It would be nice to see an alternative to discussions. Having a fully functional blog program would be a great alternative. It could be used for group projects or just informal communication.
HI John. I understand why you have put forward this idea. Could the benefit of opening up a page to students to edit be used in a similar way?
Bobby, Are you thinking about giving each student (or group) a content page and trusting the other students don't mess with it? That could be used as a personal blog without user comments, but it's not going to work well if you expect others to make comments on it. Since John mentioned alternatives to discussions, I'm suspecting he wants that capability. There are some substantial problems with losing information when simultaneous edits are allowed -- and no good way for people to fix them. Also there is no easy way to track what students have said what, it would require them to put their name and a timestamp on them and then it doesn't come through easily in Speedgrader.
John, while not a blog, I will note that a few years ago when questions about alternatives to discussions came up, an external solution that was thrown around a couple of times was Piazza. I have never used it, just remembering that it was thrown out there. Their website says that it is free for instructors and students and they make their money from companies outside academia. Piazza says that they are a certified partner with Canvas, but the Canvas partner directory doesn't list them, so I don't know what the real story is. I don't know what level of integration it provides, but it sounds basic from their website (you don't have to login again and it keeps track of whether your a student or instructor), so if they do more then they should definitely update their website. And yes, there's a whole lot of I don't know in this paragraph, so people should not read it as anything more than informational and perhaps unrelated to the feature request.
If there was a better solution to discussions that integrated with Canvas, I think a lot of people would be happier.
I have categorized this feature idea for Partner Integrations so it does not need to be subjected to the typical rigors of the feature idea process. Canvas is built as an open platform to allow for this and there are some existing solutions. This idea will be handled as an informative idea for partner integrations, but not so much for a Canvas change. Thanks for the feedback!
While this is inelegant, requires extra clicks, and suffers from the inability to rename links to Canvas tools, how about this:
I can already feel the ugh! factor. Replies to classmates' blog entries will be hard to distinguish if they write a "level 1" reply (to the discussion prompt), instead of a "level 2" reply (to a "blog" entry). And of course there is the challenge of the word "Discussion" in the Course Navigation menu of the group mini-course so it is not an alternative to discussions.
However, it does meet the interests of keeping the blog within Canvas and even makes it a special place outside of the course. Using the Groups tool spawns an extraneous link in Global Navigation listing all of a student's groups; including "[course]" in the name of the group will help distinguish it from groups in their other courses.
Another alternative we have been exploring is using the student ePortfolio for blogging. The nice thing is that they can create a Blog ePortfolio and share the link with the class to get comments. Grading is tedious, but it does habituate them to blogging, sharing, and commenting.
That's a great idea. And they can decide to share their ePortfolios publicly to show off their awesomeness outside of Canvas.
Nice thinking Gregory
Tools like Padlet or Answer Garden could be embedded into the page for comments, feedback, collaboration also????
Yes, Bobby. And they present a much more varied interface than a standard text-focused blog.
I'll just put in my usual plea for having students and instructors use real blog platforms, and then integrate the content of the blogs into Canvas as needed: the redirect tool can embed a whole blog, and using the RSS features for both blog contents AND comments, you can do amazing things; I run student blog networks, and I use RSS via Inoreader to display specific content streams for classes combined, specific assignments, etc. I have documented that all in detail here in a series of posts:
John Boekenoogen you are even luckier at OU because the Domain of One's Own project, branded as OUCreate, gives students and faculty real webspace where they can run their own blog installations if they want.
Adam Croom (Director of Digital Learning), John Stewart (working now with Adam I think), and Keegan Long-Wheeler (in the Center for Teaching Excellence shop still, although now that Mark has left, I don't know if Keegan is moving over to work with Adam and John...?) are our resident Create gurus, and I've been participating in this project since its inception. To me, the real power of Canvas comes when faculty have https webspace that they can use for serious content development (for me, that's image and script management). If you are interested in getting some blog projects up and running in PACS and integrating that into your Canvas templates, I know they could help, and I am also glad to help with any RSS-related projects (I love Inoreader!)
To see what OU people are doing with their OU Create spaces, check out the Creaties awards from last week!
The Creaties | An Annual Award Show for the Best of OU Create
I was excited that one of my students had his class project included among the finalists. :-)
Welcome – Dungeons & Decisions
It's a Twine project inside a WordPress blog. So cool!!!
Thanks Laura Gibbs for the information. I will look into this stuff. Don’t forget we have a date at InstructureCon!
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