It would be great if we can design our content pages in Google Sites and then add them to Canvas. That way, those professors who have a limited working knowledge of HTML can design beautiful pages easily and for free.
Can you expand a little more on what you mean by "add them to Canvas"?
You can embed external web pages into Canvas through an iframe, so you could create the page in Google Sites and share it in Canvas. Many people do this with Google Docs already, so that they can edit it in Google Docs and have it come through looking like a document rather than web page. They also use it when they have multiple courses and this allows them to update it once and have it automatically updated in all of their courses.
I don't use Google Sites, so you might mean that they won't allow you to embed their content in another page and you wish you could do that.
Another thing I can think of is that you meant that you would be able to take the HTML from a Google Site and copy/paste it into Canvas. You can already do this by going to the HTML view and then paste in the HTML code.
You can also -- to some extent -- paste HTML formatted information into the Rich Content Editor without going to HTML editor mode.
In the last two, you limit the functionality to that which is supported by Canvas. In other words, you have to live by the Canvas HTML Editor Whitelist. If you want to do things that aren't allowed there, then you may be better off hosting the information on a different server and embedding the content.
Maybe you're asking for Canvas to support more functionality in the HTML Whitelist than they already do?
There are so many ways I could interpret the request, and I'm probably missing some, that I don't really know what you're asking for here.
As always, you are very helpful. First of all, thank you for all of the different options you provide. Yeah, by "add them to Canvas" I meant to say embed. It seems that neither <iframe> nor the Redirect Tool work with Google Sites. While I was further researching about this, it seems that is on Google's side. It seems that Google does not allow the creation to be embedded in other websites (unless in the so-called "classic sites"). So, I am going to try the Classic Google Sites and see. It would be nice though that we have an LTI connection with an app that allows to do just that, as we do with Google Drive and so on.
Yeah, the problem is also the Whitelist. In order for me to create something kind of professionally looking and responsive across devices, takes me a whole lot of time unless I use external tools such as Rise (Articulate 360).
If you know of a way to design your content pages more interactive and aesthetical, please let me know.
Again, thank you James, you rock!
Hi again Josue Carames! Just a word of caution about classic Google Sites: they are all going to be shut down, sometime in 2019 I believe, although I'm not sure if Google has said anything more specific than that. It might even be late 2018 that they are shuttering the classic Sites.
Have you thought about playing around with Google Slides? They are very embedding-friendly, and people are doing some incredibly cool things with content in Slides. Do you use Twitter? One of the people I follow there, Alice Keeler, is an endless source of ideas for Google tools, and she has shared lots of ideas about Slides that would work great as embeds in Canvas since Google Slides is designed to be embedded.
Here's Alice Keeler: Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) | Twitter
And of course Google Sites is a great tool you can use, linking to sites and/or pages in those sites as needed.
As an instructional designer, you might be able to come up with a style guide and present the case to your Canvas Admin that we need these things (whatever that is) to happen so here is what we would like you to add into Canvas for us. Explain the benefit -- you can style a table with one class and not have to spend 10 minutes styling every single cell of a table to make it look good. Offer to maintain it and to check it for breaking changes every three weeks (in my experience, breaking changes don't happen very often if you set up the CSS correctly unless you try to do crazy stuff).
I sometimes wish our institution had an organizational stylesheet, but we don't have an instructional designer and instructors create their own content. They are not versed in the needs of the different platforms and accessibility, so the restrictions that Canvas puts in place are actually good for us. Those restrictions help ensure a consistent look between the courses, which helps the students. Still, every time I create a table that has a border between the header and the body and extra cell padding for each cell, I wish I had that class I could just apply.
My approach to course design, and specifically content, is motivated by the idea of co-learning: the most important content in my classes is created by the students, and so my approach is based on using the same kinds of content-creation tools that it makes sense for my students to use. And Canvas is not on that list. But all the Google content-creation tools are!
For something like Google's Blogger, it is indeed possible to embed the blog inside a Canvas page, and I do that using iframe so that it can be my Canvas course homepage:
But I make sure to include a link to open the blog in a separate tab, because that's where all the Google accessibility comes into play, like the autodetect that shifts the blog into mobile mode if students are reading on their phones.
And you can simulate that with ?m=1 in the URL too. Very cool IMO.
Online Course Announcements (mobile view)
You know... that made me curious; I just looked at the course on my phone, and the Blogger responsive view worked: it knew to display the mobile view even when embedded. Nifty!
"If you know of a way to design your content pages more interactive and aesthetical, please let me know."
There is a great blog from Stefanie Sanders that you might be interested in at Creating an inviting course home page . Since a Home page is just like any other Canvas page, the ideas shared in this blog will work for any Canvas content page.
I hope this helps,
Hi Josue Carames, I am a fan of Google Sites; my students often choose Sites as the web publishing tool for their class projects.
I just did a quick test, and Google Sites will not behave nicely with the Redirect Tool, and iframe does not work either.
I suspect that this is another example of what James Jones discovered recently with MIT's Scratch (and which is true for other sites, like Flickr etc. etc.) -- for their own reasons, Google has blocked the display of a Google Site in this way. My guess is that this is because the new Google Sites is designed (as opposed to the old Sites system) to be highly responsive to its environment, displaying very differently based on whether it is being viewed in a browser or tablet or mobile, and the elaborate programming they use to make that work would not do well in the constraints of an iframe or similar embedding.
I start off the semester with a reading assignment based on a Google Site I built, and I never even thought about putting it in Canvas; it made sense to me to just publish it online: Jataka Anthology
Is there a reason why you need the Sites to be in Canvas? If you publish your Sites online in the usual way to share with others, that might turn out to be of great value to people you don't even know. One of the reasons my students are so motivated to work on their projects is because they realize they are contributing to the Internet, not just doing an assignment to put in a dropbox for class that no one but the teacher will see.
Thanks for bringing in that discussion about MIT's scratch, Laura. I was going to do that when I got back to a computer, but you saved me having to look it up. Since I don't have Google Sites setup where I could check, I couldn't look at the headers. A quick search confirmed that, at least as far back as 2010, Google adds the x-frame-options: sameorigin header to most of their sites. So, yes, it appears to be the same situation.
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