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Canvas for Elementary Overview

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure
8 32 2,779

Before we jump right into the overview of the new views provided by enabling the Canvas for Elementary setting, it is important that we remind you that these views are taken from designs and are subject to change. The process of building software includes surprising twists and turns, and that's especially true when we seek feedback on what we're building as we're building it. As we take your feedback into account, we may determine better ways to provide an experience tailored to our youngest learners, thus resulting in changes to what you see here once added to production. Also, this post would be crazy long if I answered every question and shared every detail about these designs and the updated functionality. Please, don't fret! I'll keep this as brief as possible, but you can also watch the video recording that walks you through each page of the designs. When it comes to questions, we've got you covered with our FAQs. If you have questions as you read through this post, check there to see if they are answered. If not, submit your questions in the forum for this space and we'll work to get you answers as quickly as possible. Also, stay tuned for additional posts focused on more granular information about various features and functionalities as they become available. 

Now, let's get started!

Homeroom Dashboard: Homeroom

jsailor_0-1615446270104.png

The Homeroom Dashboard is meant to create a digital classroom that reflects the physical classroom experience for our elementary students. We're updating the language used to show My Subjects instead of My Courses as we recognize that most of our elementary students are in one classroom with one teacher who is responsible for every subject across the day. That said, if you are departmentalized or have other teachers responsible for various subjects (core or specials), no worries! Students will see tiles for every subject that is published by the teacher and in which they have an enrollment, no matter the teacher. 

Subject cards will be updated to include more valuable information for students, including the number of assignments due today, any missing assignments, and a teaser for any announcements that are specific to a give subject. 

Teachers will also have the ability to update the subject title (if permissions are granted by your account admin) that will be reflected on each of the students' dashboards. Teachers can add the images they would like to these subject tiles and for those of you that want to color coordinate so that your subject tiles match the students' folders and/or journals, we've got you covered! You can select a color for the subject that is reflected in the important dates and schedule for the subject for all students. 

In addition to the subject tiles, we recognize that teachers want to keep the lines of communication open with students and parents. To help ensure that important information is front and center, teachers can add announcements to their homeroom course, which will be added to the top of the students' dashboard. 

Important dates can be used to keep students and parents informed of upcoming events and due dates for longer-term projects. Important dates will be designated by the teacher and added to the dashboard. 

Homeroom Dashboard: Schedule

jsailor_1-1615447485132.png

The schedule tab of the homeroom is similar to the agenda that we would see on the whiteboard in every elementary classroom. The idea here is for students to see an overview of their schedule by day. Leveraging our current list view, assignments will be added to the schedule based on their due date. Also, if teachers add dates to their pages, they will be added to the schedule. Additionally, we will be adding an easy link to class conferences so that students know where to be and when. Our plan is to support whatever conferencing tool your school/district uses. One final update to the schedule view is the call out for missing assignments. This will be shown at the bottom of each day so that students are aware of missing items that need their attention. 

Homeroom Dashboard: Grades

Updated design coming soon!

The intention of the grades at the homeroom level is to provide students and parents with a quick reference as to how the student is doing in each subject. This will reflect the grading scheme that is used in each of the subjects and will show the overall grade for the each subject. 

Homeroom Dashboard: Resources

jsailor_2-1615447932007.png

The resources page is a place in which teachers can link to important resources and applications that students use on a regular basis. Teacher contact information will also be pulled from each of the subjects in which a student has an enrollment along with the contact methods that the teacher would like to share. 

Inside a Subject

jsailor_3-1615448122596.png jsailor_4-1615448183443.png  jsailor_6-1615448292496.png

 

Within the subject, we want to help orient students and provide focus, so you will notice that we have removed much of the noise, specifically the course navigation (which is paired down to the few tabs at the top) and the absence of the right-hand column that typically holds several links for students. 

The overview page serves as the homepage for the subject and can be changed as often or as little as the teacher deems appropriate. If teachers are using a weekly page to orient students, they can still do that here. If they are updating the page to contain resources for the current unit of study, great. Given that this is a page, teachers can adjust as they see fit. 

The schedule tab is similar to the homeroom schedule, but now focused to this one subject. Also, modules will be available to teachers should they want to organize their content in modules and have students walk through the content there. 

The grades tab shows more granular information than what was available at the homeroom level. Within each subject, the grades page will reflect the student's overall grade along with scores and feedback for each individual assignment that contributed to the overall grade for the subject. 

 

32 Comments
jireland4224
Community Member

Thanks for sharing this information and screen shots.  I was wondering how do you edit the resource page once these features are enabled in our account?  I couldn't see an edit button or tool to add resources to the resource tab.  Thanks

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

Hi, @jireland4224,

"Student Applications" will come from the LTI tools that have been enabled for student use at the account, sub-account, or course level. "Important Links" will be added by the teacher. This functionality is still being added and will be available at a later date. 

tnaylwar
Community Participant

@jsailor LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!  Only one suggestion that I thought of was when we view the Subject tile the tabs at the top (Overview, Schedule, Modules, and Grades) should also have icons as the Dashboard has 😍

 

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

Thank you for your feedback, @tnaylwar! We totally agree! We will be sure to include icons on the course tabs as we have on the dashboard.  

elandhd
Community Member

I am loving the look of this setting!  I see that Subject cards that are published will appear in the homeroom which I think is great.  Thinking about teaching our Kinders to use Canvas I'm assuming we could slowly publish one subject at a time.  One question I have is when kiddos get into a Subject, is there an obvious and easy way for them to navigate back to their homeroom?  Sometimes my teachers say they feel like the kids "get lost" in Canvas.

hdyksen1
Community Participant

One thing I'm wondering is how modules will differ from schedule?  They seem pretty similar based on the schedule sketch you've provided, but I haven't seen a sketch for the modules page, so I wasn't sure how they would compare. Thanks!

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

This is stunning work.

A really engaging and fun interface that is not only aesthetically pleasing but highly functional. Its great to see more colour creeping in to the UI eg in the banner image for the subject, the highlight section under the horizontal menu and the coloured icons. I would really like to see more eg in the module banners/backgrounds. Love all the white space and all the removal of lots of potentially distracting stuff.

I might want to have more notice drawn to the Show missing assignments feature in the Schedule as this is a drop down as opposed to a static link. I think I can see a different icon and colour but not sure how much it stands out from the printscreen?

Well done everyone...

cmgardner
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

We currently do not use points on any of our assignments as we use rubrics with grading criteria that is Exceeding, Meeting, Progressing Toward, and Beginning. We rely heavily on the Learning Master Gradebook and only use the other gradebook for complete/incomplete. Will this new UI support our current grading practice? I love that students can see that mastery so easily in the graphic you share, but since our district doesn't use points I thought I would check to see if this will make it difficult for us to make this transition. Thanks!!!

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

elandhd, we are thrilled to hear that you are liking what you see! And, yes, teachers can publish the courses for the individual subjects at the time that is right for their students, so no need to overwhelm your kinders with everything all at once. Also, the Canvas icon in the top left (which may also be your school mascot or a different icon set by your admin) will get the students back to their homeroom dashboard. 

hdyksen1, the modules view will look the same as it does today upon initial roll out of this new elementary view and work. The modules are a great place for teachers to organize work that students should access and work through in units of study, chapters, etc. Teachers really can organize the modules as they see appropriate for the structure of their content and their students' needs. They can also set requirements and prerequisites as they see fit. The schedule, on the other hand, will only show items that have dates, such as due dates or availability dates for content. 

@GideonWilliams, thank you for the positive feedback and the suggestion around drawing more attention to the missing assignments feature in the schedule. We'll look at ways in which we can make this stand out more without overwhelming the student who might already feel overwhelmed by being behind in their work. 

@cmgardner, yes, this new view should still support your current grading workflows. The view here really is a placeholder to show what is possible. It is likely that students will still see the same view when clicking on grades and we will look to update it from there and will consider the need to support mastery-based learning and grading without the numbers attached.  

hdyksen1
Community Participant

@jsailor Thank you for your reply.  If the teacher does choose to use the modules page, will it be able to be set as the "homepage" of the course like it is now?  Our blueprint content that is pushed into teachers' courses has intro/ending pages for all modules, and those pages wouldn't have due dates, so the modules page may still be their best option for daily work.  We are just trying to think through best options as we start revising the 1st quarter blueprints that we used in the fall.  Thanks!

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

I think Modules are hugely important. Not only for structuring content but providing a more visible and straightforward learning path for students. I put a lot of work into creating interactive and multimedia pages with a range of content. I worry a little when things become just lots of clicks on icons.

I would love to see the same design/style changes that are in play in other parts of the course added to Modules eg coloured banner, ability to add in an image banner perhaps, a better colour scheme (not grey) or an easing of all the hard edges...

Super excited to see how things develop...

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

Yes, @hdyksen1, the teacher will be able to set modules as the homepage as they currently can.  

chrish
Community Participant

Is the Homeroom an actual course or part of the dashboard? Meaning that if the teacher did not create any content subjects, would they still have a course?

cunninghama
Community Participant

@chrish did you find the answer to your question?  I have this same question but I'm not finished reading all the information.

chrish
Community Participant

Nope, still wondering!

cunninghama
Community Participant

@chrish You can find a lot of good starting information in this FAQs sheet.  After the elementary dashboard is enabled in the subaccount, you have to go into your individual course settings to designate a course as the homeroom course.

erinhmcmillan
Community Team
Community Team

@chrish the homeroom course controls the announcements that display at the top of the Dashboard for students. If a course isn't set as a homeroom course, nothing displays between the Homeroom tab header and the My Subjects header.

Screen Shot 2021-05-07 at 3.10.44 PM.png

But if you do have a course set as a homeroom course, it displays announcements included in the homeroom course:

Screen Shot 2021-05-07 at 3.10.26 PM.png

Hope that helps!

chrish
Community Participant

Thanks @erinhmcmillan and @cunninghama !

That does make more sense, seeing how a course can be designated as a homeroom.

fenstermaker_an
Community Participant

@jsailor Will there be a syllabus option for the Elementary Enhancements? I see that I can still enable syllabus from the navigation within Canvas but when I access a student account, I do not see the syllabus even if I have enabled it in the course navigation. 

cmgardner
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

@fenstermaker_an's comment gave me a thought...I like how in our current courses the syllabus page can be public. What if there was something similar in the homeroom course that teachers could use as a public landing page for parents and community to share public information? I could see this replacing the need for a separate webpage presence in our district. 

jkassimer
Community Member

Wondering how the Schedule tab will interpret courses that do not occur each day, for example, a writing class that only meets twice a week, or a specials class such as Art or Music. (We have a six day cycle for specials and an A/B schedule for Writing and Science courses) Will a homeroom teacher have choices to designate a course for a specific day or will just core classes be identified on the schedule? 

audra_agnelly
Community Champion

@jkassimer the schedule tab is essentially what Dashboard-List View is in current Canvas. It will show posted calendar events, assignment due dates, and (I believe) announcements posted that day. There's nothing inherent in the schedule that says you have Science today, unless the teacher posts that to the calendar.

jmyers4
Instructure
Instructure

Will the schedule tab from a teacher's perspective include the "to-do list" or an option that includes it? From a teacher's perspective, this is the easiest way to get to the content that needs feedback from the teacher. 

KarenPizur
Community Member

RE: subjects

If a student was registered for 2 or more courses under a subject area, when they click on the subject card, would all the courses they are registered for show up?

MattHanes
Community Champion

@KarenPizur , the student would have two or more subject cards. The subject cards are representative of the courses the student is enrolled. So if you are using an SIS import process, the student will have a card for each course in the same way they currently do on the dashboard.

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

Demonstrated a Homeroom style design to our EdTech group this week and it was received very well. I personally like the idea of a tutor focused learning platform with other subjects accessible from it - even if you don't have an existing HomeRoom model. 

I have a few questions from the meeting...

1. Can we have more control over the Resources tab and what materials go in there?

2. The resources icons on the printscreen above are different from what we see. I like the bigger more visual icons. Can that be changed?

GideonWilliams_2-1624610230821.png

What I get:

GideonWilliams_3-1624610277106.png

3. The subject tile images don't 'replicate' at all well into banners for the subjects. Is there a way to make more effective banners or choose images for tiles that make better banners eg

GideonWilliams_0-1624610111157.png

GideonWilliams_1-1624610149119.png

The banner used in the blog post shows a fantastic banner design - how is that achieved?

4. Some staff would like to use the 'blank' subject Home page as a link to modules eg

GideonWilliams_4-1624610465917.png

How would this work if the Announcements for the subject also get added to the Home page eg for English:

GideonWilliams_5-1624610741500.png

Any help with these appreciated...

jmyers4
Instructure
Instructure

@GideonWilliams have you seen the resources that the Instructional Design team released? Note, you will need to be logged into Canvas for this link to work: Canvas for Elementary | Course Card/Banners. There is also a post in the Community with suggestions on Banner sizes: Elementary Theme Course Banner Sizes. I hope that these resources help you! 

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

@jmyers4 I have not. Many thanks for the heads-up. Will go and see.....

LISAA
Community Member

You had mentioned a walkthrough video, where would I find that? Thanks!

erinhmcmillan
Community Team
Community Team

@LISAA current resources are in the sidebar of the main user group!  Canvas for Elementary

Erin

 

audra_agnelly
Community Champion

The Resources Tab in the screenshots of this post show a Staff Contact Section. I know that it was in production at some point and there was an envelope icon where you could send an inbox message to the teacher (I tested it). That's no longer appearing under Resources. Is it coming back?

erinhmcmillan
Community Team
Community Team

@audra_agnelly That tab is still available. 

 

All, for the most recent updates to this project, please see the sidebar resources available in the Canvas for Elementary - Instructure Community

Thanks,

Erin