat, exchange of ideas or tasks, use chat/instant messaging options:

  • Skype for business – available to all UBC faculty and staff members who have FASmail account. You can create a group and exchange text messages with your team members.
  • Slack is a real-time chat tool that allows you to create topic-specific channels to organize group discussions, making it an ideal instant-messaging interface for team communication and collaboration.

WIFI Causing Video or Audio Freezes in Zoom?
When using video or audio to connect with others, use a wired connection by use of an ethernet cable. Wireless is less stable and due to the increased number of users, the systems are experiencing difficulties. These WIFI issues can often be eliminated when you link your model to your laptop with an ethernet cable. Newer laptops may require a dongle to attach the ethernet cable to the laptop, which can easily be found on Amazon or other online providers.

Good tips and reminders about hardware, software and things we need to know when working from home on UBC IT site

Natasha Boškić, PhD
Director, Learning Design, Sessional Lecturer, MET

March 23, 2020 | 7:49 am

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

The COVID-19 Rapid Response team has asked me to provide information concerning technology and supports for the major changes to our workflow brought about so that collectively, we do everything we can to “flatten the curve”. As of today, all courses are being taught online and as Dean Frank made very clear – all faculty, staff and students employed by the Faculty are working at home. Remote work and social distancing have unique challenges. Staying connected and continuing to work while practising good self-care are very important in this time. Here is some relevant information about: Meeting Tools, Online Teaching and VPN…   read more

Online/Remote Meetings

  • Zoom – to get an account, contact The participants that you are inviting to the session do not need an account to join you online.
  • Collaborate Ultra – integrated with Canvas and available in every Canvas shell.
  • Skype for business – available to all UBC faculty and staff members who have FASmail account. You can invite non-UBC members to the meeting.

Online Teaching – Teaching Online and Moving f-t-f Courses Online for May Semester

ETS is here to support you with the transition to teaching online, course design and best tool choice. We are currently offering a number of remote drop-in sessions covering Collaborate Ultra, Learning Technologies, and Learning Design for Online. Check out the ETS website for more details or contact ETS at

If you are teaching in the May/June or July semesters, definitely get in touch with us if you would like to book ETS support to move your f-t-f course online. You can schedule a time with us when it is convenient for you by clicking on the link to an online form.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

UBC faculty and staff have transitioned to working and teaching remotely. At UBC, you need to use VPN when you connect remotely with particular information systems. you may need UBC’s virtual private network (VPN) service. The problem that has arisen is that VPN at UBC can’t handle the massive surge in users. It looks like people are turning on VPN and leaving it on, when they actually don’t need it. Many UBC applications do not require VPN for access off campus (e.g., Canvas, SSC, FSC, SISC, RISe, FASmail/Outlook).

Below is a list of the most common applications that require VPN:

  • Management Systems Portal (FMS/HRMS)
  • Home-drive (H-drive)
  • TeamShare (W-drive)
  • Remote Desktop (RDP)
  • Some departmental custom applications

Please visit the UBC myVPN set-up documents page to set it up.
Please be mindful about turning VPN unnecessarily. When too many people are simultaneously on VPN, the system may crash.
How do I access Home (H-drive) and TeamShare (W-drive) remotely?
The instructions for connecting to Home Drive and TeamShare drives from off-site are found at the following links.

Any questions about VPN set up or accessing drives, please contact IT services as usual by submitting a ticket.

For all other questions contact ETS:

Dr. Natasha Boškić [Director, Learning Design, Sessional Lecturer, MET, Educational Technology Support]

March 15, 2020 | 5:51 pm

Dear colleagues,

In the coming three weeks, Educational Technology Support will provide virtual assistance only. Before you contact us, please check some of the following instructions and resources. You may find an answer to your question already.

Teaching in Canvas – if you haven’t used Canvas before:

  • The best resource to see how to use basic functions in Canvas is to follow step-by-step instructions at, from uploading the content to creating assignments.

Please don’t forget to open your Canvas course to the students…   read more

Your virtual classroom – Collaborate Ultra

Watch a short (2.14min) video Orientation to Collaborate Ultra

If you do not see Collaborate Ultra on your Canvas menu, you can easily add it. Collaborate Ultra is a rich environment with lots of opportunities and functions. Please check the resource as lots of your questions will be answered there.

Non-teaching related meetings

If you already have a Canvas shell that you can access (from your previous or future terms), you can always use Collaborate Ultra as your virtual meeting room and invite people using guest link

Another option for teaching or meeting is using Zoom. However, FIPPA compliant Zoom accounts still have to be created manually by sending a message to As this option can accommodate 250+ participants, please be considerate with your requests as this may be the only option for other Faculties and our central support has limited staff numbers. There is always a free commercial version of Zoom that you can use for non-confidential gatherings.

ETS support

ETS will be available virtually from 8:30am – 5:30 pm Monday to Friday. I would kindly ask you to direct all your support requests and questions to our common address rather than to our individuals emails, unless there is a reason for it. It will help us assist you faster and more efficiently. We will triage your requests according to our roles and responsibilities. If your questions are related to your summer term teaching, I would ask you to be patient and maybe postpone them for a week. As much as we are willing to help, we will have to give current term-related questions a priority.

You can still sign up for our Monday 30-min virtual assistance. We will be posting the schedule for Tuesday to Friday help on our home page later this evening. Please visit our website for further updates.

Stay safe,

Natasha [Dr. Natasha Boškić, Director, Learning Design, Sessional Lecturer, MET, Educational Technology Support]

March 14, 2020 | 1:41 am

Dear colleagues,

Following Dr. Santa Ono’s broadcast email, and then our Dean’s notification about all UBC classes moving online, I would like to reiterate Dr. Frank’s words that ETS team is fully dedicated to providing support with this transition.

In order to maintain academic continuity of instruction, Educational Technology Support unit has enabled a link to a virtual classroom in all non-fully online courses All UBC courses have matching courses in Canvas automatically created with the students enrolled, even if the instructor has never used Canvas. These are the steps you can follow to deliver real-time lectures online:…   read more

  • Please go to your course in Canvas and login with your CWL. You will find the course you are teaching on your Dashboard; If you haven’t used Canvas this term, please check the sections Frist Steps and Getting Started Online from
  • A link to a virtual classroom, called Collaborate Ultra, has been added to Canvas course navigation in all non-fully online courses. Collaborate Ultra is a web conferencing tool with similar functionality to Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. It will enable you to meet your students in real time and deliver your lectures online. It is recommended to schedule your online real-time lecture at the same day and time as you would normally hold class. Collaborate Ultra will work for classroom up to 250 students. For larger classes (250+) you can use Zoom.
  • If you cannot find the Collaborate Ultra link, or you would like to remove it from the navigation, please contact us.
  • For any other tools, please visit

Multiple ways you can get support from ETS:

  • From Monday, March 16th, ETS will be offering virtual assistance in 30 min time slots, from 8:30-4:30. Please sign-up for the time that works for you, and you will receive an invitation to join us online. We will keep updating our website with sign-up opportunities for other days of the week.
  • You can also reach us
    • in person: our office is open for drop-in at any time from 8:30 – 4:30, Monday to Friday
    • by email:
    • by phone: 604.822.6333

We are working in collaboration with our colleagues from LT Hub and other Faculties to provide support and flexibility with a variety of tools. More information about virtual group training sessions coming soon.


Natasha [Dr. Natasha Boškić, Director, Learning Design, Sessional Lecturer, MET, Educational Technology Support]