Join ABT Instructors for WordPress and Minute Taking Workshops!

WordPress logo with blue text (WordPress) and a white background

Welcome to WordPress!

This fall, Christine Nehring and Mary Higgins will be facilitating two new workshops as part of the UFV Continuing Education Fall 2016 Catalogue:

Introduction to Digital Minute Taking

Abbotsford — Clearbrook Centre
(80228 BISC DMT01 A5A) 1 session, Sat, 9 am –noon, $150. Sep 24
(80229 BISC DMT01 A5B) 1 session, Fri, 9 am –noon, $150. Oct 28

Introduction to Blogging in WordPress

Abbotsford — Clearbrook Centre
(80230 BISC BIW01 A5A) 1 session, Sat, 9 am–noon, $150. Oct 1
(80231 BISC BIW01 A5B) 1 session, Fri, 9 am–noon, $150. Nov 4

IMF African Consultative Group meeting around a large conference table

Get Ready For Minutes!

Introduction to Digital Minute Taking

Common questions from minute-takers:

  • How to format the minutes?
  • What to record during a meeting?
  • How can technology can make life easier?
  • When should agendas and minutes be distributed?
  • How can meetings run more smoothly?

In this workshop you will find the answers to these and many more questions as we guide you through the process of preparing for a meeting, what to do during the meeting, and how to distribute minutes that people want to read and take action from!

Collection of WordPress stickers, buttons, pencils - for WordCamp Boston 2010

WordPress swag (sadly not available at the workshop!)

Introduction to Blogging in WordPress

During this hands-on workshop you will create a new WordPress blog, learn the fundamentals of blogging in WordPress, and publish your first blog post. Learn  why WordPress is currently the most popular website development platform in the world and how you can harness its flexibility to create memorable content.

Bring your ideas and enthusiasm, and you will soon be on your way to blogging like a pro!

How to Book a Place

It’s easy to reserve your place on either or both of these courses:

By Phone

Register with your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express by phoning the Office of the Registrar (OReg) on 604-854-4501 or 1-888-823-8734.

In Person

Register in person or have a friend register for you at any UFV campus (except Agassiz and Clearbrook Centre).

There is more information about registering for Continuing Education courses on their website.

Images Credit

WordPress image: From Flickr;; some rights reserved:; retrieved Sept 2016

Meeting image:

From Flickr;; some rights reserved:; retrieved Sept 2016

WordPress stickers:

From Flickr;; some rights reserved:; retrieved April 2016

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Welcome to 50 New ABT Students!

Picture of the Clearbrook Centre taken from outside, in the Friendship Garden

UFV’s Clearbrook Centre, taken from the Friendship Garden

Last week we were thrilled to welcome 50 new students into the Applied Business Technology program here at UFV’s Clearbrook Centre. Our two fall cohorts include students from Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Langley and beyond, and seven dual-credit students from the Abbotsford School District.

After orientation, classes started in earnest on Wednesday last week; one week later students are getting into the swing of their new routines and have already learned many new skills.

We wish all our new students every success in the program and look forward to sharing in their achievements in the coming months!

Image Credit

Taken by Christine Nehring; used with permission.

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Convocation 2016 and AB3 Expo!

Semester End

The end of semester is always a busy time with many events such as the ABT Expo,  ABT awards and party event, and convocation. Our wonderful AB3 students are now enjoying practicum placements in many organisations in the Fraser Valley including school districts, municipalities, Correctional Service Canada locations, UFV and beyond, as the tweets from Christine show!

Two students helping to clean a lab, and smiling

Amara and Sarah back in the ABT lab!

ABT Expo: A Trade Show Event not to be Missed!

In January 2015 we introduced a new course to the ABT Program: Web-based Business Communications. During this fast-paced, seven-week course, groups of students develop social media campaigns to promote their products, using Twitter, WordPress, and many other forms of promotion. We held the first Web Comms/ABT Expo in May 2015, and it has proved to be a highpoint for many students. Invited guests have commented on how professional, engaged, enthusiastic and eloquent students are about their products and the work they have done.

ABT Awards

As a way to celebrate all the hard work students have done, we have an award ceremony on the last day of classes and hand out certificates in many different categories, from Artistic Achievement to Mobile Communications. Below are photographs of the Winter 2016 class from the ABT Expo, and the award they received.

Four members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

A Walk in the Park Team at the ABT Expo

Three members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

Three members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

Thrift Seekers Team at the ABT Expo

Four members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

LSCS: Your App Team at the ABT Expo

Four members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

Four members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

Cones Team at the ABT Expo

Three members of the team next to their booth containing information about product and promotional material

Blueprint Team at the ABT Expo

Convocation 2016

One our favourite times of the year is convocation. It is such an honour to be able to celebrate our students and their achievements in a public way, and it always a fun and moving ceremony. Congratulations to all our students; your hard work and persistence will serve you well in the future!

Montage of photos behind the scenes with ABT students before convocation began

Behind the Scenes at Convo 2016!

Three ABT grads on the stage about to convocate

ABT grads cross the stage

UFV Flickr 2

Waiting to Convocate!

Looking to the Future

We are already preparing for our new students, and the next two cohorts will start in September 2016. Places are filling up fast, so if you are interested in taking the program (or know someone else who would be interested), you can find out more and how to apply on our UFV pages. Our next assessment is on July 15, 2016, so mark the date!

Your Favourite (ABT) Memory

Now we’ve shared some of our recent ABT highlights, why not share one of your favourite memories from ABT or something else you’ve done recently? The comments section is open, below.

Image Credits

First Twitter image from Christine Nehring taken by Deborah Grenfield, June 2016; used with permission
Second Twitter image from Christine Nehring taken by Christine Nehring, June 2016; used with permission
ABT Expo photos taken by Christine Nehring, May 2016; used with permission.
Convocation 2016 montage images taken by Mary Higgins, June 2016; used with permission.
Convocation stage image #1 from UFV’s Flickr;; June 2016; some rights reserved
Convocation stage image #2 from UFV’s Flickr;; June 2016; some rights reserved

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VIU 2016 Teaching and Learning Conference

Panorama showing campus in foreground and Nanaimo, sea and mountains in background

VIU campus panorama taken from cafeteria patio

VIU: The Land of Rabbits and Stairs

The 2016 VIU Teaching and Learning Conference was held on May 4, 5 and 6 in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. As this teeshirt from VIU illustrates, there are many steps in the VIU Nanaimo campus, and there are a great deal of rabbits eating, darting around, and sun bathing around every corner. The weather was balmy, the teaching was invigorating, and the learning was inspiring.

From Turtle Island to the Twittersphere

Christine and Mary attended many workshops between them, dealing with issues from open textbooks to inclusive learning, and many points in between. The high-energy opening keynote “Exploring Our Ways Of Knowing” with Dr. Pamela Toulouse was a powerful way to start the conference. Dr. Toulouse really brought different ways of knowing to life with audience participation in drawing, sharing, moving and communicating in many different ways. I looked back at my notes with a smile as I saw my Turtle Island image studded with names and notes, and Christine’s looks quite similar…

Two annotated drawings of Turtle Island by Mary (l) and Christine (r) showing names and notes

Two Turtle Islands

The hands-on closing keynote “Dirty Slates: student ideas as catalysts for learning” with Dr. Sara Harris explored how students’ prior knowledge and experience add many dimensions to learning and teaching. We were challenged with creating a concept sketch of the greenhouse effect – a surprisingly difficult assignment! Dr. Harris also talked about how meaningful personalized assignments were for students (and faculty), so we then had the task of creating a concept sketch around a concept or area we teach. After a couple of minutes of discussion, the life cycle of a tweet (what happens to your 140 characters) seemed the obvious choice:


Hand-drawn concept sketch showing how a tweet goesf rom your profile out into the wider Twittersphere - or not!

Concept sketch: life cycle of a tweet

I was somewhat surprised to be asked to explain my sketch to the conference, but happy to do so. Keen observers will note that in my haste to get the concept sketch completed, I inadvertently wrote 140 characters instead of 140. In years to come, thanks to the permanency of social media, I can see that this may well come back to haunt me as the ghost of conference past!

WordPress Fun

In addition to attending workshops, we also presented our own workshop: “Blogging in WordPress: Strategies for Success”. It was a fast-paced and enjoyable hour spent in the company of some very enthusiastic participants. Christine blogged about our escapades earlier in the week, and you can see the workshop website we created here.

Connection and Connectedness

Workshops aside, the conference also gave us the opportunity to meet other faculty from BC and beyond. There were several Applied Business Technology faculty from other institutions, and it was gratifying to find out we have so many of the same  opportunities, challenges and interests as our fellow practitioners. In the process, we also discovered that four ABT faculty came from the same few square kilometres in Alberta as each other! It is a small world, indeed.

The conference was definitely a big success, and we hope to return next year.

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2 presentations x 2 days = Success!

A wharf in Nanaimo, BC with multiple boats docked

View of Nanaimo Harbour

ABT instructors Mary Higgins and Christine Nehring recently presented back-to-back at both UFV’s annual PD Day and Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Teaching and Learning Conference.

UFV FLO Workshop

In keeping with ABT’s focus on digital resilience and technology use, Mary and Christine participated in the first workshop through pre-recorded video built into a Blackboard shell. The workshop was organized by the participants of UFV’s inaugural Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) course as a way of sharing strategies, successes and challenges from that May 2015 experience.

photos of nine UFV employees who participated in the UFV PD Day FLO workshop

UFV FLO Workshop Team

WordPressing the World one Workshop at a Time

Mary and Christine continued their goal of WordPress world domination by conducting a workshop titled “Blogging in WordPress: Strategies for Success” at VIU’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference. Participants were given a whirlwind tour of WordPress (e.g., the Dashboard, Media Library, Categories and Tags) and were introduced to blogging strategies such as using text and images appropriately, and ensuring accessibility. Participants then created, edited, and posted a blog post. (Here are some examples of their work.) Feedback from the session was excellent, with comments such as:

  • Resources and hands-on practice at creating a blog post. Thanks! I’m inspired.
  • I loved how much you got done – my most productive hour today!
  • Loved having the computer to use and do.
  • Covered lots; organized; got me off the computer 🙂 . Great session!
  • How to create a blog, post it, and edit it.
  • Focus on accessibility was great! #thanks
  • Much easier to post a blog than I thought; lots of fun; will have to think about doing this with students.

This fall, on top of their regular ABT teaching, Mary and Christine will be running a number of WordPress workshops through UFV’s Continuing Education department. Watch the CE website for the fall brochure.

Image Credit

Image 1: Taken by C. Nehring, used with permission.

Image 2: Screen capture from workshop BB Learn shell. Image created by G. Jang and M. Higgins.

Classroom image by ltdan;; some rights reserved; retrieved Apr 2016

WWW image by itupictures;; some rights reserved; retrieved Apr 2016


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Dual Credit for ABT/SD34 Students

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 3.37.25 PM

Elsie Fu, recent ABT graduate, at UFV’s Clearbrook Campus

UFV and SD34: A Perfect Partnership

A little-known ABT secret is that some of our students are earning dual credit courtesy of a long-standing agreement between UFV and the Abbotsford School District (SD34). Recently, one of our own was featured in a promotional video. Take a minute to listen to Elsie Fu as she talks about how she has benefitted from taking the ABT program.

Career Program Options

ABT isn’t the only program available to SD34 students. Eligible programs range from technology programs such as ABT and architectural drafting to trades programs such as welding and automotive service technician. If you know an Abbotsford student who is high school age, recommend that they talk to their school counsellor about how to apply to SD34’s Career Programs. It’s not everyone who can earn a high school diploma and university certification at the same time! Thanks, SD34, for being a great educational partner.

Image credits

Image of Elsie Fu used with permission from SD34.

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Dr. Paul Tinari: Sustainability, 3D Printing, and Star Trek

Image of Dr. Paul Tinari

Dr. Paul Tinari, greenSPEAK guest speaker

Futurist, Visionary

Dr. Paul Tinari, billed as Dr. Future, visited UFV on March 17, 2016 as part of the greenSPEAK seminar series. In an invigorating seminar, Dr. Tinari challenged participants to envision the future that could be built using technology such as 3D printers.

Seismic Shift

Past technological breakthroughs such as the steam engine, the automobile, the industrial revolution and the transistor caused huge societal changes, and the sky is definitely not the limit for the next round of innovations.

mage from page 374 of "Inventory of the West End Street Railway Company" (1897)

Steam Engine, circa 1897

Dr. Tinari made a compelling case for the future democratization of design and technology where the facility to create, repair and enhance everything we need—food, shelter, technology, and power—lies with local communities rather than distant corporate or public bodies. This would significantly reduce the environmental cost of production by using Just-On-Order-Making protocols that reduce transportation, raw material and obsolescence costs.

One of the main drivers for this revolution will be 3D printing, and this technology is already creating the future for today and tomorrow:

Star Trek

Interlaced between visions of technology past, present and future, we were reminded of the future imaginings of Gene Roddenbury and Arthur C. Clarke. While some of their predictions have not come true yet (e.g. the matter transporter or the murderous artificial intelligence, HAL 9000), some of the more impossible-seeming technology, such as the replicator, are being tested already. And if Matt Damon had had a 3D printer on Mars, he might have been able to subsist on more than just poop potatoes.


There is growing evidence that we are rapidly reaching a turning point, and while I was listening to Dr. Tinari, a post on Twitter caught the eye of my colleague, Christine Nehring:

This report from Deloitte outlines the challenges to Canadian businesses posed by changes in technology, and identifies many of the issues that Dr. Tinari has been raising for the last few years. While companies are struggling to adapt, new research shows the generation after the Millennials (Generation K), are primed to be innovators:

Members of Generation K increasingly value things they can actively co-create. It is a generation of makers, creators and inventors. From Sarah, who builds her own computers, to Jake, who loves making horror films with his pals on his iPhone, today’s teenagers don’t only want to buy stuff, they want to imprint their voice on products, services and media, and become part of the design and creation process. Producing something themselves has value for this generation. It resonates with their desire to be self-sufficient, and to have physical experiences in a digital world – as well as their desire to have agency and impact.

Back to the Future

There is no doubt that technological advances are already changing the way we live and work, and there are an increasing number of warnings about job security across the board. Some types of employment will be lost, and some sections of society will be impacted more than others. The recent reports from World Economic Forum and CitiGroup make it clear that we are already well down the road of disruption.

There are challenges ahead, for sure, but Dr. Tinari demonstrated that the future we make could be a great deal brighter and equitable: communities empowered to solve local issues, and a multitude of home-based makers unfettered by gatekeepers.

Two weeks after the seminar, I am still thinking about the possibilities and opportunities. Are you ready for the coming disruption?


Related Links

Dr. Tinari talks about 3D printing houses and cars (video)

Dr. Tinari’s website

The JOOM Destiny (book by Dr. Tinari)

Age of Disruption, Deloitte Future of Canada series (PDF)

The Future of Jobs Employment: Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum (PDF)

Digital Disruption: How FinTech is Forcing Banking to a Tipping Point   CitiGroup (PDF)

Image credits

Image of Dr. Paul Tinari used with permission from Dr. Tinari.

Steam Engine image from Flickr Commons, no known copyright

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Fresh Ideas at the ABT Expo

Rubys Social House and RemindMe! team members

Rubys Social House and RemindMe!

We recently hosted the second ABT Expo for students who started the ABT program in September 2015. As part of the seven-week Web-based Business Communications course, they took a product from initial idea to product launch and created an online marketing campaign that included social media elements such as blogging on WordPress and Twitter. The culmination of all this work was a trade show held at the Clearbrook Centre where teams showcased their creations.

WonderEgg 360 and Visit the Fraser Valley team members

WonderEgg 360 and Visit the Fraser Valley

The February 2016 ABT Expo featured 10 teams from two cohorts, and ideas ranged from local tour and food guides, shopping apps, a student scheduling app and other student services, to an outdoor multi-tool. It was a high-energy event where teams enthusiastically showcased their creations.

The excitement in the room was infectious! It was fun to see how students envisioned their products, and the displays were fantastic. Great work, everyone!

— Lauren Froehlich, ABT student
Deals Ahoy and the ABTool team members

Deals Ahoy and the ABTool

Some students had visited or exhibited at a trade show before; for many, it was the first time they had experienced this type of event. There were ingenious methods of ensuring curb appeal for each display including many delicious treats to sample!

Student SOS and Deal$ on U$ team members

Student SOS and Deal$ on U$

The Web-based Business Communications course was added to the ABT program last year to help prepare students for the demands of modern administrative careers.

I totally enjoyed doing a trade show in the ABT program; marketing is the key for success for any business and I found the trade show to be a very rewarding experience. I feel like I learned so much on advertising for a business during this part of the program, and how marketing for a business has changed through time. Having to learn about blog posting has already helped me in my practicum and I know I will be able to use this experience in my future career. We also learned how to advertise on Twitter, and making my own poster to display my product was a fun and rewarding experience.

— Colleen Wrana, ABT student
The Kaffeine ShacK and Nature's Delights of the Fraser Valley team members

The Kaffeine ShacK and Nature’s Delights of the Fraser Valley

The AB3 cohort (students who started the ABT program in January 2016) also visited the event, and were impressed with the quality of work on display. In a few weeks, it will be their turn to take up the challenge!

Photo Credit: All images taken by Christine Nehring and used with permission.

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Countdown to the New Semester!

Christine Nehring and Mary Higgins preparing for the new ABT students

Christine and Mary work on the orientation PowerPoint in the ABT lab

Eleven days until the new semester.

Fall semester starts on September 8, 2015, and preparations for the new Applied Business Technology (ABT) students are gathering momentum. On the first day we run an orientation event that gives new students the opportunity to meet instructors, receive timetables, tour the facilities, and ask questions. It is the start of a six-month journey, and helps make students feel at ease in their new environment.

New ABT Alumni Facebook Group.

After all the excitement of the end of term activities and convocation in June, we have been busy working with the UFV Alumni Association on setting up a Facebook group for UFV ABT Alumni. If you are one of our alumni, you can now sign up for news updates, job postings and networking opportunities here:

A few places left for September.

Picture of the ABT winter 2015 cohort

This is the AB3 winter 2015 cohort – do you want to be an ABT student?

There are still a few places available to start the program in September 2015, and you can find out more information about the program and funding opportunities on the ABT website: You can start the application process online , and you can email the program head,, if you have any questions. There is only a few days left, so contact us and get your application in quickly!

We also have another intake of students in January 2016, so if you are interested in the program you can come to one of our information and assessment sessions to find out more. The dates are on the ABT website and the next session is September 25, 2015. Please email if you wish to attend.

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Recent Events: Web Comms Expo and Convocation!

Image of AB3 Winter 2015 class in Clearbrook Centre lobby

AB3 Winter 2015 Class

We are using our first blog post on the new ABT blog to tell you about two recent events: the inaugural ABT Web Comms Expo and Convocation 2015.

Web Comms Expo

In January 2015, the ABT program added a new course to the already-comprehensive list. Web-based Business Communications has been developed to give students the skills and experience they need to successfully manage online communications in today’s online business world. During the seven-week course students work in teams to develop a marketing strategy for a product or service. As part of that work, they use project management tools such as timelines to keep their project on track, create blog posts and a product home page on the ABT WordPress website, and post Tweets on Twitter.

On June 3, 2015, the AB3 cohort was the first to have the opportunity to take part in a trade-show event called the Web Comms Expo. Each team created a booth and presented their product or service to judges. It was an exciting morning, and the judges were very impressed with the booths and the students. Here are the teams with their booths:

Image showing Team 1 and their display for ABT Web Comm Expo

Team 1, ABT Web Comm Expo

Image showing Team 2 and their display for ABT Web Comm Expo

Team 2, ABT Web Comm Expo

Image showing Team 3 and their display for ABT Web Comm Expo

Team 3, ABT Web Comm Expo

Image showing Team 4 and their display for ABT Web Comm Expo

Team 4, ABT Web Comm Expo

Image showing Team 5 and their display for ABT Web Comm Expo

Team 5, ABT Web Comms Expo

There are more pictures from the Expo on the UFV Flickr site.

Convocation, 2015

On June 12, 2015, many of the 2014–2015 students who successfully completed the ABT Certificate Program crossed the stage at the Abbotsford Entertainment Centre to receive their certificates. It was a joyous occasion and a fitting way to cap all the hard work that they did!

The photos below were generously sent in by some graduates, and we would be happy to add more from ABT grads (just email them to Christine). There are also official pictures on the UFV Flickr site that feature some of our grads (you might need to scroll down the page).

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