May 29
That's a Wrap!

This week I was introduced to the phases of emotional responses to a disaster or crisis: 

  • The first phase is the heroic stage where individuals are motivated to do whatever they can to help others.

  • The second phase is the honeymoon stage where communities comes together to solve problems and deep bonding occurs.

  • Next comes the disillusionment phase where uncertainty, delays, fear, fatigue and stress weighs heavy.

  • And finally comes the reconstruction phase where individuals and communities begin to imagine and develop a “new normal".

As we cope with a global pandemic personally and professionally, where do you see yourself? Your department? Our institution?

For us, we're probably a bit in disillusionment but reconstruction seems closer! So, as we all work hard towards our shared future, would you offer some feedback about if/how Faculty Fridays could play a role to support you in teaching for learning?   

Sign in above and comment below, or send us an email directly to or with your feedback on the following:

Faculty Fridays Blog 

  • Is it important to you that the blog continue for another academic year? Why?
  • Currently the blog exists on a Sharepoint site without the ability for threaded conversations or comment notifications. Would you like that functionality? Do you have other suggestions for improvement to the blog?

FF@4: For the past nine weeks, FF@4 took place each Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM over Webex. FF@4 was an opportunity to end the day with colleagues talking about teaching for learning. 

  • Do you see value in FF@4s continuing in the future?

Thank you.jpgThank you to everyone who has contributed to our third year of this blog, particularly as we went daily during alternative delivery. Thank you also to all the faculty and staff who contributed to FF@4. And, thank you in advance to everyone who will share feedback with us. We will review it carefully.

Have a wonderful summer everyone!

Janine + Amanda


Phases of Disaster, SAMHSA, United States
May 22
Connecting Students and Industry

Today would have been RED Forum. RED Forum is an annual professional development day for all staff and faculty. RED is an acronym for three themes of the day: Relationships, Education and Direction.

While we can't be together for RED Forum, these are still important themes to guide our professional development.

Last week Dr. Watson interviewed Andrea McCann about how she has incorporated project-based learning using RIIPEN into her Marketing, Consumer Behavior and Retail Management courses. RIIPEN is an online platform that connects students to industry organizations that have current projects/problems they want help with. And, it all takes place on a global scale. You may have also read the Behind the Scenes blog post about this new approach.  

Andrea's new approach reflects the themes of RED Forum:

Relationships are strengthened on several levels: Students are learning skills in building effective teams; as well, the projects build relationships between industry and RRC and our students.

Education – Students are learning through applied, project-based learning. Andrea also noted that she is learning too: new companies, new trends, new teaching methods to support students. For example, instead of large synchronous classes on Webex or Teams, Andrea instead scheduled shorter meetings with groups of students to check in on their projects. She used those check-ins to coach students on content, time management, conflict resolution, client relationships, etc.

Direction - “I don't ever want to go back to textbook teaching. I am energized by the opportunity to embed essential human skills, like communication and problem-solving, into the course-level outcomes through these projects," Andrea added.  


How about you? How are you maintaining or growing Relationships? What Education have you pursued or feel that you need? What does the Direction of your future teaching look like?  

May 15
What do you miss about working on campus?

​​The Long Weekend is here and we wish you a relaxing time, hopefully away fr​om your desk and outside in nature. But before we leave the indoors, today’s post is just a fun one for you! 

Working from home is feeling more and more normal for me; however, I still miss many things about working on campus:  

  • Face-to-face contact with my colleagues on the Notre Dame campus 
  • Walking across campus to meetings or up the four flights of stairs to my office, as a way to get in some exercise during the day 
  • The friendly smiles of the servers in The Voyageur, The Buffalo, and at Tim’s  
  • The lively kid noises coming from the daycare’s playground
  • The spring beautification of the campus by the Grounds crew 

my workspace.JPGAnd I am also missing my big desk! When I moved into my current corner workspace, I scored a desk that wouldn’t fit anywhere else. At first it seemed excessive, but I quickly got used to having all that room to spread out. I have nowhere near that size to work with in my home workspace. I am, therefore, learning to operate with less room and more creative organizing that could possibly include spilling over onto the floor occasionally…  

What are you missing about working on campus? Anything? Nothing? Tell us by posting a comment in the conversation below.​

May 08
The “How” of Fall Planning

As we all prepare for fall, there are still many unknowns. So, today we’re talking about the “how” of fall planning, not the “what”. What are the things that you are doing now to ensure you will be ready for whatever fall looks like in your area?


  • What new skills are you learning? Are they skills in technology, teaching, subject matter expertise? Where are you accessing the resources to build those skills? LinkedIn Learning? CAE courses? Peer mentorships? Other? If you’re working on new tech skills, how are you linking them to sound pedagogy?


  • Who are you collaborating with? How are you doing it?

Shifting our Mindset

For me, I’ve been intentional about working on LEARN and Webex. I’ve been giving more thought to how to offer active, student-centered learning in both synchronous and asynchronous options, as well as layout for clarity and accessibility. I’m also practicing a lot in both platforms. To stay connected, I’m engaged with our community of practice built through Faculty Fridays. Each Tuesday and Thursday @ 4:00PM (for 8 weeks now), we’ve been gathering for an FF@4 to chat, to share successes and to brainstorm solutions. I’m so grateful for colleagues who have been willing to share with me. Time well spent for sure. (You’re welcome to join too. See the link in Staff News each Tuesday and Thursday).


How about you? What does the “how” of fall planning look like for you? Sign in above and comment below.

May 01
Top 5 Ways to Introduce Fun into an Online Classroom

It may be the first of May, but today is our last day of Faculty Fridays: Daily Edition. Amanda and I have enjoyed the opportunity to come alongside faculty during these challenging times to share best practices and offer support. Yet this blog is nothing without our community. Thank you for your willingness to share and learn with us. We have received back in spades.

Time for some Friday fun! How could we incorporate some fun into synchronous online sessions? Here are five ideas:

1.       First day introductions

Spoiler alert for my students starting on Tuesday! I'm going to ask them to show something that represents a healthy way they have handled self-isolation. I might show my Kitchen-Aid mixer as we've done a lot of baking around here! The Discussion Forum in LEARN is a nice tool for getting to know students too. You could ask students to write an acrostic poem based on their name or ask for two truths and a lie.

2.       Playing games  

This past weekend was my daughter's birthday. We were able to connect on a Zoom call to play some games with our family. One that worked well – the ever popular Kahoot! Did you know that you can use it during class, or even assign to students as an independent review activity? We also played charades. Could that be repurposed for certain skills or terms in your course? It was easy to send the words directly to each participant through the chat.

3.       Revise reviews

How about when reviewing material inviting students to either give a thumbs up or thumbs down in the chat? If we get a bunch of thumbs down, that may be a cue that point needs to be reviewed or explained in another way. You could do this with emojis too.

4.       Deeper questioning

How about a fun way to deepen questioning? I used to use this one in a Marketing course. When we were learning about buying centers, I would ask them to explain buying centers in a way/with a vocabulary that a particular group might understand, like a room full of kindergarteners, Winnipeg Jets or your grandparents.

5.       Plan theme days

My hubby's team does this occasionally with their team calls. For example, one day they are encouraged to share a picture from a favourite holiday. Or you could have a crazy hat day. Or you could choose a theme song for your class with your students (ie. “I Will Survive" or “Let it Go!"). My hubby's favourite was when they were asked to share a picture of their first car. What might be reasonable and fun for your students?


Have you incorporated some fun into synchronous sessions? Sign in above and share your comment below. 

Apr 30
Top 5 Learnings from Alternative Delivery

Teaching during alternative delivery has been challenging, exhausting, rewarding​, eye-opening…and more. It's fair to say that we have all been pushed beyond our comfort zone and experienced the role of instructor in a new light over the past several weeks. 

Today's post categorizes the top learnings of a handful of instructors into five topic areas. Maybe they reflect your own learning, or maybe you've had a different experience. Either way, we'd love you to join the conversation by posting a comment below. 


Today’s FF@4 will look ahead to teaching in the fall: How can we best prepare, in light of Dr. Christine Watson's message on Wednesday. Click on this link to join the session via WebEx at 4pm. 


  • ​“Don't let the technology dictate your class or workshop or session, or get in the way of your content. I've learned to simplify the tools I use. Don't be afraid to try out new tools and strategies, and also be willing to make changes and respond to what is and isn't working." ~ Carleigh Friesen, EAL Specialist, Academic Success Centre

  • “Sometimes the most valuable aspects or the most educational parts of the class require very little technology. A simple discussion forum or e-mail, if used appropriately, can increase participation and interest in topic." ~ Samantha Kozak, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication


  • ​“I learned more about tolerance, and soft deadlines, and to understand how stress and life circumstances played out in a crisis. To keep in mind, these are the same issues students face day to day, that are ramped up in a crisis. Deadlines without compassion are just road blocks." ~ Andrea McCann, Instructor, Applied Commerce and Management Education

  • ​“I've learned to be flexible: I had a student accidentally submit the wrong exam to the Dropbox. I told her to send the correct exam quickly by email so I could still give her marks. I've also learned to be patient with myself when learning new technology." ~ Heather Kade, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication


  • ​“I noticed that in the synchronous activities, my attendance numbers were up from around 15/26 to around 24/26. Students who never said a word in class, asked me questions via email and even video calls. Alternative delivery has been helpful for students not comfortable in large groups." ~ Vijay Chandrasekaran, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication

  • “Online teaching has provided a unique opportunity for me to meet the needs of each student (as much as I can) head on. Students are able to work asynchronously if necessary, work in smaller groups, meet with me virtually one-to-one, etc." ~ Sarah Hie, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication

  • “A good percentage of my students have been more active in online discussion and reflections than they ever were in class. I am becoming a firm advocate for a more hybrid approach to course delivery going forward as a result. Technology empowers many students to speak up, discuss, and think critically." ~ Bryan Dueck, Instructor, Early Childhood Education


  • ​"With asynchronous work I can post content well in advance of when I may have during synchronous work, some students have been able to work ahead, which has also spread out the grading load on my end, relieving a lot of end of term stress. However, I find the number of emails going out and coming in exhausting and many students have expressed that they're feeling that way too. I'm definitely going to work out more effective ways to approach certain types of communication in the future." ~ Jocelyne Olson, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication

  • “I have learned that instructions need to be meticulously detailed, and key pieces of information need to be highlighted (I wish there was a neon light font that flashed!) And I have discovered that daily interaction with the students is important to draw them into the course and maintain their focus." ~ Lindsay Mulholland, Instructor, Applied Commerce and Management Education ​

  • “Students really want to connect online. 'Seeing' each other on WebEx is so strange for everyone used to F2F learning, yet the eagerness for students to visit, encourage, comment and ask questions of each other and the instructor really has been inspiring...and a huge relief for me!" ~ Arlene Petkau, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication


  • "​I am blown away by what I have learned about teaching and learning in just 6 weeks. That learning came as a direct result of being engaged with a positive, committed community of practice. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing lessons learned and challenges. You all continue to help shape my effectiveness as an instructor." ~ Janine Carmichael, Instructor, Teacher Education

Apr 29
Top 5 External Resources

This will be our last week of Faculty Fridays: Daily Edition. Beginning next week, we’ll go back to weekly posts. FF@4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays will also continue through May.

For our last five days of daily posts, we’ll be focusing on top 5’s. Today’s top 5 are external resources that support our teaching practices.

 What is it?  What's to like about it?  
Cult of PedagogyBlog, Podcast, Videos, Store,  The weekly email, with its lively tone and immediately-useable information, prompts us to explore the site for more.  

John Spencer


Articles, Podcast, Youtube videos, Books With its focus on project-based learning, design thinking and making, the practical resources bring a fun and creative perspective on student-centered learning.
Faculty FocusArticles Regular research-based articles on topics specific to teaching in higher education.
Chronicle of Higher EducationWebsite, Social MediaWhile U.S.-based, articles share perspective on big picture themes in higher education.
Faculty FridaysBlogYou knew we would put our blog on the list, right!?! For us, the blog is not just about sharing best practices, but about building a community of those focused on teaching for learning at RRC.

What would you add to the list? Sign in above and join the conversation below.

Apr 28
Top 5 Memorable Quotes or Comments

This will be our last week of Faculty Fridays: Daily Edition. Beginning next week, we’ll go back to weekly posts. FF@4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays will also continue through May.  

For our last five days of daily posts, we’ll be focusing on top 5’s. Today’s top 5 is memorable quotes from readers and those we have profiled since the blog began.  

  • “Teaching can be as rewarding as it is exhausting, so every opportunity for professional development is worth taking advantage of, as a way to recharge yourself while expanding your professional practice. Professional development is like the corner pieces of a puzzle: put those in place and it's easier to build the bigger picture.” ~Amanda Le Rougetel, Friday, May 3, 2019 – re: Informal and Formal Professional Development

  • “I don’t love every student, but I love the learner in every student.” ~Pamela McLeod, Friday, November 17, 2017 – re: Loving Learners

  • I think it's important to remember that for every student that tells us about the problems he/she is facing, there are others who struggle on silently with similar issues. Sometimes reaching out when we notice a change in a student is a good way to uncover these issues so that we can offer our own help and that of our institution. ~Gail Horvath, Friday, March 8, 2019 – re: Responding to Students’ Lives 

  • "No instructor is a solo act. We are stronger when we talk to each other, help each other and support each other. Every one of us has likely had negative or challenging experiences; you are not alone! The best thing I ever did for myself was say (ok, maybe I yelled with a touch of panic in my voice), "Help!". My colleagues and my chair had (and have) my back - every time." ~Amanda Le Rougetel, Friday, November 16, 2018 – re: Advice to New Instructors


Today’s FF@4 will focus on end of term duties during alternative delivery. We are each other’s best support, so join us for a conversation. Click on this link to join the session at 4pm.

Apr 27
Top 5 Most-Read Posts during Alternative Delivery

Dear Faculty and Staff,

It has been a privilege to journey with you each day over the past 6 weeks in exploring teaching in alternative delivery.

This week will be our last of Faculty Fridays: Daily Edition. Beginning next week, we will go back to weekly posts on Fridays until the end of May. We will also continue FF@4 each Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM until the end of May.

So for our last five days of daily posts, we'll be focusing on our Top Five:

  • 5 most-read posts
  • 5 memorable quotes from commenters and those we have profiled
  • 5 helpful resources that support our teaching practices
  • And a couple of 5 surprises!

Mark Nelson supports the IT infrastructure of the blog behind the scenes. Last week he provided us with some new, unique metrics. It's clear our Faculty Fridays: Daily Edition readership has been strong and growing. Based on the data, here are the five most-read posts over the past 5 weeks.

We are so glad to have been able to provide useful information - along with a good laugh, too - during our Daily Editions:

  1. Friday Fun I Will Survive Coronavirus Parody
  2. Using LEARN for Learning
  3. WebEx Classroom Etiquette Part 1 and Part 2
  4. Best Practices for Communicating with Students
  5. Academic Integrity in Alternative Delivery

If you missed one, check it out!​​

Apr 24
The Impact of Online Communication

T​​his week, we’ve focused on some best practices for teaching and learning using WebEx, and I’ve learned a lot from the comments and conversations that have resulted from our posts and FF@4’s 

Today, I want to confess​​ that, much as I am getting into the groove of communicating via technology, I am also finding it tiring. By the end of the workday – and definitely by the end of the workweek, I am very glad to move away from my screen and not engage in either audio or video meetings!  

My experience over th​​e past six weeks got me wondering why I experience such fatigue from the technologically mediated forms of communication that is our new reality. So, I was delighted to come across an article that shed some light on the matter.  

Rese​​archers Gianpiero Petriglieri and Marissa Shuffler offer these points of understanding --  

  • Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, because we have to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. 

  • Silence on a video call can make us anxious, because it is less obvious why it is happening: Is the person ​​just not speaking? Has the technology failed or is it actually your turn to speak and you’ve zoned out and missed the cue?  

  • Being watched on screen means th​​at some of our energy goes into wondering how we are being perceived, so that’s more energy that we are expending while on the call.

Petriglieri and Shuffler also offer som​​e tips to help reduce fatigue from video conferencing:  

  • Limit the number of video calls in any given day, if possible. 

  • Offer – or ask for – the option to participate by audio only; turn off the camera.  

  • Create a physical distance, if possible, between your work/screen-meeting space and your personal living space. 

I try to discipline myself to shut down my laptop at the end of the workday and, at the en​d of the workweek, to pack up all my equipment and put it away. This helps me feel – and see – that the weekend has come. And on that note, I hope you each have a restful weekend.  

How about you? What strategies have you developed to reduce, or recover from fatigue, that you may be experiencing due to online working these days? Sign in above, then join the conversation below. 

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Faculty Fridays is a blog to nurture and celebrate teaching for learning at Red River College. To reach us directly, email Janine Carmichael or​ Amanda Le Rougetel​