Media appearances


Article – Western NewsLink

Blended courses to offer ‘best of both worlds’

Watson said over the initial three years of the SCoRe program, nine courses are projected to be redeveloped, with a combined enrolment of 4,300 students.

“We’re bringing this together to encourage faculty members to think even more thoughtfully about their courses,” he said. “What we see through the process is instructors really being able to identify what their learners look like, and what their needs are. This design and model is about improving the student’s learning experience and not simply change for change’s sake.

“Students are expecting technology to be involved in their learning, and where the technology is incorporated, thoughtfully, it does improve the learning experience.”

Article – Western NewsLink

Provincial funding boosts eLearning at Western

“There are projects related to online learning that are pushing the boundaries of what is normally done, or what is usually done, at an institution,” said Watson. “There is an obvious interest in expanding the role of eLearning on campus from a student and research basis. It’s not just about putting courses online, but ensuring the sort of online learning experiences are equivalent to, or better than, a face-to-face learning experience. It acknowledges students are changing.”


Article – Western NewsLink

New role to strengthen technology, teaching

At the highest order, Watson’s position is to work within the Teaching Support Centre to address action items in the report, among them increasing the number of courses offered online as well as the kind of support available to faculty using technology in and out of the traditional classroom.

“Often, technology is seen as a ‘bell and a whistle’ that isn’t necessarily used critically, that is used without a lot of thought, when in fact, perhaps, chalk on a chalkboard is as effective for that class as it’s ever going to be,” Watson said.

“But it’s not about the technology itself, per se. Technology changes; it’s always going to be changing. This is about good teaching and how different technologies can inform good classroom practice – whether that classroom is fully face-to-face, blended or fully online.”


Article – at GuelphLink

New Award Honours TA Achievements

Gavan Watson, education developer at Open Learning and Educational Support, says the award’s selection committee is looking for top notch nominees who exemplify an enthusiastic approach to teaching and learning. He encourages faculty and students to speak to exemplary TAs to determine if they are interested in being nominated. The award is open to all TAs who have taught an undergraduate or graduate course this academic year.

The award will demonstrate the winning TA’s outstanding dedication to the position as well as their commitment to improving their teaching skills, Watson points out. “It will also provide the recipient with external recognition, which will reflect well on the individual when moving on to further studies or when entering the job market.”


Article – Maclean’s MagazineLink

Birdwatchers behaving like paparazzi

Yet one of the few Canadian academics to study the activity leans toward less atavistic motivations. “It’s a reputation economy,” says Gavan Watson, who wrote a dissertation on birding for his doctorate at York University. “People are doing it not to make money, but to become known. If the quality of a birder’s sightings is high, people will trust that person. He or she will gain a good reputation.”


Radio interview – Animal Voices – Link

Radio interview – Animal Voices – Link


Article – Y-FileLink

The kids at Camp Arowhon got more than they bargained for when Gavan Watson, “the nature guy”, returned to work at the Algonquin Park summer camp two years ago: they became research subjects in his master’s thesis for York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES).

The camp hires university students who are outdoor experts to teach its custom-designed programs in outdoor education, experiential learning and camp activities for families. Watson, who had worked at the camp for five years, is an experienced birder and former outdoor education staff person with the Toronto District School Board and comes from a family of naturalists. He jumped at the chance to return to camp, which he loved as a kid, to teach and do research.