DEU EdTech Quick Tips – Issue 69

In this Issue: Fall Term on the Horizon

    • Prepping for Fall Term (Online Course Beginning-of-Term Checklist)
    • Getting to Know Your Class with Pre-Course Surveys
    • Canvas Tip: Organize Content with HTML Tabs
    • A Podcast Club for One
    • Upcoming PD Opportunity: Digital Pedagogy Institute (August 9-10)
    • DEU Support and Contact Information

Prepping for Fall Term (Online Course Beginning-of-Term Checklist)

On the verge of another new term already! If you are running through a mental list to decide if you’ve put all the pieces in place to get your new online (or remote) class up and running for Fall term, the Online Course Beginning-of-Term Checklist from DEU should cover the essentials. The checklist has more information on how to:

    1. Ready your course content and settings within Canvas.
    2. Finalize and upload your Syllabus.
    3. Set “Due” dates for graded components for the upcoming term.
    4. Publish your Canvas course.
    5. Make an Announcement and start communicating with your students.
    6. Send a Canvas “Inbox” message to your students.

See the full checklist with related Canvas resources on the DEU Blog.

Icon by EcommDesign on IconScout, CC-BY 3.0

Getting to Know Your Class with Pre-Course Surveys

As you prepare your course content for the fall term, you may be wondering, “How can I design a course for students that I haven’t met?” Surveying students is an easy way to learn about your incoming class ahead of course launch. Pre-course surveys will help you tailor course content, address potential student anxiety, and build rapport with your students, helping you and your class to hit the ground running in the first week.

Depending on your goals for a pre-course survey, there are a variety of questions you might ask students:

    • Demographic questions to plan discussions, groups, and office hour sessions
      • “What time zone are you in?”
      • “Are you working full time, part time, or seeking a job during this course?”
    • Prior knowledge questions to build on existing skills or fill potential gaps
      • “What courses have you taken that are similar to this one?”
      • “Do you have work experience in this field?”
    • Goal-oriented questions to assess what students hope to get out of the course
      • “How do you plan to apply the knowledge you gain from this course?”
      • “Are there any specific topics you hope to learn about this term?”
    • Free-form questions so students can share any other concerns or needs ahead of the course
      • “Do you have anything else to share that I should be aware of?”
      • “Do you have any questions for me that I can follow up on?”

Once you have designed your questions and are ready to send them, you’ll need a survey tool to collect responses. While Canvas has a survey tool that is suitable for most purposes, SurveyMonkey is a great option to connect with your class before you open the course. If it’s your first time accessing SurveyMonkey, see How can I log in to SurveyMonkey?Otherwise, you’ll just need a list of email addresses to ensure the surveys reach the right inboxes. In Canvas, you can generate a class list that includes email addresses by following these instructions: How do I export grades in the Gradebook?

Photo by Joice Rivas from Pexels.


Canvas Tip: Organize Content with HTML Tabs

Have you ever wanted to organize your content in Canvas pages in a way that chunks the content nicely, and reduces the amount of scrolling required on the page? One approach you might consider is presenting your content using tabs. The following post will show you how (and give you the HTML code snippets to try it yourself!).

Image by Anete Lusina from Pexels


A Podcast Club for One

Sometimes we have ideas we want to explore or things we want to try, and we find that no one else is available or they are hesitant to participate. Don’t let it stop you. Consider the potential structure for a podcast club for one. It might sound a bit lonely but think of it as a place to begin and hopefully others will join in later.

Start by finding that podcast series that you are interested in listening to. Back in June, we shared a list of higher education podcasts from our friend and colleague, Erika Smith, Faculty Development Consultant, in the Academic Development Centre at Mount Royal University that you might want to revisit. We’d also recommend the Mastering Teaching podcast from our colleagues at the GMCTL, or SoTL Chat from the experts associated with the Jane and Ron Graham Centre for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Go beyond just listening to podcasts that may be of interest in your online classes or for your online teaching practice.

Once you choose a podcast series, schedule a time to listen on a regular basis. It could be weekly, monthly, or whenever best suits your schedule. Identify a few questions to focus on for reflection after listening. Here are a few to start with but revise so that they fit your needs and focus.

    • Who is the person or people speaking?
    • When was this episode made and is it still relevant?
    • Why should this be of significance to me?
    • What do I need to explore further?
    • Where can I share this?
    • How does this episode contrast with other perspectives?

You could reflect in a notebook, a blog, or perhaps a thread on Twitter. Choose what will be best for you.

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

Upcoming PD Opportunity: Digital Pedagogy Institute (August 9-10)

The two-day virtual Digital Pedagogy Institute will take place on Tuesday August 9th and Wednesday August 10th, 2022. A partnership between Brock University, Toronto Metropolitan University, the University of Toronto Scarborough Library, and the University of Waterloo, this conference will include keynote addresses, presentations, workshops, and digital tool training that focus on the innovative use of digital technologies to enhance and transform undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Register (for free!) and find more information at: