To imagine a 21st model of higher education that graduates citizens and leaders who are dedicated to the values of a just, civil society, and are thereby equipped to navigate a complex global landscape.


Building upon Bishop’s University’s commitment to delivering an exemplary undergraduate education, the mission of the Jarislowsky Chairship is to build capacities in teaching excellence, design curiosity-driven approaches to learning, and implement programs that inspire ethical, critical, and creative thinking at across the Maple League, as well as nationally and internationally.

1. Collaboration as a fundamental process in building capacities

2. Outstanding teaching and its relationship to outstanding student experiences

3. Community engagement and global citizenship as modes of developing civic engagement


The mandate for the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence is to design capacity-building programs for faculty and students, support innovative teaching, create strong mentorship networks, and facilitate inter-institutional collaborations across Canada and around the world. By taking a thoughtful, scholarly approach to multi-faceted issues, and by fostering reciprocal relationships and engaging across institutional boundaries, the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence enhances engagement around teaching and learning embedded in local communities while addressing challenges on a national and international scale.

The five-year vision is organized around the following pillars:

Innovating Teaching and Learning
Creating Mentorship Opportunities
Producing Research on Learning and Teaching Developing National and International Networks Building Professional Development Programs Supporting Inter-Institutional Collaborations


Online Learning and Technology Consultants

Building capacities for student mentorship and collaboration in the time of COVID and beyond 


Coordination Team:

  • Dr. Jessica Riddell (Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence) 

  • Scott Stoddard (Manager of ITS Client Services)

  • Georges-Phillipe Gadoury-Sansfacon (SRC VP Academic Affairs & Jarislowsky Student Fellow)


JULY 2020


Program History  

In June 2020, Bishop’s University hired 23 university students as Online Learning and Technology Consultants (OLTC) to help support faculty members prepare for Fall 2020. These undergraduate students are drawn from all five divisions: natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, business, and education. Some have completed one year of study while others are in their final year of their program. The one thing they all share in common is they value relationship-rich learning experiences (cf. Felten and Lambert. 2020). 65 applications were submitted for 23 positions: successful candidates demonstrated exceptional communication skills, creative problem solving, curiosity, and well developed social and emotional intelligence -- all skills necessary for building successful relationships with faculty as they prepare for teaching in the time of COVID. 

Program Design & Delivery   

This program, funded by the Bishop’s University Information Technology Services (ITS) unit, is the collaborative co-creation of Dr. Jessica Riddell (Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence), Scott Stoddard (Director of Client Services, ITS), and Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfacon (3rd year Honours Undergraduate Student in Math and Psychology, Student Union Vice-President Academic, and the Jarislowsky Student Research Fellow). This program takes a tripartite approach -- where a faculty member, student leader, and educational technologist co-construct a Student-Faculty partnership program -- that is grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning literature (SoTL) with design principles drawn from authentic learning (Reeves and Herrington 2002), students as partners (cf. Healy et al. 2014), high-impact practices (Kuh, 2008), and transformative learning and threshold concepts (cf. Meyer and Land 2003). 

Empathetic Design

The program is based on the concept of empathetic design, where the OLTCs develop critical empathy so they are aware of and can appreciate and make visible the discomfort and disorientation for both instructor and learner in a learning environment radically disrupted by a global pandemic. For many students, this is the first time they are aware of pedagogical design, assessment, alignment, community building, classroom management, and other facets of designing and delivering academic courses. 

OLTCs undergo an intensive two-week orientation in advance of working with faculty members. In the process of designing the orientation, Dr. Heather Smith, 2020 Jarislowsky Visiting Scholar, was a key collaborator in modifying the framework of Instructional Design Workshops (ISWs) into a student-focussed, immersive “ISW inspired” series of scaffolded sessions. The number of instructional contact hours and group work makes this an intensive and transformative experience for OLTCs, but also for the program coordinators and faculty mentors.  

Skills Training

The skills-based learning requirements for OLTCs are demanding. Students:

  • Complete a six module teaching online learning course (developed by Dr. Jeff Banks and Open Acadia). 

  • Are able to identify and direct faculty to Bishop’s and Maple League resources for instructors based on individualized needs/interests

  • Can navigate fundamental elements of the three platforms supported by Bishop’s University (Moodle, Microsoft Teams, and Ensemble), and are able to apply the best aspects of these tools towards solving a course delivery element/challenges

Authentic Learning

The orientation process is guided by the design principles of students as partners (SaP) literature, and includes a simulation whereby OLTCs are broken into student working groups (SWG) of 4 - 5 students and assigned a Faculty Mentor Model (FMM). The FMM presents a course outline of a course running in Fall 2020 to the SWG at the start of the two-week orientation. The SWG completes asynchronous training modules in the mornings to develop key skills, and then breaks into the SWGs to work together by applying their knowledge to the FMM course in the afternoons. 

The SaP design ensures that OLTCs are able to apply the expertise they have learned in orientation to real issues and problems for instructors, develop an enhanced ability to work in a team context necessitating collaboration with persons from different fields of specialisation, and successfully complete a closing project/final product that puts closure to the students' experience (Healy et al 2014). In this case, engaging in collaborative team work with an instructor to create components of a course. By the end of the first week, the SWG presents the FMM with a landing page, welcome video, navigation, Moodle, assignments, and other components designed in collaboration with the FMM. 

By the end of the two weeks, each of the five SWGs design and implement a plan with their assigned FMM and present to the larger group on their final project (which can include a handbook, report, series of resources or artefacts, and list of recommendations for synchronous, asynchronous content design, and strategies for building virtual communities and relationship-rich learning environments). 

One of the key competencies in this OLTC Orientation is the ability to engage in critical reflective practice, and to be able to think theoretically and practically about their role as students as partners. Specifically, the OLTCs engage in critical reflective practice around the following concepts: 

  • Self regulation & accountability 

  • Ability to problem solve and where/who to ask for help

  • Role as student partner

  • Managing interpersonal dynamics (form, norm, storm, perform)

  • Managing emotional and cognitive labour of the roles of instructor and learner (empathetic design)


Key Roles

Faculty role: Faculty have content mastery. Faculty members should come to this relationship with a draft course outline/emerging ideas -- e.g. I really love interaction and discussion in my class but I am not sure how to do it in this space” or “I want to try something in my foreign policy course to find annotation software and help my students do better citations in their research project” and maybe learning objectives (what do you want your students to learn in this course?). 

OLTC: Online Learning and Teaching Consultants. The OLTCs are technical experts who are skilled at technical implementation. They can provide a menu of technical choices and provide faculty members with guidance about what might be the best thing to do in a particular situation: e.g. why use a forum and what is the value? How to build video quizzes, build Moodle pages, landing pages, navigation, forums, etc. The OLTCs are not instructional designers, but they will have both technical training and provide some degree of pedagogical support to help faculty think through design and delivery - and might work with faculty on thinking through “What is the story of my class?” 

Faculty Mentor/Model (FMM): Five faculty members - one assigned per working group based on division - will work with one Technical Teaching Assistant student working group (SWG) made of 4 - 5 students as part of their final capstone project for a 2 week OLTC orientation. 

This is a scenario-based training exercise for the student working group (SWG). The FMM will simulate the experience of a faculty member who needs help for Fall 2020 with one course. 

The FMM will provide this group (SWG) with a course outline or even just a set of ideas for a course they will teach in Fall 2020. They will work with the SWG to guide them on areas or needs they would like developed

E.g. the FMM might say “I really love interaction and discussion in my class but I am not sure how to do it in this virtual space” or “I want to try something in my foreign policy course to find annotation software and help my students do better citations in their research project” or maybe “I need to think about my learning objectives on the online platform”.

The SWG might ask the FMM “what do you want your students to learn in this course?” and then help design from there. 

The FMM will touch base regularly with the SWG as they work on supporting the course. The SWG will provide a menu of technical choices and guide the FMM about what might be the best thing to do in a particular situation: why use a forum and what is the value? How to build video quizzes, build Moodle pages, landing pages, navigation, forums, etc. The FMM will provide regular feedback or guidance as this SWG builds a series of recommendations and/or teaching resources for the FMM. 

Group Leaders: These leaders build and foster eco-systems of support, facilitate a “hive mind” approach to curate resources, build on the magic of the multiple perspectives, touch base with group members, identify and amplify skill sets of individual team members, help to gather data on impact, engagement, and other metrics, and coordinate schedules and ensures regular group check-ins.

Instructional Designer: Contracted designer who will act as a resource in the creation of templates and support for students + delivery of best practices sessions for faculty. 

















Program Coordinators:

Scott Stoddard: Support the logistics of the OLTC program (hiring, HR, etc), Co-design of OLTC orientation, deliver technical modules on the various components of IT supported programs, coordinate with the instructional designer, set up and monitor the Moodle pages for the OLTC for orientation and beyond, coordinate the IT teams and report to the Director of IT as well as the Executive Team at Bishop’s, participate in research around the program with a focus on assessment of technical training and support, help vet group leaders, etc. 

Jessica Riddell: Co-design of OLTC orientation, design and deliver critical reflective for the OLTCs, provide feedback on the OLTC daily learning journals, touch base with any of the OLTCs who might have questions about pedagogy or critical reflection, coordinate the five FFMs, participate as the FFM for the Humanities division, work with Heather on assessment of pedagogical design and support, help evaluate FMM experiences and perceptions of value in the simulation, provide feedback to SWG as FFM and as OLTC Co-coordinator, help vet group leaders, help to build and implement the communication strategy (internal and external) for the OLTC program, etc. 

Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfacon: Co-design of OLTC orientation, work with Jessica and Scott on assessment of student support, help evaluate OLTC experiences and perceptions of value in the simulation, orientation, and for the duration of employment, provide feedback to SWG as student advocate and as OLTC Co-coordinator, help vet group leaders, etc. 

Heather Smith: Help design the OLTC Orientation Course, act is a supportive role with ML sessions on course design (asynchronous videos/resources), learning outcomes, assessment & reminder to faculty that the pedagogy doesn’t change (supporting role), facilitate 1 - 2 sessions for OLTCs on students as partners. Work with Jessica to evaluate FMM experiences and perceptions of value in the simulation, participate in research around the program with a focus on assessment of the student-focussed adapted ISW format, design the OLTC feedback loops for orientation and regularly for the duration of employment. 

Further Reading & Resources

Review ML Resource Guide 

Students as partners: Healey, Mick, Flint, Abbi & Harrington, Kathy. 2014. Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: HE Academy. Available at:

“On demand” Digital Resources from the Maple League “Better Together” Session

  • Student Feedback for your Course Design Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfaçon (Bishop’s) and Janine Annett (Acadia) shared insights from students on their own campuses and responded to an audience Q&A about course planning. Click here to watch:

  • Exploring Campus Engagement in a Virtual Classroom Mary Sweatman (Acadia) and Janine Annett (Acadia) facilitated conversations about how to redefine community-based learning in a virtual learning environment. Click here to watch:

  • Active Learning Angie Kolen (St. FX) and Josh Read shared active learning strategies and did a ‘how do’ video of one of the attendees’ favorites, a ‘Living Likert Scale’. Click here to watch:

  • Making Space for Teaching & Discomfort: Maple League Executive Director Jessica Riddell co-hosted a ‘Keep Teaching’ Webinar, organized by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. A synopsis of the webinar, titled ‘Naming, Claiming, and Aiming our Teaching Discomforts’ can be seen here:

  • Integrating Experiential Learning into Your Course hosted by Jennifer Lussier (RIIPEN), Charlene Marion (Bishop’s), and Tiffany MacLennan (St. FX) 



The Maple League benefits from the leadership of the Jarislowsky Chair as a key lever for inter-institutional impact. The most influential thinkers on higher education in Canada – including Academica 2020 Year in review, Alex Usher (HESA) and his year in review,  and the influential RBC report, “The Future of Post-Secondary Education: On Campus, Online and On Demand” all identified the Maple League as a leader in quality undergraduate education in Canada.  


Concomitantly, Bishop’s benefits tremendously from their participation in the Maple League, with access to mentorship, professional development, communities of practice, research and leadership networks, and more. For example, Bishop’s faculty have been included as partners in multi-institutional national grants because of their membership within the consortium. They are also exploring innovative team-teaching, educational leadership, mentoring student fellows and together advancing their thinking in ways not possible within their own institutional silos.