cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
s_leichtweis
Surveyor

Canvas tool guide for teachers

It possible that a number of you will have seen this informational poster originally developed for Moodle (by Joyce Seitzinger, @catspyjamasnz / www.cats-pyjamas.net) and subsequently reworked for other platforms like D2L and Blackboard. We are starting the migration process (kicking off now and going through 2016) for all courses at the University of Auckland and felt something similar for Canvas would be ideal for the learning design conversations that we will be having with teaching staff. We ( @d_ellis , nicoletta.rata @jacqui_thornley  @c_swanwick   @s_tickner ) couldn't find anything similar for Canvas, and since the original has a Creative Commons license, we thought we would make our own. We've dropped the last column linking tools to Bloom's taxonomy due to space issues on the resulting poster, that SOLO taxonomy might be the better fit, and our dislike of how a 'traffic light' design potentially prejudices users thinking about the different tools. Attached is our first first version of a Canvas tool guide for teachers. We would be very happy for your thoughts, ideas, and challenges on how we might make this better.

Cheers,

Steve

17 Replies
Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @s_leichtweis ​, thank you for sharing this! I can see how it would be a wonderful visual guide to the Canvas adoption process.

A few quick observations:

  • The Files row, in the Assessing Learning column, states: Students do not upload files except through assignments (see below) and in the same row, under the Co-creating Content column, asserts that Students can share files with each other but only if they are placed in groups. In fact, students can easily share files with one another through Discussions, as long as the teacher enables (in Course Settings) the setting that allows students to attach files to discussion posts. As such, all discussions, whether they are in a group space or not, can be used as a collaborative tool.
  • The Conferences row, in the Co-Creating Content column, states: Saved archives only last 2 weeks so content should be housed elsewhere (e.g. a collaboration). While this is the case under the default Big Blue Button collaboration, more robust solutions can be purchased if needed from Blindside Networks, the creator of BBB, so this is something worth taking into consideration.
  • The first Assignments cell, under Ease of Use, reads: Assignment setup can be easy or complex depending on what options you choose. While there are certainlly levels of complexity in the assignment settings, I think it's debatable that the degree of complexity implies that the tool is not very easy to use (in other words, based on my experience, that cell would be green, not yellow.)
  • The chart doesn't list anything about Modules. The course delivery features provided by Canvas Modules are so incredibly powerful--I couldn't imagine teaching a Canvas course without them--that in my humble opinion Modules merits a row of its own.
  • The chart also doesn't mention SpeedGrader, which is the go-to grading tool for the overwhelming majority of Canvas teachers. Among other features, SpeedGrader affords teachers the ability to annotate students' assignment submissions in-line with the built-in Crocodoc annotation tool, assess them easily with a well-designed rubric, and evaluate their originality and provide additional annotation with the (optional, also paid) Turnitin integration. When we first started our campus Canvas promotion among teacher groups, we used SpeedGrader as the centerpiece of our presentations, and for good reason. A "Canvas tool guide for teachers" that doesn't prominently feature SpeedGrader omits one of the best aspects of the Canvas teaching experience.

I have never seen the informational posters on which this is based--but I've worked extensively in Blackboard and its predecessors, and while I think that this format might be more than ample for Blackboard's features, a similar poster about Canvas might have to be twice as large. Smiley Happy Inherent in the concept of adapting an existing infographic to cover Canvas implies that apples-to-apples comparisons are valid, whereas one might argue that Canvas's design represents a paradigm shift that merits a completely different design concept.

I'm looking forward to seeing your finished product, and I hope you'll share it here! I also hope the members of the Instructional Designers group will feel free to pick apart my observations and add their own.

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Also,  @s_leichtweis ​, I wonder if you'd like to share this discussion with the Higher Education​ group; you might get a different perspective from a group consisting primarily of teachers.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @s_leichtweis ​, I can see where this would be an extremely helpful resource for educators and would definitely include a finalized version in our Canvas Instructor Training course. Smiley Happy

Here's my feedback:

  • Discussions - why is it marked orange for "Assessing Learning?" To me discussions seem like a perfect fit for assessing student learning. What better way to see if students are really "getting" the content than to have them talk about it with their own words and engage/communicate with other students about it?
  • Assignments - in my experience setting up Assignments is pretty easy and straightforward to set-up and use. I would advocate for "ease of use" to be green.
  • Quizzes - for Communication & Interaction I agree with the orange, but would recommend adding something about the ability to comment on the quiz, both for Instructors and Students. My students use this feature quite a bit to ask me questions about why they missed quiz questions and I use it to respond to them.
  • Conferences - I'm not sure why "ease of use" was marked in red for this. No, it's definitely not a green, but in general my faculty have found it to be pretty simple (green) to set-up a conference and then had only a slight learning curve (orange) for figuring out how to effectively use the conference tools. Comparatively speaking quizzes are WAY more confusing than conferences and I'd still leave quizzes as an orange for "ease of use."

Additions, here are two categories that I think need added to the chart:

  • Rubrics
    • Ease of Use - Green (straightforward to set-up and use)
    • Information transfer - Green (absolutely, this conveys information about how the student is going to be assessed)
    • Assessing learning - Green (yes, this is the primary purpose)
    • Communication & Interaction - Orange (students can't comment directly on the rubric, but they can see instructors comments/feedback and provide comments in speedgrader to rubric feedback; using peer review students can provide feedback for other students)
    • Co-creating content - Red (not the purpose of this tool)
  • Speedgrader
    • Ease of Use - Green (nothing to set-up and easy to use)
    • Information transfer - Red (not the purpose of this tool)
    • Assessing learning - Green (yes, this is the primary purpose)
    • Communication & Interaction - Orange (Instructors can communicate with students about the assignment, students can reply back; using peer review students can provide feedback/comments for other students)
    • Co-creating content - Red (not the purpose of this tool)

Many thanks for the excellent feedback and ideas. As the team here only received a 3 day hands-on training workshop from Canvas staff (in addition to the Canvas guides) its great to have your input & experience with Canvas assist our learning and thinking for our migration work in the busy year ahead!

Thank you very much for the time and effort you have taken in giving us feedback on this resource. We really do appreciate it and will be integrating both your and Stephanie's feedback for the next iteration. Thanks heaps. Smiley Happy

Good idea. We will want to accommodate and include the excellent feedback from you and Kona (and others?) first.

OK,  @s_leichtweis ​, just let us know when you'd like to expand the audience for this.

d_ellis
Surveyor

Thanks for the feedback everyone, we'll definitely be making some changes. It seems like the colour-coding in the first column is problematic, so I may just remove the colours entirely (the traffic light doesn't really work with that column anyway).

A bit of context: we're deliberately restricting the rows to items that appear in the Canvas side menu. We are planning on a few complementary infographics to capture the range and depth of options within some of the tools, and also the "meta" organisational options:

  • "Assignments" for Speedgrader, Rubrics, group work, peer review, and different submission types
  • "Course organisation and flow" for organisational functions like Modules, prerequisites and requirements, student groups, and different home page options

There's also a tension in designing for our staff vs. designing for a wider audience. We're CC licensing it and I'll attach the InDesign file of the next version, so if you'd like to adapt it to suit your institution's needs you are most welcome to do so Smiley Happy

Kona Jones:

  • Quizzes - for Communication & Interaction I agree with the orange, but would recommend adding something about the ability to comment on the quiz, both for Instructors and Students. My students use this feature quite a bit to ask me questions about why they missed quiz questions and I use it to respond to them.

Is this a feature within the quiz itself? I can't find a "comment on this quiz" option for students, although I may just be missing something obvious!