Maati Baani in my Canvas Homepage

As a follow-up to the post this morning testing the new YouTube embedding in WordPress, I wanted to say something about the power of YouTube embedding in general, especially embedding a video as part of a playlist. I include one video each day in my class announcements, and today’s announcements contain an AMAZING new video by Maati Baani:

Here’s how it looks inside my Canvas homepage; you can also visit the class directly yourself (no log-in required) by going to


I also include the entire video playlist of the Announcements in the sidebar of the announcements blog, as you can see here (that’s especially handy for students who might not always scroll down to see the whole blog post each day):


Using playlists like this is great because it means if a student plays the current day’s video, the video will carry on to the next video and the next, and so on. At this point, the Announcements playlist has 74 videos in it as of right now (new video every day of the semester), so potentially all kinds of items of interest to the students.

I can also embed the playlist in the other blogs I use as part of the class, like this blog dedicated to the readings for the Myth-Folklore class; this week, it’s British and Celtic readings, and the video playlist is in the sidebar. It’s a teeny-tiny video, but you can see the Maati Baani video playing there:


I really enjoy using embedded videos in this way: in blog posts, in sidebars, and therefore in Canvas too. My students feel the same way, and some of the most popular Tech Tips that I offer in class are for learning how to embed YouTube videos, create a playlist, etc. Embedding and linking: they are the superpowers of the Internet, opening up paths for creative students to explore.

Curiosity: the will to explore.


Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

The Power of Random Cats

I really liked Maha Bali’s post at ProfHacker today: Tips for Effective Online Learning – Community Edition.

I immediately chimed in with a comment about the importance of meta-learning resources for students, both the content that I share with them through the Growth Mindset, Writing Lab, and Learning by H.E.A.R.T. blogs AND the “challenges” that go with them if students want to actively engage with that content.

For this post, I want to write about a Canvas tie-in, which is this: one of the ways I weave the content from those blogs into my classes is through the daily announcements, and I use my announcements blog as my Canvas homepage (details here: About My Canvas Homepage).

So, for example, there is a growth-mindset-cat-of-the-day in each day’s announcements, plus there is a widget in the sidebar of the blog so that there is a new cat at random every time a student passes through the Canvas homepage on their way to record an assignment grade (which is the only thing I use Canvas for).

So, that is the message for today’s “Teaching with Canvas” post: I like being able to have random growth mindset cats to greet my students whenever they arrive. Here’s a screenshot from — and that course is 100% open (no log-in of any kind), so just click and see what cat you get! 🙂


And here’s that particular cat at home in the Growth Mindset blog:


Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.