After migrating to Canvas in June of 2015, we have been trying to improve our communication in the new LMS in a variety of ways. We began by identifying the information we wanted to share, and who we wanted to share it with. The first thing we found was that there was different types of information that we felt was important.
- updates to Canvas every three weeks
- relevant processes that instructors needed to know
- fun tips that would benefit instructors
- information about how to interact with their support people
We decided that this information should be shared in multiple formats given that half of our online instructors don't live within easy driving distance and are difficult to schedule for virtual meetings. We still offer face to face and virtual training, but we needed something more. The answer has turned out to be a newsletter along with a short overview video of the updates.
We named our new LMS LearningZone, and the newsletter is LearningZone News. As the newsletter has evolved, we discovered that some instructors preferred an audio/visual version. So we have added a short video that contains the highlights of the videos as well.
The newsletter update is sent to all instructors, whether they teach online or face to face. All of our classes are web supported, which means that we support every class taught at Hutchinson Community College with our new LMS. We have noticed that our switch to Canvas has caused many non-LMS users to transition to using the gradebook and several other features available to them.
As a result of creating this newsletter we have several pleasant surprises.
- We have been able to guide instructors to the appropriate help resources in a pleasant, nonjudgmental way.
- Timely information can help instructors at crucial times.
- Information about old and new resources can be given over and over.
- We can also give tips on how to improve the effectiveness of instruction.
In the beginning there was so much information that we wanted to share we had to be selective so as not to overwhelm instructors with information. Now that we have gotten into the groove of it, we are able to add 2-3 thoughts in each area of interest. I plan to add to this blog with specific topics that we have addressed. Here are examples of our newsletter and newsletter video for your enjoyment.