User Group Meeting: March 2020



Roundtable discussion topics

  • COVID-19 and You!



  • Sarah - Status
  • Kerri - VETNexus
  • Natacha and Aleisha - Tocal
  • Anneka - NCNZ
  • Casey - NCNZ
  • Zo - Aspire2 Intl.
  • Chris - Strawberry Solutions
  • Ruth and Tori - Instructure


Meeting Recording Link:

March 2020 User Group Recording Link


Meeting Minutes:


1) Contingency planning - how are you approaching the COVID-19 situation?

Status - Sarah

  • Online was going well with 2 quals and 500 enrolments...but now everything been turned upside down
  • Users are varying in digital literacy, proving somewhat of a challenge to support at times!
  • Trying to get as many resources online as possible, not pretty, but as many materials as possible
  • Only have 1 FT staff member plus Sarah who can upload content, trying to streamline permissions in the system
  • Prioritising session plans conversion to Pages into Canvas

Aspire2 International - Zo

  • Pushed back Term 2 start, and resuming Diplomas on April 27th --> to gain preparation time
  • Moving forward with tools staff are familiar with
  • Staff WFH, trying to ensure these members are equipped with required tech to deliver from home
  • Strong team working on distance delivery planning, with C level support to move on this
  • Priorities for near future:
    • Teacher training in selected tools
    • Zoom for lecture type and Teams for other conferencing areas
  • Strong foundation on Canvas already which has helped 

NCNZ - Anneka

  • Feeling very comfortable as were already delivering distance learning fully online
  • Mostly BAU, just WFH
  • Student welfare is priority i.e. extensions, maintaining normality
  • Last 6-12 months of the year had translated to required software etc so feeling strong
  • Strong use of Teams, loving it, biggest worry is running out of GIFs!

Strawberry Solutions - Chris

  • Trying to provide value adds, accelerating virtual classrooms, getting onboard to Canvas quickly
  • Offering help wherever they can provide it
  • Finding large market variation, some people are already online and sorted, some brand new and

Tocal - Aleisha

  • Cancelled many courses
  • Online Digital team of only 2, under the pump!!
  • Developed training resource on Canvas to help up-skill trainers quickly
  • Trying to promote as much online engagement as possible, building out this model
  • So many courses which are moving from F2F to online --> makes putting content up challenging as there’s no perfect substitute for F2F
  • Challenge is to create diverse offerings to manage their program content

2) Tips from NCNZ team and others

  • Don’t worry about getting everything perfect and pretty, get your content in so there’s something, and add layout, tools, videos etc upon second review
  • Keeping a consistent structure
  • Building from a word doc with how trainers want it to look, makes it easier to chunk and pull into course layout
  • Use Canvas Media tool to add content where possible
  • Consider the tools you have available to you before adding heaps of whiz bang things people need training on
  • Balancing synchronous and asynchronous delivery
  • Templates can make adding content so much easier to start with
  • Buddy system for staff who may get Canvas easily, and some who may find it difficult --> having them work together to alleviate some pressure for small online team
  • Streamline the Course Navigation to only what the students need
  • Think about how you can capitalise on Canvas features available to you like Discussions, Chat, Collaborations etc!

3) Virtual classroom tools / Conferencing

  • What is everyone using? Scenarios are varied from paper-based to online, or partially on board etc
  • Zo —> didn’t know what a shutdown would be like, so reviewed resources and delivery plans and which approach would lend itself best to align with this.
    • Using Canvas as centre of delivery ecosystem, larger courses adopting Zoom breakout rooms, integrates through an LTI, trialling this at the moment.
    • Zoom paying for a license, but Teams is free if you have O365. Leveraging off these two combined!
  • Sarah —> using Zoom a lot but not integrated at this point
  • Anneka and Casey —> Not using conferencing much as deliver more of authentic, some teachers have trialled Canvas Conferences but not many as yet
  • Chris —> Visual Classrooms, worth exploring in the apps area on Canvas courses  
  • Kerri —> Big Marker, easy to use, no download all browser based, not integrated with Canvas but a great tool!

4) Other native Canvas tools

Canvas Chat

  • Suit synchronous sessions
  • Configurable as an App through your CSM, just reach out!


Kerri's feedback from previous use:

  • Loved the group collaboration and ability to all contribute
  • Can be tricky if access is divided (i.e. some users have O365 and some have Google)
  • Found corporate environment often are locked out of Google, can be tricky
  • So can be very powerful if everyone has access, but be mindful of this for variety of clients
  • NCNZ may start exploring this, so will see how this goes!
  • Can use Canvas pages to have group collaborations, and can use versioning to see who’s added what to the page, important to have very clear instructions. Works well for simple collaborations


  • Canvas forums with gradable option
  • People can feel involved, create their own threads, ask questions
  • Check-ins, not necessarily assessed etc but teachers can post stimulus and then students move from there
  • NCNZ - use Discussions ALOT and have very good uptake and success
  • Sarah - anyone running rollout intake and using Discussion?
    • Kerri —> Does work well if you have a course cafe/social space where they can respond to questions for people who are further down the track compared to others. Kerris uses must reply before seeing responses to then open up existing chatter, this works regardless of how long ago others posted.
    • Tori —> Can have section specific discussions also. When you have a graded discussion, can’t specify to section.


Stay safe everyone and please, if you need help, reach out!!

We're in this together.