Bryan Davis

5 Things to Consider for a Healthy Start with Canvas

Blog Post created by Bryan Davis on Sep 1, 2015

#1 Remember Murphy’s Law

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Well, Murphy’s Law was confirmed at Mendez Fundamental today. Bottom line, the network was down. When teachers see that the trusted network is down, they venture out into the unknown. We landed on a guest network, which meant teachers could not access their own Canvas accounts. It was awesome, and by awesome, I mean miserable. We just adopted Canvas as a district, and we are not off to the best of starts. In a situation such as mine, remind those early adopters, it’s not a Canvas issue, it’s just a network issue. Most likely, we will be up and running tomorrow.

 

#2 Most teachers use gasoline on fires, but you need to use water.

If your district is new to Canvas, inevitably you will deal with frustrated teachers. It’s very important that you empower others to use water, rather than gasoline when frustrated teachers express their frustrations. You do have the power to calm the storm. Rather than joining them in their frustration, choose to seek a solution for them. If you believe in Canvas and are passionate about it, you can find a way to fight fires.

 

#3 Absolutely do not let teachers import students manually!

More often than not, Canvas has an easier solution that you do. Don’t waste hours importing students manually. Trust me, there is a more efficient way to add students to your courses. If you are willing to invest those hours, you would be better served by using that time to find those easier solutions. Your district set-up and Canvas have that five minute solution; be determined to find it, so you can help other teachers see the simplicity of Canvas. Also, let the Canvas community be your guide! This community is extremely helpful in finding those easier solutions.

 

#4 Don’t force the issue

Let’s be honest, Canvas does not do everything. Most teachers ask me, “How is this different than Google Classroom?” I say, it’s very different, but Google Classroom is extremely valuable, you should use both. Canvas is not the solution; it’s just a really good one. Continue to use whatever works best in your classroom. Bill Murray took “baby steps,” and everything turned out okay. Likewise, encourage teachers to take baby steps with Canvas, and all will be just fine.

 

#5 “Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes.”

Okay, I just wanted a fifth point, but I’ll try to make it work. These words from Bill and Ted have revolutionized my life. To me, this just reminds me to relax and to encourage others to do the same. Our colleagues need to struggle; let them know this is okay. They need experience with tech; don’t compromise by giving step-by-step directions (which will be outdated in a little under two months). Rather, empower them to be determined enough to solve issues (tell them to consider Murphy’s Law and roll with it). I’m convinced tech issues can be resolved by persistence in the application of potentially logical solutions. Encourage this! Then, be willing to help with open arms after they have not succeeded. Reward them in their efforts by mentoring them. If you mentor someone through an issue, empower them by letting them know that they are now equipped to help someone else.

 

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