Anywhere, Anytime: My Adjunct Faculty Experience with Canvas Teacher.

Learner II
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This semester, I challenged myself to only use Teacher when grading and providing feedback. The release of Canvas Teacher got me like:

tl;dr Overwhelmingly positive.

Context

The course I am (was, by the time some of you may be reading this) teaching is Foundations of Online Learning. It needed a redesign, so my focus was on mobile-friendly Universal Design for Learning concepts and OER content. One discussion per week and assignments that made use of design choice including Adobe Spark, Canva, FlipGrid and other non-traditional assignment submission types.

As an eight-week course, and with a full-time job during the week and little spare time outside of work (tbh, I'd rather hang out with my family than grade all the time), it was important to me to find balance.

Being up earlier than the rest of my family, that meant that I could grade assignments that came in on Monday on Tuesday morning, and be caught up and ready to go for Tuesday submissions on Wednesday. The variety offered to me for providing on-the-go comments with my iOS camera and microphone, or annotating with DocViewer, were really stellar. I could do all of that while laying down on the couch in my jammies, rather than trying to prop a MacBook Pro on my lap with cats running around.

Highlights

  • Grading anytime, anywhere. I graded assignments in the early morning with a cup of tea, in between takes at band practice and before bed. All on different devices, as the situation warranted.
  • Editing announcements and assignments on the fly: Based on feedback from the students, I was able to flex Teacher's muscles by adapting course content to meet their needs.
  • Ran into an issue with drag and drop on iOS 11. Support was incredibly responsive and the issue was resolved.

Sticking points

  • Notifications for Teacher did not seem to work. I relied on notifications from Student.
    • If I did not have the Student app, notifications would not have pushed to me. It could have been a potential problem, but was resolved using a workaround.
  • No support for adding images to assignment submissions as a teacher. Had to go to mobile Canvas via Chrome for iOS. Bummer.

Many, many thanks to the team at Instructure for getting Teacher out to the community. Every opportunity I get to evangelize it, I do. I encourage everyone in this community that also teaches to try a similar experiment. Not only is it worth it, I now have a better sense of how to be more responsive to faculty concerns about the mobile Canvas experience.

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15 Comments
Community Member

Hi cgaudreau‌! I can definitely relate to your whole just-in-time experience (with or without cats). Since my online classes are my full-time teaching job, I'm usually at my desk with regular computer and keyboard, but I know my students are often on the run, trying to squeeze in assignments here and there, so I like to make sure the assignments really are squeezable, letting them know which assignments they can do in a few spare minutes on their phone as opposed to the assignments where they need to sit down, focus, and write. One of the things I really like about using Blogger as the platform for most of my class content is that it is very phone-friendly, defaulting automatically to mobile view when they students are looking at content (my blogs, or the blogs of fellow students!) on their phones, and I can even simulate the mobile view by just adding ?m=1 to any blog post page. Even if I'm not working on a phone, I like to see what students see if that is the option they are using. 

Growth Mindset Resources 

(mobilized with the power of m=1)

Compare the regular site:

Growth Mindset Resources 

Instructure
Instructure

Hey cgaudreau -

Thanks for the feedback! I'll share this with the rest of the team tomorrow. We're in the process of adding push notification support for teacher app, and I bet we can make uploading photos to submission comments happen.

Learner II

Instructure
Instructure

For anyone interested in push notifications in teacher app, we're adding support for the following types, which can be set from your notification settings in Canvas web:

  • Announcement Created By You (announcements created by you and replies to announcements you've created)
  • All Submissions (assignment submission/resubmission)
  • Late Grading (late assignment submission)
  • Submission Comments (student-posted submission comments)
  • Added To Conversation (you are added to a conversation)
  • Conversation Message (new conversation message)
  • Discussion (new discussion topic in your course)
  • Discussion post (new discussion post in a topic you're subscribed to)

We're in the process of working on deep linking now so that you can tap the notification to land where you'd expect (e.g., receive late assignment submission notification -> tap notification to open that submission in SpeedGrader)

Learner II

That deep linking sounds excellent. Sharing this post with my team.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks pcraighill@instructure.com‌ - This will be a great addition to the app. I noticed that when I open the app for the first time it asks me to give iOS permission for push notifications. Was that in preparation for this feature in the future? 

As for notifications, I will make another post in CMUG, so we don't highjack this one and give more visibility in case anyone has suggestions. 

Instructure
Instructure

We've got a local push in the app today that lets you know if an audio/video submission comment failed to upload, which is currently the only reason the app asks you to approve push notifications. Particularly relevant for A/V comments because they're relatively large files and you could move around the app or lose connectivity and not realize a failure otherwise.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Nice, it's good to know that. I never thought about having to give permission for local notifications. Thanks, Apple. 

Learner II

This happened yesterday. Thanks, Teacher team, for making a product that continues to improve my workflow.

A pacifier, Apple pencil, headphones and an iPad running Canvas Teacher and Spotify on a couch.

Learner II

pcraighill@instructure.com‌, is there anything in the works that will allow audio/video submissions to be played inside the Teacher for iOS?

I do a lot of mixed media assignments, and have to port the file over to Drive (as an example) in order to listen back to it. Not super inconvenient for me, but could be a sticking point for non-digitally literate faculty.

Instructure
Instructure

Hey cgaudreau‌! You're talking about playing A/V comments in the Comments tab of SG, right?

Learner II

pcraighill@instructure.com, I was thinking about the assignment submission itself. Not sure if this has to do with file type, because another student that submitted a media recording via Canvas does display in Teacher for iOS.

Sorry, I should have included screenshots when I asked the question Smiley Happy

Assignment grading view via Teacher for iOS

Canvas Teacher for iOS displaying a media recording interface

Instructure
Instructure

Ok, gotcha. Any file types other than .m4a you'd want to see? I think we're only limited in iOS by what WKWebView will render, which Apple doesn't document very well, but we can give some others a shot.

Community Coach
Community Coach

pcraighill@instructure.com‌, 

I would think anything that supports MPEG-4 (audio and/or video) or other standards like (mp3) would be nice. I know Apple makes this fairly difficult, but if proper formats were known and documented for support in the Teacher app, then teachers could only request those types of files from their students. 

Learner II

Ryan beat me to it, but that is exactly what I was thinking: Standardized audio and video formats (such as .mp3 and.mp4) would be a wonderful addition.

Thanks for asking, and thanks Ryan.Seilhamer@ucf.edu‌ for being on the same page Smiley Happy