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Learning Technologies

Learning Technologies


7 Principles of Inclusive Design webinar

February 12, 2018

Inclusive Design

Inclusive Design is about putting people first. It’s about designing for the needs of people with permanent, temporary, situational, or changing disabilities — all of us really. In this webinar Henny Swan will introduce the 7 principles and how they can be used alongside standards and guidelines, to take products beyond compliance.


Henny Swan is an Accessibility Specialist with over 12 years experience in inclusive design. She is a Senior Accessibility User Experience Specialist at The Paciello Group (TPG) and prior to that worked on cross device media player accessibility at the BBC as well as developing BBC Mobile Accessibility Standards and Guidelines.

The webinar

This webinar is relevant to anyone involved in the design and development of web content and digital environments — instructors, designers, developers, and policy makers responsible for Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) activities.

TLTC and eTV are hosting this webinar on Wednesday, February 21 from 10:15-11:30 a.m. in eTV studio B. Register to attend this webinar.

If you are unable to attend this webinar at eTV or prefer to participate on your own you can register online.

For more information contact Jim Hounslow.

Respondus LockDown – new features and changes – late May 2017

May 30, 2017

LEARN is removing the “LockDown Browser” option from the “Restrictions” tab in the Quiz settings. Instead, the LDB (LockDown Browser) will now be configured either from the Quiz tool main menu (“LockDown Browser” tab) or by creating an external link to the LockDown Browser Dashboard. This change also brings a new feature which allows students the ability to launch the LDB from the quiz start area.

To configure a quiz to use the “LockDown Browser” follow these steps:

1. Under the “Assessments tab” select “Quizzes”

2. Click on the “LockDown Browser” tab


3. Pick a quiz that requires the LockDown Browser, then select from the dropdown “Modify Settings”


4. Choose the Require Respondus LockDown Browser for this exam” to unlock the LockDown Browser settings.


5. You will also have the ability to pick more advanced settings.

6. When you are satisfied with your selections click “Save and Close” at the bottom right.

You have now setup the quiz to use the “LockDown Browser”.

As well, students now have the ability to launch the “LockDown Browser” from the start of a quiz:

1. When the student selects a quiz that is setup to use the “LockDown Browser” they will see the “Launch LockDown Browser” button at bottom of the quiz start page.


2. The “Launch LockDown Browser” button will check to see if the user has the LockDownBrowser installed and will prompt them to install it if they haven’t already.

Contact LEARN Support if you have any questions regarding the changes. (



August 22, 2016

What is HTTPS? HTTPS uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt and decrypt user page requests over the internet. This helps keep the information that you enter into your browser private as it travels through the internet. LEARN supports HTTPS fully.

LEARN was recently upgraded to a new version of D2L Brightspace – 10.6.3. A side effect of this upgrade is that our existing implementation of HTTPS stopped working properly. Previously HTTPS was enforced only on the login page in order to protect users’ login credentials. When users entered LEARN HTTPS became optional. Currently if we set the system to enforce HTTPS on the login page users are unable to login properly. It is particularly critical that logins to LEARN are done through HTTPS to protect users’ login credentials.

D2L is working on the problem, but if a solution isn’t found soon we are going to have to force HTTPS on throughout LEARN. This may have some side effects if courses are embedding insecure content. If the provider of content that’s been embedded in LEARN doesn’t support HTTPS it will not work when HTTPS is enforced. In most cases external content providers already support secure connections. For example, video providers like YouTube, Vimeo, and the College’s ShareStream video service all support HTTPS natively.

Even if we fix the current problem with HTTPS logins, we are going to be turning on HTTPS only in the fall prior to LEARN migrating to a cloud service.

Check if Your Course Is Affected

If you want to see what your course will look like when we switch over to HTTPS you can do this now. If you type https:// before the address in your URL bar ( you will be able to navigate through LEARN using a secure connection. If you have trouble seeing your content when accessing LEARN through HTTPS please contact us at

LEARN Upgrade Completed – August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016

LEARN has been upgraded to a new version 10.6.3.

All problems in the upgrade have been fixed.

  • All browsers should now be able to login to LEARN.
  • The login through HUB and the Employee Development pages has been fixed by ITS.

This new version includes many new requested features, enhancements and bugfixes. In general, LEARN still looks and feels the same, but many features have smoother and more intuitive workflows. The TLTC and LEARN Support have developed a guide to the changes:

If you have any questions or concerns about this upgrade please contact us at LEARN Support at

Gradebook – Student View: Hiding and Releasing Grade Items and Details

April 26, 2016

Gradebook – Student View:  Hiding and Releasing Grade Items and Details

LEARN’s gradebook is a flexible tool that gives instructors a great deal of control over how information is released to students.

Hiding a Grade Item or Category from Student View

There are many reasons you may wish to hide a grade item or category from student view.  You may wish to release grade items on a specific date, or only show a cumulative grade through the category.

Note:  Hiding grade items within a category may still display a grade on the category depending on the category settings.

Hiding/Releasing a Grade Item

  • Enter Course
  • Click “Assessments”, and “Grades”
  • From “Manage Grades” click the “action” button (Framework.ContextMenu.dropArrow) beside the grade item you wish to hide/release, then click “Edit Grade Item”
    LEARN_Edit Grade Item
  • Click “Restrictions”
    LEARN_Edit Grade Item_Restrictions
  • Adjust the “Visibility” settings
    • Grade item is always visible” will allow a student to see this grade item unless a release condition is restricting it’s view or there are higher level restrictions on its category
    • Hide this grade item” will hide the grade item from student view until this setting is removed
    • Grade item is visible for a specific date range” will allow for a timed release of the grade item unless a release condition is restricting its view or there are higher level restrictions on its category
    • Release Conditions can be applied to any grade item. A release condition in its simplest form is a setting that will restrict the release of an item until a defined condition has been met

Hiding/Releasing a Grade Category

To hide/release a grade category follow the same steps outlined for a grade item, except select the “Edit Grade Item” from the category’s “action” button (Framework.ContextMenu.dropArrow).  When you apply a restriction to a category it will apply the chosen settings to the items within that category.  Individual settings can still be applied to the item within allowing for staggered releases etc.  Note that even if an individual item in a category is hidden from student view a category by default will show a cumulative grade unless you change those settings.

Changing the Display Settings on a Grade Item or Category

When you first run the “Gradebook Setup Wizard” you made some decisions on what grade details you would like the students to see.  You can run the wizard at any point to make changes, make changes in settings or override those settings on individual grade items and categories.

Gradebook Setup Wizard

  • Enter Course
  • Click “Assessments”, and “Grades”
  • Click “Gradebook Setup Wizard”
  • Click “Start”
  • Follow the prompts


  • Enter Course
  • Click “Assessments”, and “Grades”
  • Click “Settings” near the upper right hand corner of the page
  • Click “Personal Display Options” to adjust settings for your view
    LEARN_Gradebook_Personal Display Options
  • Click “Org Unit Display Options” to adjust settings for student view

Override Settings in Grade Items/Categories

  • Enter Course
  • Click “Assessments”, and “Grades”
  • From “Manage Grades” click the “action” button (Framework.ContextMenu.dropArrow) beside the grade item or category you wish to modify the student view in and click “Edit Grade Item”
    LEARN_Edit Grade Item
  • Under “Properties” scroll to the bottom of the page, click “Show Display Options” if it is hidden
  • Apply any optional “Student View” settings you may want
  • Click “Override display options for this item” and remove or add options
    • By removing all options under “Override display options for this item” the student will not see any grade for that item. This may be an appropriate setting for a grade category if you are staggering the release of the individual grade items

Click “Save” or “Save and Close”

Releasing the Final Grade

By default the final grade is not visible to students.  It is up to the instructor if/when they wish to release that final grade to the students.

When using the “Gradebook Setup Wizard” to apply the initial settings in the gradebook, you will have decided if you wanted to release the final calculated or adjusted grade to the students. This setting will only affect what the student is able to see.  For your reference and purposes both the calculated and adjusted final grades are available.  You will notice throughout the wizard, and when you view the gradebook settings that there are distinct settings for student or instructor view.

Releasing the Calculated or Adjusted Final Grade

You can opt to release the final calculated grade at any time during a course. Releasing the final calculated grade early will show the students a running total of how they are doing in the course. Note that your program may have policies about not releasing the final grades to students outside of Webadvisor.

To release the calculated or final grade:

  • Enter your course
  • Click “Assessments”, and “Grades”
  • From Enter Grades or Manage Grades click the “action” (Framework.ContextMenu.dropArrow) button beside “Final Calculated Grade”, then click “Enter Grades”
  • Note whether you are releasing the final adjusted or calculated grade based on the settings applied in the “Gradebook Setup Wizard” or settings
    LEARN_Release Final Adjusted Grade

    • If you are releasing the final adjusted grade, you will first have to transfer all grades to the “Final Adjusted Grade” column
      • Click the “action” button (Framework.ContextMenu.dropArrow) beside “Final Grades” (near the top of the page), click “Transfer All” or “Recalculate All”, make any adjustments needed and then “Save”
    • Click the “action” button (Framework.ContextMenu.dropArrow) beside “Final Grades” (near the top of the page), click “Release All”
      • Manually release or un-release grades to specific students by checking or un-checking the box under the “Release Final Grade” column
    • Click “Save”

The Bewildering Language of Online Learning!

April 6, 2016

The Bewildering Language of Online Learning!

Source: March 10, 2016

“What on Earth Are You Talking About?”

For many faculty members, instructors, practitioners, administrators and policy makers, the language used to describe and discuss online and flexible learning is confusing. What on earth is a “flipped classroom”? What is the difference between “blended learning” and “fully online” learning? Why do some programs not have “instructors” but do have “mentors, coaches and guides”? It can be confusing.

Let’s look at the language of online and flexible learning and help understand what is being said when key terms are being used.

A Starting Point

Before we look at a variety of terms, there are some standard definitions of what constitutes an online or blended course. The following table was widely adopted as establishing the definitions for these terms.

Proportion of Content

 Delivered Online

Type of Course

Typical Description



Classroom-based teaching with assignments and activities which students pursue independently of each other.

1 to 29%

Web Facilitated

Web resources and technologies are used to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. May use webpages and course management systems (CMS) to post syllabuses, readings and assignments.


Blended / Hybrid

Course blends online and face-to-face delivery. Substantial parts of the content are delivered online and discussions, team projects and activities and web safaris are used for learning. The number of face-to-face sessions is decreased as the volume of online activity increases.



A course where all, or almost all, of the content is delivered online with no or a very small number of face-to-face meetings.

Table 1: Common Definitions of Terms for Online Learning

The other two key terms used extensively when talking about online learning are synchronous and asynchronous. Here is what these mean:

  • Synchronous learning – this refers to a learning event or activity in which a group of students are engaging in learning at the same time. For example, students at various different sites are linked together by audioconferencing, videoconferencing or web conferencing for a class at a particular time.
  • Asynchronous learning – given the above definition of synchronous learning, it comes as no surprise this term refers to courses or learning activities in which students can connect at any time – they don’t have to be online or in class at a specific time. They may still have extensive interactions with other students and their instructor, but when they do so is less important than the fact they do so.

But since this table was developed and the language of synchronous and asynchronous learning began to be in widespread use some fifteen years ago, new terms have emerged. Three in particular are important: (a) open and flexible; (b) flipped classroom; and (c) competency-based learning. Let us explore these terms.

Open and Flexible

Two terms which have a wide currency in the field of new approaches to teaching and learning are “open” (as in openeducational resources or open university) and “flexible learning”. Let us look at these two terms:


  • An open university, college or school is a place in which prior learning plays no part in the admission process. Rather than looking at entry qualifications (high school diplomas, GPAs, scores on standardized tests), an open institution accepts all who wish to study. It focuses on rigorous assessment of their learning, rather than what they bring to their learning.
  • So as to prevent the idea of an open door to learning becoming a revolving door – one in which more students fail than succeed – investments need to be made in self-assessment tools (“are you ready for…”), advising and student support services.
  • When used in the context of learning resources – as in “open educational resources” – the term refers to the fact anyone can access and use the learning resources and, in many cases (depending on the nature of the Commons License(link is external)), reuse and repurpose them while fully acknowledging their origins. Substantial open resources are available from iTunes University, OER Commons and OERu.


Imagine a student anywhere in the world who can for some (but not all) programs:

  • Attend a class at a campus and earn credit – 15 weeks (45 hours).
  • Study the same course online over 15 weeks.
  • Study for a program / course in modules based on competencies, each lasting 2-3 weeks and earn credit (and/or an Open Badge[1]) and accumulate such credits into transferable courses required for program completion.
  • Attend a boot camp or intense “hands on” learning period (the duration determined by the time required to master a competence) for practical work. For example, almost all of the Funeral Service program can be seen delivered online, but embalming requires “hands-on” / lab work. This “hands-on” component could be delivered in a five-day boot camp or through proctored work through arrangements with funeral homes throughout the province. Ongoing supervision of this skill could be monitored by video submitted by the student.
  • Secure credit for training and development courses taken in the workplace for all but one course in a college or university program.
  • Secure credit through PLAR, transfer credit and work-based learning agreements and proctored online challenge exams for all but one course in a program.

All of this requires the college or university to see flexibility as not just about increasing its online learning activities, but also to re-think the experience of learning, credit recognition and the student’s connection to the institution. This is why this strategy for flexibility needs to be driven by pedagogy, not technology, finance or administrative needs and why the drivers of this work need to be faculty and instructors supported by expert students, administration and the technology team.

The key principle should be student choice. A focus on flexibility is aimed at expanding the repertoire of services available so that the college or university can make such responses.

Flipped Classroom

There are a variety of roots for this idea, which is growing in use, but the approach to teaching and learning it represents is straightforward.

  1. The flipped classroom is a specific form of blended learning.
  2. Instructional content – the knowledge and understanding needed for mastery of the learning for a course – is delivered online not in the classroom. No more “sage on the stage”.
  3. Class time is not used for content, but for exploring the implications of the content or the student’s learning. Discussion, MOOTs (used in legal studies), lab work based on the content, project-based learning, small group work, using the content to demonstrate a skill or the application of the learning are used in class time to make the learning “real” and meaningful for the students.
  4. Assessments are done and submitted online and feedback is delivered online.
  5. Students are also encouraged to engage in reflective learning through blogs and social media.

You can see examples of this approach in use here(link is external).

Competency-Based Learning

This is a different approach to how students secure recognition for their learning. Let us use an example as a prelude to explaining this idea.

The University of Wisconsin has started to offer a competency route to a degree based entirely on competency-based assessments. Known as the “flex option”, courses are not required, but rubrics for competency are very clear and explicit, making learning focused and direct. The University suggests appropriate learning resources for leaners to use to support program completion – all of which are either third party or open educational resources.

Students can use the mentoring and coaching services of the University when they feel the need of assistance. When ready, the student calls for a mastery assessment. Such a program is similar to the Western Governors University offering. They are not alone in doing so. In the US, Southern New Hampshire University, Capella University, Kaplan University and Walden are all offering this same route to a degree. In his call for free college education in the United States, President Barack Obama recognized these developments as “game changers” for skills[2].

To make this kind of learning work, there is a lot for faculty members and instructors to do where the knowledge, skills, understanding and social networks which faculty members and instructors have can be fully leveraged in the interest of students and the program they are attached to. This work includes, but is not limited to:

  • In partnership with employers and other faculty members and instructors, determine what the needed knowledge, skills and competencies are for a particular set of learning outcomes.
  • Design and develop a range of rigorous, multi-faceted assessments for the knowledge, skills and competencies making best use of all available technologies for assessment.
  • Design, in partnership with other faculty members and instructors, instructional designers and librarians, the learning pathway and resource recommendations for students making best use of open educational resources, third party multimedia and more traditional resources, video resources and community resources.
  • Design, in partnership with instructional designers and others, alternative routes for students who are most able and those who are least able, given the learning outcomes and competencies they are expected to master.
  • Be available to mentor, coach and guide students on an as needs basis following the college or universities design for this support.
  • Assess students against the competencies and skills required for mastery.
  • Certify students as having mastered the skills required for the learning outcomes.
  • Actively engage in research on the knowledge domain and skills so that the work is continuously updated and improved.
  • Participate in professional development activities aimed at improving assessment, outcome-based learning, the development of OER material and learning pathways.
  • Design, develop and share open educational resources relevant to the field of study and the learning outcomes.

This work fully leverages both the content and professional instructional expertise of faculty, but places them in a different relationship to students than is currently the case.

Competency-based education is growing quickly in Canada for K-12 students(link is external), for trades(link is external) and some professions(link is external)including medicine(link is external).

Some Important Technology Terms

You are also likely to encounter a growing number of technology terms as you explore open, online and flexible learning. Here we look at five which are in common use.

  • GamificationThe use of serious games as a way of developing understanding and mastery of knowledge, skills or competencies. See here(link is external) for an excellent exploration of what this is and why it could be helpful for teaching and learning.
  • Immersive Learning EnvironmentsAs its name suggests, an immersive environment allows students to be totally “immersed” in a self-contained artificial or simulated environment while experiencing it as real. Immersive environments can offer students rich and complex content-based learning while also helping students hone their technical, creative, and problem-solving skills. Because immersive environments are so rich and visual, users tend to be highly engaged. We can expect to see significant developments here as 3D virtual reality headsets(link is external) become low cost and enable a great many experiences to be highly personal and interactive.
  • Adaptive Learning and Assessment SystemsThese systems enable students to assess their progress with online assessment for learning (these can be complex, challenging or simple assessments). As the students complete their assessments, the system helps them identify where they are strong, what their weaknesses are, and brings to their attention new learning resources that enable the student to strengthen their learning, especially in their areas of weakness.These systems use machine and artificial intelligence to reorder and find appropriate learning resources, given the performance of each individual student. Such systems are built in to most learning management systems (e.g. Desire2Learn, Blackboard), but are also available as standalone products like Knewton, ALEKS, Grockit and KnowRe. This is also an area of rapid growth and development, as you will see here(link is external).
  • SimulationWhether in a virtual space or in a game, this refers to the use of technology to simulate situations in which the student may find themselves or wishes to explore. For example, there is Second Life(link is external) simulations built for those training to be electricians or explorations of decision-making in historical conflicts for students of history. While some of these simulations use technology, others do not.Simulations provide multiple chances to practice, including making attempts with higher risks and spectacular failures, and to learn, retry, and master new skills faster and with less effort than through experiences not mediated by computers.
  • Immersive Tutoring An intelligent tutoring system is computer software designed to simulate a human tutor’s behaviour and guidance. Because these systems are able to interpret complex student responses and can learn as they operate, they are able to discern where and why a student’s understanding has gone astray and to offer hints to help the student understand the material at hand.Intelligent tutors provide many of the benefits of a human tutor to very large numbers of students and can also provide real-time data to faculty, instructors and developers looking to refine teaching methods. You can read more about this development here(link is external).

If you come across technical ideas or terms and need help, then Educause offers a place to learn and deepen your understanding. Look in particular for the series 7 Things You Need to Know.(link is external)

There are many more

This is a basic introduction to some key terms for online, open and flexible education. There are many other terms – see here(link is external), here(link is external) and here(link is external) for well used glossaries – but we have offered the ones listed here from a faculty and instructor perspective so as to connect these terms to the practice of teaching and learning.

[1] Open badges which recognize competency based learning are a fast growing feature of the education and training landscape. See is external) for a description of these developments and is external)for the protocols for issuing badges.

[2] Speech in Buffalo, New York, August 22, 2013.


The TLTC’s Digital Learning Tip of the Week – Campus Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative

November 24, 2015

Campus Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative

This fall Manitoba’s Minister of Education and Advanced Learning announced the Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative. This initiative‘s goal is to make higher education more accessible by reducing students’ costs through the use of free open textbooks. In pursuit of this goal Campus Manitoba and BCcampus have partnered to build a website that allows students and faculty to browse, view, and download open textbooks for use in their courses.

Open textbooks use open licenses, which means that they are free for you to use, re-use, modify, and adapt to fit your course’s unique requirements. Students can use them for free and they can be adapted into any format that suits them. They are an affordable, flexible alternative to expensive traditional textbooks. Click here for a summary of open licenses.

Check out for more information about the Open Textbook Initiative. You can review the open textbooks they have available at

Here are some examples of what you can find. There are many more!

Adult Literacy



Business Technology

Introductory Business Statistics




Cooking and Baking

Trades Common Core

Teaching in a Digital Age



Computer Science

Earth Sciences


Medical – General

Campus Manitoba is delivering a webinar about the Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative Dec. 3rd from 1:30-2:30.  Please view the Employee Development page for more information or to sign up.

This tip has been brought to you by the Teaching Learning Technology Centre, part of Red River College’s Centre for Teaching Excellence, Innovation, and Research.  Check out the TLTC’s blog for detailed information on how to use LEARN and many more tips, tricks and info on learning technologies.

Blog Post: LEARN Email Change

November 12, 2015

We’ve been listening to your feedback, and we’re addressing the #1 issue that users have with LEARN – the inability to reply to forwarded emails. On December 1st, LEARN’s email is changing to be a send-only email system. This means that while LEARN will still be able to send email, it will no longer receive email – replies will go to your College email account (but you can configure that account to forward emails wherever you prefer).

We’ve set up pages explaining the switch with different instructions for instructors and for students:

LEARN Email Switch For Instructors

LEARN Email Switch For Students

If you have any questions please contact us at

Capture and Paste the Easy Way

October 28, 2015

How often do you want to capture something on your screen and post it in LEARN, a Word doc or email?  There is a way to capture anything on your screen as an image or a video, annotate it and paste it.  One thing more: it’s free and available on a click from the college software center on your computer

On a college computer use the search available on the start button and type on Software Center.  You can click around the catalogue and find Snip. At home just go to to download and install it like any other program.

snip imageFollow the steps to install and in a few seconds it is ready for use.  It will appear automatically at the top of your screen when you move the mouse pointer near there.

Here’s what you can do.

    • Snip anything on your screen. Snip an image, a window, or any other object on your screen. Click and drag to adjust  your snip and automatically copy it to the Clipboard.
    • Annotate your snip. Add voice narration if you wish or just draw on your snip for emphasis.
    • Annotate pictures. If you have a built in camera on a laptop or tablet, you can mark up the images or record a narration to describe the scene.
    • Share your snips easily. The most common scenario is: (1) snip something on your desktop; and (2) paste it from the Clipboard into an email or other document. For snips annotated with voice or ink, there is a third step: (3) share your snip by clicking Link in Snip to get its URL, or Embed to get the embed code.
      Snip currently requires Windows 7, 8 or 10.

Here’s an example lesson  from Tiffany Dinh (used by permission). Watch how she marks up the screen as she talks.

For you this may be the easiest way to build an instruction guide with pictures and arrows.  It is also the fastest way to capture a quick talk-through of some steps you want to show  in LEARN.

It certainly is the simplest way to paste something from your computer screen into an email.



LEARN Email Change to Send-Only

July 20, 2015

LEARN’s email is being changed to a send-only email system. After this change you will no longer be able to receive email inside of LEARN. LEARN will only be able to send email, and only to designated College accounts.

Basically, the only thing that will be changing about LEARN’s email is where the email is sent. LEARN will still be able to send your emails in exactly the same way you’ve been doing it, except the emails will be sent out to College accounts.

There will be two phases to the introduction of send-only email. The first phase will involve turning off the ability to receive email in LEARN but keeping the inbox as it is now. The second phase will involve turning off the inbox in LEARN entirely, replacing it with a compose email window.

What does this mean?

Phase 1 – Early December 2015, day TBD

  • You will still be able to send emails from LEARN as before, but your emails will go to College email accounts, not LEARN accounts.
  • Receiving email in LEARN is disabled. Instead your email will be received at your College account. You can forward your received email to your regular College email account.
  • Click here for instructions for accessing and using RRC student email accounts.
  • You can still read your previously received email in LEARN
  • The addresses in the address book will be for College accounts only. For staff these addresses end in and for students they end in
  • When your recipient replies to your email their reply will go to their College account.

Phase 2 – January 2, 2016

  • The LEARN inbox is turned off altogether. You will no longer be able to access emails in LEARN. Please make sure you have forwarded important emails to your College account.
  • You will still be able to send emails from LEARN.

Frequently Asked Questions



Please contact LEARN Support at if you have any questions or concerns.