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Welcome to my Classroom

Welcome to my Classroom

The Teaching in Focus (TiF) conference at York was held online in 2021 due to the pandemic.  Here's a list of the abstracts.  My "Welcome to my Classroom" talk was based on the work I did in EECS 1011, 1021 and 2021:

Giving students rapid and accurate feedback is vital. We can do so with existing, easy-to-use plugins for the Moodle-based eClass learning management system at York. In this talk I will go over how I combine videos from YouTube with a variety of questions (fill-in-the-blank, true-false, drag-words, etc.) using easy-to-use H5P modules. These H5P modules are appropriate for nearly all courses at York. As well, I'll go over how we have incorporated Virtual Programming Lab (VPL) and Matlab Grader into eClass for exercises that involved computer programming. While Matlab Grader is specific to the Matlab programming language, VPL can be used with Python, Java, C and a variety of other programming languages. Furthermore, I'll talk about how all of these plugins can be set up to provide grades and completion tracking information directly to both the student and the instructor.

Here's the pre-recorded version of my talk:

The session is a follow-up to my blog post on pandemic teaching, which has since been turned into a conference paper for CEEA 2021:


The work behind much of what is described here was inspired by the ``Taking it Online!'' course with Dr. Robin Sutherland-Harris and YorkU's Teaching Commons. My classmates from that course and I have since met on a nearly weekly basis to discuss related successes, failures and tips. This group includes Dr. Meg Luxton (LAPS School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies), Dr. Sabine Dreher (Glendon Campus, International Studies Dept), Dr. Josée Rivest (Glendon Campus, Centre for Cognitive Health), and Dr. Shirley Roburn (LAPS, Dept. of Communication Studies). I also need to thank Mr. Patrick Thibaudeau and Ms. Lisa Caines Ogini at YorkU's University IT Deparment, Mr. Muhammad Javeed in the Lassonde School, our fantastic tech team in the EECS department comprised of Ms. Ulya Yigit, Mr. Jason Keltz, Mr. Paul Griffith, Mr. Jaspal Singh, Ms. Seela Balkissoon, Mr. Nam Tran, Mr. Gayan Gamage, Mr. Eric Prandovszky, and others. The changes to computing hardware and software on campus, their willingness to get onboard with all my crazy ideas and to counter them with practical ideas of their own -- you're all fantastic!


James Andrew Smith is an associate professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department in York University's Lassonde School.  He lived in Strasbourg, France and taught at the INSA Strasbourg and Hochschule Karlsruhe while on sabbatical in 2018-19 with his wife and kids.