Here are key emails from IDO-Ontario, Feb 2008 (most recent first)
1. From Trevor Holmes (U Waterloo), Feb 29
2. From Alan Wright (U Windsor), Feb 26
3. From Trevor Holmes (U Waterloo), Feb 26
4. From Richard Pinet (U Ottawa) and Andrew McAllister (OCAD), e-Learning group, Feb 22
5. From Ros Woodhouse (York U), Feb 18
6. From Alan Wright (U Windsor), Feb 17
7. From Trevor Holmes (U Waterloo), Feb 16

1. From Trevor Holmes (U Waterloo), Feb 29

Hi folks,

As promised, I am putting forward some questions for all of you in order to test the waters for a mandate to carry the affiliation and formalization questions further. In the spirit of full consultation I'm surveying all developers, not just Directors/equivalents. The link to the online anonymous survey is at the bottom of this email. There will be an option to state your name and role and institution at the end, but it is an option for follow-up and I'll keep your individual answers confidential.

Please note: I am taking everyone's advice so far when I say that I have separated the question of Affiliate status from the question of broader general formalization.

You will see several questions on the survey, all of which give you the opportunity to comment even when the answer is yes/no. The questions are different from the suggested ones in my last email, based on my interpretation of various bits of feedback since then. If you hate the questions, please say why as you answer them and we can work that out afterward as needed.

Through conversations in person and through emails, I suggest the following model for Affiliation and formalization, but you are free to suggest some other model!

1. We (eventually) call ourselves something like Council of Ontario Educational Developers, and that includes developers at all postsecondaries (College and University level)
2. Within COED, the university Centre Directors (or equivalents) form a Director or Executive group that is the OCAV Affiliate (making up a group of up to 20)
3. Or, the Directors and one other member from each university (making a group of up to 40).
4. At our annual or biannual meetings, or whatever, there could be a nested model of meeting in which the Affiliate portion has its own meeting morning or later afternoon or over lunch, and we all (the larger group) meet to give them stuff or hear their report.
5. There could be in parallel a College Director group like the OCAV Affiliate group but affiliating with an appropriate cognate governing body.

Sounds pretty nice to me, but we need input. From all of you. Please make sure that if you are not a Director, your Director gets this email.

Next steps: complete the survey within one week. Then, we decide from there if we need some face to face time or some kind of discussion online.

Remember the wiki for (some) information:

Here's the link for the SURVEY (the PASSWORD will simply be, in lower case letters, "ido" without the quotes)


2. From Alan Wright (U Windsor), Feb 26

Thank you, Trevor, for framing the issues in a useful, clear fashion.
Given your most recent post, my input from Windsor suggests we should "make haste slowly". The translates, in practice, in moving forward with a close examination of the scenarios and the opportunities and responsibilities or consequences.
In particular:
1) Working with OCAV means greater potential to have input into systemic change, to have an impact at a broader level. This voice STLHE has been striving for
2) Formalizing the ED directors group as both an independent body and an OCAV affiliate might well be the tricky part. Can we have this cake and eat it too?
3) The Assocation of Atlantic Universities founded an Instructional Developers council or committee at least 15 years ago. This body addresses issues in educational development of interest to the members, but does it have the independence we would want in Ontario?
Joy Mighty was active with this group as head of the UNB centre and Eileen Herteis chairs the group today. Could input from these ladies be sought?
4) We all want our AVPs to 'get it' as far as ed dev is concerned, making our area of responsibility one of priority. Perhaps it is important to formalize our collective voice to get their systematic attention as we artuculate needs for the future in the expanding he system in Ontario.
Cheers in snow,

Clarification of my earlier message.
The IDO-Ontario group can/should be formalized with whoever 'self-identifies' as an educational developer in higher education.
The COU-OCAV 'affiliate' should be limited to one ed developer per university to make structural/representative sense.

3. Letter from Trevor Holmes (U Waterloo), Feb 26 2008
Hi folks,

Another week! Many of us were in BC at a really great version of the annual EDC Conference, this time co-hosted by Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen University College.

One fave moment of many was Gary Poole's closing keynote about patience versus urgency in our work. One thing I took from it is that sometimes one really does need to seize the opportunities that come one's way, and at the same time understand that all players need to have input.

I've been trying really hard to walk this tightrope, and I appreciate the comments to date both on-list and off-list.

A colleague wrote behind the scenes to let me know how quickly he/she felt this move was happening, and how driven by OCAV rather than us. Not enough consultation, not enough transparency. I think 3 months is a good long time, but some people find it too fast. What is clear is that people need to have the right information in order to make an informed decision. Some of the information is hard to get at, but for sure is a good place to start.

I feel that my job is to move us forward since I volunteered to champion a process.

To that end, and in light of recent emails both on-list and off-list, as well as informal conversations with very keen colleagues from Ontario (in BC this past weekend), I propose the following actions:

1. You (all the members of this list) continue to check out the wiki, but also read relevant documents at the COU site. For example, the latest Academic Colleague working paper (Jan 2008) gives some nice background to relationships at COU and I recommend it highly. Comment on the relevant issues raised by your reading either here on the list or on the wiki (address below).
2. I put the brakes on the constitutional formalization process that Carole Dence and I had begun (not to stop it, but to slow it down until we can all work at it face to face and on the wiki with more time)
3. We take the e-learning affiliate question out of the equation for now, and consider the Ontario ED question on its own merits, keeping in mind that OCAV may have certain ideas about the e-learning group and we can always invite further discussion later
4. I take a poll of the 20 Ontario institutions through Centre Directors or equivalents (18 plus OCAD and RMC) to give me a mandate to explore further the affiliate *benefits* and *obligations* with OCAV and return to you with answers to your questions -- not a commitment to effect the affiliation but a commitment to get a few more answers -- the poll could begin Feb 28 and end March 6th.
5. Shortly after the poll I gather answers to any questions you have and we either meet face to face with some joining by phone or videoconference, or we discuss next steps via the wiki or this list.

To this end, I'd like to set up this question on an electronic poll that the Centre Directors (or equivalent) would answer:

"The Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents have approached the Educational Developers in Ontario with the possibility of becoming an Affiliate of OCAV. Please state your preference at this juncture by choosing one of the following and expanding on your answer in the text box provided:

a) We should proceed with affiliate status this Winter/Spring 2008 (why?)
b) We should proceed with affiliate status, but I would like my questions answered first (state questions?)
c) We should not proceed with affiliate status (why?)"

"Please state any other pros/cons you see at this time with Affiliate status"

Kindly, I've had one offer already to host a face to face meeting on the affiliate and formalization questions, in a central location. I think at this time it is best to see the affiliate and formalization questions separately.

Important sites

My editorial comments on my own post here:

I realize that this seems urgent to many, perhaps too urgent. I remind everyone that we've been aware of the issues, however vaguely, since November. We have also talked at several points in the past half-decade at least about things like doing periodic reviews of our own centres, formalizing as an Ontario group, and having the attention of our university administrations. I see this as a great opportunity to get all this stuff done, provided that we can stay independent enough to remain the community of practice that we've built -- including folks from universities and colleges, people who are not Directors, and yes, e-learning colleagues or DE or CE or Librarian colleagues. I see no reason to think that by becoming an Affiliate, we would lose anything. I think we would gain a great deal, and that we could do so without inadvertantly stepping into some kind of policing role on behalf of OCAV. We have been invited to a table and our input is seen as valuable. Other tables also exist and we can keep working to get invited to them as well.

If any College colleagues have opinions or explanations of please let us know! Looks like a possible equivalent body to explore partnering with?



Trevor Holmes
Senior Instructional Developer
Centre for Teaching Excellence
MC 4052
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave. W.
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
519 888 4567 x33408

4. Letter from Richard Pinet and Andrew McAllister, e-Learning group


First, we would like to thank Trevor for including us in the discussion, but we would also like to clarify a few matters. There seems to be some misunderstandings based on some of the comments we have read to date.

The question of whether or how the e-Learning group would, or would not, fit within the needs of the IDO affiliate is somewhat premature. The IDO should make their decision based on their needs at this stage.

It should be made clear how the e-Learning group has come to be in the current position vis a vis the COU. The initial reps (Richard Pinet, Denise Stockley) had been approached by Jan Donio who was the COU/OPAS rep. We were asked to see if there was an interest to generate a group of reps from various Teaching and Technology Centres across Ontario to see if they would be interested in seeking COU affiliate status (an e-Learning affiliate as we later characterized ourselves). This invitation was accepted, and as such, we found a positive response from all reps of the COU Universities. Our group has met several times, we have created a Terms of Reference (if anyone would like to see this, we can send this) and have had very fruitful discussions across a number of issues – including possible collaborative projects.

>From the early stage then - we were responding to a request from Jan and welcomed this as many of us had talked about the setting up of such a group over the years (the COUPLETS initiative of 2001 for instance).. Since her departure, the COU has also decided to review their affiliate structure. And as we found out recently - some members of the COU were not aware that we had in fact been approached by a member of the COU to initiate this, but thought we were trying to do so by our own design or volition.

Again, when we last spoke to Jamie McKay, he echoed concerns that were raised by the VP Academics such that - if there was to be a teaching and learning affiliate – its scope should be broader representing larger teaching and learning concerns. He felt that if this larger entity could be identified – then there MAY be a possibility of integrating the e-Learning initiative within it.

Now – unless this latter piece of information was offered to the EDO reps who were approached when they were asked to serve as an affiliate – then – we would maintain – it is a moot point as to how EDO reps would feel about an e-Learning group being a part of this or not. Make your decision based on the offer.

How the e-Learning group would fit within your group is not the current matter at hand, and would be the content of a future discussion. Whether or not we are offered to become and affiliate – or to become an affiliated OF an affiliate - is something that reps from both groups would need to determine in the future.

We wish you all the best with your process, and we will continue to follow the discussion.

Richard Pinet
Chef, Centre du cyber- @pprentissage
Manager, Centre for e-Learning
Service d'appui à l'enseignement et à l'apprentissage
Teaching and Learning Support Service
Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
  • 120 Université, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
( (613) 562-5800 poste/ext. 3566
/ Fax (613) 562-5148

Andrew McAllister, BAH, MA
Manager, Digital Studios
T 416.977.6000 x304
F 416.977.6006

100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Canada M5T 1W1
317e, 3rd Floor

5. From Ros Woodhouse (York U), Feb 18 2008
Greetings everyone!

Thank you Trevor for re-initiating this conversation and providing the wiki.

Thanks too, to Rita Rosen and Judy Britnell, who established and maintained the tradition of IDO-Ontario meetings at Ryerson, and by so doing helped create our sense of community. This conversation would not be happening without their contributions!

For those of us who find it helpful to think through the implications of 'formalizing' our group, and 'affiliation' with OCAV in more concrete terms, here are some questions and observations based on my experiences with our group, and with other affiliates (Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine, and indirectly the eLearning group) and what I've been able to glean from the COU website. (Peter, I can't find the report you referred to. Please will you distribute it or post to the wiki so that we can all see it?)

1. Formalizing our group.

I have cherished the informality and openness of the Ryerson meetings. They have been wonderful opportunities for professional development, for finding out about important external developments, and for networking and collaborating. Can this be sustained if the group continues to grow, and/or becomes more diverse in its membership?
  • It would be helpful to hear from Judy whether the organization has become burdensome now that the group has expanded so much.
  • What role do we see for the group and our meetings in the future? We need to articulate these to determine whether and how our work "includes but exceeds cooperation with OCAV", regardless of whether our colleagues in colleges are part of the group. This will also help us to balance our own needs with those of OCAV.
  • Do our colleagues in colleges see value in becoming part of such a group? If so, we will need to work out how best to engage them in decisions about 'formalizing' the group and how to organize it to meet shared needs, as well as making 'IDO" decisions about how to work with OCAV-specific issues.

2. Observations and questions based on previous experience with affiliates.
  • COU/OCAV-affiliated groups have traditionally included representatives from every Ontario university. I have assumed that we would work similarly, but this hasn't been addressed in the discussion so far. What are your ideas and preferences?
  • The vitality of affiliates seems to depend on clarity and agreement about their role. Medical schools are clear that COFM advises COU on their needs, and COFM has many active subcttees addressing specific aspects and levels of medical education.They also hold an annual conference focused on a topic of current importance. The role of the eLearning group has seemed much less clear to date, and there's probably much less consensus across universities or within OCAV about important elearning questions or directions. How would we define our role as an affiliate?
  • Affiliate groups often identify terrific projects but I can't think of any I've worked with that received more than token, short-term support. Will OCAV/our institutions recognize real costs?
Last - thanks for suggesting a memorable acronym, Trevor! Will posts to the wiki reach the listserv automatically?

Happy Family Day and best wishes to all,


Rosamund Woodhouse PhD
Academic Director
Centre for the Support of Teaching
York University

6. From Alan Wright (U Windsor), Feb 17
Good questions, Trevor, and a useful initiative to collect our responses on these matters.
I am afraid (perhaps others are in the same boat) I will have to default to some preliminary and summary responses rather than give your excellent questions the time and reflection they deserve. I also wish we could have a collective face-to-face on this as dialogue is often helpful in these matters. Let me make a few comments on what I consider to be main points (without a lot of background reading and research).
1) This affiliation with OCAV and COU is a definite plus, an opportunity to influence policy and to advance STLHE-type aims and priorities.
2 Nuttin' wrong with COED. I do not think we are really a "caucus" although I like the fact that in French "caucus" is used for the football "huddle". I like rugby too, so "scrum" (SOED) might better describe the chaos swirling around us, but I digress...
3 We must include college folks and work to make inroads with them. This move does not prevent us in any way to pursue this objective.
4 Recent conversations with my Provost would suggest that the nature of the imminent structural changes under COU-OCAV will provide greater opportunities for our input and it is therefore time to act as a cohesive group.
5 Ontario has a huge post-secondary network and can have a pan-Canadian influence.
6 I am hesitant with regards to the status of the online learning group and am not at all sure how they fit in to our overall direction.

Allow me to acknowledge the sound foundation many of you have been establishing to facilitate rapport between the ed developer group and academic senior administration in Ontario.

On a personal-professional note, I look forward to hiring a Director of Educational Development in time to launch activities in the academic year 2008-2009 as our CTL has evolved to the point that I need to concentrate on my systemic functions as Vice-Provost. There will be a formal search launched in the weeks to come, but I would invite discrete queries at any time.

Alan Wright

7. From Trevor Holmes, Feb 16
Hi folks,

I hope everyone has been talking or thinking about the questions that came up in November/December 2007. At that time, we were asked to think about the possibility of Affiliate status with OCAV. At the same time, it's clear that our group has grown considerably since the early days of meetings in the 1970s (that led to the formation of STLHE), the 1980s, and the 1990s. We have been asked to think about new structures and new ways to be sustainable.

Directly charged with answering these questions are members of a subgroup who volunteered in November 2007 to maybe do this, or maybe do other things (like find a means of communicating more efficiently for Centre Updates, a regular feature of our annual or biennial meetings for years).

In support of this double sort of process (seeking Affiliate status and some ways of being sustainable as we grow), I've agreed to facilitate some communication (and, I hope, pretty quick decisions) and I've started by creating a wiki. This wiki is intended to be used by the Working Group to do the work of formalizing ourselves. You can watch it all unfold and volunteer to join in if you like!

However, we really need to know your thoughts and feelings about this whole thing in order to know whether we are proceeding in the direction that the Centres in Ontario wish us to. In November 2007 and again in January 2008, some conversations began but very little input was forthcoming. So I'm going to ask that people on this discussion list, IDO-Ontario, try to do the following within two weeks:

1. Visit to see what we wrote back in November
2. Bookmark and send the link to your Centre Director(s) if they are not on this list yet
3. Ensure that if you are not the Centre Director, she or he can get on this discussion list by writing to or
4. Discuss on IDO-Ontario the specific questions (for now):
a) Are we correct in assuming that formalizing the Ontario IDO group is timely because we've grown so much, not only because of the Affiliate question?
b) Do we all agree that Affiliate status with OCAV and COU will help us to further our goals, and help them to further theirs, and so should be done?
c) Are we correct in assuming that a formalized Ontario IDO group includes all publicly-funded tertiary institutions, including universities and colleges, and therefore Affiliate status with OCAV is only one of our affiliations and connections? That is to say, our work includes but exceeds cooperation with OCAV?
d) If the e-Learning group that has existed for some time wishes to be part of the IDO group but retain a distinct status of its own that is mutually enriching, does anyone need further convincing of this? Any other groups out there that should be included?
e) Can everyone live with / get excited about the name "Council of Ontario Educational Developers" or COED? I know I know -- if you don't have safesearch on google, it might lead us down a tangled garden path. Mainly I would like to see Educational Developers because it reflects the national ED Caucus decision based on Susan Wilcox's work about nomenclature. And there are already a bunch of EDCOs including the Economic Development Council of Ontario, and a CODE (Council of Ontario Directors of Education). We should stick to Council because that's mostly what the Affiliates are (Deans, Librarians, Lifelong Learning people, etc.). So I like COED. Do you?

Please do respond off-list or on-list, and all this thinking will go into our work.



Trevor Holmes
Senior Instructional Developer
Centre for Teaching Excellence
MC 4052
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave. W.
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
519 888 4567 x33408