Month: September 2013

Early Term Course Surveys in Canvas

Both the Provost and the University Senate (policy 505.1) advocate distributing an early term survey during the fourth or fifth week of the term to direct and improve instruction. This anonymous survey has traditionally been done on paper during class time, but it can also be done using Canvas.  Using Canvas saves class time, provides more legible feedback, and allows faculty to quickly see survey results and statistics.

The senate policy suggests two free response questions (What is good about this course?  How could it be better?).  The template for Fall Canvas Courses contains a sample Early Term Survey for faculty to use as is, or modify and use.  All you would have to do is publish the survey if you would like to use it as is.

You can watch an eLearning screencast and look over the Canvas Instructor Guide’s Quizzes Chapter to learn about it on this page, and faculty can stop by eLearning walk-in hours for help building surveys and quizzes in Canvas. The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop

CanvasLIVE! webinar this month: Assignments

Thursday, 9/26/2013

Join the Canvas Community Team for a CanvasLIVE! webinar this month. Our primary topic is ASSIGNMENTS.

CanvasLIVE is a free webinar series designed to give Canvas users additional training and an opportunity to share their knowledge with the community. Each session includes a brief tutorial on a Canvas tool or feature, focused demonstration, and a short Q&A with Canvas experts. Join us to learn something new and share your ideas and best practices with other Canvas users.

Find the schedule, more info, and register here:

Use Canvas Modules to deliver course content with precision

Modules allow you to organize your content to help control the flow of your course.  They are used to organize course content by weeks, chapters, content type, or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With modules, you are essentially creating a one-directional linear flow of what you would like your students to do.

Each module can contain files, discussions, web links, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials that you would like to use. You can easily add items to your module that you have already created in the course, or create new content shells within the modules. Modules, and items within modules, can be easily organized using the drag and drop feature.

You can use Modules to:

  • Create prerequisite activities that students must complete before moving on in the course
  • Track student progress through a sequence of learning activities

Some of the features of modules you can use include:

  • Set Modules to be locked until a given date
  • Require students to move through a module in a sequential order
  • Set parameters that define when a module item is complete like “viewed the item,” “submitted the assignment,” “scored at least,” etc.
  • Require students to complete one module before accessing the next
  • View student progress in modules

You can check out the Canvas Instructor Guide’s Modules chapter to learn more about them, and visit this page to watch screencasts about using modules in Canvas.  The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop

CTL Tip of the Week

Canvas, Communications, and Notifications

Last week we discussed using a Class Email Lists as a way to communicate with all the students in your class.  Canvas also has a couple of great tools for communicating with your class: Announcements and Conversations.

Announcements allow you to communicate with your students about course activities and more.  As soon as you have created an Announcement, Canvas takes care of notifying students according to their Notification Preferences. Students will see your Announcements when they log into Canvas, when they enter your Canvas course, and outside of Canvas through Canvas Notifications.

Conversations is an email program directly within Canvas. You can start by typing in the name of your course in the To: field or selecting it from the drop-down menu.  Canvas will allow you to select the entire class, just students, just teachers, student groups, etc.  Students can see Canvas Conversations messages in their Conversations Inbox, and also outside of Canvas according to their Notification Preferences.

As you can see, Notifications Preferences play a pivotal role in where, when, and if you and your students see Canvas Announcements and Conversations outside of Canvas, whether through Facebook, Twitter, SMS (text message), or email.  You can access more Instructure Guides and watch an eLearning screencast about Canvas Notifications and how they work with the Canvas’ Announcements and Conversations tools on this page.

The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop.

Creating a Class Email List

The start of a new semester often leads to a desire by many instructors to send a message or communicate with their entire class. One of the easiest and most direct ways to do this is by using a Class Email List.

Michigan Tech is now using Google Groups to create and manage Class Email Lists instead of Sympa.  Google Groups provides all the features of a standard email list system.  The Class List Request Form for Instructors you use to request a Class Email List is almost exactly the same as it was in the past.  You can choose whether posting is restricted to just the list owner, or posting is restricted to the list owner and members, right on the form.  Sending messages to that list hasn’t changed either.  Just enter the email address for your class list into the To: field and your message will be sent to all the students enrolled in your course.

Managing your class list has changed though.  The student enrollments will be automatically updated throughout the semester, but if you would like to add additional email addresses to the list you will now do that in Google Groups.  Please reference Google’s documentation for information on how to use Google Groups. Google Groups is also the best way to use email lists with Google’s other collaboration tools. A properly configured Google Group can accept Google Calendar invites and items shared via Google Drive in an intelligent way.

Contact I.T. User Services for help, information, or support of Email Lists at Michigan Tech, and refer to Email Lists at Michigan Tech for more information online. The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Michigan Tech.