Category: my research Page 2 of 20

New paper: A synthesis of surveys examining the impacts of COVID-19 and emergency remote learning on students in Canada

Around the first year of the pandemic, we gathered all the student surveys we could find that examined emergency remote learning in Canada and its impacts on students. We made this work available immediately as a pre-print because we knew it would take a while to actually be published, and in many talks and conversations since then. The paper is now available in the Journal of Computing in Higher Education. The abstract and citation are below.

During the COVID-19 pandemic numerous institutions around the world have surveyed students to gain an understanding of their experiences. While these surveys are valuable at a local institutional level, it is unclear as to which findings from individual
surveys reflect the broader higher education environment, and which patterns may be consistent across student surveys. It is worthwhile to synthesize survey findings in order to explore patterns and potentially new understandings that may arise
from such analysis. In this paper, we reviewed and synthesized 21 surveys examining the impacts of COVID-19 and emergency remote learning on approximately 155,000 student respondents in Canada. Findings reveal that the impacts of COVID-
19 and emergency remote learning on students centered around (1) educational experiences, (2) mental health and wellbeing, (3) financial concerns, (4) impact on future plans, and (5) recommendations for future practice.

Houlden, S., & Veletsianos, G. (in press). A synthesis of surveys examining the impacts of COVID-19 and emergency remote learning on students in Canada. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Preprint (pdf) or

Online Violence, Abuse, and Education podcast

I recently was a guest on a multidisciplinary podcast created by the Digital Public Interest Collective that focuses on technology-facilitated violence. The episode I joined (below) discussed online abuse and harassment in education. There are six episodes to the series, and they are well worth your time!

Online Abuse and Education podcast: Two conversations with Dr. Wanda Cassidy and Dr. George Veletsianos

Episode description:

This episode explores the impacts of online abuse on academic work. Professors Cassidy and Veletsianos each have explored online abuse in education. Cassidy explores how cyber bullying impacts students and faculty in both higher education and public education (K-12). Veletsianos has explored how online abuse impacts scholars in institutions of higher education. Cassidy commented on the overlap between gender, race, and incidents of online abuse or cyber bullying, and showed that online abuse or cyber bullying is not confined to youth or children, but impacts adults as well. And the stakes are high. As Veletsianos points out, online abuse has chilling effects which can leave the public less informed and have profound educational impacts even leading to misinformation. What we were really struck by in this episode was the similarities between the ways Cassidy and Veletsianos both advocate for more care and support to help address online abuse or cyber bullying. Cassidy uses the term “cyber kindness” as a way to mitigate online abuse. Both also emphasize the power of education as a way to address online abuse at every level.

Hosted by Dr. Chandell Gosse, Dr. Victoria O’Meara and Andrea Galizia

Music by hungry hearts:


List of potential talks and workshops

When I am invited to give a talk, keynote, workshop as part of an event, I like to work with organizers to explore topics of interest to make sure that what I can talk about contributes meaningfully to their work. Last month, a university was exploring different possibilities, and so I offered that I could provide a list of potential talks and workshops. I thought I’d share them here in case others find them of interest.

Better than normal: What could teaching and learning futures in higher ed look like?

  • In this interactive workshop, we will discuss, explore, and speculate what the post-pandemic future may look like for universities and colleages.

Writing and Publishing: On being a productive and impactful scholar in the field of Digital Learning

  • In this session, we will explore the notion of “impact” and I will share publishing, writing, and knowledge mobilization strategies. This session is intended for doctoral students and early career academics.

Uses, Benefits, and Challenges of using social media as an Academic

  • In this session, I will explore and summarize the uses, benefits, and challenges of social media for scholarly practice. This is a wide-ranging session that invites attendees to reflect broadly on the topic (e.g., networks of cooperation; who and why is most at risk of harassment on social media?) as well as offers practical tips (e.g., what may be some ways to minimize the amount of time I spent on social media while still being able to participate productively?)

Student experiences with Online and Teaching and Learning During the Pandemic

  • In this session, I will discuss the different strands of research that emerged during the pandemic. I will summarize “lessons learned” and implications for hybrid, blended, and online learning 

(Some) Questions in need of Answers in Using Technology in Education

  • In this session, I will discuss what I believe are some of the important research directions that I see for the field. Some examples of issues to explore are:
    • the opportunities and challenges of solving problems (e.g., lack of access to education) rather than studying tools (e.g., using social media to engage students).
    • learning futures that are founded in hope rather than unbridled optimism
    • equity, justice, and ethics as outcomes and beacons guiding the design of learning experiences, and not solely focusing on effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement


Online Panel: Microlearning Interventions to Address COVID-19 #Misinformation (Feb 28, 2022 10:00am pacific)

Please join us for this free and public session on February 28 at 10am pacific.
Register at


Online Panel: Microlearning Interventions to Address COVID-19 #Misinformation

In this session, we report on the results of a rapid research project funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research in February 2020 to respond to the threat of COVID-19 misinformation. Join us to learn how we used interdisciplinary research methods to address the difficult problem of COVID-19 misinformation, or what the World Health Organization called an “Infodemic.”

The event will be organized in two segments. The first segment will last twenty minutes. During this time, four panelists will share results from their research. The second segment will last thirty minutes, and will provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.


  • Dr. Jaigris Hodson (Royal Roads University), who will describe our team’s interview and survey research (focusing on people’s COVID-19 information behaviours).
  • Dr. George Veletsianos (Royal Roads University), who will describe our efforts to design, develop, and evaluate educational interventions;
  • Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd (Ryerson University), who will describe our big data efforts, real-time capture of misinformation claims and digital dashboards to display them;
  • Dr. Shandell Houlden (Royal Roads University), who will outline some of our theoretical approaches to information disorder that informed the research.

Relevant resources


Public & networked scholarship and its challenges

Much of my work on public/networked/participatory scholarship approached the topic with the understanding that

  • scholarly practices impact how scholars use technology (e.g., institutional metrics and rewards systems shaping what kinds of activities faculty participate in, and thereby seek to amplify or improve via technology)
  • technology impacts scholarly practices (e.g., the adoption of a particular technology at an institution shaping what kinds of practices academics use; this can be anything, ranging from proctoring tools that encourage adoption of traditional assessment practices to institutional websites that ‘nudge’ faculty to include their social media profiles).

Note: “scholarship” here includes teaching, and isn’t just a synonym for research.

Much of this work was framed within a broader context of forces that shape how scholars enact digital and networked scholarship.  Over the last few years, I’ve become more interested in the broader context and the broader forces. Of particular interest are three forces (or problems)

  • online harassment
  • systemic inequities (that impact online participation)
  • the mediating roles of ranking, sorting, and attention economy algorithms

There three areas overlap in unique ways as well (e.g., the case of an an op ed going viral and its author being on the receiving end of particularly vitriolic forms of abuse based on their identity).

I’d like to develop this framework of challenges further.

November 2021 talks/panels/events

I participated in four online events in November.  Do I miss being with colleagues in person? Yes. But, I don’t think I’d be able to be with so many colleagues in person in different parts of the world in the span of a month. Would I have tried? Perhaps. And I would have likely exhausted myself over and over.

The first was an invited talk for Université Laval.

Better than normal: Finding a future beyond “a return to normal” on campus | Cette conférence s’inscrit dans une série d’activités visant à poser un regard réflexif sur l’évolution de l’enseignement supérieur, et ce, sous de multiples perspectives et points de vue.

Rather than a return to an imagined “normal” that existed in pre-pandemic times, this talk invites us to explore the future of our teaching and learning environments. What do they look like? What should they look like? Who do they serve, and do they serve everyone equitably? Grounded in ongoing research projects examining student experiences with online and remote learning, and studies examining what the future of education may look like, this talk invites us to recognize that various pre-pandemic teaching, learning, and institutional practices were problematic. “Normal” was (and is) problematic. What are some better futures for students, faculty, and institutions of higher learning?

Plutôt que d’imaginer un « normal » qui existait à l’époque prépandémique, ce webinaire vous invite à explorer l’avenir de nos environnements d’enseignement et d’apprentissage. À quoi ressemblent-ils ? À quoi devraient-ils aspirer? Qui servent-ils et servent-ils nos populations équitablement ? Fondée sur des projets de recherche en cours qui examine l’expérience des étudiantes et des étudiants avec l’apprentissage en ligne, à distance et des études qui s’intéresse à quoi pourrait ressembler l’avenir de l’éducation, cette séance vous invite à reconnaître les problématiques de nos diverses pratiques d’enseignement et d’apprentissage ainsi que nos politiques institutionnelles prépandémiques. Notre “normal” était (et est toujours) problématique. Quelles décisions concernant l’avenir présentent potentiellement de meilleurs résultats pour les personnes étudiantes, le corps professoral, les membres du personnel enseignant et les établissements d’enseignement supérieur ?


The second was a panel discussion hosted by the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia, as part of the Asia-Pacific Online Distance Education (APODE) week.

Lessons from Learners: Students’ Insights on Effective Learning Online
This webinar features a lively panel discussion with three leading scholars working in online distance education with a strong learner focus to their work. Professor George Veletsianos holds the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Flexible Learning. He is well-known internationally for his research in online distance education and is author of the book Learning Online: The Student Experience (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020). Dr Elaine Beirne works in the National Institute for Digital Learning at Dublin City University, Ireland and has a strong interest in the role of emotions in online learning. She played a key role in the development of A Digital Edge: Essentials for the Online Learner, a free course that has attracted over 10,000 people worldwide. Dr Melissa Bond, previously a Researcher Officer at University College London (UCL) and who has recently returned to Australia, is known for her meta-analysis research on student engagement in educational technology contexts. Melissa is co-author of several seminal major systematic literatures reviews in this area. The panel will discuss lessons that we have learnt from learners and other valuable insights into the online learning experience from a student perspective.


The third was a panel webinar discussion on Instructional Design In & After COVID-19 hosted by Royal Roads University and our MA in Learning and Technology program.
Description: The field of instructional design and instructional designers’ role and value has been amplified by the pandemic as organizations work to continue to provide education and training offerings to their students, staff, and employees. Join us for a conversation with leaders in this space as they share their perspectives on instructional design and the field of educational technology and how it has responded to the challenges and opportunities resulting from the global pandemic.


The fourth was a fireside chat on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Open and Distance Learning. This was an internal event for the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), with Dr. Suzan Koseoglu (Goldsmiths, University of London, U.K) and Dr. Sindile Ngubane (Institute for Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa) aimed at introducing COL staff to current
thinking on equality and social inclusion in Open and Distance Learning, from concepts such as feminist pedagogy, to perspectives on current challenges of social inclusion in learning contexts during COVID-19.

Impacts Experienced by Faculty Stemming from the Intersection of the Covid-19 Pandemic and Racial Tensions

The Journal of Interactive Media in Education published a special issue entitled Learning from Lockdown: challenges and benefits. Colleagues and I contributed a paper on the Professional and Personal Impacts Experienced by Faculty Stemming from the Intersection of the Covid-19 Pandemic and Racial Tensions. Our abstract appears below:

The disruption that resulted from COVID-19 in 2020 impacted the ways in which higher education faculty lived and worked. Earlier literature describes how faculty members’ experiences during the early months of the pandemic included emotional impacts such as stress and anxiety, with little support to manage these impacts. In this paper we report on a thematic analysis of interviews with Canadian faculty members which revealed that the sources of impacts on Canadian faculty were both the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as racial tensions. These impacts revealed themselves in both the personal and professional lives of participants. With regard to their professional role, participants reported that the additional time and care that they put towards learning new technologies, implementation of new teaching practices, support of students, and efforts to sustain their perceived obligations as a scholar carried an emotional burden. With respect to their personal lives, participants noted that emotional impacts emanated from increased caring responsibilities for family and friends, reduced in-person connections, and news reports and social media. We conclude by presenting support recommendations for individual faculty members, teaching and learning centres, and university administrators.

Belikov, O., VanLeeuwen, C., Veletsianos, G., Johnson, N., Torcivia, P. (2021). Professional and personal impacts experienced by faculty stemming from the intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial tensions. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1, p. 8.

One highlight of this paper that isn’t visible in the final product: Being able to support and mentor Olga, Charlene, and Nicole in publishing. Also: finally being able to identify an opportunity to work with Patrice on a paper!

You may also be interested in the rest of the papers in this issue:

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