MET alumni to the rescue!

In March 2020, when UBC made the decision to rapidly transition to fully online teaching in the face of the COVID pandemic, the UBC Faculty of Education Educational Technology Support unit (ETS) sought to urgently recruit learning designers who could support faculty and instructors as they moved 260 courses (over 1000 sections) online for summer and for the W1 term. Out of over 60 excellent applicants, ETS selected an extraordinary five. They worked on contract alongside with regular ETS team members over the summer providing consultation on learning design solutions to our faculty members, some of whom had no experience with teaching online or using Canvas.

ETS Director and MET Instructor Dr. Natasha Boskić reflects:

“Hiring MET graduates was an easy choice because, teaching in the MET program, I was already familiar with the calibre and expertise of the MET students. Their ability to learn quickly, their commitment to education, excellent time-management skills and culture of collaboration proved to be the best solution for Faculty of Education to continue with their courses and programs online with as little disruption of instruction as possible. Our teaching staff have been receiving support that is unique in its quality and dedicated hours. The ‘arrival’ of the MET graduates has been very motivational for ETS team, as it provides the opportunity to exchange ideas, solutions, and expertise in the area of online education and technology.”

These  are (some of) their stories…


Dr. Verena Roberts Ed.D., (MET 2013)

As someone who wanted to help with online learning in the middle of the pandemic crisis, the opportunity to work with the UBC ETS team has been a blessing in disguise. I am an experienced learning designer. However, the current ETS learning designers and learning technologists as well as multiple KIN instructors have taught me so much over the last few months. On my fridge (in Calgary), there is a quote by Albert Einstein that says “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. That is what working with the ETS team has meant to me. I have had the honour and privilege to work with my fellow MET grads like Meghan and Helen, as well as being part of the ETS team. We started on this team remotely and we have yet to meet any of our team face to face, yet I know I feel like I am part of the team. The last time I had that kind of online experience was in MET. It is no surprise that my alma mater welcomed me back and I am really enjoying the opportunity to support UBC instructors and see their learning design potential.


Meghan McMillen (MET 2019)

In the midst of a pandemic arose a job opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I felt so honoured to be selected as one of the Learning Designers to join the ETS team at UBC. I feel this opportunity has provided me with the ability to grow in my professional capacity while being able to work from my home in Qualicum Beach. As a Learning Designer, I have been able to help others in the design and development of their courses while at the same time, providing me so many learning opportunities.  The team I work with is amazing and I am grateful everyday to be a part of it. Although 2020 has been filled with so many challenges, working with ETS and getting to put the skills I learned as part of the MET program has been a wonderful gift. Working in this environment has cemented my already strong belief that it is possible to experience fulfilling and rich growth in the online world.  I am working and learning with people I have never met in person, but I know if given the chance it will feel very much as though we have worked side by side for a long time.


Helen DeWaard (MET 2013)

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi.”

As both Verena and Meghan have voiced, I am humbled to be ‘finding myself’ as I find myself working with the UBC ETS team. I immediately applied for the learning designer position when this opportunity arose, knowing that this job would push my learning into new spaces and places. My MET capstone portfolio [My Renovations] resulted in renovations in my personal and professional skills, abilities, concepts, and learning in the field of educational technology. Through continued application of my MET ‘renovations’, during the intervening years since my graduation, I was prepared for this return to UBC. It’s incredible that I can apply the learning I gained in the MET program during these current challenging times. As I work to support faculty through this rapid pivot to online instruction, my global professional learning network, developed during my time in the MET program, supports my work as an ETS learning designer. The UBC Faculty of Education conversations and relationships create rich ground for me to continue to transform my own teaching practices. This work, my colleagues on the ETS team, and the faculty in the Department of Education, challenge me to create new and “previously inconceivable” (V. Roberts, 2020) solutions to digitally enabled teaching and learning.