Peer Review in Canvas: Tool Quirks & Workarounds

In working with instructors more closely this term on implementing peer review in their new Canvas courses, we are starting to get a better sense of what issues and errors are most likely to crop up, and how to manage those. At the same time, we are learning about the quirks of the Peer Review tool in Canvas (what it works well for, and what it does not) and some situations in which going another direction might be preferable. This post will cover what we’ve learned recently, and share some tips and resources for designing peer review activities in Canvas (either with or without using the dedicated “Peer Review” tool). Continue reading “Peer Review in Canvas: Tool Quirks & Workarounds”

The Case of the Missing Journal

One of the glaring omissions from the Canvas LMS toolkit is the Learning Journal. This tool often provided a personal space for student reflection where instructors could see evidence of learning from each student’s perspective. In Blackboard Learn there was a dedicated tool called Journals that allowed for these entries to be collected, shared and graded in a variety of configurations. We found that in situations where a discussion was not necessarily appropriate a reflective journal entry provided the evidence of learning that instructors needed to know their course design was having the desired effect.

In Canvas there is no Journal tool specific to this task and as we at the Distance Education Unit (DEU) work with instructors to migrate courses from one LMS to the other we’re beginning to find ways to recreate this activity using the available tools in Canvas. Here are a couple options to recreate a journal activity in Canvas. Continue reading “The Case of the Missing Journal”

7 Tips for Setting up Group Projects in Canvas

Are you looking to set up a Group project in your Canvas course? Canvas Groups offers a “small version of a course” and can be used as a collaborative tool where students can work together on projects, such as Assignments, or to split a large class up for smaller, more digestible Discussions. Using Groups to assign projects to students can also help you give shared feedback and grades back to Group members more efficiently.

The Groups tool in Canvas is quite flexible, so this post will offer tips for using Groups in the most commonly applicable ways I have seen. There are some best practices, and also links for further help. Continue reading “7 Tips for Setting up Group Projects in Canvas”

Creating a Custom Course Template: A Canvas Commons Case Study

Program administrators often desire a feeling of commonality and a cohesiveness of the learning experience across the various courses of their program. However, when each course might be designed, developed, and taught by a different instructor, this can be tricky to achieve. This post will offer an example of how Canvas Commons can be used for building shared elements across the different courses of a program, and how even entire online courses might be built in a similar manner through this tool. Continue reading “Creating a Custom Course Template: A Canvas Commons Case Study”

Gaining insights from student feedback

Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s working in your online class and what barriers students are quietly navigating without feedback. A common practice in post secondary institutions is to collect student evaluations at the end of the term to better understand what students thought of the course design and your teaching strategies. At the Distance Education Unit (DEU) we encourage instructors to create spaces for students to provide feedback throughout the term allowing you to make small changes on the fly and enhancing the student learning experience while it still counts.

In this blog post we’ll provide you with a number of ways you might encourage student feedback and what to do with the suggestions once you have them. Continue reading “Gaining insights from student feedback”

7 Things You Should Know About Canvas Commons

This topic does not appear in the EDUCAUSE series, but we think the format is useful so have applied it here… see more from the 7 Things You Should Know about series for other Ed Tech related themes and tools at EDUCAUSE.

Scenario

Jamie Andarson is teaching an online introductory course next term using Canvas. They have prepared most of their syllabus, selected articles and other readings, and have most of the assignments outlined but not detailed. They are still looking to fill some gaps in their course, so they reach out to their education specialist to go over their course plan. Ezra Eban, the educationalist, suggests they search Canvas Commons to see if there are any Open Educational Resources – freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching – that would work for the course.

Jamie and Ezra find some rich content that fits nicely with the third week’s theme, an assignment that is actually very close to the one Jamie had in mind, but unfortunately no quizzes that would work for this course. Using the import from Commons feature, they copy the content into their course and place it within the week three module. Next, they imported the assignment and began editing it. They added details that were specific to the University of Saskatchewan, and also added a rubric for grading and feedback purposes. Finally, together they created some quizzes intended for practice for students prior to the midterms and final exam.

Ezra mentioned to Jamie that with Canvas Commons you can also submit your course materials for others to use. They consider the license on the original assignment, choose a new Creative Commons license for the updated assignment and share it back to Canvas Commons. They also look through the quizzes and decide on another Creative Commons license, and share it to Commons for the rest of their department to use. Continue reading “7 Things You Should Know About Canvas Commons”

USask’s New ePortfolio Tool: Portfolium

What’s an ePortfolio?

An electronic portfolio/ePortfolio is a collection of student work that is useful for showing both the product and the process of learning – while the product demonstrates accountability to learning objectives and showcases the students’ developing skills, the process creates an ongoing workspace for self-reflective learning. As such, an ePortfolio can be a powerful tool for assessment as learning and also assessment of learning.

A portfolio shouldn’t be simply an archive of student work; instead, the real value is found in portfolios as living, dynamic presentations of learning, developing competencies, and intellectual and professional growth. Portfolios can be used at the course level — often as a replacement for a summative final exam — or might be used across a degree program to ensure that students are meeting important high-level competencies and curricular outcomes. Especially when integrated across a student’s entire degree program, an ePortfolio allows them to exit with a thoughtfully-compiled collection of their best work, a timeline of their growth and development as a learner, and a showcase of who they are as a professional and scholar in their field. Continue reading “USask’s New ePortfolio Tool: Portfolium”

The New LMS is here! The New LMS is here!

It’s official! USask is moving away from the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) to Canvas by Instructure! But what’s the hubbub? Why did the University choose to make this change to the Learning Technology ecosystem? In the 10 years since Blackboard was first launched at USask, university teaching and learning has evolved, and so too has the learning technology marketplace. Institutional research, institutional priorities in learning and teaching, and feedback from faculty, instructors and students indicated that Blackboard was not meeting our needs. The decision to begin a review process was also prompted by our current contract with Blackboard being up for renewal. The version of Blackboard we are currently using was almost at the end of its life cycle, and replacement was necessary. You can visit the Learning Management System Renewal project pages for more details on how and why the LMS review took place at USask on your own time, but for now, let’s take a look at some of the major upgrades this LMS has to offer under the hood! Continue reading “The New LMS is here! The New LMS is here!”

Get up to speed fast with the new Canvas LMS

The new Learning Management System (LMS) is reason to celebrate. But transitioning to new learning technologies can also be a little daunting. Although DEU, GMCTL, and ICT will be working hard to develop professional learning plans that merge teaching and learning practices with technical skills, and will be designed to support a change in either or both within the new LMS, you may want to take some time on your own to orient yourself with the LMS update. USask training will take place throughout the summer for early adopters and into the fall and beyond for those transitioning for winter term. Keep an eye out on https://training.usask.ca/ for these and other opportunities as they come available.

In this post, however, the Instructional Design Team at the Distance Education Unit has curated a few resources from Canvas to get you familiar and even, up and running in Canvas, quickly and easily. Continue reading “Get up to speed fast with the new Canvas LMS”