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2020

List View shows To Do information plus extras

How students work and what they see

As an instructor, sometimes it’s hard to know what students can do to view their current status in Canvas.  Because we do admin type stuff most of the time, even academic techs can be surprised.

 

Students live and breathe in the To Do list.  Instructors have discovered that items without due dates won’t show up in the To Do list, and that those items tend to get overlooked by students.  So, the trend is to add dates.  

 

However, most students have not discovered “List View” which is essentially the To Do list on steroids.

How to see the List View

 

Canvas by default shows you the very clean and simple “card view” on the dashboard.  Off to the side you see the “To Do” tool. Most people think that’s it. However, if you click the vertical [1] ellipsis (three dots) and select [2] “list view” a whole next level To Do list appears. 

How to get to List View

What can students see?

Here’s a really great document created by the Canvas Doc Team that highlights every single feature:  How do I use the to-do list for all my courses in the List View Dashboard as a student?.  (snapshots are borrowed from that page)  Here are the highlights.  

 

List View things they can see and do:

  • "To Do" things included
    • Classes
    • Points
    • Dates
  • Extra things on List View
    • If their submissions are missing or late [2] & [3]
    • If submissions are graded, replies, or if there’s feedback [5], [6] & [7]
    • Students can manually mark items complete
    • Students can add their own “To Dos”
  • Extra Bonus on List View (Hidden Gem alert)
    • They can see all of their current grades from all of their  courses on one page! [1]

 

Snapshot highlights

status indicators

This image shows you communication and submission status indicators

 

 

My Grades tool

This image shows “My Grades,” a place where students can see current grades for all of their courses.

 

 

There are several more items that may excite those that like to have advanced functionality. As for this blog entry, I’m just promoting that this tool is here, and it’s hidden just under the surface.  It is a hidden gem. I hope you and your students find it useful. 

 

For a deeper dive into each component check out:  How do I use the to-do list for all my courses in the List View Dashboard as a student?

The problem: a focus on faculty

I run a successful twice-weekly faculty engagement program called Active Teaching Labs that gets instructors sharing how they use (want to use, fail to use, figure out how to be successful in using, etc.) technology in their teaching. Since we're a Canvas campus, just about everything we talk about we try to tie back to its implementation in Canvas.

 

This is all well and good. We've developed an environment where people feel comfortable sharing successes and frustrations. Often, they ask about students — what do students think about [x,y,z]? I've been trying for years to investigate this question, but I'm in the "Faculty Engagement" service here, not in Student Engagement [sigh...].

 

Helping faculty understand their students

The good news is that I've successfully made the case that knowing more about students helps us help faculty, so I'm embarking this semester on a fellowship where we talk to students about their learning habits and practices. We're developing relationships that are somewhat new to our generally-faculty-facing Academic Technology department — to student-facing organizations like Residence Life, the Center for the First Year Experience, and others. Since our goals are to improve teaching and learning, they tend to align with their goals of supporting students, so they're often willing to work with us.

 

When we're able to identify and connect with a group of students, we survey them with questions like: 

  • What have you learned about learning?
  • How did you learn it?
  • What were your best/worst class learning activities? (and why?)
  • Advice to instructors?

After we survey the students, we meet with as many groups of them as we can schedule to unpack and clarify the results. We find that the survey primes them to think about their learning, and sharing the results back with them gets them talking back and forth. 

 

What students say

They hate Canvas "Discussions" btw, and mention of the Canvas "To Do" list elicited an exasperated "Murder!" from one of the students in last night's discussion. I find these things fascinating because, while I agree that Discussions is terrible (an online forum ≠ a discussion; calling it that makes people think it should work like one, but it cannot because it has a whole different set of constraints and affordances! But I digress), I would not have suspected a strong reaction against the To Do list.

 

This isn't a research project by any means, and we won't be publishing or sharing any meaningful results, but rather it's a means to get insight from students in order to learn from them. And yes, we realize that students are not necessarily experts on good learning practices; part of the reason we're asking them is so we can develop useful faculty-created interventions such as Week 0 Modules, and integrating Universal Design for Learning into course design and activities.

 

How do you get student feedback?

In our faculty development programs we encourage instructors to get formative feedback from students as often, and in as many ways as they can — from reflection elements in assignments and activities like the Muddiest Point (on post-it notes, or in Canvas's graded pseudo-anonymous surveys), to forums in Piazza, to SGIDs or class representative councils — but we know there are many other methods that we don't know about.

 

  • What do you use? What has worked and not worked? 
  • Have you done any large-scale surveys? (best questions?)
  • How can instructors build mechanisms for feedback into their Canvas courses?
  • Other advice?

Thanks!

How do you do Professional Development of Teaching? With >230 sessions reaching 3400+ educators, the Active Teaching Labs at UW-Madison facilitate teaching & learning development for the price of bagels & coffee. We've honed a one-hour highly-rated, dynamic, and respectful format that consistently draws campus educators without a need for stipends. During the campus transition to Canvas, the focus was on how to rebuild courses in Canvas. Now that campus is all Canvas, the focus has turned to pedagogical involving all sorts of technology, and problem-solving how to make them work well with a structure that is centered in Canvas.

 

BUT...

 

Issues

We think we've got a good thing here, but we still struggle with several issues. Maybe you can help us out with ideas?

  • How to prepare for the questions we don't know about in advance? Inevitably, instructors come to our sessions with a secret desire — so secret that they might not know about it themselves until something in the session sparks it. So secret that they might not share it with us until they fill out an evaluation, disappointed that we didn't answer it.
  • How to reach faculty too busy to come to professional development sessions? At our R1 university, teaching is (sadly) not valued as much as research, so faculty naturally focus on what earns them tenure. 
  • What titles draw people in? Because we recognize they're busy, we've been balancing "teach better" with "teach faster" — trying to share tips and tricks to be more efficient so they can teach well without spending too much time doing it!

 

So, this blog post has two goals:

  1. share what we do, and
  2. pick your brain for good ideas we're missing!

 


WHAT WE DO. Our sessions are:

  • SHORT: We find that people are willing to come to a 1-hour session (we add 15 minutes to the front on Friday mornings so they can get coffee and bagels), but much more time than that, and they stay away.
  • STRUCTURED: Single-page paper Activity Sheets provide topic overview, researched solutions, and challenges for Beginners to Experts. The digital version (bit.ly/eliLab) offers links, shareability, and participant-provided resources.
  • RESPONSIVE: Labs solicit and respond to participants’ specific interests in topics, allowing participants to share their own just-in-time questions, and solutions to each others’ challenges — building community connections across disciplinary silos. 
  • COLLABORATIVE: Participants learn from others' experiences and have structured time to contribute their own resources, ideas, and experiences. Expert participants learn from each other and also from novices through elaborative interrogation.
  • SCAFFOLDED: Labs flow from a topic overview to shared and individual participant challenges, connecting them to educational research — and because they draw on social learning, result in individualized peer-supported development.
  • MULTIMODAL: Participants can engage at their comfort level in person or online, and continue digitally afterwards.

 


EASY: Review some Labs

NB: Rather than provide a “polished” program, we model flexibility, vulnerability, and mistakes. Participants don’t see perfection (realistically impractical for instructors who teach new topics each class), but they see us try, fail, and get better. Our program similarly evolves — 2020 Labs are better than 2015 ones, and we feel some are still pretty bad, but participants love them. See them all (warts and all) in our eText: bit.ly/ATL-ejournal.

  • We started in Spring 2015 by inviting different faculty each week to share a way they use technology to teach. They prepared a 10-minute overview. Participants dug into the tool for 15 minutes to get some experience. Then it was Q&A. Counter to ID law, we led with the technology, and then sprung T&L research on them — luring instructors in with Twitter, Google Communities, Wikipedia, etc. See our first Lab on Google+ Communities Lab for a good example of this iteration.
  • As UW-Madison transitioned to Canvas, our focus shifted to address it, and the Hands-on Experience component was highlighted with Activity Sheets that welcomed different skill levels (EASY=no experience; MEDIUM=some; HARD= things we haven’t figured out yet). See the Canvas Navigations Solutions Lab for a good example of this iteration.
  • When Canvas was familiar, participants wanted to focus more on Pedagogy (WHY) than Technical (HOW), but some still wanted step-by-step directions. We put these in the Activity Sheet (like this one), but now focus sessions on Teaching practice. See the Trigger Warnings Lab for a good example of this iteration.
  • Recently, instead of inviting individuals to share a story on using tech to teach, we’ve been inviting 3-4 “ringers” to participate on a topic, we ask all participants what they want answered, and we discuss. It’s not a panel (panels= weird power dynamics); they sit with everyone else, and we carefully facilitate the conversation to address the questions.  See the UDL and Rubrics Lab for a good example of this iteration.

 


EASY: Set the Mood. Show you Care. Model Vulnerability.

At UW-Madison Labs, we play Jazz (Pandora Herbie Hancock station) before we start so participants don’t walk into a dead room. The instrumental-only background music creates a welcoming ambience while encouraging attendees to chat with each other. We welcome them when they sign in, and we make sure they make a table tent (or name tag) so others can address them by name. If they come back, we say “Welcome back!” and ask them about their semester, week, etc. We have rolling slides up introducing the Lab, setting expectations, and sharing interesting T&L articles, upcoming events, etc. We have coffee and bagels for morning Labs, and cold brew, fruit, and cookies for afternoon ones. Supplying food suggests we value them. 

  • What do you do to put participants at ease and generate discussion that meets their goals?

 


MEDIUM: Let go of preconceived plans to follow participant needs.

We’ve found people often come to events hoping to get something specific answered — often not what the event page describes. But they don’t tell us what they want, and they leave disappointed (and tell us on evaluations), so now we ask! When we start, we ask them to introduce themselves and share what, about the topic, they want to discuss. We put that on a white board and check off the questions as we address them. We start with the basic, or most popular questions, and generally ask our “ringers” (or anyone) to share any answers or suggestions they have. We use the Activity Sheet to address the technical and pedagogical questions on the topic that we anticipated. We refer to it when we can, but often find ourselves going in unanticipated directions. There’s a lot of improvisation in this approach, and we rely on people in the room to help us figure it out. We often say “I don’t know. Does anyone here have thoughts?” At the end of the Lab, we ask them to fill out Reflection Sheets (not “Evaluations”) — this, and their initial questions bookend the Lab and subtly remind them of their agency in their learning. When we get unanswered questions, we respond to them on the Recap page.

  • How do/can you personalize learning in sessions you lead?
  • How do/can you promote participants’ agency and responsibility in addressing their own learning goals?

 


MEDIUM: Focus on the folks who most impact campus teaching.

Like many T&L development programs, we initially tried to reach tenure-track Faculty, but struggled to pull them away from research (what they get tenure based on). Recently, we’ve been reaching them through the TAs that help them teach, the support folks they go to for technical questions. We balance better (for students) and more efficient (for instructors) teaching.

 


CHALLENGE: Try new things. Break rules.

After 10 semesters, 230 Labs, and ~3400 participants (including those coming back multiple times!) We think we’ve got a pretty good framework that we can continue evolving. But each semester we shake things up by trying something new. Starting with technology (Ooh! shiny!) instead of the (boring) educational challenge to lure people in; now we almost always start with challenges. Double-sided, jam-packed paper (the sin of no whitespace!) Activity Sheets became digital (links work — no need to type them in!), and then crowd-sourced (participants now regularly add to the RESOURCES and LAB NOTES sections!). Video recording turned into YouTube live streaming (saves hours of editing/uploading each week) — but we still have not figured out how to live stream effectively (Picture-in-Picture for screen and discussion)

  • Have you figured out live streaming?
  • Any advice on engaging both face-to-face and online participants?

 


HELP!

I'd love to hear your thoughts! How have you have dealt with these challenges? What are you doing that avoids some of the issues? Other advice?

 

My colleagues and I will be presenting on this topic at ELI 2020, so if you're there please stop me for a conversation!

 

Thanks!

John

 

Rachael Sweeten

Commitment to Learning

Posted by Rachael Sweeten Feb 19, 2020

As designers and teachers, we are on a relentless quest to present the best quality information for our students in the most effective ways possible. We acknowledge we can always do better and our students deserve this effort!

 

With that in mind, I offer this support to teachers to help each of your students embrace the Growth Mindset and personal commitment to learning. 

 

Rachael's Recommendation for Starting Each Semester

I introduce myself and state my commitment:

 

"My commitment to you is that I will do my best to teach you valuable information that will make your life better. The sum total of my life's knowledge will be your starting point. In return, I'm asking you to be committed to learning. 

Remember, the worst teacher in the world cannot stop you if you are committed to learning."-NRS

 

***

Heartfelt credits for the inspiration go to the old-school motivational speaker Zig Ziglar:

Zig Ziglar

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”


 Zig Ziglar

There are some common misconceptions in New Quizzes that can be quite frustrating. Here are a few.

 

 

Hot Spot Questions: Click, Not Draw

A misconception about Hot Spot questions is that these questions require students to click on the correct target area, NOT draw a shape. Let's say that in your art class, you want students to discover hidden shapes in the photograph below:

 

Harper @ InstCon 2020

 

You then ask the following question:

 

INCORRECT QUESTION

There is one hidden shape in this image. Draw it.

 

EXPLANATION

You might think that you want students to draw the shape similar to the blue highlight below (in this case, it is a heart), but this is something the teacher has to do, not the students. However, this would make for a great feature idea (see Quiz Question Type - Drawing for more info).

 

Misconception

 

CORRECT QUESTION

There is one hidden shape in this image. Tap/click on the region where you think it might be.

 

EXPLANATION

It only takes one click or tap to answer a Hot Spot Question. This shouldn't take very long to answer, especially on one-question quizzes with a very short time limit (~30 seconds).

 

Hot Spot Click

 

 

The Sky's the Limit (But with Exceptions, Though)

Some people might think, "Oh well, the sky's the limit, let's turn this quiz into a marathon race," so they set the time limit for a very long time (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, even longer). We've converted to the largest possible time limit (from smallest to largest, seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years).

 

  • Less than 1 hour: mm:ss
  • 1 - 48 hours: hh:mm:ss
  • 2 - 60 days: DD days
  • 2 - 24 months: MM months
  • 2+ years: YY years

 

In this example, the time limit shows 9,993,600 minutes, but we converted it to 19 years for students to see it more clearly.

 

Old Quizzes

 

But that's no longer the case with New Quizzes, where time limits are limited to 7 days (excluding time accommodations). Accommodations will be needed to bypass the limit up to a maximum of 16,800 hours (or 100 weeks).

 

7 days limit

 

Availability Dates: Not Just for Taking the Assessment, But Also for Showing/Hiding Student Responses

This should probably answer the question for the following feature idea: Show and Hide Quiz Results by Date

You know a common question we get is: You thought you can still view your results after the availability date has passed, isn't that right? Wrong. In this case for New Quizzes, once the availability dates have passed, you can no longer take the quiz nor see the items you got wrong, as shown below.

 

Time Is Up!

 

(This has not yet appeared in New Quizzes, but it is a concept...)

A better workaround for this lockout is that in Settings, there should be an item called Disallow Late Submissions. When this box is checked, students can no longer take the quiz, but they will still be able to review the items that they got wrong, provided that the current date is before the Until date (if set).

 

Disallow Late Submissions

 

This will be denoted by the sentence "Late submissions are disallowed for this assessment," as shown below:

 

Late Submissions Disallowed

 

 

Assign

Apologies for the mixed fonts here...

Availability Dates

 

ASSIGN TO

Select the group you want to assign to.

 

DUE

Select the due date for the assignment. This will be displayed next to the time limit in the New Quizzes Instructions screen (on the right side).

 

7 days limit

 

AVAILABLE FROM

Select the date and time when the assessment will become available to students. Students will be able to take the quiz and view their results. This is like "Let Students Take the Quiz and See Their Quiz Responses Starting From..."

 

UNTIL

Select the date and time when students can no longer submit the assignment nor see their results. This is like "Let Students Take the Quiz and See Their Quiz Responses Until..."

 

Be sure to keep these tips in mind as you continue to build assessments.

 

We hope you continue to enjoy New Quizzes!

 

Trivia

Curious why the New Quizzes text in the banner is pink? That's because it's Valentine's Day today!

 

Looking for something else?

 

Ideas

 

Guides

Teacher

Student

Higher ed hosts a bewildering number of professors who 1.) fail to provide examples of completed projects and assignments, 2.) actively avoid examples on the premise of promoting creativity, and 3.) presumably enjoy a comfort zone of non-clarity.

Possible Solutions:

Rubrics and Examples
  • Rubrics clarify assignment expectations, guiding students on where to spend their energy and creativity.
    • Rubrics support teachers in grading neutrally, quickly, and clearly.
  • Examples communicate vast amounts of information about quality, completeness, and acceptable work.
    • Multiple examples inspire creativity instead of limiting it. 

 

"Two or more vastly different examples of successful A-grade assignments encourage student inferences and higher-order critical analysis. Multiple examples expand creativity rather than limiting it." —NRS


Addressing Privacy/Copyright Issues

  • Get written permission from previous students to display their work.
  • Bite the bullet. Start from scratch and create new project examples yourself.
  • State copyright and ownership of the work clearly the course introduction, including that students may not copy or reuse the examples provided.  
  • Define plagiarism clearly—with examples--and reiterate the school’s policies. Many international students bring vastly different cultural and institutional perspectives on plagiarism, citations, original work, sharing, cheating, etc. 

Treasure Map

Enjoy this efficient Reading Response formula for encouraging higher-level Bloom’s Synthesis and Evaluation skills in higher ed.

Major benefits: 

  • Students invest more effort to glean value from the readings and provide succinct evidence for grading.
  • Format encourages clarity and expansion for students who write minimally.
  • Student writers who provide too much length get to practice refinement and brevity. 
  • Instructor gets to grade 4 carefully crafted sentences per student. Done!
4-Part Student Reading Response Format
  1. Reading assignment Title and Author. (May include the full APA/MLA reference for practice.)
  2. Summarize author’s thesis statement. (Quote a single sentence or summarize what you believe to the be the author’s main point in a single sentence.)
  3. Quote the best line from the writing. (Take notes and be prepared to defend your choice in follow-up discussion. Your personal definition of “best” may be based on sentence-crafting, novel ideals, metaphors, key points, convincing arguments, etc.)
  4. Share your response. (State your reaction to the reading. Do you agree or disagree and why? Expand on the topic and share your own opinions and rationale.)

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