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Community Member

Advice for Managing Teacher Professional Development

Hi all, my district is new to Canvas and we're currently working to design a short course for an upcoming professional development day. We'd like to have all of our teachers engage in this at different times over two days. As we have a few hundred teachers, we'd like to take the course and split it up into smaller groups of teachers, about 30 or so per group. This will keep the discussion threads a bit more cozy in terms of feedback and dialogue as opposed to reading and responding to hundreds of replies at one time.

I'm not sure of the best way to structure this: create multiple groups within a single course, or create multiple sections of the course and enroll a few dozen teachers in each? Or maybe there's a better way?

I'm wondering if anyone has done something similar, and if so, how did you manage this? Thanks.

Dave

8 Replies
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Hi David -

We're looking at possibly having some summer professional development completely online, so I've thought about this also.

I don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" way in this situation! Our school is a bit smaller (~60 teachers), but based on what I've done with my classroom, I think you'll be most successful with enrolling everyone in the single course and then organizing groups for collaborative activities and discussions. That way, if you want to mix up groups in the future, you may do so without needing to adjust enrollments.

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Community Member

Thank you!

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Community Member

Hi David,

I'll put forth a hardy second to Kristin Lundstrum's​ advice and add one more reason why you should have just one course.

This gives the teachers the benefit of using Groups and (group discussions) as a student. Once they see how this feature can be used for collaboration and to break up discussions into smaller groups/teams they will be more apt to try this out with their own classes they teach Smiley Wink

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Community Member

Thank you!

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Community Member

Thanks for this great feedback, I've begun setting it up that way! Here's what I'm nervous about: if we keep a single course and use multiple groups, I can still "partition" off the discussions within modules to specific groups, right? The issue I'm really trying to avoid is the discussion threads becoming too crowded so ireally want the modules and discussion activities to be limited to the folks in the group in terms of what students see. Sorry if I'm a bit slow on the uptake, first time we've done this...

Dave

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Community Member

Your understanding is correct David.

Just make sure you set up your discussions as a group and the all important checkbox is checked

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Community Member

This is perfect - the lightbulb just went off! I really appreciate your time and help. Thank you!clong@hbuhsd.edu

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Explorer

Hi David:

Although you did not say so in your original inquiry, I suspect you are talking about a training course about Canvas. If that is the case, then I wholeheartedly agree with clong@hbuhsd.edu​ and kristin.lundstrum@delasalle.com​ about using groups which would introduce faculty to that great functionality.

Some other considerations since your faculty are new to Canvas:

  • Model good course design practices in this training classroom, and point them out. "Please note this warm welcoming home page with instructions for getting started"
  • Create a Module structure with an introductory page in each module, with points on the importance of using modules and best practices in module organization
  • Create a course syllabus in the Syllabus description page, and use your district's syllabus template if you have one,
  • Limit left-side menu navigation items, and explain why this is a good idea,
  • Practice UDL/Accessibility in your course design, and discuss this in the course,
  • Design the course to be visually engaging (and still accessible) and discuss online student engagement practices.

In other words, don't just show them how to use Canvas; but rather, demonstrate how to use Canvas well!

You can learn more @Canvas Engagement Strategies

I hope this helps,

Agent K

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