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You may or may not have heard about Terms in Canvas.

 

This feature allows for managing course access in bulk, so you can set specific parameters (can be unique for Trainers vs Learners etc) that can be applied to whole groupings of courses. More info on how they work here!

 

Terms may immediately resonate to you as being more applicable to K12 or Universities, as these institutions have very structured academic calendars i.e. Term 1/2/3/4 (K12) or Semester/Trimester 1 & 2 (University). You may be wondering how these would be relevant to a sector which more often than not has rolling enrolments or intakes which are not bound by these parameters... 

 

However, Terms have a wide range of applications and can be REALLY useful for your organisation to manage your courses and user access. Below are some options which you could consider:

 

Option 1 - Terms which reflect your Validation Cycle or Versions

Managing your courses based on your validation cycle or versions allows you to align how this is reflected in Canvas with your internal mapping and business processes. It also provides visibility of version control across courses.

 

How might this look? Here's an example!

Say an organisation is delivering their first version of Cert III in X and Cert IV in X. The first delivery of those courses may be at different times, but they can still belong to the same Term - let's call it Version One Term by setting the Term runs FROM date to 'whenever'. The Term runs TO information can also be left as 'whenever' at this point as we don't know when new versions of the courses will be created yet.

 

Down the track, if the organisation decides to update content/resources/assessment tasks in line with their validation schedule, a change to the training package or simply self-motivated improvements/facelift for a Unit which is delivered in both courses, it would be important to differentiate what the courses looked like before this point, and from that point moving forwards. The courses could then be copied to create the updated versions and the original courses may then be referred to as 'Cert III in X - version 1' and 'Cert IV in X - version 1', while the new courses may become 'Cert III in X - version 2' and 'Cert IV in X - version 2'

 

Based on this, they would then decide on a decommission date for the original courses (in line with whenever the last intake completes the course), and would update the Version One Term with this end date to automatically end the courses at the specified time. The new courses would then be assigned to a new Term, Version Two Term which would manage the access for those courses moving forward, until the time the cycle repeats itself. 

 

 

Option 2 - Annual

If the above sounds a bit complicated, another more simplified option would be to have all courses delivered in each calendar year belong to an annual Term i.e. all courses delivered in 2019 would belong to 2019 Term. When the new year comes around, duplicated version of the courses which may or may not have any content changes are then assigned to the next annual Term. It is always best practice to decommission and relaunch courses each year / defined period to ensure you don't end up with a never ending list of students and sections inside the one course. This is especially important if changing content, so that you are able to demonstrate how these deliverables have progressed and who completed which version of the course. 

 

 

Why else are they useful?

Specific and Comparative Reporting

You are able to specify which Term you would like to review when pulling Account Reports inside your instance, which allows for more directed data insights and the option to compare data between Terms!

 

Account Analytics

This tool allows you to view a range of insights regarding your account, and can be filtered by Terms which makes reviewing targeted information a breeze.

 

 

Something to keep in mind...

If you don't choose to create your own Term structure, all courses will automatically belong to a Default TermThis has no defined access dates, and doesn't provide any structure or organisation in the way you manage your courses, nor the ability to filter reporting or analytics.

 

Whatever you decide, let us know how YOU use Terms! 

Now that you've set up your instance with Sub-accounts and Courses, how can you manage your enrolments? In Vocational Education, many organisations work with rolling enrolments, where students start their unit and qualification work across the year. If you're one of those organisations, we've outlined two options below to manage rolling enrolments.

 

As always, have a chat with your Customer Success Manager(CSM) to discuss whether these options could work for your organisation.

 

In Canvas, enrolments can be managed at different levels using Term dates, Course dates and Section dates. In the examples below, we'll be using Section dates to manage rolling enrolments by organising them into monthly intake cohorts. 

 

If you don't know about Sections, read about them here. You'll be able to set Section-specific Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions (Graded/ Ungraded) and Announcements. You can also set Section-specific assessment due dates, and also filter and sort by Section in the New Gradebook, SpeedGrader and New Analytics

 

We’ve detailed two ways to manage your rolling enrolments using Sections. The first option utilises .CSV files to create Sections in bulk. The second option utilises the user interface to create Sections; this second option is a slower process, but still functional for smaller numbers of Sections.

 

 

Option One - CSV for Bulk Section Creation

 

Step 1: Design the Sections.CSV (Choosing the Headers)

 

Compulsory Headers

These are the headings that are compulsory and must be pre-filled prior to uploading the Sections.CSV as a SIS Import

  • section_id:  This is a unique identifier used to create Sections within a Course. This identifier must not change for the Section, and must be globally unique. In the user interface, this is called the SIS ID.
  • course_id:  This is the unique identifier of the course where the Section will be added or deleted (added in Courses.csv).
  • name:  This is the name of the Section. Sections are ordered alphabetically by name.
  • status:  This is how you can create or remove a Section within a Course. Mark as ‘active’ to create a Section or ‘deleted’ to remove an existing Section.

 

Optional Headers

  • start_date:  This is the date the section begins. The format should be in ISO 8601: YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SSZ (The T may be replaced with a space).
  • end_date:  This is the date the section ends. The format should be in ISO 8601: YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SSZ (The T may be replaced with a space). By default, user access is cut off at midnight on your indicated end date, meaning the previous day is the last full day that users have access to the section. Best practice is to set your end date to the day after the section ends.

 

Sample

section_id

course_id

name

status

start_date

end_date

Section_SIS_ID

Course_SIS_ID

UI_Name_for Section

active

YYYY-MM-DD

YYYY-MM-DD

 

You can also view an example of a Sections.CSV from your Provisioning Report.

 

Recommendation: If you are using Sections to manage your Start/ End Dates for your students enrolment, we recommend that you just use YYYY-MM-DD and that you don’t include the times. By default if selects Midnight, but if you decide to use custom time you need to ensure you utilise the correct format which includes the timezones. 



Step 2: Fill in Columns

  1. Add a Section SIS ID:
    • Define a SIS ID Protocol/ Naming Convention
    • A Section_ID must be unique and different to every other Section_ID. If you have a Student Information System (SIS/SMS), use the unique Course Occurence Number as the Section_ID as you will never duplicate the use of that number. 
  2. Fill in all remaining compulsory columns.

 

Sample

section_id

course_id

name

status

start_date

end_date

Section_SIS_ID

Course_SIS_ID

UI_Name_for Section

active

YYYY-MM-DD

YYYY-MM-DD

CSE000098

BSB51915_V118

July Intake BSB51915

active

2018-01-01

2018-12-31

 

 

Step 3: Export to .CSV

 

Recommendation: Use Google Sheets if possible. This is because Microsoft Excel is known to add random spaces/ characters that cause problems with the upload. If you used Microsoft Excel to export the .CSV and it comes up with an error message, try Google Sheets before reaching out to Canvas Support.  

 

Step 4: SIS Import (How to/ What not to)

 

  1. Upload the .CSV to Canvas via the SIS Import Function
  2. DO NOT click the toggles for the Batch/ UI options unless you have discussed these options with your CSM
  3. Click ‘Process Data’

 

Recommendation: Always run a test in your TEST Environment to ensure you are happy with the effects caused by the SIS Import. 

 

 

 

Option Two - User Interface

 

Step 1: Create a Course for an occurrence

Read about some options here about what you should set as a Course.

 

Step 2: Create a Section for every monthly cohort 

  1. Access Sections in the Course Settings. 
  2. Add a Section for Each Month - this can help you to break your rolling enrolments into starting months. This means that students who enrol at the beginning of the month and students who enrol at the end of the month will be included in the same Section intake.  

 

Step 3: Edit the Section Details (SIS ID and Start/ End Dates)

  1. Click the Name of the Section and ‘Edit Section’ on the right-hand side to start editing the details for the Course Section.
  2. Add a Section SIS ID:
    • Define a SIS ID Protocol/ Naming Convention
    • A Section_ID must be unique and different to every other Section_ID. If you have a Student Information System (SIS/SMS), use the unique Course Occurence Number as the Section_ID as you will never duplicate the use of that number. 
  1. Set a Start Date - Use the first of the month as the Start Date
  2. Set an End Date -  Choose a date that corresponds to the length of time the students should be enrolled in the Course. For example, if the student has 1 year to complete the Course, the Start Date is Apr 1, 2018 and the End Date is Apr 1, 2019
  3. Tick ‘Users can only Participate in the Course Between these Dates’ - read more about why you might ‘Limit Section Privileges’ here:
  4. Click ‘Update Section’ to save your changes.

 

 

 

 

Candice Lim.

Learning through practice and simulation is an essential aspect of the development of expertise in the workplace. Competency Based Training is designed to allow the learner to demonstrate their ability to do something as such; RTO’s need a way to assess and record the evidence of that assessment. 

 

A Direct Observation (otherwise known as a Observation Report) is an assessment of a student made in real time in the workplace or in a simulated off-the-job situation that reflects the workplace. This is evidence that must be observed or witnessed by the assessor themselves. 

 

As such, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could do these assessments on-the-go? This blog will help you to move away from the days of print, write, scan and into the future of electronic-based reporting.

 

Step 1 - Define the Observation Outcomes

Step 2 - Import the Outcomes

Step 3 - Create the Assignment

Step 4 - Create the Rubric

Step 5 - Use your Device to Assess on the Go!

 

Step One - Define the Observation Outcomes

As part of the development of an Observation Report in Canvas, it is important that you are able to clearly articulate what outcomes the student is required to achieve. Once you have a defined set of outcomes, it is time to create those outcomes inside of Canvas;

1. Go to the Root Account Admin Navigation and select ‘Outcomes’,

2. Develop a folder structure which will support the input of multiple types of Outcomes (see sample below),

 

3. Create each Outcome that you wish to place into the Observation Report (see example below),

 

4. Once all Outcomes have been added, return to the Canvas Course that is being worked on.

 

 

Step Two - Import the Outcomes

  1. In your Canvas Course, select ‘Outcomes’ on the Course Navigation,
  2. Import the Outcomes into the Canvas Course (see example below).

 

 

Step Three - Create the Assignment

1. In your Canvas Course, select Assignmentson the Course Navigation,

2. Select ‘+’ an Assignment:

  1. Enter a Title and Description,
  2. Display Mark As: Percentage,
  3. Submission Type: No Submission.

 

3. Select ‘Save.

 

 

Step Four - Create the Rubric

1. Select ‘+ Rubric’,

  1. Add an appropriate title to ensure it is unique,
  2. Import the Outcomes that were created and imported into the Canvas Course,
  3. Select ‘Use this Rubric for Assignment Grading’ click ‘Create Rubric’. 

***If it asks you to ‘Change’ or ‘Leave Different’ select ‘Change’. This will ensure that when the assessor grades using the Rubric, it will auto-calculate a grade out of 100%. 

 

 

Step Five - Use your Device to Assess on the Go! 

 

 

 

Amelia Hayson.

How should you structure your Canvas Courses in your instance if you're in Vocational Education?

 

There are already multiple guides outlining the hierarchical structure within Canvas (here) and information about Canvas Courses. The purpose of this blog is to provide a VET perspective of how you could apply your system hierarchy in Canvas. 

 

Previously we posted about how you might want to organise your Canvas Account - now the next step is deciding how you will want to organise your Courses that works for your organisation. Courses can be used to differentiate qualifications, skill sets, units of competency or clusters.

 

If you have an integration with a Student Information System (SIS), take a look at how or if it maps to Canvas. If it does, then you’re set! Your SIS will map your system hierarchy to the Canvas Course structure.

 

If you don’t have a SIS or if your SIS does not map to Canvas Courses, consider your existing system hierarchy within your organisation. How can you mimic how your organisation is already set up within Canvas? We’ve outlined some models below to help you get started.

 

As always, have a chat with your Customer Success Manager to discuss which options could work for your organisation.

 

 

                                                                   

Qualification as a Canvas Course

When Qualifications are organised into Courses, Units would be organised into Modules. 

Pros

Cons

     
          
  • Reduced administration, as students are enrolled into one location
  •       
  • One location for trainer to manage
  •       
  • Easy to cluster Units and build progression pathways
  •      
     
          
  • Trainers can not easily be split between Units (Modules)
  •       
  • Amount of content in the Modules page may intimidate the student and potentially decrease engagement
  •      

 

 

                                                                   

Skill Set as a Canvas Course

Similar to the example above, Skill Sets can also be organised into Courses, and Units organised into Modules.

Pros

Cons

     
          
  • Reduced administration, as students are enrolled into one location
  •       
  • One location for trainer to manage
  •       
  • Easy to cluster Units and build progression pathways
  •      
     
          
  • Trainers can not easily be split between Units (Modules)
  •      

 

 

                                                                   

Unit of Competency as a Canvas Course

This option results in smaller Courses that contain the learning activities for the Unit organised in Modules.

Pros

Cons

     
          
  • Allows for greater flexibility if the RTO allows for a choice in Elective Units (if there aren’t defined learning pathways dictated by the RTO)
  •       
  • Smaller more manageable chunks of content/ assessment
  •       
  • Can limit Unit access (1 by 1)
  •      
     
          
  • Additional administrative tasks as each student has to be enrolled in every elective
  •       
  • SIS integration may not allow for this model
  •      

 

 

                                                                   

Cluster (Multitude of Units) as a Canvas Course*

Combine multiple Units together to cluster learning activities and assessments. 

Pros

Cons

     
          
  • Allows for greater flexibility if the RTO allows for a choice in Elective Units (if there aren’t defined learning pathways dictated by the RTO)
  •       
  • Smaller more manageable chunks of content/ assessment
  •       
  • Can limit Unit access (1 by 1)
  •       
  • Learning activities can be clustered to reduce the risk of over-assessment and progress through assessment tasks more organically to allow greater connection
  •      
     
          
  • Additional administrative tasks as each student has to be enrolled in every elective
  •       
  • SIS integration may not allow for this model
  •      

 

 

If you've already hit the ground running with your Courses, how does your organisation set it up and what are the pros and cons that you've encountered?

 

If you're just starting out, how would you like to set it up? What are the pros and cons that you feel are most important when organising your Canvas Courses?


Ready for the next step?

Take a look at the next part in this mini-series, Managing Rolling Enrolments.

 

 

Candice Lim.

There are already multiple guides outlining the hierarchical structure within Canvas (here). The purpose of this blog is to provide a VET perspective of how you could apply your system hierarchy in Canvas.

 

How should you structure your Canvas Sub-accounts within your VET instance?

 

Sub-accounts can be used to differentiate departments, locations, training packages, qualifications, and industry sponsor or partner models. Consider your existing system hierarchy within your organisation.

 

How can you mimic how your organisation is already set up within Canvas? We’ve outlined some models below to help you get started!

 

 

                               

Location or Region as a Sub-Account

This is for you if you want to separate sub-accounts for different locations or regions within your organisation.

 

 

                               

Training Package as a Sub-Account

This is for you if your organisation offers multiple training packages. 

 

 

                                     
Qualification as a Sub-Account

This is for you if you offer a single training package and want account analytics at the qualification level.

 

 

                               

Industry Sponsor or Partner as a Sub-Account

This is for you if you work with industry sponsors or partners and want to add co-branding.

 

 

How do you organise your Canvas account structure?


Ready for the next step?

Take a look at the next part in this mini-series, Considerations for Course Creation.

 

 

 

Candice Lim.

There are multiple grading options in Canvas for Vocational Education and we’ve documented just a few that you may want to try out! Have a chat with your Customer Success Manager to determine which option may be best for your organisation.

 

  • Option 1 - Complete/ Incomplete
  • Option 2 - Rubric with Competency Standing
  • Option 3 - Rubric with Multiple Outcomes and % Marker

 

Option 1 - Complete/ Incomplete 

The simplest of them all. The assessment is either complete or incomplete.

 

Pro’s

Con’s

  • Clear distinct message that the assessment is ‘Complete’ or ‘Incomplete’
  • Simple option for Faculty to apply a Mark
  • Cannot have more than one marking criteria
  • Lack of marking criteria may lead to inconsistent marking
  • All marking criteria would need to be stored external to the assessment

 

Steps to set it up:

  1. Create an Assignment,
  2. Change ‘Display Mark As’ to reference ‘Complete/Incomplete’.

 

Option 2 - Rubric with Competency Standing

Add a rubric with an outcome to your assessment so you can run a report on competency standing.

 

Pro’s

Con’s

  • Can run an Account/ Sub-Account Level Report on Outcomes
  • Score is automatically assigned in a Rubric, saving clicks and time on administrative tasks
  • Can use ‘Non-Scoring Rubrics’
  • Cannot have more than one Outcome in a Rubric
  • Lack of marking criteria may lead to inconsistent marking
  • All marking criteria would need to be stored external to the assessment


Steps to set it up:

  1. At the Account/ Sub-Account level,
    1. Create an Outcome (i.e. Competency Standing)
    2. Create a Rubric importing the Outcome
  2. At the Course level,
    1. In the Assignment, choose to ‘Display Mark As’...
      1. Percentage - This will show either ‘0%’ or ‘100%’ to the student
      2. Complete/ Incomplete - This will show either a ‘Tick’ or a ‘Cross’ to the student
    2. Find and add the Rubric into the Assignment you have created and select the Toggle that allows ‘Use this Rubric for Assignment Grading’ (it may request you to ‘Change’ or ‘Leave Different’ once you save, please click ‘Change’)

 

Option 3 - Rubric with Multiple Outcomes and % Marker

Add a rubric with multiple outcomes to your assessment to reflect marking matrices and get it all captured in a report.

 

Pro’s

Con’s

  • Can run an Account/ Sub-Account Level Report on Outcomes
  • Can benchmark student responses with multiple outcomes
  • Supplemental marking matrix (on paper or somewhere else online) no longer needed
  • Provides feedback on which aspects are ‘Satisfactory’ and which are ‘Not Yet Satisfactory’
  • Auto-calculates the total score based on the Outcomes
  • Can use ‘Non-Scoring Rubrics’
  • Cannot use ‘Complete/Incomplete’ in the ‘Display Grade as’ because if there are multiple Outcomes, the completion of any one outcome will mark the assessment as ‘Complete’
  • Can take time to create effective and meaningful Outcomes/ Rubrics. 

 

Steps to set it up:

  1. At the Account/ Sub-Account level,
    1. Create Outcomes 
    2. Create a Rubric importing the Outcomes
  2. At the Course level,
    1. In the Assignment, choose to ‘Display Mark As’ to ‘Percentage’,
    2. Find and add the Rubric into the Assignment you have created and select the Toggle that allows ‘Use this Rubric for Assignment Grading’ (it may request you to ‘Change’ or ‘Leave Different’ once you save, please click ‘Change’)

 

 

Amelia Hayson & Candice Lim.

Online learning in Vocational Education is becoming a growing trend in the RTO Space. With the ever-growing demands being placed on RTO's to support quality student outcomes, we need to find betters ways to achieve this without being 100% reliant on the face to face training model. We need to innovate new ways to develop simple processes that help us identify when we feel a student is at risk of being disengaged and dropping out. 

This blog is designed to help get you thinking about what you can introduce at your institution to help inform your faculty and support your learners. Here are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling...

 

Introduce an Attempts Policy

One of the cool things about Quizzes, is that you can limit the number of attempts available to students. 'But competency based training means they have the ability to continue to attempt until they get it right' right? 

 

Well, think of it this way; by limiting the number of attempts to 2-3, you can identify if a learner is struggling to complete the quiz. Learner doesn't complete in three attempts? Than we need to ask an important question, why? 

 

This is a great opportunity for the trainer to engage the learner and determine what support structures can be put in place to support the learner through their learning and assessment pathways. 

 

 

Understanding Student Analytics

Sometimes those students who struggle are the quiet ones in the corner. It’s easy to forget they’re there, but it is so important that we keep an eye out for them. Let’s engage them before we lose them. 

 

Activity Compared to Class

First things first, let’s take a quick look at the Student Context Card. By comparing an overview of the students participation against the other students in their cohort who can at least indicate if they’re engaged. It is not meant to be an exact comparison but at least it’s an opportunity to encourage us to dig a little deeper. 

 

Student Analytics

Want to know where a students strengths and weaknesses lie? Check out the Student Analytics (SA). SA show you how well the learner is doing in a particular course. The ability to:

 

View Activity by Date

The ability to see when a student is viewing and participating can help us to determine whether a student is actively engaged in their course. If they are continually viewing and never participating it is a great opportunity to reach out and confirm their understanding of the learning content. We shouldn’t assume it is due to a lack of confidence and it’s a great way to trigger a conversation with the learner. 

 

View Submissions

Students assignments always late or missing? The Submissions Graph shows the status of each submission for each learner be it On Time, Late, Missing or due in the Future. 

 

If you have due dates on your content, than this is a good opportunity to determine trends or discover outliers. Does the student normally submit on time? Yes, well why was their last two assignments late? Again, another great way to trigger a discussion with the learner as to why their performance may be slipping. Keeping in mind it could be that the quality of content begins to drop or issues with their personal lives. Remember, be sensitive!

 

View Grades 

This graph shows the median, high and low scores for each assignment. We talked about comparing the students activity against other learners, why not their grades? 

 

There is always room for improvement. A student is sitting below the average continually on their submissions? Let’s reach out and see how we can help them reach the benchmark needed to be successful in their learning. 

 

Something else to consider, if a student is performing well, maybe consider a buddy system designed to encourage learners to support each other. 

 

 

Final thoughts..

Learning isn’t supposed to be easy, we are supposed to challenge our learners and help them build core competencies in their chosen industries. The best way to do this, is to make sure we are aware of those who may need additional support, or who are at risk of dropping out. 

 

By having a better understanding of the kinds of data available inside of Canvas and how it can interpreted, we can give our trainers and assessors the tools they need to be successful in their own role of helping learners attain success. 

 

 

Amelia Hayson