Don Boyes is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Program in Planning at the University of Toronto. He completed his undergraduate degree with honours from Queen’s University, and went on to complete both his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario, specializing in the application of geographic information systems (GIS) to studying arctic river deltas. Don spent several years working on projects across the Canadian North, first as part of his graduate research, and then as a freelance consultant. His clients included aboriginal groups, environmental organizations, and government bodies in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut. All of his projects centred on enabling organizations to better map and analyze their land to improve resource management using the latest mapping technology and satellite imagery.
Don has a strong interest in supporting environmental organizations and served for several years on the board of directors of LEAF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the urban forest. He has provided students with experiential learning opportunities through projects with organizations such as World Wildlife Fund Canada, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
Don discovered his love of teaching when he taught his first course in 1993, while still a graduate student. He came to the University of Toronto in 2001 and was recognized with a teaching award from the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students in his first year. Since then, he has been recognized with the Dean’s Excellence Award several times, was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 2008, and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Don engages in regular curriculum renewal and was interviewed for a U.S. Department of Labor case study about his use of their Geospatial Technology Competency Model for curriculum analysis.
Don has a keen interest in online education and teaching with technology more generally. He has received funding through the Vice Provost of Academic Programs to teach two online courses, and serves on the Teaching Learning and Technology Advisory Committee chaired by Sioban Nelson, Vice-Provost Academic Programs. Don has received funding to offer one of his online courses to students across the province as part of the provincial government’s new Ontario Online initiative. He has also been active in helping to build a community of practice for those interested in online teaching and learning by organizing regular round table meetings to discuss various teaching methods such as student-faculty interaction using video-based and webinar strategies. Beyond the university, Don has served on conference organizing committees, including the first GIS in Education conference in Canada, held in 2013, and maintains a blog about teaching GIS. He has been an early pioneer at U of T in the use of online office hours, virtual software access, and simultaneously teaching a live lecture to both students in class as well as online, all with the intention of broadening access and exploring new ways for students to learn, wherever they may be.