Rubric for eLearning Tool Evaluation

In collaboration with my colleague, Dr. Gavan Watson, we developed a Rubric for eLearning Tool Evaluation to support multi-dimensional evaluation of functional, technical, and social aspects of eLearning resources and tools. The rubric has been applied in two key contexts:

  • The rubric has been applied to the evaluation of tools featured on Western’s eLearning Toolkit in an effort to vet various tools for users.
  • The rubric has been used in consultations with instructors to aid in fostering comprehensive and critical conversations with regards to eLearning tools and their applications to teaching and learning


ED Philosophy Themes

Thoughtful Technology: Due to the way the rubric incorporates practice, pedagogy, and technological considerations, the rubric offers a framework for thoughtful integration of technology in the classroom. It’s not just about the tool and it’s features – it’s about how the tool will work for instructors and students in the classroom environment to achieve particular learning outcomes.

Tinkering: Development of the rubric was a collaborative effort that drew upon the collective knowledge of team members in the Teaching Support Centre and eLearning Team in ITS. I led an approach to rubric development that was iterative, allowing us to frame rubric elements around our practice wisdom, draw on the literature, and hone in on the criteria we valued.

Fissures of Opportunity: The project was inspired by identifying how we might improve our documentation and faculty support activities. It was clear that we regularly spoke to key considerations for evaluating eLearning tools yet did not yet have an articulated framework of evaluative elements. Developing the rubric has contributed to the improvement of one-on-one consults as well as support documentation, such as Western’s eLearning Toolkit.

Literature Informed: The rubric incorporated practice wisdom with literature as drawn from various areas of pedagogical and technological considerations for eLearning and technology use.

eLearning Programming Resources

As a member of the eLearning Team at Western’s Teaching Support Centre, I coordinate and lead various programs that promote thoughtful integration of technologies into university teaching and learning. In facilitating programs, I aim to provide contextual information by engaging participants in activities that allow them to dabble, discuss, and connect with literature and additional resources. The materials featured here serve to highlight the approach I typically take facilitate participants’ engagement.

Selected List of Programs and Resources

Event: Teaching with Technology Day 2016
Session: YouTube Lab for Instructional Videos
Audience: Faculty/Instructors
Resource Developed: YouTube Lab Manual (.pdf)
Description: I prepared this manual as a step-by-step guide for achieving various tasks in utilizing YouTube for creating educational videos. The intention of the guide was to engage users from beginner to advanced both during the workshop and beyond. YouTube Lab Manual by Lauren Anstey has been made available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Event: Future Prof Program 2016
Session: Open Educational Resources (OERs) for Teaching and Learning: Trends & Opportunities
Audience: Graduate Students
Resource Developed: OER Session Handout (.docx)
Description: This digital handout served as a summary of the various resources and information considered in the workshop. During the session, participants were supported to explore for themselves various examples of OERs and evaluate a resource upon a rubric. The handout was electronically provided to participants following the workshop so that they could connect with workshop resources and additional information. The Open Educational Resources for Teaching and Learning: Trends & Opportunities handout by Lauren Anstey has been made available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Event: eLearning for New Faculty Workshop 2016
Session: Organizing Content
Audience: Faculty/Instructors
Resource Developed: Infographic
Description: The eLearning for New Faculty Workshop structure was such that short 15-minute introductions preceded breakout tables for tailored and focused discussion. I led a mini-session on organizing content online and prepared an Infographic to organize the content discussed in the introduction. The Infographic provides three key considerations, as informed by the literature on digital content. The final section puts the considerations into context by introducing the Lessons Tool in Western’s LMS (OWL). The Presenting Content Online Infographic by Lauren Anstey has been made available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

ED Philosophy Themes

Conversational: Oftentimes, I aim to develop resources that invite ongoing conversation. I do this through offering additional resources that link participants to relevant and thought-provoking sources, by inviting questions and welcoming discussion beyond the confines of the workshop.

Thoughtful Technology: I aim to develop resources that place emphasis on thoughtful integration of technology for achieving teaching and learning goals. For example, the Infographic puts best practices first and foremost over technological considerations so as to model consideration of practices over tool selection and implementation.

Tinkering: Through the resources I develop, I support others to tinker and experiment with ideas, concepts, and tools. For example, the YouTube Lab Manual encourages the reader to test YouTube out in various ways in a low-stakes context so that they may more confidently dive into using YouTube for Instructional Videos.

Literature Informed: The resources I develop are regularly informed by related literature. For example, the OER handout includes reference to valuable journal articles on the applicability of OER

Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Modules

In 2014 I worked as a Research Associate on the collaborative development of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education Modules. The project was a collaboration between Queen’s University, Western University, and the University of Waterloo. The three institutions were funded by eCampusOntario to develop six online modules centring on key concepts of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The modules were intended to be adopted and adapted for a variety of contexts, particularly in teaching the foundations of teaching and learning in higher education to graduate students and instructors.

My responsibilities included the design and development of 2 of the 6 modules: (1) Principles of Course Design, and (2) Ethical Principles and Professionalism in University Teaching. I collaborated with the three institutional partners and the Instructional Design team from Desire to Learn (D2L) to produce the modules – integrating resources and expertise from the three centres to design, author, and develop the content and learning activities.



screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-11-50-20-amThis screen shot, from the Principles of Course Design module, shows a learning activity I developed as part of the Learning Outcomes component of the module. At the Centre for Teaching and Learning the Educational Development team regularly asks learners to assess learning outcomes for their quality based on a holistic rubric (i.e. is the outcome assessable? are the verbs too vague?, etc.). Based on our practices, I worked with the D2L team to develop a similar activity for the Teaching and Learning modules. After learning about what makes an effective learning outcome, users are posed with a series of learning outcomes. They are asked to use the checklist provided to assess the outcome posed. Feedback is provided after users complete their assessment so that common misconceptions can be addressed.

ED Philosophy Themes

Conversational: Modules were intended to be interactive and engage learners in activities for learning. The resources and activities I developed were intended to support ongoing conversation and engagement.

Thoughtful Technology: The D2L team offered technical solutions to brainstormed assets and activities. Given this approach, I designed modules by first asking – what actions would serve the intended learning outcomes of this module? I was then able to work with D2L to develop thoughtful technological solutions that engaged learners in ideal activities for learning.

Literature Informed: As with any teaching opportunity, I aim to incorporate best practices informed from the literature. Additionally, I seek to provide students with the skills and resources to interpret the literature for themselves. Module activities and content were both informed by literature in the scholarship for teaching and learning.