Editing Tip: MS Word Shortcuts

MS Word shortcuts can help to do repetitive stuff faster:

Toggle on/off track changes Ctrl + Shift + E
Insert a comment Alt + R, C
Return to your last edit point Shift + F5
Save Ctrl + S
Find Ctrl + F
Undo / Redo Ctrl + Z / Ctrl + Y
Select all Ctrl + A
Cut Ctrl + X
Copy Ctrl + C
Paste Ctrl + V
Bold Ctrl + B
Underline Ctrl + U
Italics Ctrl + I

First Nations, Indigenous, or Aboriginal: Which Is Appropriate?

Bob Joseph’s CBC article addresses how and why the terminology we use may be changing: “One of the key messages I give in my workshops and training: ‘Go with what they are calling themselves.’ […] it’s about showing respect and using the term that individuals and organizations have chosen for themselves.”

Joseph, B. (2016, September 21). Indigenous or Aboriginal: Which is correct? [Opinion]. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indigenous-aboriginal-which-is-correct-1.3771433?cmp=abfb.

This quote reminded me of the OLA Fairness to All Guide: “To communicate with respect: Treat people as individuals; call groups what they call themselves.”

Updates to Course Guide URLs

Required Hardware, Software, Computer Skills, and Other Resources
• change to http://www.tru.ca/distance/services/student-orientation/technical-basics.html

Technical Support change two URLs:
• “…the correct hardware and software required for your course at http://www.tru.ca/distance/services/student-orientation/technical-basics.html.”
• “… go to the IT Service Desk at http://www.tru.ca/distance/contact/helpdesk.html.”

Student Café
• Change to http://www.tru.ca/distance/services/student-orientation/online-discussions.html

TRU-OL Social Sciences Style Guide 

Thanks Mona for bringing this up: Some older courses include a link to TRU-OL Social Sciences Style Guide in the course guide. This guide was created to help students write academic papers. It tells how to write citations and gives instructions on the formatting and structure of papers. Unfortunately, the document is out-of-date for MLA and APA citations. For example, it refers to the fifth edition of the APA Publication Manual but students should use the sixth edition now. For up-to-date alternatives, consider the following:

Student Outcomes

Our editing goal is to make learner-centred courses that meet the needs of our students. But how can we know if we have achieved this, since we seldom have the chance to meet Open Learning students face-to-face?

One valuable resource is to check student feedback from post-course surveys in Tableau. This can indicate which specific areas of a course need our attention when editing or revising a course.

For a more general sense of student outcomes, the BC government’s BC Student Outcomes website shows province-wide trends and compares student outcomes between institutions, years, types of credential or program, etc.

Online Readers Need Structure

Non-verbal cues are missing in most online courses, so it can be helpful for readers if we incorporate clear design concepts. Headings should be descriptive and show the hierarchy of ideas. Visual aids help orient students to the course. Learning activities, like asking students to summarize or rephrase in a learning journal, work as verification techniques to reinforce the concepts.

Show Diversity

Where possible, we try to include examples of people from other cultures or depictions of the diversity of Canadian society in the course. Showing people from diverse backgrounds prepares students for life in a culturally diverse society and helps dispel preconceived ideas about others, which we hope increases the students’ competence for living in an increasingly globalized world. Showing diversity in cultures, ethnicities, genders, and abilities in both the visual representations we use and the instructional examples in courses, we engage with students, value their experience and community, and prepare them for the world.

Keep in mind:

  • All genders should be represented in our courses.
  • Explain culturally specific references. (E.g. “the Sixties Scoop”)
  • Be sensitive in how we depict others in a course. Avoid cultural stereotypes. In most cases it is best to show people in respectful and modern settings.

Engage with the Reader as a Non-Expert

Students have a wealth of knowledge and experiences from which to draw; however, at the start of a course they are not experts in the course concepts. One way to communicate concepts clearly to non-experts is to use plain language principles so the writer’s ideas can be easily understandable by anyone. This might include:

  • Defining new and specialized terms or jargon
  • Showing key terms in bold font and/or creating a glossary or “key terms” list for students to reference and review in preparation for evaluations
  • Providing examples to clarify and support the meaning of complex ideas.