Blog Index / January 30, 2017

Welcome to the fourth Blog Index post of 2017! This weekend I really focused on finishing up the tutorials at the Twitter4Canvas project, and I am really happy about how that is going. I will have to write up a post about that tomorrow. 🙂

This week’s posts are in bold up towards the top of the index:

Twitter4Canvas Mini-Course

Canvas Class Announcements

Blogs and Blogging

Thoughts about Canvas and about LMSes

Spring 2017 Reports

Widgets and Other Dynamic Content

Openness, Sharing, and Connectedness

Posts about Students

Posts about Instructors

Teaching Writing

Some Practical Canvas Advice

Grading with Canvas

And here is one of the growth mindset cats from this week:

Do not go where the path may lead;
go instead where there is no path,
and leave a trail.

(Growth Mindset Cat)

Twitter for Class Content: My Top 5 Strategies

The main way that I use Twitter is to create a class content stream for my classes, which you can see here: @OnlineMythIndia. That Twitter stream then shows up via the widget in my Canvas homepage, which is why this post is part of my new Twitter4Canvas project.

If you scroll on down through the tweets, you’ll see that it is a mixture of university-related announcements, motivational content, and also course-specific content about stories from India and around the world. I’ll say more below about just how I find the content that I use. Almost all the content is retweeted; I do very little original tweeting for this account.

One of the best things is being able to follow authors that we read in my India class like Samhita ArniDevdutt PattanaikChitra Divakaruni, and Usha Narayanan. It’s so exciting to be able to talk with these authors at Twitter, and some of my students have interacted with them at Twitter also! Writing this post prompted me to check in with Samhita Arni, for example, and we just now had a fun back-and-forth; I got to meet her Donald-Trump-look-alike cat, Zen, who is a card-carrying, book-wielding communist — that is the fun and spontaneous sharing that Twitter makes possible:

What is especially nice for me is that I am able to use the same stream for both classes that I teach: Myth-Folklore and Indian Epics. There is enough overlap between the two classes that it makes sense to have just one stream, hence my Twitter handle, @OnlineMythIndia, which parallels the handle I use for my personal/professional Twitter account, @OnlineCrsLady.

I started using Twitter in this way back in 2014, and it was my first really successful use of Twitter. I’d had a Twitter account since 2007, and I used Twitter sporadically, but never in a sustained way. Using Twitter for my classes, though, was great: it was so useful and so interesting that it led me to check in at Twitter several times a day every day, and as a result of that my own personal and professional use of Twitter has taken shape as well, but it really began with using Twitter for my classes. As a result, Twitter has become a big part of my own learning every single day. Google+ is where I have conversations with colleagues, but for sheer awareness of “stuff” (books, blogs, art, music, movies, education, politics, etc.), Twitter is now an important part of my online learning life.

What I’ve done below is to list the “top 5” strategies that have made this such an important part of my classes. Mutatis mutandis, some of these strategies might be useful for you too, and of course there are so many different ways in which teachers are using Twitter. If you have useful strategies and tips, please share them in the comments at this post, or tweet them with the hashtag #Twitter4Canvas — and of course you don’t need to be using CanvasLMS to brainstorm together about using Twitter! 🙂

My Top 5 Twitter Strategies

Use a “must-read” list (or lists) to focus your Twitter attention. I’ve followed more accounts than I can really keep up with, but I have a “must-read” list for my Myth class and a “must-read” list for my India class, and I get almost all of my content by reading those lists. Lists are great: you can quickly add/remove accounts from any list, and there are no ads in the stream! I keep these lists private because I add/remove accounts from the list very freely, and I don’t want individuals to read too much into that; it’s very spontaneous based on my shifting interests from day to day and week to week.

Check in twice a day. I check Twitter whenever I have a few minutes to space and want a distraction, but some days I am really busy without a lot of time. On those days, I make sure to spend 10 minutes twice a day checking Twitter (5 minutes with each of my must-read lists). That’s not a big time commitment, and it is enough to keep the content fresh and moving. I don’t dream of trying to read everything posted by the accounts I follow; I treat Twitter like radio, and I tune in when I have time, listening to hear what’s playing.

Focus on tweets with media. To be honest, I rarely retweet an item unless it has an image or video included. My students are never required to read the Twitter stream; instead, I rely on it to grab their attention and excite their curiosity. For that, I need media content: enticing images or embedded video.

Model Twitter use for students. Many of my students have not used Twitter, and those who do use it are usually not using it for educational purposes, so I make sure to model my Twitter use for students, letting them know how much fun I have with Twitter and also how useful it is. When I am sharing something with the class that I learned about at Twitter, I make sure to say so. I recommend accounts to follow, either in general or based on specific interests. I provide Twitter Tech Tips for students who want to learn how to use Twitter. I also weave Twitter into class assignments where it’s relevant, like in the Wikipedia Trails option.

Use hashtags in addition to a class account. Just how you might use specific hashtags in addition to your class account(s) will vary, of course. For me, it is very helpful to have a unique hashtag for each of my two classes in addition to the joint account I use for both; the hashtags are #OU3043 and #OU4993 reflecting the course numbers. When I find a tweet that is especially relevant to either of those classes, I retweet using the Classic Retweet extension (such a great extension! it works like Twitter did back in the old days, with editable retweets) so that I can add that hashtag to my retweet. This allows me to include a class-specific Twitter widget in the websites for those classes, separate from my overall Twitter stream. You can see my Myth-Folklore hashtag widget in the sidebar of the Myth-Folklore UnTextbook blog (where my students do all their reading for class), and you can see the Indian Epics hashtag widget at the Indian Epics Reading Guides blog. I check every other day or so to make sure I’ve retweeted at least one item with each hashtag so that the hashtag widgets stay fresh. Using hashtags has its risks, of course, but I’ve never had any problems with spam, and sometimes students join in by using the class hashtags too, and I can in turn retweet their tweets through the class account.

Do you use Twitter to share with your classes? Have you found some good strategies? Please share in the comments! It took me a while to get the hang of using Twitter, but now I cannot imagine teaching without it, and I would really like to help spread the Twitter goodness while I also keep on learning new Twitter tricks myself. 🙂

Curiosity: the quest for new ideas and information.

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Blissfully Blogging Announcements in Canvas

I’m making good progress on the Twitter4Canvas materials (I may have a complete rough draft of it all this weekend!), and what I wanted to do today was show how I share Twitter in my Canvas classes via the Blogger blog I use for my class announcements. I wrote about this last year, and I’m now updating that post with a focus on Twitter and Canvas.

This post has three parts: description of the blog that I use as my homepage, advantages of using a blog for the homepage, and then some nitty-gritty about how I embed the blog inside Canvas.

But first, a screenshot: here’s what my Canvas homepage looks like. You can see the latest version by visiting Myth.MythFolklore.net or India.Mythfolklore.net; both courses are open, and both show the same blog as the homepage. You can also visit the Announcements blog directly, separate from Canvas. Scroll on down to see the whole thing. 🙂


DESCRIPTION. The blog has basically four components:

Top Paragraph. There’s always a paragraph at the top with a reference to the day and week (there are new announcements every day, including Saturday and Sunday). I put the most important information that people might need in that top paragraph.

Procedures Section. Below that is a section called “Class Procedures and Reminders” which I try to keep to at most three items per day. These are paragraphs specifically related to class activities, especially any assignments that are due. I don’t have any images here, just text and links.

Fun Section. The rest of the body of the blog post contains stuff that is for fun and exploration. Each item has some kind of image or video that goes with it. There are three items at the top that are about reading, writing, creativity or just something for fun; then a featured student project (Storybook) from a previous class; next is a free book online related to the class; a proverb poster; a video of some kind; a Growth Mindset Cat; an event taking place on campus that day; and, finally, an “on this day” event at the bottom.

Sidebar. The sidebar contains the key class link at the top of the page, an email subscription form, a random Growth Mindset Cat, the class Twitter feed, a random graphic, a random Storybook, a random free book online, a video playlist of all the announcement videos, plus an anonymous suggestion box.

ADVANTAGES. Here are the top 5 reasons why I prefer to use a blog for my homepage:

1. I model blogging. My classes consist of student blog networks, and so it is very important to me that I show the students how blogs can be a great space for writing and sharing online. In all my blogs, I try to use good strategies that my students can likewise use in their own blogs.

2. Blogs have sidebars. It drives me crazy that Canvas gives me no opportunity to develop the sidebar for my class in useful ways. There is nothing I can do with that Canvas sidebar. I cannot add dynamic widgets, I cannot add graphics. I cannot even add links to it: if you add a non-Canvas link to the sidebar students are “warned” before clicking on it, which means Canvas doesn’t even trust me to add links to my own sidebar! I need a sidebar that is going to be display cool, useful, new content every time the students log on. The blog gives me that sidebar design space.

3. The blog makes Twitter and javascripts easy. Of course, it is also possible to build a Twitter widget, which is what I will be demonstrating in the Twitter4Canvas course, but that requires an extra step, sneaking Twitter into Canvas by way of a separate https webpage. By embedding the blog into Canvas, I can use Twitter and other javascripts without going through that extra step. The javascript runs at the Blogger server, which means that Canvas is not running the javascript; it is just displaying the results. The Canvas security police are okay with that.

4. Blogs offer mobile view without an app. I often include links to the daily announcements in communication with students, and those links are mobile-responsive automatically; if students are checking their email on their phone, for example, they will see the mobile view when they click on the announcements link, automatically, no app required.

5. One blog for two classes. Since I use the same announcements, I need to be able to edit once and display twice. If I did the announcements using the LMS tool inside the course space, I would have to edit the announcements twice. Not good. I also like that the blog has continuity. Canvas doesn’t understand that I am teaching the same classes every semester, but Blogger does; I’ve been using this exact same Blogger blog for my classes since 2008… which means I am coming up on my ten-year blogiversary.

NITTY-GRITTY. Here is a detailed step-by-step of the options I use to configure my blog inside Canvas.

Canvas URLs. The key thing to understand is that I am using a wiki page AND I am telling Canvas to make my wiki page the default homepage of the course, so both of those addresses show my blog:
https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878
https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878/wiki
That 5-digit number refers to a specific semester course instance; it changes from semester to semester, course to course. So, make sure you notice the difference: the course homepage has the right-hand sidebar, but the wiki front page does not have the right sidebar (but it does have the very annoying “view all pages” across the top which Canvas will not let me suppress). That difference will be important in the set-up described below.

Okay, here goes:

Blogger. I use Blogger because, until recently, that was the best option I could recommend to my students. Blogger is ad-free and it is javascript-friendly, while the free hosted version of WordPress has ads and does not like javascripts. Now my students can use DoOO (Create.ou.edu) and set up their own WordPress but I’ve had students blogging for years… and I couldn’t wait for DoOO. Most of my students use Blogger too, although some use WordPress, which is great. I provide detailed tech support for Blogger since I know it best.

HTTPS. Blogger now has https. By default, it displays http, but you can use https too. That’s what you need to display the blog in Canvas. All the sidebar content also needs to be https to display in Canvas.

Blogger templates. All the standard templates (but NOT the “dynamic view” template) would work; I use the “Simple” template, and I set the blog width at 840 pixels and the sidebar width at 260 pixels. I put the page font at 15 pixels Arial with post titles at 18 pixels. I suppress the top navigation bar (the one with the search box).

Open links in new tabs. Because the mixed-content rules in Canvas mean http links will fail unless they open in a new tab, I edited my template’s HTML to open all links in new tabs automatically. To do that, just add this big of code right after the <head> tag so it looks like this:

<head>
<base target='_blank'/>

Canvas “Daily Announcements” page. I start by creating a Page in the course wiki; I called it “Daily Announcements.” Then I made that the “front page” of the wiki:
https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878/wiki
I then chose that as the “Home Page” for my Canvas course:
https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878
But, as noted above, the “Home Page” for the course shows the right sidebar but the “Front Page” of the wiki does not; that’s just an automatic Canvas thing beyond your control.

Blogger in wiki page. I use a simple iframe to put the Blogger into the wiki, making sure I use the https address of the blog; I set the width at 100%, and I have a height of 1000 (my blog posts are usually longer than that, so there’s a scroll bar in the frame).

<p><iframe src="https://ouclassannouncements.blogspot.com/" width="100%" height="1000"></iframe></p>

Then I do something tricky. Remember how the course homepage has the right sidebar and the course wiki front page does not? Well, for many reasons, I prefer to have a homepage without the right sidebar. So here’s what I do:

Create Homepage link in left sidebar. I use the Redirect Tool to create a “Homepage” link which I display in the left sidebar (how ridiculous is that… having to install an app just to add a link to class navigation? whatever…). That link goes to the wiki front page address (which means the right-hand sidebar does not appear):
https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878/wiki

Remove “Home” from left sidebar. After I create my Homepage link in the sidebar, I then remove the Canvas Home link from the left sidebar, putting the Homepage link I made with the Redirect tool up at the top.

Fix up “Daily Announcements” page. Above the embedded blog, I add some text to help people navigation: I want students to realize they can turn the right sidebar on or off, and I also want to tell them how to suppress the left sidebar. Most of all, I just wish they would open the announcements in a new tab entirely!

* Hide or show the right menu.
To do that I use these addresses to make the links:
hidehttps://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878/wiki
    showhttps://canvas.ou.edu/courses/31878
* Reminder about how to suppress the left menu.
* A link to open the Announcements in a new tab.\

And that’s it! I think those are all my tricks, but if I forgot something, please ask. I really am a big fan of this approach, and I am glad to help if anyone wants to give it a try. 🙂

Do not go where the path may lead;
go instead where there is no path,
and leave a trail.

(Growth Mindset Cat)

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Keep Calm and Love the Randomness

I said I’d explain how I set up the responding groups in my class at random, so I documented the process step by step today. I have really worked on this system over the years because it’s a very important part of the class. Finding ways to make sure that people meet each other and that they both give and receive comments reliably is important to me.

Plus, I also don’t want to spend a lot of time on this; using a randomizing spreadsheet means that the whole thing takes me under 15 minutes, but the students have exactly what they need to quickly find the blogs they need to comment on without having to look things up: just click and go! And the use of labels in the blog sidebars means that the blogs are all very easy to navigate.

And no, there is very little about Canvas in here. Why? Because Canvas doesn’t let me manage a spreadsheet with my students’ data along with other data. So, what you will read about here is how I create a spreadsheet in Google Sheets, in other words: a real spreadsheet, with randomizing functions, sorting, filtering, etc. Which means: nothing like the horrible Canvas gradebook which I cannot even filter. I copy the one piece of data I need from Canvas into this spreadsheet, as you’ll read below.

Here’s how it works:

1. Update instructions. Each week, I update the instructions from last semester; for this semester’s Week 2, they just needed a bit of tinkering because of the new “story planning” option: Week 2 Instructions. That page links to the groups for each class; now I need to create the groups!

2. Find inactive blogs (no story). I check to see who did NOT write a story this week. To do that, I use Canvas, looking for blank Week 2 Story Declarations. I also double-check to make sure they didn’t just forget to do the Declaration (if that’s the case, I fill it in for them). In a given week, there are usually a few people in each class who don’t do a story, which is fine. This time I had 3 people without stories in each class. That lets me do a quick calculation about how this will work in Groups of 3. In both classes, I have 2 left over when I divide by three, which is awkward, so the best way to smooth that out is to create 4 groups of 2, and then have the rest be groups of 3. That gives me 15 Groups in Myth-Folklore (41 active students, 3 inactive), and 13 Groups in Indian Epics (35 active students, 3 inactive) this week.

3. Spreadsheet! Then I go to the magic randomizing spreadsheet which I set up in the first week of class as students created their blogs. I have the raw HTML arranged in columns, including an “inactive” column for people without a story this week. So, I move the blogs without a story from the active column into the skip column. That gave me 41 active people with stories in Myth-Folklore, and 35 in Indian Epics.

4. Randomize! I then randomize the spreadsheet using the amazing RAND function. So, I paste in the RAND for all the active blogs and then sort on the random column. Presto. That gives me the inactive blogs at the bottom (because their cells are blank), and all the other blogs randomized. I then paste in a column of group labels that I reuse from another sheet (Group 1, Group 1, Group 1, Group 2, Group 2, Group 2 and so on). I jiggle the bottom four groups so that they have two people plus one inactive (or blank), and that’s it.

5. Group listing and alphabetical listing. I sort by groups to get a group listing and paste the HTML into the wiki page. Then, I sort the spreadsheet alphabetically by people’s names, which gives me an alphabetical listing so people can find their group number. And that’s all! You can see what the weekly listing looks like here: Week 2 Myth-Folklore. The alphabetical listing comes first, and then the groups below. The idea is to make it very quick for students to get to the blogs in their groups.


So, yes, I wish the Canvas Gradebook were like a real spreadsheet. But it is nothing close to being a spreadsheet; I will save those complaints for another day. Today I will just say that I love the power of Google Sheets and the RAND function. 🙂

(Made with keepcalmomatic)

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Twitter4Canvas: Good things come in fives :-)

Okay, I am in total brainstorm mode now for Twitter4Canvas. I am thinking of a 5-level set-up with the idea being that people could start at any time, with the different activities being spread out and combined like this; I’ll be writing up the step-by-step stuff and screenshots and such in the blog I made to support this at Twitter4Canvas. And as examples, I’ve put up a Twitter widget in Canvas, plus a comparison of a real Twitter widget versus the Canvas Twitter app.

Update: I’m now setting up the specific help pages at my other blog where I will build the step by step instructions. Then, I will create pages at that blog to present the levels. So far, so good! 🙂

Level 1: Set up OU Create, Canvas, and a class Twitter.

OU CREATE. Create a domain for yourself at OU Create. Instructions.

OU CANVAS. Create a course space in Canvas and make it public. Instructions.

CLASS TWITTER. Create a Twitter account for your class content stream. Instructions.

Level 2: Explore Twitter, configure Canvas, turn on https at Create.

CLASS TWITTER. Develop your account and keep practicing. Instructions.

OU CANVAS. Tweak your course space. Instructions.

OU CREATE. Turn on the https service for the subdomain you created. Instructions.

Level 3: Make Twitter widget, house widget at OU Create, publish in Canvas.

CLASS TWITTER. Now you are ready to make your first Twitter widget. Instructions.

OU CREATE. Create a widget file. Instructions.

OU CANVAS. Add widget to Canvas. Instructions.

Level 4: Configure Canvas and explore more Twitter.

OU CANVAS. Learn about table layout at Canvas. Instructions.

CLASS TWITTER. Hashtags and lists. Instructions.

OU CREATE. Nothing new at this level… unless maybe… maybe… you are tempted to create a blog!

Level 5: Create a new Twitter widget, house in Create and publish in Canvas.

CLASS TWITTER. Hashtag and list widgets. Instructions.

OU CREATE. As in Level 3, you will be creating a file in which you will paste the widget code you get from Twitter.

OU CANVAS. Create a new page (with or without table layout, based on what you prefer) in order to display the new Twitter widget page you created at OU Create.

~ ~ ~

Okay… I think I am just going to let this simmer and see what I think when I come back to it tomorrow. 🙂

And maybe it’s kind of crazy to try to start this project while the semester is swirling around me… biting off more than I can chew? But hey, I know I can do it!

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Inoreader and Tracking Blog Comments

I was going to post about Twitter4Canvas today, and I might still have time to do that, but I wanted to write up something today about Inoreader and how it helps me make sure everything is going as planned in my classes with the students commenting on each other’s blogs, which they did this weekend.

Here’s how it works: For each student’s blog, I subscribe to their blog post feed AND to their blog comment feed (that is one of my requirements: they can use any blog platform they want so long as it is ad-free and has separate full feeds for posts and for comments). That means I end up with a folder in Inoreader that contains all the comment feeds, and I name each feed for each person whose blog the feed comes from, with a two letter prefix for the class.

Then, after the first round of comments (which is sometimes kind of chaotic because of add/drop), I can quickly click through the subscriptions in that folder to make sure everybody has at least two comments, and hopefully four. Some people might have even more than that if I have also left some comments (which I do when I have time). Here’s a screenshot that shows how the interface looks. This student in Myth-Folklore (MF) has gotten five comments, so that’s good! (I could read the comments too if I wanted, but I’m honestly just checking for numbers of comments today.)

So, it takes literally just a couple of minutes to click on through all the students (I have anywhere from 80 to 90 in any given semester, both classes combined), making sure that despite the chaos of add/drop, things look good.

I rely on the power of random for the blog comments, and as the semester goes along, students will sometimes have four comments each week, sometimes just two, and possibly none (it’s rare, but it happens), and at the same time, they also understand why it’s unpredictable. Some weeks they themselves might skip the blog commenting assignment, and so it’s a kind of lesson in comment karma. Overall, the goal is for everyone to do the commenting assignment every week and for every person to get four comments… and on average, that is mostly how it works out, with a little fluctuation from week to week. When I set up the blog comment groups for Week 2 later this week, I’ll write up a post here to explain exactly how that works; the power of random minimizes the time I spend in creating the groups, while maximizing the spread of comments throughout the class as a whole.

Meanwhile, though, I am really glad that Inoreader makes it easy for me to check on the comments during Week 1. It’s important that everybody feel included in the class during the first week, and both giving and getting comments is part of how that works. And it worked pretty well this week I think!

How is this relevant to Canvas? It’s relevant because there is nothing in Canvas that helps to check on levels of engagement in a class like this. Blogs, by having a person-based stream which in turn collects comments, lends itself to this type of inspection. Especially because I teach fully online classes, I need to be able to see that things are going well, checking on each and every student as the semester gets started, just to make sure! That’s why I am glad I have Inoreader; it works for me. 🙂

Connecting with others: it’s important both for life and for learning.

Connect with others to reduce stress.

 

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Blog Index / January 22, 2017

Welcome to the third Blog Index post of 2017! Week 1 in my classes went wonderfully, and I also came up with an exciting new Canvas project: a mini-course in using Twitter with Canvas. Details below.

This week’s posts are in bold:

Twitter4Canvas Mini-Course

Thoughts about Canvas and about LMSes

Blogs and Blogging

Spring 2017 Reports

Widgets and Other Dynamic Content

Openness, Sharing, and Connectedness

Posts about Students

Posts about Instructors

Teaching Writing

Canvas Class Announcements

Some Practical Canvas Advice

Grading with Canvas

And in the spirit of Twitter, here’s a great infographic from @SylviaDuckworth:

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Twitter4Canvas v. Canvas Twitter App

Yesterday (Friday) Michelle Pacansky-Brock at CSU-CI tried out my iframe solution for embedding Twitter in her Canvas course and it worked! That was really encouraging for me to see.

Before going further with this project, I also tested to see if the Canvas Twitter App was still not displaying media… and yes, that appears to be the case. So, if you are wondering why it is worth going to the trouble to embed a real Twitter widget as opposed to the Canvas app, visit the comparison page. Here’s a screenshot which shows the difference: Twitter is better with images! Canvas Twitter app is on the left; Twitter widget is on the right.

So, next week I hope to make substantial progress on this, spelling out the step by step process I follow to create a Twitter widget and then the iframe for embedding in Canvas. The week after that, I’ll write up some basic information on the value of using Twitter for class content and communication.

And then this will be ready to go! Whoo-hoo! 🙂

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

 

Twitter4Canvas: I’m excited about this!

Okay, I’m officially excited about this. Whether or not it turns out useful at my school, I am really going to have fun putting together what I’ve learned from past projects — my Twitter Bootcamp of last winter break, and the Canvas Widget Warehouse from this winter break — in order to do something nice with Twitter4Canvas.

I explained yesterday what I did to get started, and here are the new developments today:

Sample Page. I’ve got one sample page up and running, showing how you can create a Twitter widget in OU Create and then publish it inside a Canvas page. Here’s a screenshot, and since the course is open, you can visit the page: Hashtag Search Widget. It will be fun teaching people how to use the https power of OU Create in order to get around the (totally annoying) security measures in Canvas that prevent instructors from using javascripts.

Blog for Content. Creating content inside Canvas is a nightmare, so I’ll only be putting up sample pages there; I need a real space in which to do the content. So, I quickly created a Twitter4Canvas blog, and I also started reposting there some useful Twitter graphics I’ve collected over the past couple of years. I have lots more to add from the heap of stuff I collected for the Bootcamp. Although I don’t really use Twitter as my own PLN (I prefer Google+), I do find Twitter to be an amazing resource for my classes, so I am really excited about sharing how I use Twitter with others, and of course I am also going to learn a lot by thinking about other ways to use Twitter in Canvas. Ideally, my school will publicize this with faculty and I will be able to brainstorm with them about their classes too!

And from my new blog, here’s a great graphic by Bryan Mathers: for me, Twitter is all about the network of creativity!

Okay, I will have more to say about this project over the weekend, but I am glad I got it off to a solid start. I think I will have the mini-course ready in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

Twitter4Canvas: Getting Started

So as I was pondering yesterday’s #MuseumSelfie and today’s #FolkloreThursday (such a great hashtag for my Myth-Folklore class), I was thinking that I should build a Twitter4Canvas course to help people learn how to harness the power of Twitter inside Canvas. I did a Twitter Bootcamp for the Tech Expo last year but between D2L (yawn) and the fact that IT and CTE chose not to publicize the Bootcamp, it fizzled. Totally fizzled. But I amassed a lot of useful materials I could re-use, and of course with Canvas and OPEN courses, this is much more likely to succeed: anybody can use the Canvas materials, no redtape enrollment and start-stop dates required.

So, I’m going to use this blog for brainstorming over the next two weeks, with a goal of actually creating the course that first weekend in February, and then refine it as time goes on.

I’ll start by creating a class.
https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/56095

Then I’ll make a custom URL: Twitter.LauraGibbs.net. I’ll have it go to the page I’ve chosen as the homepage for the course (front page of the wiki).

Settings: I need a nice Twitter bird image; I should be able to find one at Flickr.

Navigation: I guess I just need Pages and Modules. I’ll redirect Pages-Home as overall Homepage. Oh, I’ll use a Syllabus too.

And I’ll use the ridiculous “Redirect Tool” to add a link in the sidebar to my two Twitter accounts (I cannot believe every new link in the sidebar is an “app” … ugh).
Update: I forgot how totally annoying it is that Canvas will not just let people click on links in the sidebar without being “warned” that they are leaving Canvas. Ugh. Not worth it.

Okay, published! And just to get one page up and running, I’ll put in a FolkloreThursday widget as a taste of things to come. YES: Here is #FolkloreThursday happily displaying in Canvas.

Okay, that’s enough for today, but I’ll come back and continue tinkering tomorrow.

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.