Valerie Lopes, BSc, MA, PhD

2020

Re-imagining the construct of post-secondary education – the skills, knowledge and attributes required to enable and enhance learning, in all its formats. I advocate for the use of open education resources and technology tools when designing learning experiences grounded in the context of the experiences of the learners and their places and spaces.  I constantly ask myself “How am I impacting learning?  and, How do I know?”

I am a Professor in the School of Arts and Science at Seneca College, and I teach in the Interdisciplinary Studies Degree and  the General Arts Certificate  Programs.  

In addition my volunteer and service work include the following roles:

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In 2017, while on sabbatical  after a 2 year secondment as the Director of Teaching and Learning at Seneca College, I led the team that collaborated on eCampusOntario’s  Extend project.  Elements of the  Ontario Extend program have been adopted by several colleges and universities in Ontario. The program is  currently being adapted by the Canadian eLearning Network for the K-12 system and by  a team at Otago Polytechnic  for implementation within the OERu Outreach Partners, currently 14 Higher Education institutions in the developing world. Take a look at their version of the Teacher for Learning and Experimenter Modules .

In 2015/16 as the academic lead, at Seneca College, of  the curriculum design team for the University of Central Asia’s problem based, contextualized and integrated Preparatory year which focuses on English as an additional language, Math and Science, I also guided the planning for the implementation of the curriculum, interviewing and hiring faculty to teach the courses,  curating the resources to support the courses and guiding and mentoring the faculty as the courses are taught.   This work was highlighted in a series of articles by Devex ( a media platform for the global development community)  and the focus of a case study prepared by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada for Global Affairs Canada.   I also worked with the content experts for the University’s core curriculum to ensure that the curriculum followed a constructive alignment philosophy and that UCA’s core literacies were taught, practiced and assessed.   

Through my consulting practice,  I continue to work with UCA’s School of Arts and Science as the Curriculum Consultant for the courses in their 4 Majors and their liberal arts  year.  This year (2020) I am also guiding their Digital and Distance Learning Strategy and the creation of their Teaching, Learning and Technology Centre.  While the UCA faculty are based in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan and Khorog, Tajikistan, their curriculum developement teams work at universities all over the world.  I also had the great honour of participating on their Admissions Committee and in the selection process for their 2020 cohort of students.

Some recent projects include: 

A research study about  Faculty Support for Technology-Enabled Learning at Ontario Colleges: Current Practices & Prospective Opportunities – Funded by the Ontario Online Learning Consortium (eCampusOntario). This research project was a collaboration among Seneca, George Brown and Durham colleges.

The Principal Investigator for Seneca College for the  Essential Adult Skills Initiative, led by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. This project, a collaboration of 20 colleges and universities, will use Education and Skills Online to examine whether students acquire some of the key knowledge and skills they need to be successful in work and life and the degree to which students improve these essential skills from the time they begin their programs to the time they graduate.

Advising the Occupational Specific Language Training Project (OSLT)  – Service Delivery Improvement Project (Colleges Ontario) on their evaluation processes, research methods and data analysis.

I have collaborated with the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, providing guidance and direction for the teaching and learning research studies, with a focus on technology enhanced learning. 

With extensive experience in leading projects, program development and evaluation, I have participated in over 25 Program Quality Assessment Board reviews and worked on curriculum design and faculty development projects in Tanzania, Columbia, Mozambique, China, Italy and Kenya.  With expertise in implementing a wide range of professional development activities and services that facilitated the development of innovative and effective curriculum strategies at Seneca, I championed the introduction of new learning technologies and promoted ongoing campus-wide conversations about current and relevant curricula and flexible learning environments.

I am a passionate advocate for access to high-quality (open) educational resources and classrooms (digital and physical) without “walls”.  It is  my love of teaching and my reflective practice, grounded in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and aimed at enabling inclusive and engaging learning experiences that is the inspiration for all of my work.