Wow, what a busy summer it has been as I wrap up my Summer of Canvas. It has been so busy that I have not fulfilled my plan to write a blog entry each week as my campus proceeds through this summer en route from another LMS to Canvas. I normally do not work during the summers but this summer the college decided to put additional resources into helping us make the transition, so my department got an extra pair of hands this summer. That meant I could not attend InstructureCon 2017 so I had to use one of my photos from InstructureCon 2016 for my banner.
I learned a couple of things the hard way this summer. First, bake in plenty of downtime around all my training workshops, meetings, and one-on-one training appointments so that I could take time to reply to emails and stay caught up with the awesomeness in the Canvas Community (and write blog posts!). And I learned not to take on too many additional projects. I am still working on moving our online student orientation into Canvas. Necessity will make a virtue out of a shorter process. ("What's that? You want a progress report? Er, posting fewer links and less content means our new students will matriculate more quickly and start enrolling sooner." )
Another bridge too far was the class I taught, my first distance education history class in the hybrid mode (two weekly meetings in person instead of four with the other time online). My passion is for teaching and history is my field, and since my full-time job is not teaching history I seize any opportunities I can to teach. The benefit to my full-time job is all the LMS experience I get from teaching, though my poor students have to suffer through all of my LMS experiments on them. And boy did I experiment. I squeezed sixteen weeks of teaching into six, over-assigned work for the time that was being moved from in-person to online, and agreed to teach (nay, requested!) an oversize class so I ended up with 87 instead of 40 or so students. I'm glad I'm comfortable designing and (am working on) assessing group assignments.
When I return to campus in August after a short break and begin my regular academic year schedule, I will have just a few months left of helping faculty move into using this new system. With more wisdom that I had for this summer I turned down a history class, so I will have more time to respond professionally to emails like one I received earlier today:
Can you send me the links to the Canvas tutorials (if there are any) so I can get a head start? I'm hoping I can figure this out by myself...
The ellipsis is in the original message, which makes me wonder what was omitted.
The best part of the week before our fall semester begins will be the Can•Innovate '17 conference. In prior years the colleges in my district have hosted a showcase for the creative use of technology to support instruction, and this year we are happy to have the support of Instructure, the Online Education Initiative, and the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers. It will be a Canvas-focused event and will be a great capstone to end the Summer of Canvas. It won't be as majestic as Colorado and I'll miss crossing the Continental Divide on my way from Denver, but I'll still get to spend time with fellow Canvas users exploring the best ways to support teaching and learning success.