FIRST YEAR Training Dos and Don'ts HELP!

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Community Participant

Hello from Maryland! 

What lessons did you learn in the first year of using Canvas? What would you have changed and done differently so that teachers, students, and parents were better informed? What caused confusion that we could avoid? What would you do again differently? What would you change if you could start from year one again?

Background: Our K-12 staff will begin to use Canvas in SY 24-25 and we are not used to a powerful LMS. We are coming from using teacher "web pages" and drop boxes. So this is a BIG change! We have course templates prepared thanks to our UH-MAZING ID Consultant Brittany with Instructure. We are using C4E at the elementary level and have over 200 courses that will have outlines of their Year At A Glances created in their course template for them. We have started introductory training to Canvas and given everyone access to a Sandbox. The technical implementation is also complete but they are not currently teaching with Canvas- not till the fall. Secondary will have access to grade passback with Synergy.


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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello, I'm from Maryland too!

Welcome to the world of Canvas. My background is K-12, and I recently helped my district launch Canvas, but I am currently working in HigherEd supporting faculty and staff with Canvas. Coming from a K-12 background to HigherEd has taught me a lot. I have experience using Canvas as a teacher, trainer, and now an Admin and each perspective has given me a better understanding of how Canvas works.

First, if you haven't done so and are able to, I recommend taking the Canvas Educator/Technical Admin training/certification. The educator one is good for getting a basic foundation on how to use Canvas as an educator. The Technical Admin is good if you have some level of Admin access to Canvas and helps you plan out district-wide how you want to implement Canvas in your institution.

What lessons did you learn in the first year of using Canvas? - To make life easier for your teachers, have a really thorough template/blueprint that is easy for them to take and go. This will help lessen the need for teachers to learn EVERYTHING about Canvas. Once the teachers have an understanding of how to edit the content then they can take the next step by creating their own content in a course. Make sure you are not trying to have the teachers learn everything all at once. I would tell my teachers to have a home page and do a low stakes assignment to get a feel of how it works and how it works for their students. Then, try a different kind of assignment or integrate one LTI, and so on.

What would you have changed and done differently so that teachers, students, and parents were better informed? - My K-12 district came from using Google Classroom to Canvas, which was a big learning curve. It helped to use terminology from Google Classroom for teachers to understand how Canvas works. Having a transitioning user cheat sheet would have helped.

What caused confusion that we could avoid? - The ability to create any assignment and page can be accessed anywhere (modules, assignments, quizzes, discussions). A lot of teachers didn't understand the difference between the assignments, quizzes, and discussions page from the modules page. Explaining that each thing has its own house and you can organize it differently within modules and that "deleting" it in modules doesn't delete it; it removes it only in the module page.

These are the things that stood out to me the most, but I am more than happy to discuss more. I hope this helps.


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Community Explorer

Hi from Australia. 

I am starting my Canvas journey this week and I must say the Template / Blueprint idea is very good. I will be looking into this ASAP as I have been playing in the sandpit area and in a course I have with the students and, while generally successful, it has been a lot of little learnings! As expected obviously, but it would have been MUCH easier with a template set up and ready to go. 

As for the Assignment / module / quiz area - they are super powerful and I will need some training around how to create them in such a way that the EXCEL file that is produced actually has a use - I need the date of completion on Assessment so I can input it into the school system.  Maybe I can create a certificate and have that on file? Would like a list of participants and the completion date though. Will keep looking, 

One last thing, trying to make the course look interesting - not being a HTML coder it is not easy to create a 'look' for the course - maybe you are supposed to make the first ones boring and go from there. It is all very functional but just very generic. 

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