Skip navigation
All Places > Q & A > Canvas Network > Blog

Canvas Network

7 posts

Hour of Code Course Renewed 

Introduction to Hour of Code screenshot

The success of a Canvas Network course, Introduction to Hour of Code, has prompted us to offer it again!

This free, self-paced, higher education course is a team effort among Canvas, Vocareum, and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.  The course will help computer science teachers at all levels add a coding component to their classroom and provide guidelines and best practices for facilitating an Hour of Code

Teachers will have access to virtual computer science labs to support coursework in data science, programming, robotics, and more--all without ever having to leave their Canvas learning management system (LMS). Teachers who complete the course with a grade of 70% or higher will be eligible for an 8-hour Professional Development Certificate issued by Arizona State University.

More than 600 students enrolled in the first course, with 89 applying for Continuing Education Unit credit. This second version of the course will have updates including additional how-to content, more quiz questions, and expansion of “unplugged” sections to help teachers of young learners.

To take part in the course, sign up here. Introduction to Hour of Code will be available from March 11 to August 19, 2019.


Keep learning,

Shauna Vorkink
Director of Content Services

Decorate image showing that displays someone working through code.UPDATE: Introduction to Hour of Code will now close at 10:00 P.M. M.S.T. on January 2. The extension in the deadline is meant to give participants additional time to work through the content. Please note that responses to Discussions may not be as prompt between December 22 and January 2. 


The Content Services team is excited to announce a new class, Introduction to Hour of Code, a free course designed to enable teachers to teach code in the classroom in preparation for Hour of Code. The course is the result of a collaboration collaboration between Canvas by Instructure, Vocareum, and the Ira A. Fulton Schools at Arizona State University. You can start the course as early as November 26th, 2018 by going to the Canvas Network, or by following the Introduction to Hour of Code link above. 


Like other Canvas Network offerings, Introduction to Hour of Code is self-paced. The course will help computer science teachers at all levels add a coding component to their classroom. The course is designed to instill confidence using Python alongside a computer science classroom's pedagogy. Course participants will not need experience in Python or additional equipment to enroll. The overall goal of Introduction to Hour of Code is to provide guidelines and best practices for facilitating an Hour of Code in the classroom.


"We want to empower teachers with the resources they need to provide an introduction to coding in their classrooms," said Tara Gunther, Vice President of Partners at Instructure. "Our hope is that teachers who take this free course will feel more at ease when introducing coding to their students, and will participate in one of the many activities offered by the Hour of Code organization during the 2018 Computer Science Education Week, December 3-9."


With Vocareum closely integrated with Canvas, teachers will have access to virtual computer science labs to support coursework in data science, programming, robotics, and more--all without ever having to leave their Canvas environment. Vocareum's mission is to close the global digital skills gap through cloud-based learning labs and performance-based assessments. The content for the course has been provided by Phillip Miller and Dr. Ryan Meuth, Lecturers in the Fulton Schools. The Content Services team at Instructure adapted the course to make it available in the Canvas Network. 


The course will be available starting November 26th, 2018. Teachers who complete the course with a grade of 70% or higher will be eligible for an 8-hour Professional Development Certificate issued by Arizona State University.


TCM Presents: Mad About Musicals!

Written by Richard L. Edwards, Executive Director for Strategic Learning,

Ball State University


Last year, at InstructureCon, Hilary Melander, Sr. Manager over Canvas Network, walked me over to a tent, just outside the conference center, where we sat down together to explore Arc, Instructure’s hands-on video platform. Hilary was telling me how Arc would change how a student can actively engage with and collaborate through video content. During the demo, I was immediately impressed by Arc’s ease of use, its annotation capabilities, and its video quality. The demo got me thinking about how I might be able to capitalize on participatory video assignments in a course with over 20,000+ learners and devout film fans. As Hilary and I continued to talk about the pedagogical possibilities, we realized we had to use Arc in our next edutainment course. Here we are, less than a year later, preparing to use Arc as our video platform in our fourth edutainment course created in partnership with Turner Classic Movies, TCM Presents: MAD ABOUT MUSICALS! A free online course dedicated to the history of the Hollywood Musical.

Born to Dance


Running from June 3-30, this FREE interactive experience will give you an entertaining deep dive into the Hollywood musical, from the 1930s to the 1970s, with addictive multimedia course materials, digital games, ongoing interactions with your fellow film fans on the TCM message boards, and more!


In an edutainment course focused on a major Hollywood genre, video is a critical component of the overall learning experience--perhaps the most important one. The Ball State-TCM courses are intentionally designed to bring together a nation-wide community of film fans. As such, these massive open online courses directly connect film fans of all levels--from the casual lover of classic film to the super fan who has taken multiple courses, read numerous books, or even written books on film. With Arc’s ability to allow educators and students to comment on key points inside the video itself, contextual insights are now shared and conversations are sparked. Arc transforms video content from a passive medium into one that is socially engaging--a crucial element in fostering an engaging and effective e-Learning environment. In addition, Arc’s tight integration with Canvas helps provide a seamless learner experience and allow our students to focus on engaging and enjoying the course, not trying to navigate multiple product experiences.


Vandessa Video DiscussionStrong course design accounts for every aspect of the learning experience from learning objectives to the right content delivered through the right tool at the right time. We’ve established a tradition of using video to disseminate different types of content, including five minute microburst videos delivered through “Daily Dose of Delight” emails sent directly to the student’s inbox and interviews and discussions with film scholars. For example, we have video discussions led by Dr. Vanessa Ament (Endowed Chair of Telecommunications at Ball State, and a Foley Artist) about the Musicals genre involving Hollywood sound designer Gary Rydstrom (winner of 7 Academy Awards) and Dr. Wes Gehring (Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State). I was immediately attracted to Arc because we could use the comments tool to give our learners and fans a voice, turning one-way videos into inclusive, productive discussions at the appropriate time. Furthermore, since we value placing Hollywood musicals into their proper context, Arc will allow us to capture how students reflect on and curate our “Daily Doses of Delight,” thus bring a wide range of student voices into our video material in new ways.


Incorporating a participatory video platform in a course with over 20,000+ learners has its challenges. It is not sustainableBrigadoon to expect the instructor to stay on top of the conversation and respond to every comment or post. However, we can still guide our students by establishing up front new user expectations and incorporating prompts or guides that help students consider how to get the most out of the experiences that Arc has to offer. Given the high quality of course participation we have seen in social media over the last three years (37,000 tweets during our Hitchcock course, e.g.) and the incredible participation we have seen from super fans in our fan panels and clubs built into the course (such as 60% retention rates in the last week of the course for a free MOOC), we are excited to see if Arc will further build and sustain passionate connections and persistent communities as part of this learning experiment driven by a shared love of classic Hollywood films and their cultural impact.


Experience Arc yourself and join us in our free MOOC offered by Ball State University and Turner Classic Movies on the Canvas Network platform, TCM Presents: MAD ABOUT MUSICALS! Enroll today.

rsz_stocksy_txp6ada0fe3uah000_small_492457.jpgMelissa Loble (Instructure), our VP of Partners & Programs, fearless leader of Canvas Network, and longtime MOOC instructor, recently published a blog post on the Canvas LMS blog about ways we can start making MOOCs more open again. Open education evangelists argue that mainstream MOOCs are not truly open because the content does not adhere to the "5 Rs" of open educational resources (OER). The content is not retainable, reusable, revisable, remixable, and redistributable. The content lives in the MOOC platform and is available only for a limited time.


In other words, "open" shouldn't just mean "free."


How can Canvas Network start challenging the definition of what a MOOC platform looks like? Read on for some of Melissa's ideas.


Five Approaches to Make MOOCs More Open

2015-11-03_14-10-15.pngCultureLink, a Canadian non-profit based out of Toronto, helps new immigrants and refugees in Canada become assimilated and find jobs. As part of their efforts, CultureLink developed their first MOOC, "Create an Expert LinkedIn Profile for Job Search" and offered it twice on Canvas Network. By developing this content, CultureLink was able to serve the needs of their target population and help multiple other job-seeking groups as well.


After concluding their Canvas Network courses, CultureLink produced a fascinating and informative infographic describing information ranging from student demographics to course design information to MOOC opportunities for non-profits based on lessons learned. Check out all the great information they packed into the graphic and see what lessons you can learn from their experiences!


The 1st MOOC by a Canadian Non-profit: Stats and Learning

CN-1670-course-image-Helping-History-Teachers-Become-Writing-Teachers.jpgThe National Council for the Social Studies offered its first MOOC earlier this year, Improving Historical Reading and Writing, and hosted about 1800 participants interested in improving their students' historical writing. In this course, the instructors surveyed participants and found that half of respondents give their C3 Framework professional development a grade of F; another 20% gave a D grade. Clearly, social studies teachers are not happy with the quality of professional development they are receiving. The course instructors and the authors of the subsequent study argue that results from their first course indicate that MOOCs may be an excellent solution to providing better disciplinary professional development, especially in the social studies. To read the full study, visit this page.

IMG_0711.jpgOn her blog Tales from a Secondary School Science Teacher, Angela discusses her experience as a student in the course "Managing Behaviour for Learning," offered by the National Science Learning Centre in the UK. She describes the coursework, and then goes on to explain how she used what she learned in the classroom. She even marks an immediate improvement of her students' behavior by implementing some of the resources from the course. Check out more free courses for teachers by visiting!