Don Bryn

Free-For-Teachers for un-registered students

Blog Post created by Don Bryn on Oct 15, 2017

I am tasked with testing students who are incoming to the music theory program at my college.  In the past, all students had to take a paper test when they auditioned for the school, but the audition day was long and tedious, and students tend to trickle in over the summer so appointments for testing had to be made throughout the summer.


Since I am taking over the testing, my goal was to make this an online test so students could take it anywhere, anytime.  First step was to create the test, but then we hit a big obstacle:  The students weren't yet students of the college so I could not register them to take the test! 


Since these students are not yet registered students at our college, they do not have school email addresses.   And without school email addresses, I cannot add them as students to our institution's instance of Canvas.   I realized the way to do this was via the Free-For-Teachers account.   With some help from tech-support (thanks Dale Drees & John Ewing). we managed to get the settings correct and now we have a convenient, online test that students can take anytime, anywhere.


It was important to make the course public, and email detailed instructions to all incoming students that included a link to the public course.  Once students create a canvas account and join the course, I can easily move them in to groups based on their join date and then set test due dates based on the join date.  I can also post information about ways to catch up if their test scores don't qualify them to take the first college theory course.


The biggest issue with this method is that I tend to have to 'chase down' students via email and phone to remind them of deadlines.   And since they are unfamiliar with Canvas, they don't set their preferences to receive notifications in a timely manner.  So I resort to using regular email and phone, but overall, that's not too much work--and probably not more work than having to chase them down to take paper tests.


So Free-For-Teachers really made a difference to our program.  It's the only way to get un-registered students access to Canvas.