In this post, I reflect on my past scholarly work as well as my plan for the next year in specific areas of interest. I have made an effort to include work beyond the formal research teams I am engaged with. As I have learned over my years as a researcher, projects rarely go as planned. Please keep in mind that the project plans are likely to evolve. If my plan looks ambitious it is because I have learned that having multiple ongoing collaborative projects increases the likelihood of success. If one or more of these projects is halted I will have others to work on.

My overall goal last year was to engage in more presentations. That goal was achieved. In the next year, my goal is to publish again. It has been too long since I published in peer-reviewed journals. A long term goal is to be viewed as an expert in an area enough that one day I can keynote at a conference.

Image by markmags from Pixabay

Open Autoethnography

When I applied for my eCampusOntario fellowship my plan was to focus on a narrative self-study aimed “to unearth the lived experience of a nursing educator engaging in a collaborative open textbook creation project with students.” That plan was too ambitious in an organization with no official support for open education. Before being approved to do the fellowship I needed to change the research plan. After some consultation, I obtained REB approval for a study focused on “exploring the experience of evaluating open educational resources for use in accredited health care programs.” This project seemed interesting, but it failed to recruit participants. Next, my project focused on evaluating open day. This project was a success, but the sample size was small. Subsequently, I partnered with Aaron to explore quest-based learning. However, the final project I am currently working on is now an autoethnography with a “purpose … to share my experience as an Open Education Fellow and provide insights that may inform the practice of Ontario educators.” It is my hope to submit it for publication by the end of the academic year. This publication would fall in the scholarship of application domain (Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, 2013).


Last year Katherine and I trialled badging and presented on it at advancing learning. Subsequently, I explored gamification theories at conferences, through discussions, and the aforementioned work with Aaron to explore quest-based learning. Quest-based learning differs from traditional approaches to learning in that it offers students agency. After piloting and informal evaluation Katherine and I developed a more rigorous study focused on badging (a component of quest-based learning). After receiving REB approval, we began a formal evaluation, which falls within the scholarship of discovery domain.

  • Purpose: To explore student perceptions of how gamification shaped student motivation and engagement within two first year Nursing course learning environments.
  • Design: The research will use a mixed method design. Data collection and analysis will include triangulation of multiple data sets. The data set will include de-identified LMS student badging data, a validated student survey and subsequent focus group data.

Our data collection was just completed. The survey generated a lot of participation, but the focus groups failed to recruit adequate participants. We are in the data analysis phase of this study and hope to publish the findings in the Fall. Our future gamification and research plans will depend on our research results and reflection on our experiences.

This May we are scheduled to present our experiential successes and failures at CNIE 2019 and in the Hub. We have invited a student to help us develop a proposal to present at the teaching and learning innovation showcase as well. These presentations may not make use of our formal research results and are considered within the scholarship of teaching domain.

Negotiated Grading

This experience was interesting. Our ethics proposal was stopped from being reviewed by ethics by the institution due to a lack of time for management to review the proposal. Instead, we are working on a theoretical manuscript, which would be classified within the scholarship of integration domain. This manuscript will hopefully be ready for submission by the end of this academic year. Here is the guiding purpose statement “drawing on literature and the reflections of three educators the purpose of this paper is twofold: to a) share experiences with innovative approaches to feedback-focused assessment / negotiated grading and b) explore a theory guiding future approaches to innovative grading.” Spoiler alert: negotiating grades takes a lot of time but it increases student opportunities for success. If our team tries it again we may try to do a more formal inquiry. For now, our work will remain theoretical.

Course Integration

In the past, I have worked on problem-solving year-specific student workload issues. In the fall of 2019, I will be exploring a scholarship of teaching and learning project aimed at finding innovative ways to improve the student learning experience in the third year of the BScN program in collaboration with another faculty member. Our idea is to integrate the purposeful use of technology. In addition, I am working on an innovative approach to evaluating their work either by having them design the syllabus with me (I forsee institutional barriers) or by having their work overlap with other courses. The project aims and approaches are still being refined in the document provided by Ontario Extend. All faculty in the program are invited to review our project before it begins. Anecdotal evidence, observations, focus groups and/or surveys may inform how we measure success. Our hope is to present our findings at our collaborative meetings (involving seven sites of the program). The extend scholar module will be quite informative for team members to work through as we develop the plan for this project.


This year I was fortunate enough to build and informally evaluate the use of online virtual simulations. They were very successful. The method of developing them will be disseminated at a simulation conference and in the Hub. You can also read about them on my blog here. Next year I will be creating an improved version of the scenario and hope to do a more formal evaluation of their use. I am so interested in simulation that I hope to make this the focus of my PhD (when I apply). I have already identified a potential school and supervisor. First, I need to wrap-up a few of the projects I mentioned earlier.


Student response systems are increasingly popular in academia as they enable more inclusive design and meaningful interactions with large audiences. This term I piloted Mentimeter. My evaluation was done with a validated tool suggested by Jess, but it was not ethically approved so I can only use it for QA purposes. Anecdotally, a colleague of mine had similarly positive student responses. The response rate on my survey was high. My analysis of these findings suggest that Mentimeter was extremely well received by students overall. The comments on this QA survey can be used to improve how it is used in the future. I have offered to conduct a more formal evaluation across different courses to help the organization make a decision about adopting it. Given my other areas of interest I will only be pursuing this as a formal area of inquiry if the institution wants me to. However, I will use the QA data to advocate for funding to continue using Mentimeter.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit

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