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Cisco e-Learning Chair

Celebrating instructor excellence

The Cisco e-Learning Chair is an annual award, provided by Cisco Systems, that demonstrates SAIT’s commitment to quality instruction by supporting and recognizing teaching excellence in e-learning and technology innovation. All permanent, full-time instructors are eligible to apply for the award.

The award provides the recipient with,

  • Up to $20,000 to fund project work and professional development activities. 
  • Off-load of up to four months to work on a project that involves e-learning and/or developing technology in innovation and learning

2019/20 Cisco e-learning Chairs

Nikolay Bukharin

School of Manufacturing and Automation

Nikolay will create a computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis lab for students to learn advanced modelling software and to run simulations. This has the potential to benefit many of SAIT’s engineering technology programs, and will provide students with training on advanced software that is extensively used in industry.

William Hu

School of Information and Communications Technologies

William will build a cost-effective software-defined networking virtual lab for students, thereby giving students the opportunity to acquire up-to-date hands-on skills with software-defined networking. This has the potential to benefit students in several programs.

Steve Janz

School of Business

He will develop Open Educational Resources for a new computer accounting software program that is replacing existing software in several accounting courses. This will allow SAIT to more efficiently and effectively train students on the most up-to-date software used in industry and will increase student success.


Jacqueline Lydon

School of Business

Her work will transition a course delivered in the BBA and the BA programs to an E2 learning hybrid model, which represents the fusion between the best of traditional classroom strategies and online learning technologies in order to increase learning accountability, provide greater flexibility for students, and achieve a broader range of learner outcomes.

Yoni Porat

School of Business

He will develop an online diagnostic tool for statistical misconceptions to improve student performance in introductory statistics courses, which are courses in which many students struggle. This will include individualized remediation for students, and can be used by instructors as an assessment tool at the start of the semester and/or by students as a self-diagnostic tool.

Heramb Vadalkar

School of Business

His work will introduce blended learning into two business finance courses linked to external licensing exams, and explore the development of a new blended course for financial services covering the impact of information technology, block chain, artificial intelligence, and data analysis on financial services.

Previous Winners

2018/19
Dyland Desmarais — School of Information and Communications Technologies

Developed a proof-of-concept virtualization platform to be piloted in several ICT and MSE courses. Building on the work of several previous Cisco Chairs, Dyland created a virtualization server, implemented an automation framework, and piloted course material. This has the potential to be used by many other programs and schools.

Chris Roubecas — School of Business

Further developed and increased the Lightboard’s ease of use and functionality by incorporating additional elements into the Lightboard, which was originally developed by a prior Cisco e-Learning Chair. This allows the Lightboard to be used in virtually any class setting, whether on-campus or off-campus, and for any class content.

Jay Tetz — School of Transportation

Took a series of blended multimedia video presentations that he developed and made them accessible through an augmented reality application. In conjunction with this, he developed a training workshop for instructors to help them design and create their own e-learning modules. This builds on the work of previous Cisco e-Learning Chairs in the School of Transportation.

William Thompson —School of Construction

Used 3D Reality Capture and other related software to create an immersive virtual learning environment for students in the Architectural Technologies and other construction programs. Through the use of 3D virtual and augmented reality, his work not only enhances independent learning, but also removes barriers limiting some students’ access to certain types of learning opportunities.

Bruce Watson — Centre for Learner and Academic Services

Adapted existing open source software to create a proof-of-concept sentence-modelling trainer that will have a significant impact on how our students learn to write. This helps all students in communications courses at SAIT, and will help SAIT address some of the challenges arising from changing student demographics in our classrooms.

2017/18
Patricia Castillo — School of Information and Communications Technologies

Investigated and implemented a test environment using virtualization techniques and open source tools to store, process and analyze large datasets generated in geoscience fields. She also developed a framework for SAIT’s handling of big data. The initial sample datasets were geoscience datasets in the GSIT program, with the potential for this to be applicable to Construction, MSE, ICT and ARIS. This builds on George Chase’s 2015/16 Cisco project.

Tim Gumpinger — MacPhail School of Energy

Created and implemented an online pre-laboratory component to second-year ELEC 306 to complement and enhance the physical laboratory experience. Tim selected and developed online pre-laboratory activities (such as simulations, animations, virtual laboratories, multimedia, online quizzes, discussion forums and videos) in order to reduce the student cognitive load in engineering/science practical lab courses.

Tyler Nagel — School of Information and Communications Technologies

Carried out a foundational research project to assess news literacy among SAIT students. Rapid shifts in technology mean that traditional media and traditional standards of credibility are no longer relevant to students. Critical thinking and media skepticism are more relevant than ever; however, until now, SAIT has not had a comprehensive view of how students perceive and use online resources, or how they assign credibility to those resources. This is central to developing effective online learning materials.

Allan Prost — School of Health and Public Safety

Quantified the amount of educational video developed at SAIT, identified the personnel who are involved in producing the content, and determined through interviews and surveys the student, faculty and administrators’ views on resourcing and planning for video production. He has produced a comprehensive written report with best practices and clear initiatives to increase video as an e-learning resource for SAIT students.

Liam Riley — School of Business

Used gamification in his first-year Excel courses in the AIM program; students used the application on their mobile devices to engage in self-directed individual, collaborative and cooperative learning activities outside of scheduled class time, and to collaborate on tasks using the application’s discussion board.

Darcy Toner — School of Construction

Researched available live streaming applications for both classrooms and tutoring sessions, and then piloted the implementation selected live-streaming application and real-time messaging into apprentice classes.

2016/17
Donna Campbell — School of Information and Communications Technologies

Explored open source technology for use in an integrated library system. This included a literature review, a review of open source products and systems, and creation and testing of a small prototype open source lab, with the assistance of students in the Library Information Technology program.

Steve Janz — School of Business

Created a series of theory videos using Lightboard Technology to help students understand basic, intermediate and advanced accounting theory within the School of Business’s accounting courses. Lightboard digital video technology is very dynamic and new to SAIT/educational institutions, and has potential application to many SAIT programs.

Brendon Lumgair — MacPhail School of Energy

Researched webinar software services to determine which one will best enhance teaching and learning in SAIT’s distance learning courses, based on the quality of video and audio, student experience, student engagement, instructor experience, user friendliness, and the application of features such as chat and Q & A.

Jessica Norman — Learner Services

Created a formal framework to establish digitally embedded librarianship in applied learning environments, developed new digital resource tools, and measured the value of the embedded librarian program. This builds on the success of an embedded librarian program that ran as a pilot in 2015/16 in 30 communication courses at SAIT.

Vicky Roy — School of Business

Designed and launched a three-to-four week condensed MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), to reach a global audience of new entrepreneurs interested in acquiring just-in-time learning to help them plan their business start-up. Unique in Alberta, this course reached a broad target audience – local, provincial, national and international.

2015/16
George Chase — School of Information and Communications Technologies

Researched and used OpenStack Cloud software for implementation in a proof-of-concept private cloud. The project created a small cloud that was tested in fall 2015 and will be used in a limited number of classes in the winter of 2016. The feasibility of continuing the use of the cloud and expanding it to other courses will be assessed.

Marion Hill — School of Business

Studied the learning environment/classroom design of the future. Using a blend of observational, qualitative and quantitative data, she proposed a customized solution that recognizes that the academic environment is changing around us and that we need to develop learning environments for our students that are flexible, promote student engagement, put technology into the hands of our students (as opposed to being teacher-focused), meet the learning needs of our diverse students, and position students for the world of work.

Rose Minton — School of Business

Carried out a structured examination of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) pilot in the School of Business, examined best practices at other institutions, and proposed standardized approaches by looking at this from both an instructional level and an administrative level. Questions to be addressed included security/virus questions, internet outages and impact on students, hardware and software requirements, infrastructure cost and implications, etc. The research will be used as a foundation for the potential roll-out of BYODs across the institution.

Olayemi Olabiyi — School of Business

Explored the effect of interactive blended learning activities on reading compliance, student engagement, and student success. Technology was used to motivate students to read assigned materials in the fall courses ECON 250 (Microeconomics for BA program) and ECON 1010 (Microeconomics for BBA program) ahead of time. He developed and administered a survey to capture information such as the students’ age, gender, and employment status, and to determine the impact of such factors on reading compliance and student engagement.

Jishnu Subedi — School of Construction

Assessed learners’ satisfaction in on-line courses in construction through surveying both on-line and face-to-face students, and assessed how to improve learner satisfaction.

2014/15
Vicky Roy — School of Business

Researched and explored how instructors at SAIT use mobile devices in the delivery of their courses, and how they integrate m-Learning (mobile learning) into their classes. Her research shed light on current m-learning best practices at SAIT; it will determine to what extent this form of learning is currently being utilized at SAIT and how those e-learning practices can be adopted and expanded across the institution.

James Sprenger — School of Business

Completed a digital prototype graphic novel textbook with a character-driven storyline that offers links to supporting information through digital tablets or laptops. He tested this with students in an introductory marketing course, as a supplement to their existing textbook, in order to assess the effect of this new pedagogy on student engagement and motivation.

Doug Warden — School of Information and Communications Technologies

Investigated the cost, feasibility, and infrastructure requirements of using cloud virtualization technology to deliver lab environments to students. By building a complete virtual lab, Doug was able to do a feasibility test on the public cloud virtualization of the lab activities for two of his courses. The results of his research and testing could have significant implications for many other programs that currently require complex lab infrastructures.

Marieta Willms — School of Health and Public Safety

Created a problem-based learning module that uses branching scenarios as a learning tool for Dental Assisting students, both in the classroom and during their one-month practicum. This will increase students’ competency in the SGO (SAIT Graduate Outcome) of Responsible Leadership, including ethical reasoning and action, global awareness, and sustainability. Her work will serve as a template that many other SAIT programs can use.

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