MET student uses directed studies course to pioneer hands-on internship

In her graduating semester, MET student Shur, decided to take ETEC580, a directed studies course, under the supervision of Dr. Leah Macfadyen, MET associate director. Instead of opting to do a literature review or similarly theoretical project, Shur wanted something more hands-on.

“In the end, I was assigned to assist UBC’s Department of Medical Genetics with the course development for their newly launched [fully online] Graduate Certificate in Genomic Counselling and Variant Interpretation program,” she explained.

Through the internship, Shur worked as a learning designer assisting the faculty in the program to develop and build their online courses.

Most of the faculty she worked with had never taught an online course before. “The biggest misconception [I found],” she said, was the belief that “the best online learning environments relied on ‘hundreds of new plugins and technologies that a traditional educator could never learn’.” Shur stressed that when “creating an effective online learning environment, the primary goal is never to exploit tools for their own sake, but rather to harness the affordances of these tools to create meaningful learning built on pedagogy.”

More than just ‘helping get courses online’, Shur helped faculty feel more comfortable with the idea of teaching online, while helping to demonstrate that for online learning to truly be effective, you cannot simply record a lecture and post it online.

When explaining how her previous course work in MET helped her with this internship she said:

“It taught me to respond to situations that I never saw coming, ask good questions that moved things forward, research new skills I didn’t have, and, last but not least, gain the confidence to fight for the true potentials of EdTech –  it’s not about the tech, it’s about the learning!”