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All People > Gregory Beyrer > Greg's Canvas Blog > 2018 > April

At my college our exam bluebooks (actually they're green*) include our CRC Honor Code printed on the inside cover. That is part of a college-wide effort to build a culture of academic integrity. We are encouraged share the code with our students in various ways, and it is framed in each of our classrooms. It also is available on a printable form that faculty can give to their students. It has a place to sign indicating agreement with the following statement:


I understand that I, as a member of the Cosumnes River College community, am responsible for upholding this value, supporting academic quality, academic rigor, and an appropriate college atmosphere.


Our Academic Integrity Committee (AIC), a subcommittee of our Academic Senate, developed the code at a time when when less than half of our classes were using the college's learning management system.


The AIC chair asked me recently how the CRC Honor Code might be made similarly visible to students using the Quiz or Assignment tools in Canvas. We are a client of VeriCite (I mean Turnitin) and assignments using the tool for plagiarism detection have the similarity pledge enabled. But his question about quizzes got me to thinking about the various ways something like that could be done there.


One is pretty straightforward: Add a question to each quiz that is a true/false declaration (or even a single-option multiple choice question) that asks students to agree with the statement as if they were signing the paper. If I were to do this I would make it the first question on the quiz and make it worth some points. A zero-point question could work too, but that might communicate something undesirable about how much academic integrity is valued.


Another option is to use the prerequisite and requirement features of the Modules tool so that students are forced to agree with the statement in some other way. Following are some of the options, each of which I would put inside the "course orientation" module that I use as a prerequisite for all other modules in the class:

  1. Require students to view a content page "CRC Honor Code"
  2. Require students to mark as read a content page "CRC Honor Code"
  3. Require students to attempt a quiz that includes a true/false or single-option multiple choice question that asks them to agree with the statement
  4. Require students to get a perfect score on a single-question quiz asking students to agree with the statement
  5. Require students to submit an assignment writing a paragraph reflecting on what they think the code means to them

My favorites are numbers 3 and 4, which easily reward students with points for making a declaration. Since I already give students a pre-course quiz it would be easy to add a question to that assignment, but the standalone quiz draws additional attention to the issue. I wonder what other options there are and hope that other members of the Canvas Community share those here.


*: So was our carbon footprint reduced more by the move to "greenbooks" (made with >30% post-consumer recycled material) or by the increasing number of exams that are given online using the learning management system? Sounds like a great question for an environmental researcher! 

A colleague asked me about a teaching challenge and whether there was a way to do what he wanted in Canvas. He teaches a science lab class and wants to turn the experience of writing a lab report into something more like a scientific paper. This gives students a chance to practice critical thinking. The teaching challenge comes with wanting students' papers and his feedback to be visible to everyone in the class. That way each lab group could see how the other groups wrote their paper and the feedback from the reviewer could be seen as well. What a great way to expose students to aspects of academic publishing.


Of course I thought of using the discussions tool as a way to make students' work (and feedback) public within the class. However, the discussion tool in Canvas does not have a distinct subject for each replies (though maybe that will change if Subject  Lines for Discussions is enabled). This makes it a challenge to use a single graded discussion assignment for the assignment as it would require students to use the browser's search function to find a paper on the same experiment written by a classmate from another lab group.


I wanted a better option for students to help them find those other papers, and then I remembered there is a setting to allow students to create their own discussions in a Canvas course. I have never used this nor met anyone who has, though my own experience with online discussions is small. So I proposed using this option to help make things easier on my colleague's students:

  • Each student creates a discussion following the instructor's guidelines for the title
  • For the discussion prompt the student writes an executive summary of their paper and attaches their paper
  • The instructor replies to each discussion with public feedback on the report

My colleague did not mention peer feedback as part of the assignment, but that could be added as well by requiring students to post replies to their classmates.


There is a minor additional hassle for the instructor, which is that a separate assignment needs to be created for the purpose of assigning a grade and giving confidential feedback on the assignment. But the main benefit for students is an easily scrollable list of paper titles on the Discussions page in the course, almost like the table of contents of a academic journal. And like an online academic journal, all the reader needs to do is select a title to see the executive summary and find easy access to the complete paper as well as an editorial response and maybe even feedback from fellow scientists.

Thank you everyone who read this blog entry. I discovered a way to import YouTube captions into Arc and wrote another entry about it: YouTube Captions to Arc (updated 26 Oct. 2018).

It is awesome that YouTube videos can be played inside the Arc media player and thereby allowing instructors to use all of Arc's goodness with videos from that source. In my U.S. history classes I'm going to have to work in some late-90s popular culture so I can use Arc to make pop-up videos of VH1's Pop Up Videos. 


Unfortunately, the Arc media player does not recognize that a YouTube video has been captioned. It is possible to show the YouTube captions within the Arc media player by opening the video within a YouTube window and enabling captions there. Hopefully Instructure's developers will be able to figure how to have Arc Recognize Captioned YouTube Videos. Until then, our students will get an opportunity to practice their fine mousing skills in order to make those captions appear within the Arc media player. The embedded video demonstrates the following workaround:

  1. Hey students, carefully hover your mouse over the the lower-right part of the video. You might have to move your mouse pointer onto the video from the top of the video and not the bottom or side as the pop-up Arc controls cover the place you need to click.
  2. Once you see the YouTube watermark, click on it to open the video in a new browser window or tab.
  3. On the YouTube page, select the option to display captions.
  4. Close that YouTube page.
  5. Refresh the browser window or tab with Canvas to continue watching the video using the Arc player.

Chris Hofer Thank You for asking the question that led me to this discovery.

California's community colleges are fortunate to have supporting programs like 3C Media Solutions, which among other things hosts and streams videos for our faculty. The service has a connection the Distance Education Captioning and Transcription grant, which means that getting instructional videos captioned is as easy as filling in an online form linked from videos we have uploaded to 3C Media Solutions.


For those of us who also have access to Arc, this presents a challenge. On one hand, the time-stamped comments and viewer insights make Arc a no-brainer for making effective use of instructional video. The ability to answer my students' questions in situ is a big step on the road toward instruction perfection. On the other hand, the workload involved in captioning videos is a disincentive to using them and finding an easy way to take care of that is a great boon. 


The embedded video demonstrates a workaround that uses both systems:

  1. Upload the video to 3C Media Solutions and Arc
  2. Request captioning at 3C Media Solutions
  3. Download the caption file from 3C Media Solutions and upload it on the Canvas page with the Arc video

Hopefully we'll be able to Integrate Any Online Video with Arc and this workaround will no longer be needed.