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Ready to help you thrive in onQ

Selina Idlas is the quintessential people person. In conversation, she’s engaged, chatty, likes hearing others’ stories – qualities that suit her well for her role as the onQ Educational Support in the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

In addition to the technical side of her job, supporting Queen’s new online learning management system, onQ, her position requires top people skills – in order to help professors and educators across campus adapt to and thrive in the system that’s replacing Moodle.

As the onQ Educational Support in the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Selina Idlas is helping professors and educators across campus adapt to and thrive in the system. (University Communications) 

“I love the people contact. I can spend all day talking with others – it’s a very comfortable role for me, in that way,” says Ms. Idlas, who began in the CTL last fall after working in the Faculty of Education for many years.

onQ, which is based on the Brightspace by D2L platform, went live for a pilot phase in September 2015, when a number of early-adopting faculty members made the move for their fall courses. Full implementation across campus will happen in fall 2016. 

“It is very exciting. I am really looking forward to September when everyone is in the onQ system,” she says. “It is a really good platform – stable, reliable and intuitive.”

Ms. Idlas, the CTL and Information Technology Services (ITS) offer several different options for onQ support. She provides one-on-one support to instructors, working with them privately to develop their courses in onQ. This often means a back-and-forth between the instructor and Ms. Idlas – she’ll show them a few features and offer suggestions, and they’ll go back and work on it, and return with more questions.

“People are at different levels. My work is to be as supportive as possible,” says Ms. Idlas, who brings a wealth of knowledge, after many years in Education moving courses to D2L and also as an instructor helping teacher candidates navigate new media. “I try to bring a lot of patience to the role. People can come back and ask as many questions as they want. My door is always open.”

For many, Ms. Idlas says, working in a new system is overwhelming, for the simple reason of having to learn new ways of organizing and presenting the material and the use of different tools to engage students. But, she emphasizes that with onQ, the “learning curve isn’t that big once you get going. For most people, it is a very intuitive system.”

Every week, Ms. Idlas and ITS offer introductory workshops  to get instructors started and throughout the spring and summer will be offering more intensive sessions targeted at a particular aspect of using onQ, such as the grade book or peer assessments. In addition, Ms. Idlas and ITS run onQ drop-ins (Tuesday, 1:00-3.30 pm). The drop-ins are an informal opportunity to get individualized and specific help.

Ms. Idlas emphasizes that everything she does with onQ is in partnership with ITS. “This is really a joint effort between the two units,” she says. “And I don’t always know the answer right away, but I like the challenge of finding out, and working with colleagues to do so.”

She also loves the challenge of working on really big courses, and navigating, along with the instructor, the hurdles that come with developing a class for hundreds of students. Her penchant for this very big task, she says, comes from her experience developing sites for companies in the U.K. “These were big production jobs, big websites, and that’s where my capacity for the big organization and production comes from.”

Ms. Idlas started in web development in 1994, taking a six-month course offered through a British arts magazine. She was soon building sites for magazines, later moving to branding company Wolff Olins, and then to a freelance career in Canada in 2003, when she moved to Halifax with her husband, who was doing a PhD in computational neuroscience at Dalhousie University. He later moved to Queen’s for a post-doctoral position, and with a growing family, they rooted in Kingston.

“Kingston is a great place to be, and I can’t imagine ever leaving,” she says. “And the Queen’s community, especially my colleagues in the CTL, make it a super place for me to be professionally.”

Instructors with onQ questions can contact Selina Idlas directly by email or by phone, ext. 74496.