Add Alert Boxes to Canvas Pages with this HTML Trick

One of the frustrating things about building pages in Canvas is the lack of functionality in the RCE (Rich Content Editor) to add “callout boxes” or other elements that separate blocks of text/media content in a simple and visually-appealing way. However, this is actually a fairly easy thing to add with some editing of the HTML. This post will show you how to add alert boxes and provide you with some code snippets to borrow for your own course.

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Using Announcements in Your Online Course

Course announcements are one of the simplest and most effective ways to communicate with your class, whether you are teaching an entirely online, in-person, or a hybrid course. Particularly for online asynchronous learners, announcements offer a primary channel for regular information to be passed on from the instructor, and a significant tool for building a sense of instructor presence. In this blog post, I’ll cover some reasons you might send an announcement, a few good practices to keep in mind, and some options and tips particular to using the Announcements tool in Canvas.

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Canvas New Quizzes: Frequently Asked Questions

Since Canvas was first deployed at USask as our LMS (beginning in spring 2020), users have had access to two quiz engines for building and deploying online quizzes, called Classic Quizzes and New Quizzes. You might recall that in the past, academic support staff have generally recommended that you build your quizzes using Classic Quizzes, which was more stable and had fewer bugs and issues. 

However, due to some recent improvements with the tool, we are now updating our recommendation: If you are creating a new quiz (i.e., building something from scratch) in Canvas, we now recommend you use the New Quizzes tool instead of Classic Quizzes. 

If you’ve got questions about Canvas New Quizzes, take a look through the following New Quizzes FAQ.

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8 Reasons to Be Excited About Canvas New Quizzes

“New” doesn’t always mean “improved,” but with Canvas New Quizzes now available, there are a wealth of new features available and some definite improvements that will streamline common workflows for instructors who were previously using Classic Quizzes. Here are 8 reasons why you might be excited about making the move to New Quizzes!

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Buy, Borrow, Bend, or Build?: A Framework for Course Material Selection

An important part of the design and planning process for a new learning experience (like in the design of an online course) is deciding on where the learning materials or course content will come from. Typically, there will be multiple types of material and sources of content, and the course creator has to make content selections that balance factors like cost, time, fit, and effort. This post will introduce a simple framework for thinking about the task of course material selection, some factors to guide decision-making, and some resources to help during the selection process.

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What is “Chunking”? Why Does it Matter for Online Course Design?

“Chunks” might sound more like a way to describe your favourite chocolate bar than a useful learning strategy, but it actually relates to an important process in cognitive psychology. By taking complex materials and breaking them into smaller but related and well-organized elements (i.e., more “bite-sized” and “palatable”), you can design online course materials for more efficient application of your learners’ working memory, and improve the learning experience in your online class. In this post, I’ll cover a basic overview of what “chunking” is all about, and some ways we apply this strategy to online course design.

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Announcing a New OER – Universal Design for Learning (UDL): One Small Step

We know that learners bring a wide range of knowledge, skills, backgrounds, and experiences into the classroom. As educators, we can expect to find variability in our classroom. The USask Learning Charter lists, as one of the Educator Commitments and Responsibilities, to Strive for Excellence in Teaching. This commitment means that educators work to develop respectful and inclusive learning environments that support student learning. Honouring this commitment requires that educators co-create with students a shared space for learning in which all participants feel respected, valued, and empowered to contribute as they achieve their goals and share the gifts of their identities in relationship with one another. This approach is also part of the work that comes to embody the word manacihtowin (Cree) / manachihitoohk (Michif) (i.e., respect of all individuals). When we don’t respond to the variability in our classrooms, we make our educational experiences exclusive. 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a powerful set of approaches that allows you to make sure the greatest range of students can access and engage in learning – not just certain students. A new open educational resource (OER), authored by a collaborative team of TLSE staff members, is available for USask educators to learn more about UDL: Universal Design for Learning: One Small Step 

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Administering Written Exams via Canvas

Both the Canvas Assignments tool and the Canvas Quiz tool can be used for replicating a “take-home” style of exam, or a written exam, in an online or remote course setting. This post will discuss how to decide if this is the right approach for your course, how to set it up in Canvas, and some details for administering it to ensure a smooth launch come exam time. Continue reading “Administering Written Exams via Canvas”