Exploring Canvas is an adventure!
We currently have over 400 instructors using Canvas as a tool in their face-to-face, hybrid and online courses. In an effort to collaborate and share best practices, we want to hear from you! How are you using Canvas to present curriculum and engage your students?
Please take a few moments to share with your colleagues about your favorite Canvas features and how it has helped you reach your instructional goals. We learn together!
Here is what some of your colleagues are saying:
Ease of use
Canvas has made it a lot easier for me to stay in contact with my students and keep track of their grades and assignments.
Although I've been teaching at SRJC for 18 years, I had never used Canvas before. I finally decided to jump on board at the end of last semester in order to be prepared for a new ESL credit class this Spring. Being new to Canvas, I was a bit anxious about taking on a new software program and a new class at the same time, but Liz du Plessis, at the Distance Education section of the library, gave me a safe place to learn at my own pace. I'm still in the beginning stages, but the tools patiently demonstrated to me by Liz and her colleagues, have made this semester much easier. There is more I need to learn, but now I know where to go. I am looking forward to it. Maybe I'll see you there.
Vince Morabito, ESL
The flexibility and potential of discussion boards
Having been a die-hard face-to-face instructor, I was fascinated by the challenge of replicating the social dynamic of the in-person classroom in the online environment. Teaching through discussion boards offers students not only an opportunity to share observations, but also to reflect, value and learn from each other’s work (and revise!) as the week progresses.
I ask students to share all assignments with the class, and I design a sequence of discussion boards to establish the support network that this type of public dialogue and critique among the students (and myself) requires. The first time I did this, I immediately found that the quality of student work on the discussion board evolved at a surprisingly rapid speed, and shifted the amount of time spent on grading to time spent interacting with students (more interesting for them and me!) I find that the discussion boards make for excellent formative assessment tools.
DE's very own Canvas wiz, Liz DuPlessis
Perhaps the best feature of Canvas is the instructor and student support. Initially, I met one-on-one, at a convenient time, with Elizabeth du Plessis in the Distance Education Department in the Doyle Library. In one short session, Elizabeth helped transfer my Moodle course to Canvas and taught me additional features applicable to my curriculum needs. I’ve met with her twice and learned so much. I am excited about using her ideas about video presentations to create and post my own lessons. And, she helped me set up the Class Discussion component which I am starting late in this semester but hope to use on a regular basis in the future.
24/7 Canvas Phone Support
And, if I get stuck on a Sunday evening with a Canvas question? Amazingly there is the 24/7 phone support for Canvas! I’ve used it a few times and a knowledgeable Canvas expert answers the phone promptly and patiently helps solve my problem.
SRJC's self-paced online Canvas certificate course
The Online Special Expertise training course was invaluable to me. Not only did I gain a substantial amount of knowledge about Canvas, what I learned actually simplified my life by showing me more efficient ways to teach on Canvas and more effective ways to deliver materials to the students.
I really appreciate the time and effort that you and your department put into this. When I taught online in Oregon, they required completion of the Quality Matters training, which I thought was good. The Canvas training and support from your department far exceeds the QM training! Kudos to you and all the Canvas ninjas!
How Canvas helps my students succeed
I love that the students can see their grade in the class at any given point in time by checking the gradebook. The checklist also lets them stay on top of what is due each week and tell what they have not completed. This also helps students who were absent keep up with what they missed. Finally, both myself and the students love the Canvas inbox email tool, so that they can email me directly through Canvas and their email is not filtered out by work email filter.
Canvas saves time and frees me to focus on course content
I get less emails from students regarding grades or what assignments were due. In addition, I am able to create content that I can re-use in subsequent semesters. These time saving features give me more time to focus on instruction. I have been able to use this time to embed relevant new stories for each of my modules to help students apply concepts studied in class, and to include more activities such as quizzes and vocabulary activities to help students master course content.