Published! Faculty of Education in the Media January to November 2021

December 09, 2021

By Amanda Maxwell

Faculty of Education research has been in the news this year. Here we round up the list of who has been featured, for what and where. Media mentions include research papers, ongoing studies and commentary, and there is an even a book release. Topics covered range from learning and education, through dealing with the effects of the pandemic, to documenting Armenian history and promoting equity while recognising diversity.

SFU Scholarly Impact of the Week

SFU’s round up of scholarly impacts has featured four FoE faculty this year so far.

Course conundrum: How do students choose between online and in-person learning? features work by Dr. Kevin O'Neill & Dr. John Nesbit, who surveyed 650 students to learn more about preferences in choosing between virtual or in-person courses. This was also covered in an article by Dr. O’Neill written for The Conversation Do university students want more online learning, post-pandemic? Here's what some chose before COVID-19. The survey, which was carried out pre-pandemic and the ensuing emergency remote instruction, found that students took online courses selectively and strategically. 

Optimizing social learning networks examines Dr. Tenzin Doleck’s work on optimizing social learning networks (SLNs) for education. The study, Evaluating the efficiency of social learning networks: Perspectives for harnessing learning analytics to improve discussions, was published in Computers and Education. It looks specifically at the role of SLNs in discussion forums within MOOCS, Massive Open Online Courses used to deliver educational content to large numbers of students 

Art, healing, discovery and the Marrow of Longing focuses on the publication of Dr. Celeste Snowber’s book, The Marrow of Longing. As described in Scholarly Impacts, The Marrow of Longing is “a book of poetry that traces the inherited trauma of the Armenian genocide, memories of her ancestors, lessons learned in kitchen conversations, prayers in the night, and bodily yearnings. A descendant of genocide survivors, Dr. Snowber explores relationships between longing, belonging, and identity to uncover universal themes that guide readers to what has shaped their own lives.”

Dr. Snowber was also interviewed about the book on North by Northwest with CBC's Sheryl MacKay and features in Episode 18: Triple Threat: Feminist, Fifty-ish & Fabulous (CJSF 90.1 FM) SFU campus radio. We also learn more about her in this interview with the Armenian Mirror Spectator publication, Celeste Nazeli Snowber: Writer, Dancer, and Choreographer.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Media mentions of work from the faculty include research into EDI.

Dr. Pooja Dharamshi is mentioned in an article in Abbotsford news, Equity Backpack Project in Abbotsford addresses inclusion and anti-racism which looks at a middle school project tackling racism. Students interviewed Dr. Dharamshi on the meaning of ‘inclusion’ and ‘identity’ as part of the project. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Sharalyn Jordan examines how isolation places greater pressure on refugee mental health for CTV news, 'This feels like a new war zone': Helping newcomers tackle pandemic mental health crises. Commenting on refugee mental health supports during an interview with CTV News, she states that arriving in a new country with existing mental health issues is made much worse during a pandemic.

“Mild to moderate depression and anxiety mixed with trauma responses is very common [but] with support, people can recover. But in isolation, these problems magnify and become quite serious,” she notes before calling for adding mental health programs into settlement initiatives to reduce stigma and increase access to support.   

Dr. Isabelle Côté comments on Indigenous Perspectives and History: The Role of Education during a Radio Canada interview. She notes that very often it’s the future teachers coming into school placements that are better informed in this area than more established teachers.

Learning and Leadership


Former Dean, Dr. Kris Magnusson is quoted in an article, Informing the Future: The Leadership of Thinking, published in Further Education News. During a virtual forum on the leadership of thinking, he “highlights the importance of harnessing perspective and emotion in everyday practice.”

He is quoted as saying, “The more deeply rooted our schema, the less likely we are to see alternative patterns or meanings." 

Dr. Dan Laitsch is featured in an SFU news article, offering A different perspective on academic integrity. He posits that assumptions on student cheating are hindering progress on academic integrity.

Technology is changing the way we interact and consume in so many aspects of daily life and learning these days, even the way we read and engage with books. Dr. Joel Heng Hartse, quoted in a National Post article, Take Note(s): New e-reader helps give readers richer understanding of books states that taking notes while reading not only creates better engagement but also increases retention.

“When you write in the margins of a book, you are entering into a conversation, and what emerges can be something new that neither the writer of the original text nor the reader would have known before.”

Pandemic Matters

News coverage also includes studies into the effects of the pandemic, and on how social isolation and public health measures have impacted us.

Dr. Kristiina Kumpulainen advises that children’s mental and emotional well-being can be bolstered through play. In an article co-written for The Conversation, This back-to-school during COVID-19, bolster children’s mental and emotional well-being through play, she describes how 6 to 12-year-olds were being creative about reclaiming play. Initial work by a global team found that virtual sleepovers and ukulele lessons by Zoom helped children reclaim a little of pre-pandemic life.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Luc Beaudoin introduces us to ‘cognitive shuffling’ as a way to banish the insomnia that so many of us are experiencing as a result of pandemic disruption to everyday life. He is quoted in LifeHacker and First for Women, and also gets a mention in the Montreal Gazette. Pandemic stress has left many with coronasomnia introduces us to a new term to describe the rise in sleep interruptions experienced during the pandemic. Dr. Beaudoin’s advice is to use Serial Diverse Imaging to induce cognitive shuffling. By engaging the imagination and reducing the brain to random incoherent thoughts it’s possible to aid the onset of sleep.