Hidden Gem: Canvas Chat

The Chat tool in Canvas is a very simple and low-bandwidth real-time communication option that, if used deliberately, could provide a quick and easy-to-access way to aid communication in your class, improve your presence as an online instructor, or be a convenient way to structure engaging learning activities in your blended course. 

This post will include a brief overview of the Chat tool, and cover a few ideas for incorporating it into your online or blended teaching plans.

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Considerations for Concurrent Hybrid Teaching

Teaching in a concurrent hybrid (or, possibly more accurately, a concurrent hyflex) classroom is when you teach both in-person and remote students at the same time, usually by physically being present in the same classroom space as the in-person students. While this teaching modality has certainly been used more widely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also an interesting one to consider for a variety of situations in which students might require additional freedom and/or flexibility to choose either an in-person or remote learning experience. The possibilities of concurrent hybrid/hyflex teaching to increase the accessibility of courses and degree programs are the key part of why they are being considered more and more in higher education settings.

However, the challenges of concurrent hybrid teaching are real. For many instructors and students, this is an unfamiliar way of teaching and learning, and it is a unique approach that requires unique teaching solutions. While simply setting up a camera feed so that virtual students can “tune in” to the in-person event is a start, there is a lot more to consider with regards to the technical setup and, importantly, the instructional design of a high-quality concurrent hybrid course. The goal is to ensure that the remote students do not experience an inequity of teaching attention or a compromised quality of instruction. With that in mind, here are some things to consider in taking hybrid teaching beyond simply livestreaming a lecture.

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Effective Feedback in Online Courses

Feedback is one of the most powerful ways in which instructors engage with their learners, and integral to the simple basis of formative assessment — i.e., provide opportunities for students to practice applying their skills and knowledge, give them feedback on how they’ve done, and then provide subsequent opportunities for them to show their enhanced performance and further their achievement. Because it can have such an impact on student learning, it’s valuable to consider how and where feedback is incorporated into your courses.

In this post, we’ll look at 3 broad approaches to providing feedback in an online course situation, and some tools that Canvas provides to enable effective feedback. I’ll also highlight some lesser-known Canvas tools, like leaving video comments on assignments or using the comment library to make giving feedback faster.

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Using the LMS to Support F2F Learning

If you’re going back into the classroom this fall after several terms of remote-only instruction, don’t abandon the LMS (i.e., the Learning Management System) just yet! LMSs like Canvas have a lot to offer for your face-to-face classes. Here are some ideas for how to enhance your F2F course using the LMS and some related online learning tools and strategies.

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Multi-Access Delivery Models for Uncertain Times

With President Stoicheff’s announcement that “we will see a significant increase to in-person, on-campus instruction for Fall 2021”, many faculty and instructional staff are beginning to think about how best to design their fall courses. With uncertainty still lingering in all our minds, we may all be looking for some flexible options for teaching and learning design that not only provide autonomy and flexibility for students, but provide a little insurance against emergency measures as well.

Blended, HyFlex, and Multi-access design models all leverage face-to-face (F2F), synchronous and asynchronous activities to deliver flexible learning options for students. But how do we implement these designs in our classes and what are the considerations we must look at when increasing the flexibility in our course designs?

In this post we’ll compare these different designs and show you how you can leverage both your F2F teaching and your remote course materials to create flexible delivery options for you and your students this fall. Continue reading “Multi-Access Delivery Models for Uncertain Times”

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”