Designing Learning Activities using Canvas Collaborations

One of the tools ICT has integrated into Canvas to help students collaborate with peers is accessible through the Collaborations link in the course navigation menu. From here, both Students and Instructors have the ability to create collaborative Word Docs, Excel Spreadsheets, or PowerPoint Presentations between members of the class.

In this post we’ll provide you with a few examples of how you might design a few different learning activities and assessments that make use of this tool integration to promote social and collaborative meaning making in your class. Continue reading “Designing Learning Activities using Canvas Collaborations”

Office 365 and Canvas

There are a number of Office 365 integrations that can be built into the learning activities in your Canvas course, making it easier for you and your students to generate, share, and collaborate in Office 365 files, and for students to access their OneDrive cloud storage. This post will discuss how those integrations fit into our current LMS arrangement, and share a handful of links and ideas to get you started on building learning activities that take advantage of Office 365.

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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”

A Warning About Templates and Canvas Commons Updates

In previous blog posts, DEU has shared some information about Canvas Commons, and how the use of customizable course and module templates can be a great way to support quality online course design, as well as provide a consistent learning experience for students across multiple courses within a program. Many instructors have also made use of the generalized USask Canvas Course Template, and since being published to Canvas Commons in August 2020, it has since been downloaded into 714 unique Canvas courses!

We at DEU still think using Canvas Commons to create and share learning resources, including customizable module/course templates, is great. However, I’ve recently learned the hard way to watch out for a weird thing that can happen when Updates are made to Canvas Commons resources. Consider this post a warning, so that you can hopefully avoid the same mistake!

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Students publish open textbook in collaborative assignment

An exciting integration between Canvas and Pressbooks is allowing students to take their research and writing to the next level. Pressbooks is the supported open textbook publishing platform at the University of Saskatchewan, and over this past year we’ve been supporting a number of projects that bring this textbook editor into your Canvas course. Student papers and assignments have been reimagined to contribute, more collectively, to a collaborative open publication. A textbook, an encyclopedia, a peer-reviewed collection of essays, lesson plans, article reviews, or any number of collaboratively formed publications are possible in this easy to implement group learning activity. Is this post we highlight one such project that promoted active learning using Pressbooks inside of their Canvas courses. Continue reading “Students publish open textbook in collaborative assignment”

Hide and Reveal Content in Canvas Pages with this HTML Trick

Generally, the ideal page layout for course materials in Canvas is to have the information readily visible and in hierarchical order. Making use of styles such as headings makes the page more accessible both visually and for assistive technologies. In addition to the hierarchy, other visual elements introduced in our previous post can be used to signal different messages to students.

Today, we have another tool for your page layout toolbox, collapsible content, sometimes referred to as an accordion. When I say accordion what may come to mind first is one of the most fun musical instruments to play and listen to, but what we are talking about in this post is a menu that is “a vertically stacked list of headers that can be clicked to reveal or hide content associated with them” (Loranger, 2014). Usually, these will reveal content under one header while hiding content in the rest. We can get a similar effect using a simple HTML tag, details.

Hi I’m Details, click here to see more great content.

The content here is hidden until you click the details summary. If you click it again, this content will disappear.

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Using Synchronous Sessions: Learning in Real-time

In discussing online learning broadly with faculty, instructors, students, staff, and the public, it becomes evident very quickly that there are as many different interpretations of what it means or can look like as there are people to talk about it with. In higher education in particular, it is quite common for online learning to seem like it is an asynchronous (anywhere anytime) setting. Live real-time classes have existed in a variety of formats over the decades, from classes broadcast over television and radio networks, to closed network screens, and now through the use of web conferencing tools such as Zoom and Webex. This post includes just a few ideas for using synchronous strategies in your online class as a first step.
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Synchronous Session Hack: Use Your Phone as a Document Camera

There are times where a hand-drawn sketch, diagram, or solution might be the best way to illustrate something to your students, or walk with them through the steps of solving a new problem.  The ideal option for doing this in synchronous video sessions would be to connect a dedicated document camera to your computer, and switch the video feed. But, what if you don’t have access to one? This post will take you though a quick alternative “hack” in order to use your smart phone as a document camera.

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USask Instructor Engages Students with Escape Room Learning Activities

This past year Dr. Michel Gravel, a faculty member in Chemistry in the College of Arts & Science, challenged his students by developing an “escape room” activity using WebEx and a variety of tool options in Canvas. After creating a series of “locked doors” using the quiz tool and module requirements in Canvas, with content pages in between the quizzes to add storyline and context, the students were placed into three groups. The activity was introduced in a synchronous WebEx session by the instructor and then the groups were moved to separate breakout rooms and began competing to be the first group to escape. Once in their own breakout rooms the first module was released and the game was on! One student from each group would navigate to the Canvas module and share their screen within WebEx and the group would work through the storyline and complete the quizzes in Canvas that would unlock the next door. Continue reading “USask Instructor Engages Students with Escape Room Learning Activities”