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The Instructional Design team announced the release of the Ready-Made Template Suite in the September 2018 blogpost to "help reduce stress load, encourage growth and help course creators design an engaging Canvas experience by turning a blank course shell into a fill-in-the-blank Canvas course." It’s been a tremendous success and users across the board have loved this addition to the Instructional Design services. Teachers and Course Designers love the magic that comes from using templates as they expedite the course creation and building process. Students love the consistency that comes about when institutions use a template and focus on content rather than course structure. Templates are intentionally designed to incorporate best practices (aligning with principles from the Course Evaluation Checklist v2.0) and are easy to use.

 

We continue to receive awesome feedback from our Canvas Community --  THANK YOU! We knew it was time to launch a refresh to make your experience even better.

 

What’s New?

The Ready-Made Template Refresh will officially launch July 15, 2020, but here's a preview of what to expect. 

  • We evaluated and implemented changes to improve the selection process including reducing the number of template types (from nine to six) and now offer the following:
  • We updated visual components (banners, buttons, icons and/or stickers) - See our *Updated for 2020* templates
  • Based on popular requests, we added new templates (such as a virtual conference) - Check out our *New for 2020* templates 
  • We've created videos to help support users while working with Ready-Made Templates
  • Already have a template and want different design elements? We'll soon be launching "Template Skins." Template Skins contain design assets without the module structure and can easily be added to an existing Ready-Made Template. Each skin contains three sets of design elements (usually three banners and four buttons per set) with bonus features such as stickers, animations, etc. Skins give your template a different look and feel by changing the color and "mood" of your template, without compromising the design and structure.

Higher Education 4D Blue IllustratedConferences 1Professional Blended Illustrated Badges

 

Need a Template?

If your institution doesn't have a Ready-Made Template, be sure to check out these blog posts for free templates available to everyone.

 

CanvasLIVE Event

To learn more about Ready-Made Templates, join us at the CanvasLIVE Event on Wednesday, July 15, 10:30 am MDT (recording) via your favorite social media platforms, e.g., Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Recordings of past events can be found on our CanvasLMS YouTube Channel.

 

2020 Course Design Essentials

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. Check out our other Course Design Essentials. 

Who Are We?

Thanks to the incredible team of Instructional Designers for making this refresh possible. The amount of extra work that has gone into this relaunch shows their commitment to excellence, dedication to our community of users and passion for education. From the depth of my heart, thank you Tiffany FosterRosina Monteiro, Laurie Norris, Kimberly Ellis and Marah Metallo.

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices.

 

Please comment below. We love hearing from you!

 

Our Instructional Design team offers custom templates, consultation hours, content restructuring, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Deonne Johnson, Manager, Learning Services, via djohnson@instructure.com.

Problem: I've been struggling with the fact that online discussions are very different than face-to-face discussions, but instructors often use them as a replacement for face-to-face (F2F) discussions with little thought on their different affordances, and often using the same or similar prompts as used in F2F discussions.

 

Goals: The goals of this document are to differentiate online forum work from good F2F discussions, to help mitigate the many shortcomings they have, and to help instructors (and students) use these forum spaces in ways that *are* useful — rather than as a stand-in or replacement for a good F2F discussion.

 

Realizing that institutions are increasingly strongly encouraging hybrid and online courses, and recognizing that human nature tends to move existing paradigms (e.g. discussion) into new mediums (e.g. “online discussions”) — and often badly — I’m hoping to find a way to:

  • Identify and compare elements of F2F discussions and various types of online forums
  • Map out several SAMR transitions from “discussion” to “online forum”
    • Make online forums less terrible when substituted for discussions
    •  Identify and capitalize on the augmented affordances they provide that F2F discussions often don’t (asynchronous, proof-reading, careful thought, different structuring, etc.)
    • Determine ways to modify “standard discussion structures” to focus on those affordances
    • Redefine people’s understanding and usage of the online “discussion” forums in ways that *are* actually pedagogically good (but much different than F2F discussions).
  • Distribute across campus for blended and online courses.
    • How online forums and F2F discussions are different
    • Effective pedagogical practices for online forum spaces (and how to do)
    • (potentially, if the DP is interested: some “getting started" resources for better F2F discussions)

 

Comparing elements of “discussion/forum” mediums

Element / Medium

Face-to-face (f2f)

Synchronous text (St)

Synchronous video (Sv)

Asynchronous (As)

Structure

Often verbally introduced, sometimes with a guiding worksheet. 

Written or verbal instructions, often with little time to reflect on and prepare for the forum.

Written or verbal instructions, often with little time to reflect on and prepare for the forum.

Generally written or recorded video instructions.

Size

Can be whole-class or small groups, depending on physical space.

Can be whole-class or small groups.

Can be whole-class or small groups depending on software and bandwidth capabilities.

Can be whole-class or small groups.

Immediacy

Can occur immediately after introducing a topic. 

Can occur immediately after introducing a topic, or can be more flexibly -scheduled by groups. 

Can occur immediately after introducing a topic, or can be more flexibly -scheduled by groups.

Anchored (or “focused”) forums are short-lived and task-oriented (e.g. weekly forum for questions related to activities),  Threaded forums are persistent and process-oriented long-standing spaces that let students refine complex ideas throughout a course.

Nonverbals 

Great nonverbal communication possible between participants: facial expressions, posture, gestures, eye contact, touch, proximity, and voice.

Very little nonverbal options beyond emoji, emoticons, and interjections

Can allow good facial expression and voice nonverbals, but posture, gestures, eye contact, touch, and proximity are primarily mediated by camera position.

If structured to include audio and video media, it can be similar to Synchronous Video. If text-based, similar to Synchronous Text.

Additional materials

Difficult for participants to bring additional materials due to access and time constraints

With internet access, participants can find additional materials, but will miss parts of the discussion while searching for them (humans = bad multitaskers)

Because they have access to the internet, participants can find additional materials, but will miss parts of the discussion while searching for them (humans are bad at multitasking)

Participants have time for research/curation of additional materials between posting their contributions to the forum.

Monitor / assess

Difficult to monitor multiple groups. Often no record of contributions.

Hard to monitor multiple groups in real-time, but records are simple to scan afterward.

Difficult to monitor multiple groups. Recordings can provide a record of contributions, but are time-consuming to review.

Simplest to monitor.

Depth of thinking

Often minimal due to lack of prep time, and time to reflect on contributions of others before needing to respond.

Often minimal due to lack of prep time, and time to reflect on contributions of others before needing to respond.

Often minimal due to lack of prep time, and time to reflect on contributions of others before needing to respond.

Participants can develop their thoughts more deeply because they have preparation and reflection time when not actively participating.

Convenience

Generally difficult to schedule due to need for physical proximity.

Generally difficult to schedule due to the need for synchronous availability. (Easier with smaller groups)

Generally difficult to schedule due to the need for synchronous availability. (Easier with smaller groups)

Convenient, as participation is based around one’s own schedule.

Equity

Least equitable: Privileges able-bodied extroverts with resources to allow open schedules and time for travel. Biased against those who cannot be physically present, introverts, and other challenges.

Privileges fast typists and those with open schedules and no distractions. 

Privileges extroverts with good technology, high bandwidth, and open schedules.

Most equitable: Lets people participate in times and places that best fit their specific situation.

 

The SAMR Model

The SAMR Model is a framework created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura that categorizes four different degrees of classroom technology integration. The letters "SAMR" stand for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.

 

It is a spectrum of steps for examining how one might use technology in teaching & learning, from “Substituting” one tool for another in accomplishing the goal of an activity, to “Augmenting” the goal with additional possibilities offered in a different tool, to “Modifying” the activity significantly to take advantage of possibilities offered by different tools, and to “Redefining” the activity because a new tool offers possibilities for deeper learning that were inconceivable with the prior tool.

 

For example, classroom “Discussions” are traditional face-to-face activities that take place with multiple people at the same time in a classroom. They both benefit from and are limited by the context of the classroom — resources available (space, time, additional materials, etc.), and abilities, power-dynamics, etc. of the group (outspoken, shy, dyslexic, privileges, socioeconomic status, etc.).

 

When traditional classroom discussions are moved online, the context of the classroom is changed in ways that affect communication, power, and equity. For example being interrupted and talked over isn’t possible in an asynchronous discussion, responses feel less rushed and can be more thoughtfully-constructed. If anonymity is protected, responses can be more honest with less fear of embarrassment or retribution. There are many other examples as well.

 

In moving traditional discussions to an online environment, one could choose to try to Substitute the goals and possibilities of a face-to-face conversation, but the possibilities that the online environment offers actually make it difficult to do so. Consider some examples of “discussion” as it might evolve with the SAMR framework:

 

Step

Prompt

Results

Substitution

Discuss applications of the concept “x” in your lives.

Participants are focused on each other. They spend struggle to determine who is leading the discussion, and what the instructors expectations are. One participant offers an example off the top of their head, and the group tries to make it work.

Augmentation

Discuss applications of the concept “x” in your lives, and find a good example from the internet.

Again, participants are focused on each other. They spend struggle to determine who is leading the discussion, and what the instructors expectations are. One participant offers an example off the top of their head, and the group tries to make it work. They may break off and each try to find an example, come back and compare those examples and vote on the best to present.

Modification

Find five examples of applications of the concept “x”, then rank and explain their effectiveness. 

Rather than determine a leader from the beginning, participants immediately start looking for examples — each deciding on their own what the expectations are. After finding and analyzing several examples each, they select their best choice and bring it back to the group. They each explain their example, and realize that different group members used different approaches, and expectations. They learn from each other’s perspectives while debating and negotiating group’s ranking.

Redefinition

Share a video clip of the concept of “x” in popular culture, and explain the elements demonstrated in the clip.

Again, participants immediately start looking for examples. In addition to finding examples they think the instructor will like, because of the “popular culture” phrase they factor into their analysis what they think their group members will like, and find examples that also portray their own likes/dislikes in a positive light (this generally requires analyzing many more examples). They return to the group with a personal example, share with each other, and negotiate one that best shows the group’s identity (thus building group cohesion, trust, and identity) to share with the ret of the class.

 

Adapting other Face-to-Face in-class discussions to online forums

Much like you and your students have adapted to new modalities and space for learning, the types of activities that help students achieve learning outcomes must also adapt to new modes of delivery. Consider how some of these “classic” face-to-face interactions might serve as the framework for an online forum assignment. 

  • Think-Pair-Share — Instructor poses a question, gives students a few minutes to think about a response, and then asks students to share their ideas with a partner. Ideas: Use Canvas Groups to get the conversation started and then synthesize student work with a short video presentation. 
  • Group Grid — Give groups pieces of information to place in blank cells of a grid according to category rubrics, which helps students clarify conceptual categories and develop sorting skills. Ideas: Similar to an Information Gap activity, use Google Sheets or a Text Matrix to assist students with categorizing and synthesizing course content.
  • Contemporary Issues Journal — Students find recent events or developments related to coursework, and identify connections to course material in entries that they journal and share. Ideas: Use Canvas Pages, Discussions, or Google Docs for students to reflect on the bigger picture, share their understanding of — and responses to — contemporary issues that align with their interests, and have a long-term picture of their learning. 

Humanizing asynchronous online forums

Studying the challenges posed in the asynchronous online discussion, Murray (2004) and Baker (2011) question how online discussions can better reflect the face-to-face dynamics of the classroom. The text-centric nature of the asynchronous discussion, they note, raises the following concerns:

 

Challenge

Strategies

Lack of visual connections (including silent responses), body language, and gestures

require profile pictures to append human faces to ideas, encourage students to post audio or video messages, allow “liking,”

Inability for self correction

allow students to edit and delete their own posts,

Ease of identifying or following a discussion matching students’ interests

allow students to create their own discussion threads,

Lack of social cues such as turn taking in a conversation, brevity, single-user dominated discussions

McFerrin and Christensen (2013) discuss the utility of a community-generated code of conduct

 

Please add your thoughts in the comments or. If you're willing to dig in more, please add directly to the Google document I'm developing.

 

Thanks!

John

A friend recently asked me for some help setting up his online course. Our school certainly offers an array of training opportunities, but these courses take time, patience, and desire. While I have been teaching online since 2001, and enjoy experimenting with new technology, there are many educators who dread/fear/loathe learning management software. So, this morning I made a 13 minute video for those people who just want to be told what to do and how to do it.

 

As I created the video, I was guided by the principle that students and new online teachers can be easily overwhelmed. So, I intentionally made the course navigation simple and tried to prevent students from spawning unmonitored content. I also emphasized the importance of regular (positive) communication using announcements. Lastly, since faculty may be put in a situation where they design a course for face-to-face weekly delivery and then need to transition to online delivery, I emphasized the most essential skills for making weekly course modules.

 

Hopefully, this small effort makes the process of online conversion just a little less painful for people who would rather not be teaching online. I left some things out, and they will no doubt have challenges. However, this should at least get some people started very quickly.

 

Creating a Canvas Course in 13 Minutes! - YouTube 

 

I might make a more professional video when I get the time. Or better yet, I challenge you all to make SHORT videos for our colleagues. Sometimes it is OK to give a person a fish instead of a fishing pole.

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

A badge in Canvas is simply a visual symbol of achievement, similar to a physical badge, trophy, or sticker—but in a digital format!  You may have been in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts and remember working extra hard to earn badges!  Badges have been used effectively over the years to get individuals to take ACTION!  Some of you may remember how a sticker in elementary school made you feel.  Imagine that feeling as an adult!   

Let’s get started!

 

A badge1: ADD THE APP

Add the Badgr LTI.  Use the guides below for step-by-step instructions on how to get the Badgr tool inside of your course:

B Badge2: BUILDModule Example for Badging

Prepare for badging in your course and build your module content and organization. Apply Module Requirements to those items that you want students to view and/or complete successfully in order to earn a badge.

 

Example: The image to the right shows one of the possible ways you could organize Modules.  Students must view all of the Pages and submit all of the Assessments in Modules 1-3, in order to earn the badge (located in the 4th Module). Notice that the 4th Module has a Prerequisite set so it doesn’t open until all three of the previous modules have been successfully completed.

 

C Badge3: CREATE & AWARD BADGES

Create a badge using your favorite design tool (like Canva or Google Draw). Be sure to set your image at 400x400px. You can also use the Badgr Badge Creation tool to easily create badges! 

 

Finally, set up your badges to award automatically when students complete requirements by creating an issuer and selecting badges for modules.

 

As simple as do-re-mi!  That’s how easy Badging can be!

Show us what you can do!

We would love to hear how you are using badging in your courses, and see the badges that you have created!  What has worked well at your institution?  Are you using badging with students?  What about for professional development and/or certifications?  Do you find that badges increase interest, attendance, participation, or engagement?

Canvas Live Event

For more information on badging, join the Instructional Design Team on Wednesday, June 17th, 10:30 am (MST), for a Canvas Live Event via your favorite social media platforms (Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, etc.).  Recordings of past events can be found on our CanvasLMS YouTube Channel.

Resources for Instructors and Administrators

  • Kim Hammond from the Badgr Team offers excellent resources, such as Live Webinars.
  • If you are looking for a great Canvas Student Orientation Course that utilizes badges, check out our Passport to Canvas course, which is available for free in Canvas Commons!
  • If you are an Admin for your Canvas instance, explore how to add Badges on Canvas Profiles so badges can be seen on user’s profiles in Canvas. 

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Learning Services Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. Instructional Designers

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. 

Who Are We?

We are part of Instructure’s Learning Services Team!  More specifically, we are Laurie Norris, Kimberly Ellis, Miranda Madigan, and Marah Metallo. Between the four of us, we have over 28 years of Canvas experience! Within Canvas, we have been students, teachers, admins, trainers, consultants, and instructional designers. We have created fully-online, hybrid/blended, and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Deonne Johnson, Manager, Learning Services, via djohnson@instructure.com.

The size of the goldfish is determined by the size of the bowl. 

Goldfish jumping from one bowl to a larger bowl.

 

*Ok. Scientifically-speaking this is probably due to poor water quality rather than a mysterious spatial awareness.  

I like to think this image is symbolic of limits, especially those limits we have as educators, designers, and students of life. 

 

This image inspires me to ask, "What imaginary limits am I responding to and reinforcing?" and "What conclusions have I reached hastily--for relief--that I may need to revisit in order to grow?"

April Teacher Appreciation Event: Design Tips for Pages

Ever see a super inviting and well thought-out page in Canvas and think, “OoooOoOo! I want to be able to do that!” but then wonder how? Or maybe you have even begun experimenting with visual design in your Canvas courses and just need some tips and tricks to up your game? Well, lucky for you, I just happen to have some pointers for you! Let’s begin...

 

Why Even Think About Visual Design?

A well-designed page will not only complement and enhance the content you’re delivering, but also create an engaging learning space for your students. 

 

Is Accessibility Important?

The answer to this question is always YES! Be sure to design with everyone in mind and always try to make your content accessible for ALL users. WebAIM has a great article, Introduction to Web Accessibility, that "should help you understand how people with disabilities use the web, the frustrations they feel when they cannot access the web, and what you can do to make your sites more accessible." I would also recommend checking out the General Accessibility Design Guidelines which “outline some general best practices when designing a course [in Canvas] for accessibility concerns” as well as the Course Evaluation Checklist v2.0 and Mobile App Design | Course Evaluation Checklist. It’s also important to design with mobile in mind because you never know if users are accessing the page from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. The appearance of the page can look completely different across different platforms. 

 

Brainstorm & Plan

Brainstorm & Plan GraphicBefore I even begin creating anything, I find it super helpful to take a step back and figure out how my page will actually be used, what information I plan on including on it, and how I want it to look. Sometimes I even sketch it out on a piece of paper to get a better visual. Think about things like: What resources do you need to incorporate? How are you going to lay it out? Do you want a banner at the top? Do you want to include buttons? If so, what type and how many? Do you need to use pictures and/or icons? etc...

 

Creating/Finding Visual Elements

Once you have your plan, it’s time to add the fun stuff! Below are some of my favorite resources for visual elements. Some of them require you to sign up for an account, but are FREE to use! 

  • Canva is a really user-friendly web-based graphic design program you can use for creating buttons and banners… and SO much more
  • Da Button Factory is a little old school and not technically one of my favorites, but it’s very simple and easy to use to create buttons
  • Flaticon is an awesome source for icons and you can personalize them by changing the colors
  • Icons8 is another good resource for icons 
  • Unsplash is a great resource for free high-resolution photos
  • Pixabay has a ton of images that can be freely used, without attribution
  • Google Draw allows users to collaborate and work together in real time to create images, shapes, diagrams, charts, etc!

 

Save, Save, Save Your Work!

Save Your WorkWhenever you are working in Canvas, whether you are designing a page or creating a learning activity, be sure to save your work frequently! If you try to navigate away from an unsaved page, Canvas will warn you with a pop-up, but if your browser or computer crashes - you’re out of luck and will be very sad that you just lost all that hard work. One neato feature that I love is that Canvas keeps a record of each version of a page that you saved. This way, if you make a mistake while experimenting, but have already hit save, you can easily restore it to a previous version

 

Responsive Image Widths

To make images responsive in Canvas, so that they will change size when the browser window is resized, you’ll want to switch over to the HTML Editor. (I know, I know.. But it’s worth it). Find the image tag (Hint: using Control+F to search for <img might help out) and change the “width” to a % value that you wish (100% is the full width of the page, 50% is half the width of the page, etc) and delete the “height.” Below is an example of what the code should look like:

 

BEFORE:
<img src="https://ocps.instructure.com/courses/1134885/files/83314289/preview" alt="School News Banner" width="2000" height="300" data-api-endpoint="https://ocps.instructure.com/api/v1/courses/1134885/files/83314289" data-api-returntype="File" />

 

AFTER:
<img src="https://ocps.instructure.com/courses/1134885/files/83314289/preview" alt="School News Banner" width="100%” data-api-endpoint="https://ocps.instructure.com/api/v1/courses/1134885/files/83314289" data-api-returntype="File" />

 

Easily Float Text Around Images (without going into the HTML.. you’re welcome)

To float text around an image, start off by typing (or pasting) all of your text in the RCE. Place your cursor within your text where you would like your image to be located (preferably at the beginning of a paragraph or sentence, not randomly in the middle). Insert/embed the image from Canvas, click on the image, then simply click on the “Align left” (or “Align right”) icon at the top of the RCE, and viola!

 

Easy Wrap Text Demo GIF

Text in gif above courtesy of my favorite lorem ipsum generator, Bob Ross Lipsum***

 

Add Padding To Images

Adding padding to an image will create a little space between your image and the other content next to it so they aren’t jammed up against one another. An image without padding can be a bit of an eye sore, amiright? I mean, just look at the difference between the images below:

 

Without Padding WITH Padding

 

To add padding to an image, you’ll want to switch over to the HTML Editor. Find the image tag and locate the image's style attribute (if the image doesn't have one, you can add one by typing style="" after <img). Within the quotation marks after style=, add padding: 10px; (I used 10px for this example, but if you would like more or less white space around the image, simply adjust the number value). If there is another style attribute, separate them with semicolons (style="padding: 10px; float: right;"). Below is an example of what the code should look like:

 

BEFORE:

<img style="float: left;" src="/courses/1143675/files/83319250/preview" alt="Panda.png" width="144" height="183"/>

 

AFTER:

<img style="padding: 10px; float: left;" src="/courses/1143675/files/83319250/preview" alt="Panda.png" width="149" height="183"/>

 


Final Thoughts

There are SO many more tips and tricks that I have stored away in my noggin that I would love to share out! What are some other design tips/tricks/features that you would like to see included in future posts and learn more about?

 

***Some of my other favorite lorem ipsum generators include Pirate Ipsum and Bacon Ipsum. They always give me a good laugh. What are your favorite lorem ipsum generators???

 

 

2020 Course Design Essentials  

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. Check out our other Course Design Essentials.

 

Who Are We?

Shout out to my fellow Instructional Designers who contributed to this blog post, Laurie Norris, Tiffany Foster, Lily Philips, and Deonne Johnson. We have loads of Canvas expertise and are passionate about design, pedagogy, and best practices. Let us share how to elevate your fully-online, hybrid/blended and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.

 

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices. 

 

 

Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Deonne Johnson, Manager, Learning Services, via djohnson@instructure.com.

Good UX design is like a good joke.  If you have to explain it, it may not be that good.

As I’m sure you all know, the new rich content editor (RCE) will be the default starting on June 20, 2020, as announced by Instructure.

 

The rich content editor is the formatting toolbar visible whenever you add or edit content in an Announcement, Assignment, Discussion, Page, Quiz, or Syllabus in Canvas.

 

Canvas Admins have the ability to enable it on each of our institution sub-accounts right now if we want. Additionally, faculty have the ability to enable it on any course where your institution has allowed it as an option. For my higher ed institution, we’re going to enable it as the default for all our courses at the start of the Summer 2020 semester.

 

That being said, we’re starting to build awareness of the new RCE to our faculty and campus community and I put together a new shareable help guide linked below. The help guide includes a list of 9 FAQs to learn how to use some common features of the new rich content editor. For each of the FAQs, there's a link to both the Instructor Guide and Student Guide followed by a short animated GIF to demonstrate what it looks like in the new RCE.

 

New Rich Content Editor FAQ 

Download the raw GIFs (~127 MB)

 

In a nutshell, here is what the current (and soon to be old) rich content editor looks like…

Old rich content editor

 

Here is what the new (starting in June 2020) rich content editor looks like...

New rich content editor

 

I really appreciate the streamlined look and functionality in the new RCE .

 

If you find the help guide above helpful, please feel free to share it (or rewash) at your own institution! 

 

 

 

Banner Photo by Crew on Unsplash

I'm gaining some new skills thanks to covid-19. I just saw the moniker tragi-tunity, which is not meant to minimize the gravity of this event, but rather move towards "making lemonade out of lemons." Here's mine.

 

I teach Ecology at the high school level. We were about to begin a new unit on GIS and so I turned the entire unit into a Module with prerequisites and masterypaths for a choice assignment. I want students to move through the module sequentially, so I chose that option. Additionally, I wanted them to be able to choose an assignment for lesson 4. 


Module View with MasteryPath

 

Module Settings (prerequisites)

 

Sample Student View

Thanks to Kona Jones for her work on the Hacking Mastery Paths and Taking the Mystery out of Mastery Paths posts!

Home Page with banner, sample text, and layoutMarch Teacher Appreciation Event: Home Page & Modules Based Templates

For the March event, we have created two free Canvas templates designed for those instructors moving from ground to online.

 

Do you or someone at your institution have the need to quickly move course content from a ground course to an online environment? If so, we suggest importing your chosen template into a course shell as a launching point. Why? A template turns a blank shell into a fill-in-the-blank Canvas course. Teachers who are already lacking time can begin with a pre-built point of launch. Power users can take and modify the template without needing to start from zero.

 

About The Templates

Home Page Template

  • The home page is designed to provide communication information, course expectations, and access to the learning materials in an easy to follow format.
  • The sample content module includes the layout and formatting for a module overview, presentation, Discussion, Assignment, Quiz, and wrap-up. Instructors can duplicate and edit the module materials in order to customize the content for their learners. Along the way, we provide tips and tricks to enhance the learning experience.

Modules Based Template

  • The Welcome to your Virtual Classroom! Module is designed to provide communication information, course expectations, and access to the learning materials in an easy to follow format.
  • A Monday-Friday based content module supports a weekly curriculum with sample overview, presentation, offline and online practice layouts, Discussion, Assignment, and wrap-up. Instructors can duplicate and edit the module materials in order to customize the content for their learners. Along the way, we provide tips and tricks to enhance the learning experience.

These templates are designed as an aid for those ground instructors who need to get up-and-running in Canvas with short notice. They are not designed to act as a comprehensive course template. To learn more about our Canvas Course Best Practices, please visit the Course Evaluation Checklist v2.0 blog post.

 

Template Access

  1. Select the following link to automatically download a copy of the Home Page & Sample Module Template Canvas export package: Ground to Online Course Home Page & Sample Module Template
  2.  UPDATE 03/23/20: We now offer a free template that is Modules based and aligns with Adapting to Online in a Pinch! Export package access: Adapting to Online in a Pinch Template

 

 

Home Page Based Template Preview

sample Modules page, overview, and discussion

Directions

Part 1 | Importing Content Into Canvas Course Shell

Importing files are explained in the following Canvas Guide: How do I import a Canvas course export package?
  1. Download the template course export file (linked above).
  2. Open the Canvas course in which you'd like to upload the home page template. We recommend that you load these packages into empty course shells in order to prevent the potential overriding of your current course content. If you do not have an empty course shell (or course in which you feel comfortable loading these materials), please contact your Canvas Administrator. 
  3. Select "Settings" from the course navigation menu.
  4. Select "Import Course Content"  from the right-side menu and complete the following:
    1. For Content Type, select "Canvas Course Export Package"
    2. For Source, select "Choose File" and then locate the home page template file you've just downloaded (typically found in the Downloads folder on your computer) and unzipped
    3. Select the file and then "Open"
    4. For Content, select "All content"
    5. Finally, select "Import"
    6. A green box with the words "Completed" will appear once the upload is complete.  The content will now be uploaded to your course!

Part 2 | Customizing Your Home Page Based Template

  1. Selecting the "Home" button will take you to your new home page design. You can edit the page utilizing the Rich Content Editor.

  2. Within the Modules button, you will find two Modules that complement this template. The first Module, "For The Instructor" provides you with links to relevant Canvas Guides. The second Module, "Sample Module" contains sample materials that you can duplicate and customize. Please note, if you choose not to use the module it should be set to unpublished so that students do not see the sample content. 

 


2020 Course Design Essentials  

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. 

 

Who Are We?

We are Instructure’s Instructional Design Team! More specifically, we are Tiffany Foster, Marah Metallo, Laurie Norris, and Lily Philips. Within Canvas, we have been students, teachers, admins, trainers, and instructional designers. We have created fully-online, hybrid/blended and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.

 

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices. 

 

Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM.

2020 Teacher Appreciation

Contingency Planning Blogs

Thoughts on embedding digital worksheets like this one?

One of the more clever Canvas / Google combinations, imho, is embedding documents. Besides saving paper, 

Advantages

  • Expandable! Paper documents have a finite amount of space. Even with margins set at 1/4" (not great on paper, but fine for Canvas with its built-in whitespace), you're limited in what you can share by your printing budget. Digital sheets can go on for far too long if you're not careful.
  • Links work! Click as hard as you want, the links on a paper document won't get you to any further information on a topic. Digital documents can lead students to many more places, and the students just click — no need to try to type in http://crazyhardlinktotryandtype-probablywithhardnumberstotranspose.com/anddefinitelyslashes
  • Input! You want students to work together to brainstorm? Seeing each other's ideas helps them generate more. A common digital document does that.
  • Ease! Embedded Google docs are easier to change than Canvas content. Once embedded, there's no opening Canvas to Edit, no deleting of old files or uploading of new ones, no saving, no waiting, no worrying that students might have the wrong version. The one they see is the one I want them to see.
  • Last-minute changes! Maybe this is a sub-point of "Ease" but because it's so easy to change, it's easy to correct errors that you caught minutes before (or during) your class.
  • Color! With our budget, color paper copies are a special treat, but with digital sheets I can get as crazy as I'd like.

 

Here's an example of one our documents. You can comment on it if you'd like, but I've set the sharing so only I can edit it:

Disadvantages

  • No Printer Smell! Some people really like the concrete tangibility of a paper copy. At our Active Teaching Labs (the embedded Activity Sheet here is from that program) we do print off 1 sheet for them. Notice that at the top of that sheet are easy-to-follow directions to the digital copy. We direct them to the digital copy so they can more actively participate in the session by clicking on the links that interest them, by sharing resources that they have, and by chatting (Google Docs chat) with other participants about the topic.
  • Control! Because embedded Google Docs can allow participants to actually participate, there's a chance that they will. That means they might want to take the discussion and focus to aspects of the topic that are more relevant to them than what want to blather on about. Giving students agency in their learning is not for the faint of heart.

Technical Tips

 

*ugly because it's more responsive (something to consider).

 

Your Thoughts?

I'll eat my hat if there aren't naysayers in this group. Tell me what I'm missing, how I'm wrong, why I should do something else or something differently. I'm here to learn from you! Thanks!

Accessibility Clips, Tips, & Tricks...Oh My!

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is excited to share accessibility clips, tips and tricks for our February Teacher Appreciation Event.  Our team values creating quality courses that are accessible to learners with diverse abilities. While it is not only the right thing to do, applying accessibility best practices also meet requirements laid out by federal and state laws.  Knowing where to begin can be challenging. To help you get started creating accessible content, we have compiled a variety of resources.  

 

Canvas-ability: Accessible Content in Canvas is a six-minute screencast that dives into designing with high color contrast, segmenting content with proper heading structure, and writing descriptive hyperlinks.

 

Meeting Accessibility in Your Canvas Course: Recommendations and Resources is a document that provides accessibility best practices for layout and design, images, videos, and documents.  

 

Additional Resources:  

 

Now that you have dived into awesome resources, show off your accessibility knowledge by entering our Accessibility Kahoot Contest.  This contest will be open, to the first 100 participants, from February 20th through 22nd.  The top three participants on the leaderboard at the close of the contest will receive Amazon gift cards. We look forward to seeing you battle it out for the top spots.  

 


2020 Course Design Essentials  

Monthly Canvas Community Event Launch

The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. 

 

Who Are We?

We are Instructure’s Instructional Design Team! More specifically, we are Kristen Andersen, Tiffany Foster, Marah Metallo, Laurie Norris, Lily Philips, and Paola Sanchez. Between the six of us, we have over 36 years of Canvas experience! Within Canvas, we have been students, teachers, admins, trainers, and instructional designers. We have created fully-online, hybrid/blended and face-to-face courses for learners ranging from preschool through post-secondary and everything in between.

 

Why Are We Launching This Event?

We utilize the Canvas Community on a regular basis to position instructional design resources! We understand the impact and power of the Instructional Designers space within the Community and want to give back. We are excited to collaborate and share tips and tricks about our Canvas Design Best Practices. 

 

Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Sallie Michalsky, Senior Manager of Content Services sallie@instructure.com.

Surveys are possible in New Quizzes, although you may need some tweaking. There is an article here (FAQ: New Quizzes) mentioning that surveys do not exist in New Quizzes. However, this is not logically correct, since it's possible to create assessments without point values.

Let's first look at the current Quizzes tool on surveys.

 

Old Quizzes

 

Instructions 1

 

As you can see, we have the RCE above as well as the options below.

 

Notice that, in a graded survey, since we have 11 questions in the survey, we made it out of 11 points. Students will automatically receive full credit once they take a graded survey. Also, notice the Keep Submissions Anonymous option below. We'll discuss it later on.

 

Instructions 2

 

In Old Quizzes, students will receive full credit whether or not they answered all the questions.

 

Survey Results

 

New Quizzes

Let's test how this survey is going to be affected by migrating it into New Quizzes.

 

New Quizzes Assignments

 

Hold on! Something's not right here. Some features like Anonymous Grading are missing. You should check with your local educational institution for details on how to enable it so that those survey submissions will remain anonymous.

 

The New Survey Builder

We can look at the newly migrated survey here. All 11 questions were imported successfully.

(You cannot use Load this tool in a new tab when migrating a quiz. This feature hides the Global Navigation bar on the left.)

 

Questions

 

 

Settings are not migrated; you must reconfigure them manually. If you will be reusing this survey, allow multiple attempts. A great example of this is a weekly topic submission form. Since we set all questions to zero points, it is safe to keep the latest submission, in which the latest survey responses will overwrite previous responses.

For Restrict student result view, this needs to be turned on. The only options that can be used in a survey are Show items and questions, Show student response, and Show item feedback.

 

Attempt History will be disabled if Show items and questions is turned off.

 

Settings

 

A graded survey requires that all questions to be multiple-choice and that Vary points by answer is turned on. Using other question types may not return desirable results, as students may not necessarily receive full credit once they submit the survey. To be on the safe side, make all questions zero points each and set Display Grade As to Complete/Incomplete.

 

Survey Preview & Debugging

After running the test, here's the result when Show items and questions, Show student response, and Show item feedback are turned on.

 

As you can see below, one question requires grading. Even though it shows that the student finished the survey in 1:13 minutes, it still shows the Points Possible field blanked out. To be honest, if the Show points awarded/possible options are not checked, it should only show the time taken to complete the survey (only if Show items/questions is checked). If no items are checked, the time taken is not shown.

 

Results 1

 

Results 2

 

Recap

  • When migrating to New Quizzes, we recommend that you make all questions zero points each, since graded surveys do not appear to be viable. From the Assignments page, display the grade as Complete/Incomplete.
  • The only options that can be used in Restrict Student Result View for a survey are:
    • Show items and questions
    • Show student response
    • Show item feedback
  • Preview the survey a few times so that you can check for any errors. We always want quality work when building surveys.
    (When we preview a quiz, it resembles as if we are in the director's seat.)
    • "Lock it up": The teacher clicks the Preview button.
    • "Rolling": Loading screen
    • "Action": The quiz screen comes up
    • "Cut": The teacher clicks the Exit Preview button; can be done before or after submitting the survey
      • Before submitting: When you need to fix errors (i.e., spelling) in questions or the instructions
      • After submitting: When you think the answer is right even though the auto-grader is wrong. Make a note of the affected questions on a piece of paper before exiting the preview.

When I studied the comparison table between Old vs New Quizzes, I thought to myself: If quizzes can be exported, why not individual assignments? They should. Here is a viable solution to export/import a New Quiz.

 

For this blog post, call the old course Course A and the new course Course B.

 

Procedure

  1. In Course A, create a new quiz in Canvas using the +Assignment or +Quiz/Test buttons.
  2. Once you arrive at the New Quizzes Build page, write a custom message in the instructions to let yourself know that the import operation worked.
  3. Unlike Old Quizzes, if you are going to export even a single assignment or page, you must export the entire course. To do so, follow the instructions in this article (How do I export a Canvas course?).
  4. Once the export is complete, download the file (it expires 30 days after the export has completed) and save it to somewhere you remember.
  5. Go to Course B, and follow the instructions there to import your course content (How do I import a Canvas course export package?).
  6. Before you get too far, in the Content section, select the option Select specific content, because you're NOT going to import all of the data. Then click Import.
    Selected content only
  7. After a few minutes, the status will show Waiting for Selection. Now click Select Content to choose the data you want to import.
    Waiting for content.
  8. For this example, since our title is Migrating New Quizzes, we check this option only. Leave all other items unchecked. Click Select Content to continue.
    (Keep in mind, assignment groups will have a folder icon next to it.)
    Select Content
  9. Wait for the import to finish and return a green Completed status. If it is red or orange, read the issues and try again.
    Completed!
  10. Verify that the imported New Quiz appears in the Assignments page in Course B. The process is not over yet! We still need to check if the quiz data has been imported or not.
    Assignments page
  11. After you arrive at the New Quizzes Build page in Course B, you should see the message you created when you made the New Quiz in Course A. That's it!
    Success!

 

Warning

You can only export and import New Quizzes assignments within the same institution. If you have Canvas accounts from different institutions, you cannot use this method to export from one institution and import to another institution, even though it is possible to edit the external tool URL to match that of the other institution, as instructions and questions will not import correctly. I've tested with New Quizzes imported from Canvas Commons that were created by other institutions. Even though the import succeeds, the operation failed, since it couldn't find the valid settings for the New Quizzes LTI link.

Hi,

I am finding my way to Canvas and I would like to share this community this canvas template that I have built upon another template that some one shared to the Commons (I can't remember the author now, but thank you who ever you were).

 

Canvas doesn't have allow the creation of  navigation panel unit by unit, like Moodle or Blackboard Learn so I create a table in the frontpage and also use the menu 'Modules' on the left hand side. I don't think that the 'Module' links can be hidden?

 

Any feedback/comments for my template are very welcome.

Mari Cruz

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