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Surveyor

Adding courses for instructor and student resources in Canvas

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I wanted to find out how many universities use Canvas for non-academic courses, like online tutoring, instructor resources, advising, and other types of activities outside of academic departments.  We are preparing to launch an Instructor Canvas Resource course, that all faculty will automatically be enrolled in and we already have online tutoring course that all online-program students are auto-enrolled in.  The advising department would like to set up a resource course for faculty advisors and they have also expressed interest in course for students to interact with their advisors.

Are any of your universities using Canvas this way? Can you share any pros and cons?

Thank you,

Delayna Breckon

CWU Canvas Admin

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Community Coach
Community Coach

In addition to traditional course use, we use Canvas for:

  • Online Student Orientation (for all students who use Canvas)
  • Student FAQ Resources
  • Student Honors
  • Multiple Student Clubs
  • Online Faculty Training (for all faculty who use Canvas)
  • Adjunct Resource Information
  • Faculty Resource Information
  • Faculty Senate
  • Tenure/Promotion Information - some faculty have used Canvas courses and ePortfolio's for their Tenure/Promotion documentation
  • Library Resources
  • English Final Exit Exam - this isn't a real course, but a final exam all students enrolled in a specific course have to take
  • English Success Information - place for students who aren't ready for College level English to get remediated
  • Health Professions Documentation - a place for our Nursing Faculty to keep track of all of the nursing students and what/how they are doing
  • Health Professions Orientation - Orientation for Health Profession Students
  • Rad Tech Orientation - Orientation for Rad Tech Students

And honestly there might be more that I'm not thinking of/remembering right now!

We've been using Canvas for over 2 years and I don't have any real Con's for using Canvas this way other than courses aren't always set-up to do/be what people want it to be so we sometimes have to work with them to get Canvas to do what they need it to do. Overall everyone has been pretty happy with how it works.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

In addition to traditional course use, we use Canvas for:

  • Online Student Orientation (for all students who use Canvas)
  • Student FAQ Resources
  • Student Honors
  • Multiple Student Clubs
  • Online Faculty Training (for all faculty who use Canvas)
  • Adjunct Resource Information
  • Faculty Resource Information
  • Faculty Senate
  • Tenure/Promotion Information - some faculty have used Canvas courses and ePortfolio's for their Tenure/Promotion documentation
  • Library Resources
  • English Final Exit Exam - this isn't a real course, but a final exam all students enrolled in a specific course have to take
  • English Success Information - place for students who aren't ready for College level English to get remediated
  • Health Professions Documentation - a place for our Nursing Faculty to keep track of all of the nursing students and what/how they are doing
  • Health Professions Orientation - Orientation for Health Profession Students
  • Rad Tech Orientation - Orientation for Rad Tech Students

And honestly there might be more that I'm not thinking of/remembering right now!

We've been using Canvas for over 2 years and I don't have any real Con's for using Canvas this way other than courses aren't always set-up to do/be what people want it to be so we sometimes have to work with them to get Canvas to do what they need it to do. Overall everyone has been pretty happy with how it works.

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Community Member

I create several courses for non-academic purposes.  I started doing this back when were in ANGEL and have recreated them in Canvas last fall when we moved to Canvas.  I won't claim they are quite designed as well as I would like yet, my energy had to go into just getting everyone up to speed in using Canvas last fall.  Now I can begin to "clean" them up a bit!

- Faculty Help and Resources - Used for shared documents, communication via announcements, documentation of various things, shared calendars for scheduling use of resources, and FAQ types of information

- Student Help and Resources - Used much the same as for faculty but in addition there is also extensive use of groups.  Student organizations also have their own groups here. Students can create conferences and groups here to work on projects across programs or courses.  Peer mentors and tutors form groups and make announcements and post resources here as well. Faculty also have groups with their advisees and use this for shared documents for scheduling, and for easy email to their advisees.  Different programs have their own groups and use this for posting discussions or posting items that are used across the program. In effect it functions as a virtual commons even though most students are on campus. We are a small college of around 700 students. I doubt that would work for a large college but it works well for us!

- New Student Orientation to Canvas - A required self-training module for all new students

- Basic Canvas - A required self-training module for all new faculty

- Intermediate Canvas - A required self-training module for all distance faculty and voluntary for all other faculty

- Preparation Course for Faculty Teaching in the Online or Hybrid Format - Mandatory training for all distance faculty

- Graduate Nursing Commons - Presently under development, but will contain orientation and other materials unique to the graduate nursing students as well as function as a place for virtual community.

- New Student Orientation to Bryan College of Health Sciences - Required college orientation (in lieu of the usual onsite one day orientation) for fully online students new to the College

- Library Template - A place where the library has created modules that can be imported into the appropriate courses for library skills training

And there are a miscellaneous number of small group use courses for the purposes of group collaboration and experimentation.

The most significant struggle with these courses is the maintenance of membership. Currently the membership is kept up by a variety of different individuals. Since these aren't courses in the SIS there isn't an automated import. Still we all find it worth the effort as it really does make many functions and communications easier.

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Thanks Kona!  You have given me additional ideas for uses!  How do you handle the enrollment into the various non-academic courses?

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Cindy.Masek@bryanhealth.org depending on the group we have a number of them automated. For example Faculty Senate has all full time faculty - so we have it automated so that if any new faculty are hired they automatically get added to the course or if some leave the college they are removed. Same thing for our Canvas trainings, Canvas resources, and library resources (faculty & students). For some of the other orientations and remediation courses it's managed automatically by who is registered for certain courses.

The student clubs, honors, and anything else I haven't mentioned are monitored by the person in charge of the group. If they need to add or remove someone from the group they contact my office with the request and student name & id number and we take care of it for them. So far this hasn't been a big deal.

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Community Member

We use Canvas for the following:

  • Residential Courses
  • Online Courses (including a required Orientation course for students in one of our distance programs)
  • Hybrid Courses
  • Professor-TA Training Course (We embedded various videos from the Canvas video Guide into Modules that are titled with questions so a professor/TA can easily find videos related to a question they have about Canvas).
  • Student "Lounge" (Our Global students take courses on rolling registration so we use an account level group to be sort of a "hang out" or "commons" type place where students can find other students near them, discuss what courses they might want to take together, provide additional learning resources, give us further feedback, etc.)
  • Juried Review Group (Here, professors can share papers and other assignments that have to be reviewed by a jury of professors for accreditation purposes)
  • Template "Courses" for our instructional designers to copy over to a new course being designed on Canvas based on whether the course is online or residential.
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Community Member

In addition to some of the things already listed, we also use Canvas for Placement testing.  Students that are required to take placement tests are provided with instructions on how to access the "course" to take the test prior to their on campus orientation. 

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Community Member

Here is Coconino Community College's list of non-standard uses of Canvas. I will include links so you can check them out where the courses are public. As Cindy.Masek@bryanhealth.org​ said, they may not always be the most polished. The Resource Center for Faculty and Resource Center for Students are maintained by me, but the others are maintained by others who don't spend all day geeking out on Canvas.

Resource Center for Faculty

https://coconino.instructure.com/courses/832037

Resource Center for Students

https://coconino.instructure.com/courses/923533

FERPA Training

New Faculty Orientation course

Internal Department Documentation (replaced SharePoint intranet sites)

Personal Documentation of Job Duties (this makes transitions easier and compensates for the bus factor)

Student Organizations and Clubs

Committees

Institutional Program Courses (CCC2NAU)

https://coconino.instructure.com/courses/1101373

Coming Soon! Faculty Senate course

Coming Soon! History of the College course

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kona@richland.edu Is this automated through your SIS or some other way? I'd love to find a way to automate it here!

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No, it's not automated through our SIS (Jenzabar). We have some programming that provides the link between Canvas and Jenzabar, and all our automation (of everything, including the creation of regular credit courses) is done using this.