First Day Ready in Canvas

Instructors at WCU will be teaching in Canvas beginning in summer 2021 and beyond. 

WCU faculty will be teaching in Canvas beginning in summer 2021 and beyond. One of the major differences between Blackboard and Canvas, as far as courses go, is a feature in Canvas called Publishing.

publish course button in Canvas

Faculty will need to publish their course in order for students to access the content, and it’s a simple as clicking a button in their course. This is equivalent to making the course Available in Blackboard. When you look at your Canvas Dashboard, if the course tile has a button in the upper left corner that says Publish, then is not available to your students. Click on that button and you’ll be prompted to set a Home Page – the place your students will see first when they enter the course (equivalent to Blackboard Entry Point). Click on Choose and Publish and your students will be able to see your course. How do I publish a course?


unpublish and publish button in Canvas

Each item within your course will need to be Published as well. If there is circle with slash through it in the upper right corner of an item, it isn’t visible to your students. A green circle with a check means the item is available (visible to students). You can click on the button to toggle between Published and Unpublished (useful if you find discover you need to make an edit). How do I publish a module?


Canvas course navigation menu

The course menu (all items, top to bottom, in the left navigation menu) should only show a few links/options. This improves student navigation and what is often called ”findability.” Course resources can be Disabled (the Blackboard equivalent of made unavailable to students) in the Navigation tab under Settings. You can drag them to the bottom window on the Navigation tab or click on the three-dot menu and select Disable. Disabled items will be designated by the eye with a slash through it.


It is a best practice to be as consistent as possible in the layout of your modules. That way, as your students move through your course they know where to expect to find resources, assignments, and other activities. In fact, according to one study about online students, “findability is paramount – if they cannot find important course components, they cannot ‘use’ them; having to search for assignment instructions or a course introduction may likely result in frustration, lowered motivation, and decreased self-efficacy — all of which could impact both student learning and course attrition” (Simunich, Robins, & Kelly 2015). Take a look at the SUNY OSCQR rubric where it addresses usability in Standard 13.


 

Accessibility

Canvas Accessibility Standards

When you are in a Canvas course you will see the spectacles button in the upper right corner. Clicking on it will take you to a student’s view of your course. It is highly recommended that you check your course in the student view to make sure that the course is being presented in the way you intended. How do I view a course as a student?

Review the article “The Impact of Findability on Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality” for more information about course readiness on day one.

First Day Ready-Canvas Training Services Portal-Learning PathwayThe Training Services Portal Learning Pathway: “Higher Education: First Day Ready”

This course will walk you through the process of creating a Canvas LMS course so that you can be first day ready. This course will cover how to create a Home Page, utilize Modules, and access Student View to ensure your course is “first day ready” (To access, Login to Canvas: Select “Help” from the Global menu in Canvas click “Training Services Portal”)

How does this align to Canvas training materials?

Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: Module 5: Content: How can I make, find, and use online resources?, Module 6: Structuring the Course: How do I put it all together and explain it to my students?, Module 7: Universal Design for Learning and Module 8: Accessibility: How can I help my students who use assistive technology?

 


Additional Resources:

  • Visit canvas.wcu.edu 
  • Contact the 24/7 Canvas Help if you need help with issues as you are working in Canvas. (NOTE: 24/7 Canvas Help goes away on June 30 and Help will be taken over by the WCU Helpdesk which is not manned 24/7). 
  • Canvas Migration FAQ
  • Register for one of the Zoom sessions which will be held on Thursdays and Fridays at 11:00 A.M. after reviewing the Priming the Canvas Course. This week’s sessions will cover Discussions in Canvas as well as How to release content conditionally in Canvas.

Our next article will highlight Course Analytics and Statistics in Canvasvisit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles. 

Canvas Implementation Core Integrations

Canvas has a great many features “out of the box.” But no system is perfect for every situation.  Canvas has an extensible platform that allows for “plug-ins,” “LTIs” or “integrations” that work in a way that is integrated with the system.  Although salespeople at conferences might tell you differently, integrations take time to implement, and like all other software that handles student data, must go through the same review processes for security, state and federal law compliance, and technical issues. 

In order to maintain a level of parity or better going into the launch of Canvas in May, the project implementation team has worked to enable the following integrations in Canvas.  These are working fully in the pilot environment and will be available as you build your courses. 

Some integrations are considered core functions of the university and thus are fully supported by ITHelp and the LMS TeamThese Include:

Microsoft Office 365 

OneDrive objects can be inserted fully into courses as a part of course building, grading, or from students submitting assignments. The Canvas inbox communicates with Outlook.  And the Canvas calendar can, with appropriate settings, update the Outlook calendar. 

Microsoft Teams Meetings

Microsoft Teams meetings can be arranged for classes or groups and will appear on the Canvas calendar. It can be accessed under the additional items plug-in tool in the rich content editor.

Panopto

Panopto is the university’s chosen video streaming and storage platform.  Faculty and Staff can store and stream unlimited amounts of content in support of educational objectivesPanopto is fully integrated into the Canvas rich content editor (authoring tool). 

PollEverywhere

Instructors can import course rosters into PollEverywhere from Canvas. 

Zoom

Zoom is the preferred choice for video conferencing at Western Carolina. It is as fully integrated as is possible into Canvas. (May require an additional authentication or sign- in). It is managed from the left navigation bar and will require enabling in your course if you want to manage your meetings in the LMS.

Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor

    •  

A custom browser that limits student machine use during an exam and a related recording tool for monitoring compliance with academic integrity standards. Training is provided by the vendor. WCU can troubleshoot some issues, but most data is only available to the instructor or to the vendor in the case of a dispute.

Tk20

A custom integration used and supported by the College of Education and Allied Professions for assessment and tracking.

The following integration is so ubiquitous that we couldn’t leave it out.  We’ll do our best to keep the integration working, but the details are up to Google. 

YouTube

To add a YouTube video into a course you can drop in a link or, using the “plug” button in the rich content editor, can drop a YouTube window into your content in the same way you could with the “Mashup” in Blackboard.

You Say You Want Integration?

We’ve compiled answers to some of your questions about integrations (LTI’s in the jargon) here: What is an Integration in Canvas (and How Do I Request One?) 

How does this align to Canvas training materials?

Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: Module 6 “Structuring the Course”

 


Additional Resources:

Our next article will highlight Being First Day Ready with Canvasvisit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles. 

Engaged Scholarship Research/Creative Activities Grants Program for Faculty

Western Carolina University is an engaged member of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC). The ESC exists to work collaboratively to build strong university-community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship, and designed to help build community capacity. Over the past five years our faculty (University Participants Program & Dr. Kelly Kelley), students (Student Democracy Coalition), and engaged work (mini-grant for faculty development) has been recognized nationally through the ESC.

A mini-grant ($5,000; 1-year) opportunity through the ESC to encourage engaged scholarship research/creative activities through faculty is now accepting submissions through May 7. ESC notes that conducting scholarship that is mutually beneficial for the university scholar and for the community is a topic of great interest to members of the ESC. To help facilitate this outcome for higher education faculty, ESC is accepting submissions now at: https://engagementscholarship.org/grants-awards/esc-grants-program/application-procedures-and-process.

Applications due: May 7, 2021

 

If you have any questions about ESC or about this grant opportunity, please reach out to Dr. Lane Perry (laneperry@wcu.edu).

Contributor: Dr. Lane Perry is Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning at Western Carolina University.

Rubrics in Canvas

Rubrics can be used to grade assignments, discussions and quizzes in a course. 

Rubrics can be used to as an efficient way to evaluate assignments, quizzes and discussions with more effective and valuable individual feedback and expectation for students. 

 

Why You Should Consider Rubrics

Rubrics help instructors:

  • Provide students with feedback that is straightforward, focused and central to learning improvement.
  • Reduce time spent on grading; Increase time spent on teaching.
  • Promote student comprehension of assignment instructions and expectations so they can easily discern what to focus on rather than guessing “what the teacher wants to see.”
  • Streamline evaluation of rubric results to make informed adjustments to course content and material based on identified thematic gaps in student learning across a class.
  • Refine consistency in evaluation of student learning throughout an entire class as well as individual students.

Rubrics help students:

  • Sharpen their efforts on completing assignments and assessments that align with clearly defined expectations.
  • Self and Peer-reflection on their own learning to make informed adjustments and improvements to accomplish learning level and mastery.

 (Adapted from UC Berkely Center for Teaching & Learning – Evaluate Course-Level Learning – Rubrics)

It is important to note that rubrics used in Blackboard may look different in Canvas depending on the criteria and settings. Review the information provided in the knowledge base article “Do my rubrics in Blackboard migrate to Canvas?” 

How does this align to Canvas training materials?

Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: Module 2: “Designing a Canvas Course” & Module 12 “Teaching in the Virtual Classroom”

 


Additional Resources:

Our next article will highlight Canvas Implementation Core Integrations visit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles. 

Online Equity Conference

An international body of faculty are gathering next week to share and discuss strategies for increasing equity for all learners. There will be synchronous and asynchronous pathways for everyone to share what you are doing in your classes and at your institutions.

The first-time Online Equity Conference, hosted by the Peralta Community College (CA) district, is only a week away. The conference will take place virtually from April 21 to April 23, 2021 (see the new Equity Conference website for more details). They welcome equity-minded students, educators, staff and leaders who represent colleges, universities, non-profit organizations and vendors from all around the world. Their goals are 1) to increase the visibility of all efforts to increase learning equity in higher education and 2) to bring together institutions that want to share and adopt equitable practices for all online students globally.

REGISTRATION: Please register via their online form.

Conference participation will be FREE to make it accessible for everyone. Sessions will be spread throughout the day and recorded to accommodate busy schedules and global time zones. All you need to do is sign up!

Over 370 people are registered from across the U.S., as well as Grenada, Iraq, Ireland, New Zealand and more.

The conference will include three types of activities to mirror the scaffolded learning process from Peralta’s Online Equity Training:

  • Day 1 – LEARN – Participate in live and recorded PRESENTATIONS that share an equity strategy or equity initiative.
  • Day 2 – ANALYZE – Participate in live and asynchronous DISCUSSIONS about an equity topic.
  • Day 3 – BUILD – Participate in live WORKSHOPS focused on increasing equity in your classes or at your institution.