Laura Gibbs

Re-Use, Re-Purpose, Re-Think: Exploring the Open Internet in Canvas

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Jan 21, 2018

Hi everybody! I'm writing up this blog post here in Canvas (the Community is now where I blog most often in fact!) in order to present a series of possible topics/tools to cover in the CSU-CIG meet-up on January 31. The title I had proposed is Re-Use, Re-Purpose, Re-Think: Exploring the Open Internet in Canvas ... which means there is a LOT we could talk about, given the vastness of the open Internet, and the many ways in which Canvas is in turn open to the Internet.


What I thought I would do here is list and link to Canvas Course Pages about bringing the open Internet into Canvas. I'll explain more of my philosophy and goals when we meet up later this month (I'm all about OPEN: open content, open pedagogy, open-ended assignments)... but for now suffice to say: I do no content development of any kind in Canvas, although I am thrilled by the ways that the content development tools that I use (and that my students use) can integrate with Canvas really nicely.


Here are some examples of what I mean, and please feel free to use the comments section here to let me know what grabs your interest and what you would most like to learn about during the meet-up:


MY COURSES. I keep my courses open, so you can see what I am doing this semester: and

Home / Daily News: I use a blog for the homepage, with a new blog post each day.
Blogs: Myth - Blogs: India. This is a live stream of the blog posts that my students are writing; you see a preview thumbnail and the first few sentences of each post — click on the title to go to the actual blog post.
Syllabus: Myth - Syllabus: India. To make the syllabus page dynamic and more fun, I use an image randomizer with images related to the class content (images and script hosted outside of Canvas).
Mindset: This is an embedded Padlet (embedded with Redirect Tool) which contains snippets of my students' growth mindset blog posts (right now, those are mostly from last semester's students).
Flipgrid: This is a new experiment this semester! I have embedded (using iframe) one of our Flipgrid topics; the students have not started posting here yet, but I am excited to see how it goes.
Suggestions: This is a Google Form (embedded with Redirect Tool) where students can leave anonymous suggestions.


student blog posts embedded in Canvas


Canvas Widget Warehouse: This is a Canvas site which features all the different javascript widgets I have made for my own use and which I have prepared for others to use with a simple copy-and-paste. That's because I am hosting the javascripts in my own webspace, a Reclaim Hosting / Domain of One's Own space as part of a great DoOO project at my school. I would be thrilled to talk about that if any one is interested. Distributed content is powerful. Any of these widgets are available for others to use, and I've also made the "raw table" available also so you can just snag the content, add your own, and remix your own javascript using (a free tool built by one of my former students, I am proud to say). Here are just a few of the widgets you will find here:
Growth Mindset Cats - Latin LOLCats
Proverbs of the World - Aesop's Fables

Reading Inspiration Writing Inspiration - Writing Humor
Freebookapalooza (free full-text books online related to mythology and folklore)
... and more


screenshot of Freebookapalooza widget in Canvas


Twitter4Canvas. I am a huge (HUGE) fan of Twitter for collecting and sharing class content, and I built a set of copy-and-paste Twitter widgets so that even people who do not use Twitter can put some Twitter in their Canvas... but putting Twitter in Canvas is not hard at all, and I even have a "Twitter Widget in Under Five Minutes" step by step post at my blog.

For examples of Twitter in Canvas, here are some of the widgets you will find here with a focus on great Twitter content at my school:
OU Daily (our student newspaper)

OU History of Science Collections - OU History department
OU Libraries - OU Writing Center
... does your school have some Twitterati? You can bring that content into your Canvas course.


OU Writing Center Twitter embedded in Canvas


PAINT Canvas. This is material I prepared for a workshop at my school one year ago featuring some other kinds of Internet content in Canvas:
Diigo (live stream of bookmarks for a specific tag, including thumbnail previews)
Flickr Slideshows (slideshows are album-based) - Pinterest
LibriVox (free audio for public domain books) - NPR audio stories - Soundcloud
YouTube Playlists


screenshot of embedded playlists


Growth MindsetLearning by H.E.A.R.T.StoryLab. These are Canvas versions of content that I actually share with my students via blogs; I use the same dynamic content techniques in Canvas that I do at the blogs. So if you explore here you will see examples of blog RSS, Diigo RSS, Padlet, Twitter, etc. being used for the dynamic content.


screenshot of embedded Padlet