Online Education: Digital Literacies


COVID-19 global pandemic posed unprecedented challenges of working and learning fully online. To support both students and instructors, ETS Learning Designers created Online Education: Digital Literacies modules, designed for all those who wanted to build and expand their knowledge and application of digital competencies that were particularly relevant designing learning for hybrid spaces that intersects the online and face-to-face spectrum.

During COVID, the whole university worked, learned and taught to a greater extent remotely, than had ever been the case historically.

The aim of the Online Education: Digital Literacies modules were to:

  • Increase digital literacies and digital knowledge mobilization and citizenship awareness
  • Explore interactivity built into all hybrid learning environments
  • Enable legal and fair use of various ways to share knowledge remotely, such as creative commons licenses
  • Consider the design of inclusive digital spaces
  • Increase feelings of confidence and competency in online teaching and learning spaces
  • Expand understanding of the safe, social, and ‘professional’ use of a wide range of technologies

Each module was designed to support these six aims as the participants engage in their own learning trajectory, building and expanding their foundation in digital literacies. The modules contain interactivities for participants to actively engage with the content and test their understanding of the concepts.

The topics covered in this resource:

  • Digital Literacies: Overview
  • Information Literacy and Search Technologies
  • Digital “Maker” Technologies
  • Canvas (UBC centrally supported LMS)

Each module includes a number of subtopics and “Dig deeper” section with supplementary learning resources for those participants who would like to explore the topics and ideas in more detail, and a survey, “We would like to hear from you,” an opportunity to leave anonymous feedback on the helpfulness and usefulness of the information provided. The survey can be taken for a single module or for a set of modules.

Online Education: Digital Literacies modules are offered under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial Creative Commons license. The access to the resource is free for any UBC member with CWL (Campus Wide Login) account.

The course opened on August 17, 2020.

Project Team

The project was sponsored by Dr. Blye Frank, Professor and Dean, Dr. Marianne McTavish, Professor of Teaching and Associate Dean, Teacher Education, & Dr. Mary Bryson, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty of Education

The resource developed by

  • Helen DeWaard, Learning Designer, ETS
  • Joyce Kim, Learning Designer, ETS
  • Meghan McMillen, Learning Designer, ETS
  • Yvonne Dawydiak, Manager, Learning Design, TEO
  • Faeyza Mufti, Manager, Learning Design, ETS
  • Natasha Boskic, Director, Learning Design, ETS
  • Jenny Zhu, LT Support, ETS

Team Lead

Faeyza Mufti

Much of the material for this resource had been sourced from the Faculty of Education’s online Master of Educational Technology (MET). program. Thanks to all the MET course authors and instructors, and to Dr. Mary Bryson, Dr. Teresa Dobson, Dr. Natasha Boskic, Dr. Mark Bullen,  Dr. Janet McCracken, Jeff Miller, and Dr. Lori MacIntosh for allowing the rip, remix and reuse of their course content and activities. The design team is especially grateful to Dr. Leah Macfadyen, Associate Director & Instructor, Master of Educational Technology Program for her help in identifying existing resources and reviewing the course, and to Dr. Jennifer Jensen for her valuable feedback.

Taken from the survey

Thank you very much! The whole course was wonderful and a great introduction to online learning and resources. I was glad to have been able to complete this course before the start of the fall term so that I could explore the additional links, test out some applications, find the applications that work for me, and have time to reflect on how I will use these resources for physical and digital spaces. I have had time to reflect on my personal statement and I am glad to have been introduced to the idea.

The brief tutorials and explanations for the use of Canvas were very helpful

The many resources and links provided are very helpful in finding appropriate technology to use

I found it important to go over my biases when it comes to understanding the internet and how people interact on various platforms. All of the modules helped me come up with ideas for diverse learners and has opened up my mind to new online teaching formats and the delivery of content, support, encouragement, and assessment. The course made me reflect on my current idea of teaching. Lastly, I found the copyright, video and photography tips, and the IPad resources to be the most helpful! I have been looking for policies, permissions, video tools and guidance on shooting visual media (for physical and virtual classroom settings) for a while.

The intro of the copyright and fair dealing gave me a better understanding about how to use the online resources well.

all of it–helped me to realize how little I know about participatory platforms online

The section called designing for diverse populations really gave me a better understanding about informal and formal learning activities. Also the research of game design for students is very interesting too.

The digital literacy section is useful, with those videos and slides I found it helpful to understand better.

Making sense in digital space and places’ was helpful for beginning to analyze our amount of time spent and our dependency on technology in this upcoming online semester, and the evolving need to take consistent breaks from the screen to reconnect with our own thoughts and our family/friends.

The digital literacy unit provided a solid bed to understand the foundational challenges and benefits of using digital content in a learning environment.

Thank you for taking the time to help us with this. I would have really struggled without this help.