I'm Fred Cutler. I teach in the Political Science department at the University of British Columbia.

One of my courses is POLI308, "Issues in Canadian Politics". But more important than the subject matter are the learning objectives and the course design to achieve those objectives.

I want students to:

So students work on a semester-long project in a group of five to seven students, building a website that provides the public with information about public issues.

Knowledge is not an explicit objective. I know that they will accumulate knowledge as they work; I just don't need to pre-define it in this course. I want them to curate knowledge on a given issue and they can't learn to curate if I curate for them.

Instead of teaching, I define my role as coach and manager — much more like what they'll encounter in the 'real world'.


When there's a big political event like an election or referendum, the class can be focused on that. But in Winter 2021 there wasn't one, so students built 'Issue Guides' for some of the big issues in Canadian politics.

There were 43 students in the class, in 7 groups. Students indicated topics they were interested in and they were assigned to the groups. Few students already knew other members of their groups.

What I wanted from a collaboration platform