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2020
Bobby Pedersen

Still loving reading

Posted by Bobby Pedersen Champion Mar 25, 2020

I love getting lost in a book. And I treasure memories of my four kids as small people snuggling up for stories every night. The highlight of our day sometimes. I also treasure reading to a spellbound class, making predictions, laughing, feeling sad, wallowing in images formed by deliciously crafted words.

 

A lot of our learning is being done online now. Teachers are scrambling to create inviting learning environments online in preparation for schools to close.  How will this impact those treasured reading moments? 

 

I had a teacher ask me today if it is OK to record herself reading to her class. Would this breach copyright laws?  First of all I had to thank her for realising that there's nothing like the familiarity of the treasured class teacher reading to the class. Yes, there are YouTube clips that can be embedded into courses, and they are great. But a teacher taking the time to connect with the learners they know best is quite a different dynamic. 

 

So I did a spot of research, called a friend and found out that yes indeed it's fine to record yourself reading. In case you are not sure here are some handy details Australian libraries responding to COVID-19 | Australian Library and Information Association .

 

When you get a chance, make the most of this opportunity to keep connecting with your learners through the joy of reading. I'd love to hear how you get on. 

Every day, more and more schools and organisations are closing their doors to help contain the spread of COVID-19. As Canvas APAC Learning Consultants, our current challenge is to adapt specifically-designed “onsite trainings” that rely on hands-on activities and face-to-face interactions into full-day remote sessions. 

We’ve made a few key changes to the way we design and deliver remote training to ensure participation and engagement. By sharing our experiences below, we hope to encourage you to find creative ways to keep engaging your students in the online learning space during this time of continual change.

 

1.Make the most of local Canvas Champions! 

 

Whether during the scoping call or by using a survey on Canvas, seek out the experienced, advanced and/or enthusiastic Canvas users at your institution/organisation and ask them to help. They can  work the room during the training to give advice, answer questions, and offer additional support for less experienced users. Don’t forget to shower them with appreciation and swag for thanks, as this gives the Champions confidence to assist and empower other users in the future. This works especially well for clients with large cohorts of participants.

 

2. Use Discussions in Canvas Courses

 

Canvas has best practice course considerations that make teaching and learning easier. In remote training sessions, this is no exception. Discussions are a great way to capture how your participants are going with any activities you’ve assigned them. 

 

Create discussion forums for participants to insert screenshots of their work as posts or replies in the discussion. Spend a few minutes ensuring everyone knows how to screenshot and show them how to insert them into discussion responses. Then create a new module for the training (preferably at the top for ease of access for participants) and discussion line items for each activity. 

 

Example of using discussions and screenshots for remote training

 

As a trainer, you can keep the discussion open and refresh your screen to view recent participant contributions. The discussion then becomes a platform to showcase work as well as give meaningful feedback on tasks and/ or what they could do differently. Furthermore, it keeps them accountable for completing the training in real time when there isn’t onsite “supervision”. 

 

We have found this works well for remote training where both the trainer and participants are remote, as it creates a sense of inclusion and sharing.

 

3. Utilise a rich mixture of resources

 

Just as the Canvas Rich Content Editor enables teaching through a diverse range of functions,  such as uploading files and inserting media, we are using an array of resources in our remote full-day training sessions. For example, for a recent South East Asian client, we utilised training recordings, self-paced activity slides, and live guided training and Q&A sessions. This combination of synchronous and asynchronous options allows flexibility for any organisation based on need and available resources.  

 

4. Bring in online tools that you already use

 

A lot of what we do face-to-face in our training sessions involves utilising online tools that can also be applied in an online context. 

 

For example, we’ve used Slido (a polling tool) during presentations to large groups to increase audience participation and interaction. If your online tools have embed codes available, you can add them directly into Canvas by flipping the Rich Content Editor into the HTML Editor. If you’re not comfortable with embedding HTML, you can also head to a web browser to use them outside of Canvas and simply flip browser windows during your screen share. 

 

Keeping the agenda on schedule can be a challenge, especially if your audience loves a good break. In face-to-face training sessions, we often pull up a separate browser window and simply Google “10 min timer,” expand the timer window and leave it open so everyone is clear when the session starts again. This could work really well in the remote context as well, so you can still have your cup of coffee (or tea) without feeling guilty or losing track of your agenda. 

 

5. Gain familiarity with video conferencing tools

 

We use video conferencing  to deliver and record our client training sessions, mainly focusing on the screen sharing and chat functions to connect with our audience. To take it to the next level, we even reached out to our training colleagues in EMEA who also work remotely with clients. Here are some of their suggestions (that we plan to implement ourselves, as well):

 

  • Encourage everyone to sign in separately so they can contribute to the Chat space individually. If possible, have a Chat moderator to join the meeting to manage questions during periods when you are focused on lecture or demonstration.

 

  • Equip your audience with your video conferencing tools. Allow them to share their screen so you can see their work, use the breakout rooms for small group discussions, or include polls to assess understanding or to encourage active participation. It is also good practice to provide some time at the beginning to explain to your audience how you plan to use the video conferencing tools so they can effectively participate.

If you are one of the teachers, facilitators, instructors or lecturers who is impacted by COVID-19, we have identified 3 things that you can do right now to set up your virtual classroom in Canvas. We have also attached an infographic that you can send or print out to your organisation.

 

1. Get familiar with your video conferencing tools

 

Video conferencing allows you to connect with your students and learners in real time. Within Canvas, you can use BigBlueButton through Conferences. Relevant Canvas Guides here.

 

Your institution may also be using external video conferencing software such as Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, Webex or Adobe Connect, so check in with your administrator to ask about your options.

 

2. Upload your files into Canvas

 

If you have powerpoints, documents, PDFs and other resources on your computer, you can quickly upload them into Canvas so that your students have access to your Files. Relevant Canvas Guides here.

 

If your institution is integrated with Google or Office365, you will also be able to access your files directly from your Google Drive or OneDrive

 

If you want to organise your files (and not share every single file in Canvas), add them to Modules to keep them organised into topics. Relevant Canvas Guides here.

 

3. Learn how to set up a Discussion

 

Discussions allow teachers and students to engage in interactive communication outside of the classroom. They’re easy to create, and offer you the ability to embed notes, slides, pictures and recordings. Use it to get your students to ask questions, problem solve, and generate new ideas. Relevant Canvas Guides here.

 

Last Thoughts


With any of the tools in Canvas, including those listed above, reach out to Canvas Support if you ever need help. You can find them in your Help Menu.

 

3 things for teachers to do to prepare for COVID-19

If you are one of the Admins at a school, organisation or university which is impacted by COVID-19, we have identified 3 things that you can do right now to set up your Virtual Campus in Canvas. 

 

 

  • Ensure all users are provisioned within Canvas

 

Use a SIS Import to ensure that all your users are provisioned within Canvas. This will allow teachers to manually enrol users into courses, or enable you to enrol at scale. Some of these users may never need to access Canvas, but it can’t hurt!

 

 

  • Ensure you’ve got your tools connected

 

If your staff have powerpoints, documents, PDFs and other resources on their computer, they can quickly upload them into Canvas so that your students have access. If your institution is integrated with Google or Office365, you will also be able to access your files directly from your Google Drive or OneDrive. If you would like this tool to be installed, reach out to your CSM.

 

Canvas comes with BigBlueButton (BBB) installed, and your teachers can create web-conferences using the guide here. Your institution may also be using external video conferencing software such as Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, Webex or Adobe Connect, so check in with your vendor to ask about your options.

 

 

  • Learn how to use Global Announcements

 

Global announcements allow the Admin to contact all or specific users within an account or subaccount using one message. You can schedule them and set an end date.

 

Global announcements are shown from all accounts associated with a user and they display in the user's Dashboard. If you select the option to send a notification, users who have enabled the Global Announcement notification preference can also receive alerts for global announcements via email or push notification.

 

Last Thoughts

 

With any of the tools in Canvas, including those listed above, reach out to Canvas Support if you ever need help. You can find them in your Help Menu.