eNewsletter for May 21, 2020

Upcoming Webinar

Wednesday May 27 | 1-1:30 pm
Join instructor Ori Schibi as he provides an overview of the upcoming Enterprise and Strategic Analysis course. Email makeithappen@uwaterloo.ca to register for this free webinar.
This course is scheduled for 9:00 am - 12:30 pm on June 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17.

Industry Recognition

Professional Development’s Data Science Certificate Program is recognized for an award in Non-Credit Programming Over 48 Hours.

After regularly reaching their in-class course limits, University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (UTSCS) reached out to Waterloo’s Centre for Extended Learning, experts in online learning, to see if there was interest in partnering to develop an online offering of the course. Centre for Extended Learning engaged Professional Development, and now just a little over a year after the initial online offering, University of Waterloo Professional Development and UTSCS are proud winners of the 2020 CAUCE Award for Non-Credit Programming Over 48 Hours for Data Science Certificate.

Professional Development would like to acknowledge its many colleagues from the Centre for Extended Learning who were engaged in the development of this program and extend a special thank you to online learning consultant, Marie Lippens, for all the hard work and dedication it took to make this award possible.

The next start date for these popular data science courses is May 25.

We Invite Your Input

Will you help us? We’d like to know how we can best meet the needs of our client base and your input will help influence our decisions for future offerings. By completing this survey you will help us make programming choices that fit your needs.

Upcoming Courses

The COVID-19 situation has provided us the opportunity to rapidly pivot and offer some of the courses we traditionally offer in-class as virtual instructor-led courses. We have already run several of these courses with positive feedback from participants and instructors alike.

"I was skeptical about online participation. [The online learning platform] worked great. The Miro board was surprisingly easy to use. In some ways, participation was enhanced (versus in class). Hopefully, the word gets out and more students have confidence in the online offering of this course."
Todd White, Participant

Speaking of the same course, instructor Carl Sergeant shares:

We wanted to create an engaging instructor-led experience that is more interactive than what has traditionally been offered online. Based on the high level feedback at the end of the course I think we nailed it! Participants were saying they were a little skeptical coming in but at the end we heard “things were seamless” and it was “flawless”.

From my perspective as an instructor I would say it was a fantastic experience, probably one of the best change management courses we have ever run. I’m really pleased with that and I look forward to teaching more of these virtual instructor-led courses."

Although we know the unavoidable cancellation of the spring in-class courses was disappointing for many of you, there can sometimes be a silver lining, which was the case for one client who was able to “join us” all the way from Australia!

If you haven’t made plans yet for pre-summer Professional Development, we invite you to consider one of the following options to learn a new skill or add a new tool to your tool kit. Watch our website as well for additional course start dates in July and August.

Virtual Instructor-led Courses

The following courses are all scheduled for 9:00 am – 4:30 pm, except Enterprise and Strategic Analysis which is scheduled for 9:00 – 12:30 pm.

Online Courses

We also offer 170+ online courses each month. The next start dates are June 17, July 15, and August 12. Details about these 6-week courses and titles are available on our website.

Some specific courses that you might want to consider include:

Setting the Stage

Kathy Smyth, Manager of Learning Services

Kathy Smyth
Manager, Learning Services

It’s been over 6 weeks since Ontario closed its doors and people set up shop at their dining room tables. Most of us working from home have fallen into some sort of routine by now but for some of us it was not without some hiccups along the way. Leading the Learning Services Team, I needed to find a way to stay connected with them, provide support virtually and establish some sense of routine. Little did I know that my first attempt to accomplish these goals would teach me a valuable lesson.

Getting ready for our first virtual meeting, I set my laptop up at the dining room table and asked my kids to make themselves scarce (they’re post-secondary age which makes things a little easier). Just as the meeting started, I saw my dog hunched over my living room carpet, doing the inevitable lurch that never ends well. “Hold on!”, I shouted, and I’m not really sure if I was shouting at the dog, my staff or both. My headset was off and I was gone from the view of the webcam as I made a mad dash for the dog, coaxing him outside as quickly as possible. Breathing a sigh of relief, I returned to my virtual office to find my team doubled over in laughter. I had set the stage.

It was at this point that I realized no matter how much preparation or good intentions we have, it is simply not always possible to replicate a work environment within our homes and one of the best tools we have at our disposal is our sense of humour. Apart from appreciating the importance of being able to laugh with my team, I’ve learned several other strategies that are useful for managing a virtual group and I’m happy to share them with you.

Tips for managing a virtual team:

  1. Pick a virtual communication tool that works for everyone.
  2. Have daily check-ins.
  3. Infuse social communication into your check-ins; this reduces the feeling of isolation.
  4. Share your personal stories; it will build trust.
  5. Listen and take action. You will not be able to institute all the suggestions your team brings forward so find the ones that are achievable, acknowledge them and put them in place. Don’t forget to give credit where credit is due.
  6. Be flexible, wave at the sleepy-eyed preschooler who pops into your morning huddle. Suggest alternate hours if possible; don’t wait for staff to come to you.
  7. It’s a stressful time, so be careful that you don’t jump to negative conclusions. If you aren’t sure of something that was said/written, give that person a call.
  8. And finally, relax and give yourself and your staff some slack. It’s an unsettling time with many unknowns, so mistakes are inevitable.