Introduction for a Canvas Training Course

Last July, I did an online Canvas training course at my school, and when I saw that it was being offered again now, I signed up, thinking that it would be a good way to connect with other faculty members using Canvas. I was also curious to see if the course had been improved; back in July it was more of a “rough draft” as you can see from this screenshot. The course instructors (from our Center for Teaching Excellence) didn’t solicit any feedback from participants, though, so I wasn’t really sure what to think. Anyway, I signed up for the January edition of the course. It looks like it has not been changed in any way from the July version; the same click-here-click-there approach and the same rough screenshots as before.

Of course, I don’t want to actually do the training this time around (I did complete both days last summer); instead, I just want to create a post in the Introductions discussion board in order to share my Canvas experience with others… but when I logged on to the course, the discussion board was locked, even though it is the first task. The rest of the first day is unlocked; the second day is locked. I have no idea why they would want to lock people out of anything in a course like this (which is supposedly asynchronous), but in any case, locking the Introduction board must be a mistake: it’s due January 10 but “Not available until Jan 12.” You’d think Canvas would have a little check in there to alert faculty when they lock something until after the due date!

For now, I’ll just type up here the post I was going to include so that it will be ready to go and I can move on to my real work for the day:

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Hi, everybody! My name is Laura, and I teach online courses through the College of Arts & Sciences. I actually used Canvas in both of my classes last Fall, so I enrolled in this course just to connect with other faculty and to share what I learned about Canvas — and what I learned about Canvas from my students — last semester. This switch from D2L to Canvas is a big change, and it’s also such a good opportunity I think for people to share their goals as teachers, trying to find out if and how the LMS can help with those goals. I don’t use the LMS very much myself since I prefer other tools, but I’ve documented my use of Canvas in a blog, and perhaps some of the posts would be useful to others: Teaching with Canvas.

BTW I used the amazing OUCreate to set up that blog and, in my opinion, the OUCreate project is the most exciting tech event happening at OU these days — excellent web hosting that is free for both faculty and for students: OU Create.

Back to Canvas: midway through the Fall semester, I surveyed my students about their Canvas experience, and I asked them specifically about what advice they would give to faculty members who are using Canvas; you can read what the students had to say here: Students: What advice would you give to INSTRUCTORS who are setting up a Canvas course?.

Based on what I learned from them about Canvas in that mid-semester survey, I then created four Canvas tips that I knew would be useful to my students (based on the specific way I use Canvas in my classes): Student Tech Support for Canvas.

Then, for the rest of the semester, I collected their comments on those Canvas tech tips here: More Student Voices from Fall 2016.

I figure the best way to design a class, including how to use the LMS, is to ask the students what they think, so I hope the comments from my students might be useful to anybody who is switching to Canvas this spring!

And like I say in my Canvas profile, I’m always eager to brainstorm with people about teaching, especially about teaching writing. My email is laura-gibbs@ou.edu and I’m also at Twitter: @OnlineCrsLady.

Finally, I figured this would be a good graphic to share with everybody in the midst of an LMS transition: Don’t give up in the middle! I had a good experience with Canvas last Fall, and I hope it will be a good experience for all the new users this Spring. 🙂

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.

2 thoughts on “Introduction for a Canvas Training Course”

  1. Hey Adam! OU Create actually came up again since someone in the course is an Art History professor who was already running into file-size limitations in Canvas. I’m not sure what best option for her would be, but I was glad to share with her the success I’ve had in hosting what must now be several thousand images for my Canvas widgets using the magical https space in OU Create. 🙂

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