Author: Dan Ye

Creating Accessible Equations in Canvas

Canvas provides multiple ways to add equations to pages. In this blog post, you will learn a method that will create accessible equations in Canvas, which means that these equations will be automatically accessible by a Screen Reader and no additional effort is required.

Now you can add LaTex code directly into the Rich Content editor. For those who do not know, LaTeX code is a powerful markup language for mathematical typesetting. If you are familiar with LaTex or you just need to create simple equations, please follow the instructions in Displaying equations in Canvas to create accessible equations in Canvas; if you do not know LaTex, please check out Tools to create equations in Latex format and then follow the instructions in Displaying equations in Canvas to create accessible equations in Canvas.

Displaying Equations in Canvas

So now how to display equations in Canvas? First, please login your canvas course and located a Canvas page you want the equations to display, and then follow these steps:

1. Click Edit button and Locate Text Field where you would like to put an equation.
2. Type the appropriate Delimiter to signal that the equation should be rendered in LaTeX.
• $$and$$ should be used for equations that are meant to be displayed inline with text.
• $$should be used for equations that are meant to be displayed in separate blocks. 3. Type the Equation between the delimiters. • Ex: $$x^2+3x+4=7$$ for inline text or$$ x^3+2x+4=9$$for block text 4. Click Save for whatever text field you are working in. 5. Check that the Equation is being displayed correctly. It should look similar to the screenshot below. You can create more complicated equations, like the one displayed below using$$\frac{\sigma_y}{\partial{y}}+\frac{\tau_{xy}}{\partial{x}}+Y_b=0.

Tools to Create Equations in LaTex format

If you do not know LaTeX code, don’t worry. You can write equations in MS Word or EquatIO and covert equations easily as LaTex.

Please check the Write an equation or formula in MS Word page for how to convert an equation to the Linear (LaTex) formats.

For EquatIO, after you finish creating the equation, you can click the LaTex editor (see screenshot below) to find the LaTex format.

If you have any questions or need any assistance in creating accessible equations in Canvas, please contact elearning@mtu.edu.

Quality Matters: A Tool for Assessing Course Quality

As online courses become increasingly popular, it’s important to ensure that they are designed with quality in mind. That’s where Quality Matters (QM) comes in. QM is a tool and process used to assess the quality of a course. It’s helpful to consider these types of recommendations when designing and developing courses.

What is Quality Matters?

Quality Matters began with a small group of colleagues in the MarylandOnline, Inc. (MOL) consortium trying to solve a common problem among institutions: how do we measure and guarantee the quality of a course? The developers of a set of instructional guidance felt the same and even named it, “Quality Matters”. QM is a nonprofit organization comprised of dedicated staff from all over the United States who work together virtually to support everyone’s quality assurance goals.

How does Quality Matters work?

QM is built on a rubric of course design standards and a replicable peer-review process that can:

• Train and empower faculty to evaluate courses against these standards
• Provide guidance for improving the quality of courses
• Certify the quality of online and blended college courses across institutions

The seventh edition QM Rubric is a set of 8 general standards and 44 specific standards used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses. The Rubric is complete with annotations that explain the application of the standards and the relationship among them. A scoring system and set of online tools facilitate the evaluation by a team of reviewers. The eight general standards are:

• Course overview and introduction
• Learning objectives
• Assessment and measurement
• Instructional materials
• Learning activities and learner interaction
• Course technology
• Learner support
• Accessibility and usability

Why should you use Quality Matters?

QM provides a framework for designing, reviewing, and revising online courses to ensure that they meet research-supported standards of quality. By using QM, you can:

• Provide flexible scheduling options
• Offer courses everywhere because geography would no longer be a constraint for enrollment
• Ensure course quality for your students, regardless of where the course originated
• Create quality online courses that are equivalent to traditional face-to-face courses
• Improve student learning outcomes

Conclusion

Quality Matters is an essential tool for online faculty who want to ensure that their courses are designed with quality in mind. By using QM, you can create quality online courses that meet research-based standards of quality and improve student learning outcomes. If you are interested in learning more about QM, visit QM website or contact online@mtu.edu to schedule a meeting with us at CTL.

Course Design Template

The CTL online team has developed a course design template for face-to-face courses. The course design template will provide you with a solid foundation for good and effective course design.

Importing the course design template into your course

Step one: Log into MTU Canvas, then click on this link to access  the MTU F2F Course Design Template (If the link does not work, you can Log into MTU Canvas,  click the Commons tab on the black global menu at the left side, and search “MTU F2F”, you will see the MTU F2F Course Design Template).

Step Two: Click on the template course, click the Import/Download button on the right side of the page, select the course you want to import the template into, and then click Import into course. The template will be imported into your course in a few minutes.

Now you can start to work on your course based on the template. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact CTL online team via online@mtu.edu

Course Planning

Good course planning starts with course learning objectives. Course learning objectives are the goals you want students to achieve through taking your courses. Usually, you will have three to six course learning objectives and they are at relatively higher cognitive process dimensions (Bloom’s taxonomy from Vanderbilt University). Then you break course learning objectives into subordinal skills and knowledge, which will be your module learning objectives.

Creating measurable and observable learning objectives

Learning objectives should be measurable, observable and student-oriented, which indicate explicitly what students must do to demonstrate their learning. Learning objectives are typically structured as: By the end of this course/module, you should be able to +[action verb] +[object]. Avoid using verbs like “understand” or “know” in your learning objectives. If you don’t know which verb to use, please check out Bloom’s taxonomy of measurable verbs from Utica University.

Planning out your course map with Backward Design

When we start to plan out course content and assessments, backward design is a very useful model for planning out your course map. It has three steps:

1. Identify desired results. What should students know and be able to do at the end of the course/module? These are your learning objectives.
2. Determine acceptable evidence that students have achieved these learning objectives. These are your formative and summative assessments.
3. Plan learning experiences, instruction, and resources that will help students achieve the learning objectives. These are your course content and resources.

Backward design can be used on both course level and module level. For example, in module level, once you have decided the module learning objectives, you’ll need to think about your assessment plan, learning activities, and then learning materials for your module based on your module learning objectives. Here is a course map template that you can use to plan out your module structures.

Planning out your course map is a pivotal step towards your success teaching your course. Congratulations for what you’ve accomplished so far. Once you have finalized the planning of your course map, you can start to build your course. Stay tuned to our blog for forthcoming guidance on how to build your course in Canvas later.

— Dan Ye from CTL Instructional Design Team