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SchaeferG
Community Member

Best 3rd party addition to Canvas?

We have had Canvas for 5 years now, and love it. Looking at our budget, we are considering expanding our use of 3rd party LTI/API services. What do you find most valuable for 3rd party services? I realize this will be different for everyone, but wanted to get an idea of what others were using and enjoying in their instances.

For example, we pay for Zoom and don't use the Canvas conferences, and we also pay for Turnitin (but are looking at moving to Vericite for next year, for cost savings and ease of use - the checkbox is beloved!) I'd love to hear what others are using.

43 Replies
Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

Hi,  @SchaeferG , I strongly recommend that you attend or watch the recordings of snufer‌'s four-part CanvasLIVE‌ series When High Tech becomes Hot Tech: Educational Technology Showcase - Part 2 (Part 2 is coming up on Wednesday, April 12). You'll get some great ideas along with helpful visuals and demonstrations.

This Community-created collaborative resource might also give you some ideas: Course Design Resource Index (Collaboration) .

Last, awilliams‌ recently posted a call for recommendations in connection with a grant proposal, and I think the discussion there will provide some insight as to what people like and are finding useful (although, as you mention, priorities and preferences may vary across institutions): /blogs/adamwilliams/2017/03/30/help-with-a-grant-proposal 

Hope this gets the conversation started!

dhulsey
Community Champion

I use Turnitin (grading and plagiarism), Respondus browser and monitor (exam security), SoftChalk (interactive lessons), and Perusall (social document annotation). Turnitin and Respondus are deployed across campus. Other tools are used here and there by individual departments or professors.

Along with Canvas, I would voice vocal displeasure if I lost one of these tools. I like Turnitin and Perusall so much I have written guides on using each of them here in the community: Canvas and Turnitin‌ and Canvas and Perusall‌.

I am looking forward to other people's responses here. I always like to find new stuff to use. Smiley Happy

dwillmore
Community Champion

Dallas,

This is the first I have heard about Perusall and it looks wonderful.   Do you find

Do you find Monitor to be equal to active proctoring, or at least close to active proctoring?

How do you and your faculty utilize Turnitin?   From a survey, we conducted we found that 90% only use the plagiarism score and no other part of the product suite.   That usage makes it very difficult to justify the huge price increase last year or the rumored price increase coming this year.   We are looking at Unplag and Vericite.

dhulsey
Community Champion

 @dwillmore , Perusall works extremely well. Another option for social annotation is https://community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/partnerships/hypothesis?sr=search&searchId=ff5db83...‌, but I haven't tried that although it also looks to have some nice features. 

 From  what I have seen, the Respondus monitor looks okay; the faculty I know who use it seem content.

Since I teach English, I use Turnitin a lot more than the monitor. I can say that everyone in my department uses Turnitin for originality reports and grading. I believe I am one of a few to use Peermark though.  Adoption across campus is mostly for originality, but we are seeing more converts to the grading lately. People simply don't seem to know about the grading capabilities until they see me grading with my iPad. Although, if the price skyrockets, I am not sure what we will do. 

heather_stockfo
Community Contributor

I’m definitely going to check out Perusall!

Heather Stockford Sade, BA, M.Ed

Director of eLearning & Educational Design

Cox College

1423 N. Jefferson Ave.

Springfield, MO 65802

417-269-3862

Heather.Sade@coxcollege.edu

dwillmore
Community Champion

The Turnitin suite of tools is very nice.  If we had more faculty using those tools, I think Turnitin would be worth its price.  

Would you be willing to give an example of one of your most successful Perusall assignment/discussion?

dhulsey
Community Champion

As an English teacher, the use of Perusall seems completely natural because discussing texts is a central purpose of the course.. I take an assigned reading that is in the public domain from someplace like Project Gutenberg and convert it to .pdf. I also will take my old discussion questions and place them in the first page of the file to give students some idea of what their annotations should be about. I have had students in various classes annotate everything from The Velveteen Rabbit to some William Blake poems. I do tend to stick with poems and short stories. If I did use a novel, I would likely pick an excerpt for a Perusall assignment.

I would think a history teacher could make good use of Perusall with some primary historical documents. 

Something I have been meaning to try is to get a volunteer to let me have a rough of her essay. Then, I could put it in Perusall, and the entire class could critique it together. I don't know how many people I could get to volunteer as tribute though. Smiley Happy  I might write a few sample essays myself and have my composition students critique them.

heather_stockfo
Community Contributor

 @dhulsey ‌, we also us SoftChalk, but it was a lot more popular BEFORE we moved to Canvas. We also use Respondus monitor, lock down browser and 4.0. I like this product so much better than BioSigID. The webcam option allows for total transparency for both student and educator. I've never heard of Perusall.

 @heather_stockfo ‌, check Perusall out. You will not regret it! Smiley Happy 

Why do you think SoftChalk use on your campus has declined? I am curious about that.

heather_stockfo
Community Contributor

Good questions Dallas,

SoftChalk is mostly because when we acquired SoftChalk we were using another LMS that was really poor… No real way to integrate visuals at all (video/photos).

We had some faculty using SoftChalk who were using it strictly for the polling tool also. When we started using Canvas and instructors could see all the integration that was built-in, they started using the tools that were there, rather than looking externally… we do have a few users who are more confortable with HTML and webpage look/feel still using it, but we have seen such a decline that I may spend my money elsewhere. I pushed the ability to create your own eBook out, but that didn’t go over like I hoped either Smiley Sad

Heather Stockford Sade, BA, M.Ed

Director of eLearning & Educational Design

Cox College

1423 N. Jefferson Ave.

Springfield, MO 65802

417-269-3862

Heather.Sade@coxcollege.edu

We have found the same thing here on our campus.  Softchalk use may go up now that SCORM objects come over during a course import.  I also found it hard to help faculty make changes to a Softchalk web as they often did not maintain the Softchalk source.

dhulsey
Community Champion

 @heather_stockfo ‌ and  @dwillmore ‌, those are interesting perspectives. I should have specified that we use SoftChalk Cloud. The Cloud version offers a lot of utility because I can change a lesson, and every course using that lesson gets updated. I can also email links to lessons outside of Canvas. Here, for instance, is my basic course tour that I use in all of my classes: https://www.softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/Jcdnktusb1UyPv/html.

SoftChalk does have an LTI tool, David, so you can use that instead of SCORM. I put the lessons in as external tool assignments, and I use questions that automatically grade, so students can complete the lessons and get a few points, and I can track student progress through content. I even use SoftChalk lessons to deliver instructions for major assignments along with a few multiple choice questions. That lets me know who has read the instructions and who has read instructions and might need some additional help with them. Here is a set of instructions for an essay about a short story:

https://www.softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/A6DcaxQhZ57giv/html 

SoftChalk Cloud has many great uses! Canvas is awesome for sure, and the built in tools work great. I especially like the built in video recorder on the RTE, and I use it all of the time, but, for something more polished and interactive, SoftChalk Cloud cannot be beat, right,  @kmeeusen ? 

Thanks, Dallas!

I've only seen Softchalk lesson examples once before and I am now even more impressed. Thanks so much for posting links to your lessons. They were very creative, informative, interesting and inspiring. How's that for a bundle of adjectives? Smiley Happy 

I imagine my DE coordinator will have the answer to my question about how much it costs. Do you happen to know anything about institutional fees vs individual instructor fees? I teach at a small community college and resources are limited. For example, we don't have an institutional license for VoiceThread nor screencasting software, but the cost for individual instructors is reasonable. I'm also curious about ease of use/learning curve.

Teresa Borden, Columbia College, Sonora, CA

dhulsey
Community Champion

Hi,  @bordent !

SoftChalk Cloud is pretty easy to use. It works about like a word processor does, and the SoftChalk people have some pretty good built in video tutorials. One super awesome thing is that there are many built in interactions(hotspot, charts, photo album, etc.), but you can also embed anything from YouTube to ThingLink to slides to a set of Quizlet cards. 

It is pretty pricey, I think. We only have five developer licenses on our campus, but the terms of use for those licenses are pretty generous and flexible. For instance, I develop lessons and share them with my adjunct instructors. When we asked SoftChalk if that was cool, they said it was fine, so a few licenses may meet your needs. 

Have a good weekend, Teresa, and if I you have nay more questions, let me know, but there is a free 30 day trial for SoftChalk, so you can check it out for yourself before committing.

heather_stockfo
Community Contributor

 @dhulsey ‌, I didn't realize that SoftChalk license was available on a per person basis. This is good to know, as I do have one very heavy user that may not be very happy when we expire our site license at the end of this year... 

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

I (of course) have to give a shout out to https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-8591-canvancements-canvas-enhancements?sr=search&searchId=f...‌. All totally free and easy to use/install! 🙂

dhulsey
Community Champion

Good point. I would cry if anything ever happened to Quiz Wiz.  

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Same here!!

James
Community Champion

 @dhulsey , could something happen to it if they incorporated it into Canvas? I'm really hoping I can retire some of the stuff I write.

That said, I think you're probably safe for a while.

dhulsey
Community Champion

If Quiz Wiz was rolled into a Speedgrader update, I would be quite pleased. Some of my less adventurous collegues are reluctant to use Tampermonkey scripts, but I believe they would love the faster grading provided by Quiz Wiz.

James
Community Champion

 @dhulsey ,

Things you can say that might help:

  • Once you set it up, you forget that you're using it. At least that's true until it stops working for whatever reason. I've heard Kona say that a couple of times about various things -- she'll ask a faculty who comes in for help "What do you mean you don't see [whatever]?" and then she'll remember it's one of my add-ons and they're not using it. I've done it a couple of times myself to faculty, but knowing they don't have it installed and just showing them how much faster it is.
  • It's so nice that you forget how to do it with the native Canvas way. I think I've seen you mention that, but maybe it was Kona.
  • Getting carpal tunnel syndrome because you insist on moving your mouse cursor back and forth across the screen multiple times and clicking four times for each student instead of minimal movement and just one click [with a canvancement] isn't covered by the school's health plan.
  • Or, you could just catch them while they're logged in, have another colleague call them out of the office for 45 seconds, and then you could sneak in and install it. They'd never notice Smiley Happy
dhulsey
Community Champion

The calling them out while I install stuff might work!  Smiley Happy Along with, a coversation a few minutes later: "Mine works that way now too. Canvas must have updated."

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @SchaeferG , my favorite non-free (but reasonably priced) 3rd party integration is Dropout Detective & Instructor Insights by https://community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/partnerships/aspiredu?sr=search&searchId=46d2bc86-...‌. We've been using it since 2013 and attribute our increase in retention and student success to the information these products provide. 

https://community.canvaslms.com/events/1678?sr=search&searchId=6cd9f89c-de7e-4f55-a868-aaf4116a733f&...

SchaeferG
Community Member

I saw you present on it in Park City a few years ago, so I am glad to hear you still find it valuable! That's on the list.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @SchaeferG ‌, absolutely! We still think it's a great product that is not only improving what we do, but that is continually adding new features (for the same price, so not charging extra!)!

kenneth_rogers
Instructure
Instructure

Personally, I love the Blackboard Collaborate LTI. If you're not utilizing the Canvas integration with Zoom, then this probably won't be beneficial though! Smiley Wink What I love is that you get a default course room (that instructors can toggle on/off) that students can access even without the instructor present. We recently trained some online foreign language faculty on the tool so they could replicate the face-to-face student interactions that naturally occur in the classroom in the virtual learning environment (man was I geeking out on this one!). Plus, you also get the standard session creation feature, including recurring events. "I would like to meet every third Thursday at 3:00 pm."

With that said...I am going to transfer you to my boss who is really passionate about expanding the use of Canvas through integrations. She recently hosted a CanvasLive session titled https://community.canvaslms.com/events/1978-inte-great-ions-the-wide-wild-world-of-apps?sr=search&se...

 @tdelillo ‌ - You have a call on line 2.

I wish Zoom had a deeper integration, because having a default room would be great. We have faculty that have used it on snow days, but it needs to be prepared in advance. Zoom has been fantastic for us, though!

I believe the previous university I worked at dumped Bb Collab and switched to Zoom about a year or so ago and have loved it. Glad it works good for you - now you just need to pressure them to build out their Canvas integration a bit more!! Smiley Happy

Hmmm, "most valuable" is tough to say, especially since everyone has different tools they like. But I always mention SoftChalk as one of my favorites, because it's so versatile. Gives the creative teachers a way to do fancier lesson content, but it also has the activities and assessments that can be used with Assignments (and therefore pass back scores to the Canvas gradebook). Also, our faculty like that our eSyllabus tool (Concourse) is integrated with Canvas, so they can actually edit their external/public syllabi from within Canvas, and it adds a navigation link for students, too, so faculty only have to maintain that one syllabus. The students like that our online tutoring (Brainfuse) is integrated, because they can launch a tutoring session straight from Canvas.

dwillmore
Community Champion

This is a great question.   Any of the anti-plagiarism suites would be at the top of my list along with the Aspiredu's Dropout Detective.  Many of the big proctoring shops offer nice LTIs as well.

I also think the Labs‌ design tools are invaluable though technically not an LTI

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-6504?sr=search&searchId=a071448a-ca98-4f6a-aba6-35bb8a31d8d...‌  UDOIT is open source code so it is free, and not really an LTI.  Your IT would need to have or set up a PHP server which in the days of virtualization should not be a huge expense.

ken_cooper
Community Member

Hi  @SchaeferG .  Thought I would reply since you specifically mentioned Turnitin v VeriCite.  At Los Rios we are in the process of sunsetting Turnitin and going to go live with VeriCite for this summer semester.  We have had many faculty complain about the LTI version of Turnitin versus the API version that was used previously (and is still being used at many institutions apparently), and the benefits just don't seem to be there with Turnitin any longer.

VeriCite is less than half the price, and they have stated they will continue to support the built-in API integration.  They can also provide you with an SFTP site where you can dump content in order to assure that you maintain continuity regarding assignments submitted to your institution (one of the bigger concerns of our faculty, as we were self-hosting D2L prior to moving to Canvas).

Certainly not meaning to pitch them here, just wanted to share our observations as we are ending our Turnitin contract this June.

This is very helpful, and describes our situation perfectly. We are still using the API with the understanding that it is unsupported, and as I was writing documentation to help faculty understand the LTI use, I became more and more interested in looking at alternatives! I'm sure others in similar roles may understand the conversations I was anticipating! Smiley Happy Our quote is very reasonable for vericite and we are working on setting up a test version in a 'sidecar' instance of Canvas we have, but asking around, our faculty love the ease of the checkbox, and only care about the originality scores. No one is using the other features. The ability to move our data that we've done since having turnitin is pretty great, too. That's good info!

dwillmore
Community Champion

We were expecting a trip to the 7th circle when we turned to the LTI and stopped using the API, but the fears never came true.   Instructors actually did a great job and our ID abreitmeyer‌ put together a great training course that eased the migration.   I say this, but I still don't like the LTI and think Turnitin is overpriced for the way we use the product.

I think that a portion of our issue is we have a lot of adjunct faculty that teach at other California Community Colleges, and some of those colleges apparently are still using the depracated API integration, and that is causing faculty to think there is something wrong with the Turnitin LTI at our instiution.  I have received numerous escalated helpdesk tickets regarding Turnitin, and have had to explain to faculty members that the way we are using Turnitin is correct, and that even though they are teaching at other colleges this semester and using Turnitin differently (and much more simply), those other institutions are not using a supported version.

Where I worked at previously we had faculty a good deal more engaged using in Turnitin, and for example the english faculty in different courses would create master comment lists in grademark and share those with the other faculty teaching those same courses (which was both a huge timesaver and much better for consistency regarding SLOs).  Here we mainly just use the plagarism checker, which wasn't nearly as good a value for our cost at ~53k FTES.

tdelillo
Community Champion

 @ken_cooper ‌ - We are using the API and LTI concurrently (because of the LTI headaches), and Turnitin just informed us a couple of weeks ago that they will keep supporting the API through Summer 2018. So it seems like the kill date got pushed back yet again. I keep hoping indefinitely Smiley Happy

Wow  @tdelillo ‌, that is a positive change.  We hadn't even explored support with Turnitin as we are now transitioning off of the product.  I do hope they continue to support the API, because the faculty that I have dealt with here certainly feel strongly that it is a much better solution (which it is).  It may have influenced our decision to migrate if we would have known that, as VeriCite is updating their UI this summer and our faculty are going to face challenges related to that.

hockin
Community Participant

We have several integrated tools: Turnitin, Kaltura (for video hosting, capture, etc.), Evalkit for course surveys, ProctorTrack, and VoiceThread.

Eval kit appears as a link (when the survey is open to students) right in the course.  We get higher completion rates than with our previous system where an email was sent to the students to remind them to log into an external website to complete the course evaluation/survey.  Just don't create too many additional roles based on  the teacher role since those will also get pulled into Evalkit and a survey will be created.

VoiceThread.....there is love and there is hate.  The language courses love it.  I stress to faculty to use it sparingly.  It takes way more time to grade an audio submission than a written one.  It does provide an excellent mechanism for groups to create one group presentation with audio voiceover.  

bryan_biggers
Community Participant

I'm surprised to see you're the first and only one to bring up VoiceThread.  I would be curious to know, since nobody else has mentioned VT, what are other people doing to allow for PowerPoints with audio voiceover for the masses (i.e. students and faculty without licenses for Captivate, etc. and potentially old versions of PowerPoint)?

hockin
Community Participant

If the presentation is just one person providing the voiceover, then we have instructions for screencast-o-matic.  We also have a site license for Kaltura.  Students and instructors in Canvas can create content via CaptureSpace.