Three Free Ways to Capture a Lecture for Online Teaching   Recently updated !

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust many university and college course instructors into the world of online teaching in relatively short order. Thousands of courses have had to make a rapid switch to online teaching and this coming summer the entire curriculum at my university will be offered online. Many course […]


Canada Has Never Had a Leak-Proof Oil Pipeline

“Looking for a needle in a haystack is difficult.” This is how Ron Kennedy, a reporter for the Calgary Herald, described the dangerous work of “Canada’s Pipeline Pilots” in 1959. Rough flying conditions made the work of aerial pipeline monitoring patrols “no job for a weak stomach and slow reactions.” […]


Ten Keyboard Shortcuts Every Historian Should Know 1

You’re sitting uncomfortably in the audience at a conference waiting for the presenter to begin. They’ve finally loaded up their PowerPoint file from an old USB flash drive and all that’s left is to set it into presentation mode. They click around aimlessly on the screen trying button after button […]


How to Build the World’s Largest Oil Pipeline System

Canada is home to what was once the largest oil pipeline system in the world, the Interprovincial. Built by a subsidiary of Imperial Oil called the Interprovincial Pipe Line Company (now known as Enbridge Inc.), this pipeline system has been part of the backbone of Canada’s oil infrastructure since the […]


More: The History of Energy and Humanity

This is the sixth post in a collaborative series titled “Environmental Historians Debate: Can Nuclear Power Solve Climate Change?”. It is hosted by the Network in Canadian History & Environment, the Climate History Network, and ActiveHistory.ca. If nuclear power is to be used as a stop-gap or transitional technology for the de-carbonization […]


I’m Not Going to Ohio: How I Will Participate in ASEH 2019

I am on the program for the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History, but I will not be traveling to Ohio. No flight. No hotel. This year, I will participate on an experimental round-table session called “Building Environmental History Networks Around the World.” The session is experimental […]


Meaning Making in the Digital Age

This week, I’ve been invited to speak on a panel about digital technologies and open access in the university. I’ll be addressing these issues as they relate to my field of Canadian history.  We have been provided with a series of questions to address. Here are two of the most […]


Making an Open Textbook in Canadian History

On Thursday, November 15, 2018, the Department of History at York University held a teaching and learning event titled, “Making a New Canadian History Textbook: How to Use Open Educational Resources to Teach History.” I gave a short presentation about my work with Tom Peace and eCampus Ontario to produce […]


Why do we still print the course syllabus? 4

Every August, my department puts out a call for print orders for course syllabi. All course instructors are asked to submit digital files to be printed for thousands of undergraduate and graduate students. On the first day of classes, professors and teaching assistants march through the halls with large stacks […]


The complicated history of building pipelines in Canada

The federal government’s $4.5 billion decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline has set off a new debate about the controversial project. Canada has a long history of building energy pipelines, but Canadian attitudes toward major energy pipeline projects have changed over time. Unease over the environmental effects of pipeline […]