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On the third day of Canvasmas, the Canvas Community gave to me: three “Getting Started” tours of Canvas...

 

When you start something new, it can sometimes be hard to know where to begin. For example, I’m a big fan of board games (we’re not talking the normal ones like “Monopoly”, “Clue”, “Sorry”, etc. … although those are fun, too). My collection has grown over the past couple of years, and often the games come with lots of rules. Lots and lots of rules. In fact, my “Star Wars: Imperial Assault” game I recently bought came with four (yes four) rulebooks: one labeled “Campaign Guide” (44 pages), one labeled “Rules Reference Guide (28 pages) that contains all the terminology and answers questions you may have during game play, one labeled “Skirmish Guide” (8 pages) for two-player games, and one labeled “Learn to Play - Read This First” (16 pages). Ah ha! I know where to begin! Now to make sense of it all...

 

When a school moves to a new Learning Management System (LMS) such as Canvas, it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are so many things that need to be considered. How will enrollments get processed from our SIS to Canvas? How will course shells be created? Will we set up a “Master Term” where we house a “master” of every course we offer online? What kinds of data and reports can we get out of Canvas? Where can we get help and support? The list goes on and on.

 

If you’ve never seen this part of the Canvas Community website before, I would like to introduce you to three excellent "Getting Started" resources found at: Canvas Getting Started. From here, you can select the role (Admin, Instructor, or Student) that best describes you. Once you have selected a role, you can browse through the written Guides or even watch a short video tutorial of a specific feature of Canvas. One of the coolest things about the written and video Guides is that you can leave your feedback and/or questions at the bottom of any of them, and someone from the Community or even a Canvas Docs Team member will reply to you.

 

I hope you’re having fun reading our “12 Days of Canvasmas” entries! Happy Holidays!

When you're in the Community, you can pretty much follow anything and everything that sparks your interest.  In this blog, I'll show you how you can follow discussions, Feature Ideas, and Groups (places) in the Community.  I'll also show you how to bookmark content so you can come back to it at a later time.  Finally, I'll show you a cool trick on how to add notes to your bookmarked items.

 

Let's say that you wanted to follow and/or bookmark the following items that are currently (at the time of this posting) "In Development":

 

 

Or maybe you wanted to follow the Panda Jokes thread (yup...there's a whole thread of panda-related jokes and memes) over in the I Heart Pandas group.

 

For the most part, you'll want to follow the directions outlined in this Community Guide: How do I follow people, places, or content in the community?.

 

You can also bookmark content (discussions, Feature Ideas, Groups, etc.) so that you can re-visit them at a later time.

 

From the Actions menu at the top right corner of the page of content, select Bookmark.

Actions >> Bookmark

To access your bookmarked content, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the drop-down menu next to your avatar on the upper right corner of the screen.
    Profile Dropdown Menu
  2. Click on your name.
  3. On your profile screen, click Bookmarks.
    Profile Bookmarks

All your bookmarked content will be displayed.  You can sort the content by type, title, or the date bookmarked.

 

Over time, your list of bookmarked stuff might get pretty big (I had over 10 pages of bookmarks at one time).  And, I was saying to myself, "Why did I bookmark that page in the first place?"  Well, Jive (that's the interface that runs the Canvas Community website) let's you keep notes and keywords for each bookmark you save...and it's searchable!  On your Bookmarks screen, click on the Thumbnails icon on the right side of the screen.

Thumbnail View

For each of your bookmarked items, you'll have a link called Edit notes & tags.  Click on this link to bring up a pop-up window which will allow you to enter a few sentences about the content.  Maybe include a reason why you bookmarked the page in the first place.  Then, add some keyword tags.  This will help in your searches.  When you come back to your Bookmarks page later on, you can use the Type to filter by text box shown above to search for your bookmarked item.  Items that have been tagged with keywords will appear first.  Items that haven't yet been tagged will appear at the end of your search results.

 

If you have any questions about this process, please post a message below, and I'll be happy to respond.