19 September, 2013

At the general members meeting of WNDER on 19th September, those members in attendance addressed the draft constitution for the group, with a particular focus upon the model for governance. The structure of the governing body of the group was amended from that originally proposed to the one below:

  • Convenor
  • Communications Officer
  • 4 Members of the Advisory Committee
  • Graduate Student Member of the Advisory Committee

These positions will be filled by electronic nomination and ballot over the next 2 weeks. Members at the meeting ratified the group constitution with the amended governance structure, discussed the mechanisms for responding as a group to the report of the E-Learning Task Force, and discussed future events for WNDER. The minutes to the meeting, and the PowerPoint for it, are available here.

14 September, 2013

I’m delighted to announce the time and place of WNDER’s first general meeting!

Thursday, 19 September, 2013.
10:30am – 12:00pm
University College 224A
(Next to Conron Hall)

My apologies to those who cannot make this time and day: it’s going to be pretty much impossible to target events and meetings for times when everyone is available, but we will vary these to ensure that everyone can make at least some of them.


For the meeting, we will be following this agenda:

  • Brief Welcoming Remarks
  • Ratification of the Group Constitution
  • Election of a Board of Officers for the group
  • Discussion of the group’s response to the E-Learning Task Force Report
  • Discussion of the best uses to which we might put a work/study student for the group
  • Discussion of future events for the group


The constitution can be found here on the group web site.

Election of Executive Committee

The constitution currently calls for the election of an Executive Committee composed of the following Officers:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Communications Officer
  • Treasurer and Administrator
  • Graduate Student Member-at-Large

Please note that, while the last of these positions is reserved for graduate students, all other positions may be held by anyone, including graduate students, who is a full voting member of the group.

It would be great to see as broad and representative a slate of candidates as possible, so please to consider running for any of these position!


We will take nominations from the floor for each of these positions at the meeting, but you may also email me your nominations ( beforehand. You may nominate yourself. If you would like to nominate someone else by email, please be sure that the person you wish to nominate is willing to stand. Members who are unable to attend are still eligible to run for and be elected to any of these positions.

Email Ballots

I will publish a list of the nominations I receive by email by 5pm on Wednesday, 18 September. At that time, and up until the commencement of the meeting, I will accept votes by email from anyone unable to attend the meeting on the Thursday. Please send your email votes to Leanne Trask at the Dept. of English:

Leanne (who is our graduate studies administrator) will pass these votes on to me after stripping the name and email addresses of the senders, so as to ensure that they remain anonymous.

14 September, 2013

Exciting news from Tom Haffie, 3M National Teaching Fellow and Coordinator, PRESSWestern Project  (with permission):

I am happy to announce that free access to a wifi based audience response system is close at hand.

In the past, our use of audience response relied on stand alone “clicker” devices that were purchased by students in the Bookstore. The new system, funded centrally, extends our campus standard technology to now provide free access for participants with a wifi enabled device. In class, students can now respond to “clicker questions” using their smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

For the fall term, this technology is available on a pilot basis allowing anonymous clicking only. WiFi clicking for grades will be available once appropriate security measures are implemented by ITS. We expect the secure system to be operational in time for the winter term.

If you would like to be part of this pilot, please go to and fill out the form.

7 September, 2013

Inside E-Learning Task Force ReportThe report of Western University’s E-Learning Task Force, Inside E-Learningis now available online. The Report was first released to the Provost in May of 2013, and represents the Task Force’s recommendations for the future of online learning and instructional technology at Western University:

The E-Learning Task Force has undertaken a review of e-learning at Western in the context of rapid changes in higher education provincially, nationally, and, indeed, globally. Growing demand for online courses at Western, mirroring increased enrolments in online courses at many other universities, reflect a change in student interest and expectations. Developments in technology raise the prospect of new pedagogical practices, the implications of which faculty members are exploring for teaching and learning in a range of disciplines. While there is no doubt that the use of technology in learning is advantageous, public policy directions in Ontario lend a sense of urgency to the development of e-learning initiatives, and are aimed particularly at access, student mobility, and—perhaps wishfully—efficiency.

WNDER is soliciting its members for feedback on this report, which we will compile and send to the Provost. The group’s response will not attempt to produce a consensus of the membership, but rather will represent the full range of responses — both positive and critical — that researchers and practitioners of eLearning at Western have to this report. The intention is to engage constructively in this growing conversation about the future of eLearning at our university.

Members who have comments (of any length) about the Task Force report should email them to mmcdayte[at] by 13 September, 2013.