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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Professional Development Ideas

So I have recently accepted a brand new position at my public HS as a Teach on special assignment as we roll out Canvas and a 1:1. I have (2) 3 hr sessions I am in charge of leading to help my colleagues get familiar with Canvas after having completely misused a different LMS for the past 3 years...any one have suggestions on most efficient way to spend a full 6 hr training day?

My first thought was to create every kind of basic activity. I made 4 different assignments each with a different submission type. 2 Discussions...1 graded with Peer reviews and one as a group discussion. Then I made a quiz using each of the question types in the normal version and the beta version. And have them exprience Canvas as a student then teach them how I set each one up for first half...Then sandbox it for the afternoon so that they leave their creating course shells with at least an outline of modules to build over the summer.

Anyone have any success stories or tips? 

Thanks in advance!

94 Replies
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

 @mjoaquin  So I had an idea about how to keep the assignments screen at bay for instructors with a lot of items in each group.

What if after the quarter ends and grades are finalized for the marking period, the teacher renames that group to "Test MP 1" and moves it to bottom and collapses it. Then creates a new group that is just named "Test" so it will sync to our SIS then we just repeat that process for each following Marking Period. I suppose the next year we will have to repeat that process and go through the group renaming, but it might help instructors from getting overwhelmed. 

Anybody see an issue with doing it this way?

I haven't thought about doing it this way. Most of my teachers don't use assignment groups, they tend to just keep them all as default. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Here are our stats after 10 weeks with Canvas...


I recently gave a student survey asking "What would you tell your teachers about their Canvas/Technology use so far?" I gave this survey to about 80 of our highest academic students via their IB or AP classes. a mix of Sophomores, mostly Juniors, and some seniors. The feedback was very good, but the overwhelming outcry was for 3 things...more unity in terms of how each teacher uses their Canvas page. Second, a call for organization and an end to other platforms such as Quia, Google Classroom. And lastly, notification muting, which can be overwhelming if not set properly or if teachers over use items such as announcements. As for the last one, the ball is in their court, but without an audience with the student body its hard to spread that news. Although I have been bullying my way into the Weekly news channel that all student watch weekly. I hope to offer a 'Tech Hack of the Week' segment. 

On the teacher end the biggest complaint is that they don't check their notifications or that they just swipe them away as a part of their smartphone culture like I would immediately through away any letter in my mailbox that resembles a circular ad from chain retailer.

My challenge with my colleagues is to continue to be patient and to continue to offer countless opportunities for people to learn F2F, online and during monthly PD meetings. We will also be offering a book club soon using "Thinking Skills for the Digital Generation" written by 2 locals professionals, 1 of whom is a medical doctor and the other a doctor of education. Both from outside the Philadelphia/Delaware area!

I chalk all of this up to growing pains. Just like flowers we have to grow through dirt. Simple trial and error! Change is a slow process and I think we are on the right track given the amount of prep time we have been given and also give the lack of oversight at the administration level. I think its a nice recipe for an organic, yet rocky, start. However, we will ultimately have a strong finish!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Impressive stats there  @jayoder !

And super helpful survey feedback. All great points for us to take note of. 

Thanks for the share. 

I like the idea!  How does it compare to having grading periods?

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I'm not sure to be honest we don't do grading periods in Canvas, our Tech dept did not want to set up grading periods. Not sure why... something about if we wanted to make a change after the grade period it would be more work to open up Canvas and our SIS to ge tthe grades synced, but I have a feeling it was self-serving. Smiley Happy

Anyone else do grading periods and SIS syncing (We use Skyward) I'd love to see if we should explore that for next year.


Canvas User Engagement

Their logic is why I have hesitated to do it. Anxious to see if you get any responses. THANKS!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Update: Things are going VERY well here. I recently looked at our analytics and the usage is incredible. We are now diving into the world of LTIs. Nearpod being on the top of the list! It seems to be the perfect triumvirate: Canvas, Chromebooks, Nearpod!

Although it appears my school may do away with my on assignment position as a tech integration specialist and return me to the classroom, which I think is premature since a lot of teachers need to the support and help as they continue to make sense of all the new tech and features within Canvas.

Take a look at our stats before we had my position (February 2018-June 2018)

301878_Baseline Analytics.PNG

Versus our stats (Aug 2018- December 2019 with my position in place)

301879_12-18-18 Analytics.PNG

Feel free to follow my daily journey on Twitter: @OJRTechCoach


I discovered earlier this year that I already followed you,  @jayoder ‌. lol. Love Twitter!!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I've also added some new weapons to my PD arsenal that I thought I'd share!

  • I have been podcasting with students and fellow teachers as a way to supplement F2F meetings and emails.
  • I have really built up our Faculty Canvas Resource Guide as a central hub so that the teachers can experience Canvas as a student as I assign them Demo assignments so they can really understand how the system works from both sides!
  • I have continued my blog!
  • After months of begging and pleading I finally got a spot on our student driven news show (The Paw Report) to do Canvas and Chromebook Hacks of the Week! My first intro airs Friday!
  • School Clubs and Homerooms have really taken off in Canvas allowing teachers and students to use Canvas in a less threatening way.
    • National Honor Society even uses Assignments to have them submit their Hours sheets (Think Mobile Check Deposit) and the Gradebook to help them track Community Service Hours to see how they are progressing on the quotas.
    • Guidance has created a hub of information for each class into a course!
  • I am beginning to play with Blueprints to help push out mass announcements into each Homeroom so no information gets lost in emails or missed in case of an absence!
  • My Twitter game is Strong!