Setting up Syndicated WordPress Blogs

If you are looking to facilitate writing in your courses that is more reflective, iterative, interactive, and media-rich than more traditional writing assignments (such as essays and papers), blogging can be an excellent way to go. Through the USask Sites platform, it is possible to get each student in your class set up with their own WordPress blog. This post will cover how to set these up for your students, and then arrange for syndication of student blogs into a central class blog roll.

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Hidden Gems – H5P

Scenario

Leslie Langham has taught most of their courses online at least twice now. They put in long days, evenings and weekends developing content for their courses – choosing readings, finding relevant videos and images, crafting assignments – and interacting with students providing feedback. Leslie feels confident in the courses they put together and deliver online, but also feels like a little something is missing. Sometimes students seem to miss the most important points made in the videos, or pick up on some key concepts but miss others.

In their face-to-face class, Leslie is used to using a student response system and other activities and technology to check for student understanding, but aside from using the Canvas Quiz tool, doesn’t know how else to support students by providing interactive opportunities to self-check their new understanding and practice their new skills. After consulting with an instructional designer they settled on incorporating some H5P activities into their online course.

Leslie now has a variety of interactive learning activities throughout the course, providing students timely, relevant, and specific feedback on key concepts automatically. This includes interactive videos where students can check their understanding as the video is playing, check the outcomes of their decisions with branching scenarios, test their knowledge with digital flashcards, analyze images with interactive elements, and more. All of these activities are presented right in the course content, allowing students to engage with it straight away rather than going away into some other platform requiring yet another login.

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Creating and Sharing H5P Activities from WordPress and Pressbooks

If you haven’t tried H5P yet, or don’t know much about it, you can read the article Hidden Gems – H5P for Interactive Content, which describes the tool generally and gives a pretty good overview of why you might use it. For more articles about H5P, check out our entire category of H5P related posts.

What this post will help you learn
  • how to create an interactive activity with H5P  using WordPress and Pressbooks.
  • upon creating your activity, how to embed that activity in another website, including Canvas.
Learning Technology Used
  • WordPress (USask Sites) – Authoring & Publishing
  • Pressbooks (OpenPress) – Authoring & Publishing
  • Canvas – Publishing


Continue reading “Creating and Sharing H5P Activities from WordPress and Pressbooks”

Creating and Sharing H5P Activity Without a Website

If you haven’t tried H5P yet, or don’t know much about it, you can read the article Hidden Gems – H5P for Interactive Content, which describes the tool generally and gives a pretty good overview of why you might use it. For more articles about H5P, check out our entire category of H5P related posts.

What this post will help you learn
  • how to create an interactive activity with H5P using the Lumi desktop application.
  • upon creating your activity, how to get that activity into your Canvas course.
Learning Technology Used
  • Lumi Education – Authoring & Exporting
  • Canvas – Publishing


Continue reading “Creating and Sharing H5P Activity Without a Website”

Podcasts as Assignments

Podcasts are a great assignment alternative to more “traditional” approaches such as written essays and research papers. They can demand an equivalent level of research and academic rigour, but give students a chance to gain effective communication skills while also building new technological skills. They also work great for capturing more spontaneous discussions, reflective of real conversations or interviews. They work well as a format for a series of small assignments or a larger capstone project, and can be used for both individual and group assignments.

In this post, I will outline some of the questions you should ask yourself while designing a podcast-based assignment, some tips and resources you can share with students to get them started, and detail some specifics on submitting audio files through Canvas.

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Writing Mathematical Expressions in Canvas Using LaTeX

An update coming to Canvas on Feb. 20th should be of interest to anybody involved in courses that use mathematical or chemical expressions, equations, and formulae. The update will enable MathJax, a JavaScript display engine that works in all modern browsers and was designed with the goal of creating a single, comprehensive, math-on-the-web platform. Continue reading “Writing Mathematical Expressions in Canvas Using LaTeX”

Redirect Tool App in Canvas

DEU often uses platforms like WordPress, Pressbooks and other content management systems for building learning technology functions beyond the capabilities of a standard LMS. We tend to think of the LMS as a central learning hub where students can branch out from to access pockets of content across the world wide web. However, once unleashed into the vast sea of the internet students can, at times, lose focus and be set adrift. It would be nice if we could “wrap” these outside websites, news channels, homework systems etc. inside of Canvas in order to keep students within the walls of the LMS and on task. The Redirect Tool does just that, and we’ll show you how. Continue reading “Redirect Tool App in Canvas”

Hidden Gems – Multimedia Presentations with Microsoft Sway

Scenario

Jamie Jameson is teaching a combined 400/800 level course this term and the final project is a group presentation of their students’ work as a digital poster. In previous years Jamie’s assignment was often submitted as a PowerPoint presentation. This year they wanted to try something new, enabling students to create and curate multimedia into the presentation, as PowerPoint always made this feel clunky; as well as asking students to create something that is shareable not only in a remote learning context but is also easily shared with a broader audience.

Jamie considered continuing to use PowerPoint, but having students work in groups would sometimes result in multiple versions and led to confusion about which draft to present to the class. Sharing of the PowerPoints was also a problem. If PDFs were shared, the presentations felt static and lacked the multimedia elements that enhance the presentation. Visually rich presentations resulted in very large file sizes and could become increasingly difficulty to distribute, not to mention that viewing them on different devices could drastically alter the perception of the presentation. Jamie also considered asking their students to create a website, but concluded that their own comfort level with teaching their students the intricacies of web design could detract from the purpose of the assignment, the students’ research.

After consulting with an instructional designer about the project, Jamie settled on the final assignment submissions by way of Microsoft Sway. Their students created responsive Sway presentations of their research collaboratively online, presented it to the class, and they were also able to post their Sway projects to the class website.These presentations were brought to life with pull quotes, animations, student created video as well as YouTube videos, and images. Finally, students were able to include their work in the e-portfolio they assembled over the course of their program. Continue reading “Hidden Gems – Multimedia Presentations with Microsoft Sway”

Exporting and Printing Content from Canvas

If you have an online/remote Canvas course, especially one with a lot of text-based content, there are a number of reasons why a student may prefer to export your course to an e-reader to study offline, or even print as much of the course content as possible. Some students struggle to read from computer screens for extended periods of time. Others like to take lots of notes or highlight any text-based content they are learning from. Others might have poor internet connections, or be planning to travel to areas where they know their connectivity will be limited. Whatever the reason, giving students the option to Export the content from Canvas will improve the accessibility of your course! Continue reading “Exporting and Printing Content from Canvas”

Canvas HTML editing

At the start of 2021 Canvas released a new Rich Content Editor (RCE) with a variety of new and updated features. Despite these upgrades the Instructional Design team at DEU has had a number of requests from instructors for some specific ways to enhance the look of their course content pages. The HTML Editor in the RCE allows you to do some basic HTML editing on course pages to add features and functions otherwise not available in the main editor. However, this is not a TRUE HTML editor in that Canvas will, at times, strip out or block any HTML code that it sees as a security risk. If you hit a wall trying to make HTML work in Canvas, that is likely why. A second warning is to perhaps practice in a test course before trying these methods in your live class as you can inadvertently cause errors on your page if you’re not a seasoned HTML’er. That said, you don’t need a background in coding to try out some of these features. A little patience and an adventurous spirit should get you through.

In this post we’ll look at adding some simple code snippets to add to the HTML editor in the Canvas RCE to help add function and create more dynamic web pages in your Canvas course. From Text Boxes, Line Breaks, Wrapping Text to Creating Interactive Buttons, see some of the common items people are adding to their course pages using the HTML editor. Continue reading “Canvas HTML editing”