CUOL Focus OnLine Newsletter

In this issue:

Professor Profile: How does a CUOL prof teach a course about Quebec in the middle of Italy?

By: Bianca Chan

Prof Anne TrepanierProf Anne Trépanier has been in Rome for six months while simultaneously teaching her Introduction to Quebec Society online course. It hasn’t been as difficult as you might think, it’s been helpful even.

“At first I didn’t want to tell my students I was in Rome, but this is what online courses are for,” she said in an interview over Skype. “We all face the same challenges and we choose online [courses] for the same reason – flexibility.”

Trépanier and her family took the mighty step to move after her husband landed a job at the Canadian embassy in Rome.

“It wasn’t something that we wanted to miss out on and regret later in life, and with online [courses] I was actually able to do it.”

Trépanier said she has yet to face any major challenges with teaching at a distance. In fact, it’s been helpful because she said she’s learned firsthand exactly what her students need from her and how to keep them engaged.

“Being in Rome has taught me that I need to put in more hours and work than I would be in my office in Ottawa,” she laughed. “The students don’t lose. I’m more aware now that the instructions have to be clear and I’m trying harder to build an online community.”

Trépanier specifically uses online forums to build community among her students, creating a space for them to share information and learn from one another. “It’s definitely not the same as a traditional classroom, but that levels the playing field since I now have a similar experience to students,” she says. “I understand, now more than ever, that when you’re at home or away from school it can be hard to feel like you’re in a class. I want my students to feel like they can collectively and collaboratively learn from each other.”

“It’s definitely not the same as a traditional classroom, but that levels the playing field since I now have a similar experience to students,” she says. “I understand, now more than ever, that when you’re at home or away from school it can be hard to feel like you’re in a class. I want my students to feel like they can collectively and collaboratively learn from each other.”

On top of her students benefiting from the move to Rome, Trépanier said she also gets reap the rewards, besides the obvious bonus that comes with moving to Italy.

“It’s a win-win situation because I get to teach people here about Quebec in many ways,” she said.

Aside from teaching her students, Trépanier has been invited as a specialist of Quebec to several international delegations. She said she gets to represent a very important part of Canada that is sometimes underrepresented. Being in Rome has also taught Trépanier cultural and historical growth that she draws on in her own lectures on Quebec.

“There are so many similarities and connections between Rome and Quebec I hadn’t included before, but now I can because I’m here. It lends to a higher understanding of connecting in our world.” she said.

Trépanier will be making a trip back to Ottawa this summer to send off three of her PhD students, but will be returning to Europe shortly after.

If you’re interested in learning more about Introduction to Quebec Society, check the course list for the next offering.

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Tech Corner: Staying news literate

By: Bianca Chan

online_newsNo one has to tell me that reading, watching or listening to the news is not the most amusing form of entertainment. To be honest, I’m in journalism school and I only started keeping up with the news in my second year (I apologize to any journalism professors reading this).

However, I won’t be the first to tell you that staying news literate is extremely important, not only for being culturally and socially competent in everyday conversations, but also academically, for essays, assignments, and school in general.

But I get it – it can feel pretty inaccessible for those who don’t have newspaper subscriptions or cable, and especially for those students who, after a long day of studying, don’t have the mental capacity to look up the news.

Luckily for us, there are plenty of user-friendly apps that make it vastly more enjoyable to digest local, national and international news.

Here is my guide to some news apps that you should try; they are all a little different and suit different people. Try ‘em out, delete the ones you don’t like and keep the ones you do. You can thank me later!

Flipboard: Your social news magazine

Flipboard is perfect for those of you just dipping your toe into the deep waters of news. Used by millions of people everyday, it is a place to keep all the topics and news you care about in one, easy to use application. Plus, it is great for those who have short attention spans because you – literally – flip through headlines and pictures. It’s pretty much an adult picture book on your phone.

The Ottawa Citizen: Your local news outlet

The Ottawa Citizen news app is great for getting your local news fix. It has a strong Ottawa-based focus, with a “local news matters” attitude, but also serves up your important national and international go-to news. Whether or not you’re in Ottawa, Carleton University is and your professors most likely are. Plus, it is useful to know what’s happening in the nation’s capital.

Global Go: Your broadcast journalism on-the-go

Global Go is a video app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users that serves up full-length episodes and clips of popular Global shows. Most importantly, the app offers up a live stream of the closest Global TV station, with most TV service providers. Also, the new user interface includes content filters which make personalization a priority.

Twitter: Your “to-the-point” news source

If you’re a Millennial, odds are you have Twitter. If not, you should get it and follow your favourite journalists, news outlets, local voices, favourite actors, comedians…the list goes on. The point is, people love being vocal on Twitter, which is good for a daily dose of embarrassing and rant-y tweets. But because people also live-tweet so often, it’s also great for quick updates on news, events, protests, you name it.

Timeline: Your backgrounder source

Staying up-to-date with current events is one thing, knowing the context and background information is a total other story. Timeline offers up several trending news stories through a visually stunning interface, layering up contextual information on the events leading up to said-event. “Whether it’s the timeline of a conflict in a war-torn nation or the fascinating tradition behind a popular holiday recipe, it’s a wonderfully intelligent way of getting the story beyond the headlines,” reads the Apple App Store’s Editors’ Notes.

The New Yorker: Your commentary, opinion, culture news source

The New Yorker is the iconic national weekly magazine out of New York. It features only the best writers of its time and has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine for ground-breaking reportage. It offers up a legendary menu of reporting, commentary, culture, business, technology, comedy and satire, fiction, and poetry. Plus, anyone who reads The New Yorker automatically earns five points in anyone’s book.

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