Academic Technologies

Message from Director Dr. Lyn Sonnenberg



My primary goal as Director is to provide leadership in all aspects of academic technologies in FoMD for faculty and learners. This includes fostering evidence-informed academic research, projects, and innovation relating to medical education. I'm excited about seeking out areas where innovation in academic technologies in medical education can be explored, studied and shared both within FoMD and with other faculties and institutions. 

I'm looking forward to collaborating with our academic partners throughout the faculty and university, as we move to further share resources and build capacity. 

Lyn Sonnenberg
Academic Technologies, FoMD


What we do

Reporting to the Office of Education, FoMD, we support teaching and learning with technology across the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Our services are available free of charge to programs, departments, teaching faculty and staff. 


Our model:



Our work includes a range of activities, including:

  • Engaging in educational research and scholarship;
  • Providing workshops and training;
  • Identifying new technologies and uses for technology;
  • Supporting the adoption of best practices;
  • Developing online courses and digital learning resources;
  • Administering educational software systems;
  • Provide proactive leadership in the development of policy and operational considerations regarding educational technology.

Our goal is to help our instructors and learners respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by educational technology in order to improve teaching and learning.



Example projects, 2016-17 year

Active Case-based Learning in Oral Pathology

Seema Ganatra, School of Dentistry


This project sought to redesign existing oral pathology seminars to enhance learner engagement by combining multiple learning strategies. Working in small pairs, third and fourth year students work through patient cases with guiding questions. Learners demonstrate an understanding of oral lesions, and practice clinical judgement through the development of a diagnosis and treatment plan, while considering the management of medically compromised patients, and their role as patient advocates. We contributed to the design and evaluation of the activity.



DDS 529-13: Removable Partial Dentures

Tyler Verhaeghe, School of Dentistry



This online course, developed as a flipped classroom model for the DDS’s curriculum renewal process, involved the development of 20 hours of video. Learners apply their knowledge from the recordings during the laboratory sessions and exercises. This is one example among several in FoMD where video is being used to prepare learners for laboratory or clinical experiences. We assisted with course-pedagogy and the integration of the video-platform in the course.


Dental Hygiene Course Migration

Dental Hygiene academic program


This operational project supports the new degree program in Dental Hygiene. The project will result in the migration of all undergraduate courses and student profiles from eClass into FoMD’s learning management system.

The result will be a streamlining of the delivery of online courses in the School of Dentistry; housing undergraduate courses in both Dentistry and Dental Hygiene programs in the same system will allow for an easy sharing of courses taken in common between the two programs.


Validating a role-based competency framework for the educational technologist

Academic Technologies, Office of Education



This year we published a framework (adapted from CanMEDS) intended to support the strategic and value-adding inclusion of educational technology professional groups within the medical education endeavour. Framework validation is underway with our peers nation-wide in a follow-up study. Once validated, it will inform governance, strategic implementation and evaluation of educational technology, and evidence-based teaching practices specifically in medical education.


Educational Video Materials

FoMD, Office of Education


Thirty-six short instructional videos were created by Academic Technologies as a self-help resource to support faculty interested in integrating video in their online courses. The series covers basic tasks such as creating, editing and publishing video, as well as advanced topics such as setting up a video studio, importing content from YouTube, and working with viewer analytics. Not only a resource for new and existing users, the series is intended to raise awareness and interest in FoMD and potential partners on campus to participate in a three-year pilot of the system.


MMI Facilitator Training Videos

Gary Eitzen, MD Program MMI

The MD program uses Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) to assess applicants. An interview format composed of numerous short independent assessments in a timed circuit, the MMI is meant to assess interpersonal skills, professionalism, critical thinking and ethical decision making. Working with Gary Eitzen and Diane Baker, we assisted in the development of mock interview videos for facilitator training. In total, eight short videos covering a range of scenarios and interviewee responses were recorded. We recorded, edited, and post-produced the videos.


Faculty Development Information Video
Mia Lang, Faculty Development

As an example of rapid development of materials, we worked with Dr. Mia Lang and Mariette Seed to create a welcome video for the main page of the Faculty Development website - in a single afternoon. The project is one example of Academic Technologies support for rapid video development for faculty and programs to communicate with internal and external audiences. The analytics capabilities of our hosting platform allow the gathering of information about the viewership of the video to inform messaging strategy. We assisted in the recording, editing and posting of the video.


E-Cigarette Social Media Engagement

Barry Finegan, Anaesthesiology & Pain Medicine


As part of a research study which explored young adults’ knowledge, attitudes and use of e-cigarettes, Dr. Barry Finegan’s lab utilized social media to recruit participants, share current research in the area, and engage with the public on the topic of e-cigarettes. We assisted in the creation of graphical messages to enhance the lab’s communication on a variety of social media platforms. The work was carried out by Paul Twa, a third-year design student in the Bachelor of Design program at the University of Alberta, supervised by Academic Technologies staff.


Card-based neonatal resuscitation trainer

Georg Schmölzer, Matthew Brown, Department of Pediatrics 


Approximately 10% of newborns require some help breathing, with 1% requiring intensive resuscitation. Worldwide, birth asphyxia claims 1 million newborns annually. In 60-70% of the cases, a root cause is failure to follow established resuscitation procedures. Working with Georg Schmölzer in the Department of Pediatrics, we have developed a low-cost, tabletop simulator for use in small-group training that focuses on the development of decision-making skills, communication and teamwork in neonatal resuscitation procedures.