When Nadia walked us through adding quiz questions and annotations to video in canvas, she highlighted the possibilities. But she also has a video that walks interested colleagues step by step through the how to’s of this tool: embedding quizzes and annotations in videos.
Thanks to all — especially our colleague Arturo Arevalos — for another lively session.
gym sullivan joyfully celebrating, cultivating, and connecting
Faculty may request to merge Canvas courses when they are teaching multiple sections of the same course in order to more efficiently share the same content across course sections, freeing up time for other instructional activity. This must be done prior to the start date of the course sections. For detailed steps on how to request combining of course sections, download the Combine your Class sections in SURF for Canvas guide. However, there are critical privacy issues faculty must be aware of if they choose to combine sections in Canvas.
*NOTE: If instructors combine multiple sections in Canvas, they are not able to offer an Honors Contract in that course.
According to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, students cannot have access to student information (including the fact of their enrollment) of students in course sections other than their own (with the exception noted below). Because of this requirement, students are not allowed to interact within a Canvas course with students from another course section.
Canvas limits the visibility of students from other sections in a merged Canvas course. However, this does not cover all Canvas tools, so if you request to merge Canvas courses, you’ll need to take additional steps to protect your students’ privacy, as outlined in this document.
NOTE: FERPA restrictions do not apply to a merged Canvas course if students physically meet in the same classroom at the same time (i.e. “true cross-listed courses”). Course sections that meet simultaneously typically are combined in Canvas by default, and this document is not relevant for those merged courses.
What Canvas Does for You
In Canvas courses merged upon faculty request, students are prevented from seeing students in sections other than their own in
the full roster view of the People tool,
and the Inbox (Conversations).
What You Must Do to Maintain FERPA Compliance in a Merged Canvas Course
Click Settings in your course menu and:
Under the Navigation tab, be sure that the Chat and Conferences items are hidden from students. If they are active (appearing in the top grouping of navigation items), drag them to the lower grouping or click the gear icon at the right of each and click Disable. Be sure to scroll down and click Save at the bottom.
Under the Course Details tab, scroll down and click more options. Make sure that: Let students create discussion topics is NOT checked Let students organize their own groups is NOT checked Disable comments on announcements IS checked
Click the Update Course Details button at bottom.
Ensure that each section has its own separate discussion
For graded discussions, restrict each discussion to an individual section using the Assign to option. See Canvas guide for details. See further details on section restriction under the What You May Do section below.
For ungraded discussions, use the Post to option (immediately below the discussion description) to select an individual section for the discussion.
Note – if you want each section to engage in discussions about the same topics, simply Duplicate the original discussion and modify it so it is available to a different section of students.
Be sure to add students to Collaborations who are enrolled in the same course section. The Collaboration setup screen doesn’t display section information for students, so you will need to refer to the People area.
If/when you send a Canvas Inbox message to students from multiple sections
Select the option to Send an individual message to each recipient. This will send a separate copy to each recipient and hide the names of the recipients in the message header. You may also compose messages addressed to all members of a specific course section.
If/when you offer synchronous (live) online sessions (e.g. use Zoom)
If a synchronous meeting is required, hold separate synchronous meetings with each section. If a synchronous meeting is optional, you may hold one meeting for both sections, but make sure students understand how to participate anonymously. If you record a synchronous meeting where student identities are revealed, share the recording only with the section that participated in the meeting. If you wish to share a recorded synchronous meeting more widely, you must ensure that student identities are not revealed. Please review the Guidance for Synchronous Instruction at MiraCosta College to Protect Student Privacy document for more details.
What You May Do: Setting Calendar Events and Assignment Due Dates by Section
Note: This section is not required for FERPA compliance but may be helpful for managing a merged course if you would like to create differentiated events/activities for different sections.
The following Canvas Guides will help you create Canvas activities/assignments specific to a particular section within a merged course:
(Discussions must be separated by section – see notes in the What You Must Do section above.)
Note that when creating events/activities that are differentiated by section, you will need to select the section name in the Assign to area, which displays only a few options and is not scrollable. If your desired section is not displayed as an option, you will need to type in the section name until it shows up as an option to select.
Section names can be seen if you click Settings in the Course Menu and then the Sections tab. You may also click People in the course menu to see which section each enrolled student is assigned to. Sections with students have names ending in -SURF; to include your test student account in any differentiated activity in a merged course, you would also need to include one of the -OTHER sections available within the merged course.
Portions of this document are adapted from material originally developed by Seattle University and modified by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College district. Additional portions are adapted from material developed by Indiana University and modified by Cornell University.
I hope your fall is starting well! If you’re looking for a boost to your communication with students but haven’t tried Pronto, this might be a good moment to learn more about it!
Pronto’s a messaging tool that’s integrated with Canvas and also has a fantastic mobile app. We’ve had Pronto at MiraCosta for over 2 years now, and (I just checked) over 9600 MiraCostans have sent almost 176,000 messages with Pronto!
To learn more:
Check out our TIC page on Pronto, which includes links to recorded MiraCosta faculty-led workshops, Pronto guides, and everything else you’d need to get started.
Join our Canvas Pronto Practice course to get access to a Pronto conversation sandbox/playground with other Pronto-interested MiraCosta faculty.
Pronto is an app that works within and outside of Canvas to enable seamless, fun, and effective communication between faculty and students, and among students. Many California Community Colleges are now using Pronto. An initial pilot in 2021-22 went extremely well, and Pronto has been institutionalized going forward!
Some stats as of the start of fall 2023, after two years of using Pronto at MiraCosta:
nearly 9,600 MiraCostans signed in to Pronto
nearly 176,000 messages sent
nearly 37,000 groups created
What Pronto Offers
Real-time Chat Without having to share phone numbers or other contact information, now you have real-time messaging across each class and to individuals. Send text messages, files, images, emojis, and GIFs!
Message Translation Pronto gives everyone a voice by allowing them to send messages in their preferred language, and Pronto then automatically translates messages into the recipient’s preferred language.
Live-stream & Group Video Chat
Broadcast live video to your classes, and record your video sessions for replay. This may be a nice alternative to Zoom for things like office hours, group meetings, and more. Viewers interact using the chat button. It keeps the process smooth. Here is a video from Fabiola Torres of Glendale CC on how she uses the live-stream feature for class.
Chat via live video with up to 10 people simultaneously. Perfect for group projects!
Live 1:1 video chat any time for face-to-face interaction with a student. Or live-stream with a student and they can chat (they don’t have to be on camera).
Announcements Keep your entire course in the loop by sending a message to the whole class. It’s like sending a real-time announcement to your entire class. Keep everyone updated on assignments, tech glitches, emergency alerts, and any other important information you need to get out instantly.
File Sharing & Storage Share any file type—documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, photos, videos, and more. All files stored in Pronto remain available through Pronto for easy retrieval with no storage limits. Pronto integrates with all reputable cloud storage repositories, including Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, and Google Drive.
Task Management Keeps students organized and accountable by assigning tasks. Tasks allows you to create reminders for yourself or others in groups—attach files, photos, or videos and assign due dates with auto-reminders for each task. Here is a video from Professor Gomez of Glendale CC demonstrating how to assign a task.
Accessibilityand Privacy Pronto is both WCAG 2.0 AA and FERPA compliant. Pronto keeps you connected to everyone without sharing personal contact information.
Check out this brief introduction to Pronto from MiraCosta faculty member Tanessa Sanchez:
Where Can I Access Pronto?
Pronto is available in 3 ways:
Directly within Canvas. If you are enrolled in any published course where Pronto is active, you will see the Pronto icon at the bottom left of Canvas, in the Global Navigation menu (you may need to scroll the menu down). Selecting the Pronto icon will open up Pronto to the latest chat you have had open or the course/group with which you are currently engaged.
The first time you use Pronto, you’ll need to provide your MiraCosta email address and then enter a code that Pronto will send to your email. If you are not yet enrolled in any course that is published and uses Pronto, you may need to wait until that occurs for this step to work.
Pronto only becomes active for a course after it is published. NOTE: this doesn’t happen automatically – Pronto becomes active for a newly-published course once the next synchronization between Pronto and Canvas occurs – this happens daily at 7 pm PST. But if you want to make Pronto active immediately after publishing a course, you can manually enable Pronto in the Pronto course management tool.
Do I have to use Pronto?
No, Pronto is available but you can ignore it. Doing so will still allow your students to use it. If you wish to turn off Pronto temporarily or permanently for a class, you can do that too. (Even if you like having Pronto on most of the time, you may wish to shut it off during an exam, for example.)
Students added to your Canvas class will not be able to use Pronto for the class until the next Pronto synchronization occurs. You can use the Pronto Course Management tool to manually force Pronto to synchronize with a course if necessary.
Faculty can’t see Pronto in Canvas’s Student View. If you wish to experience Pronto within your course as your students would, you need to use your “fake student” account. But rest assured that the student experience with Pronto is just about identical to what you see on the faculty side.
On mobile devices, Pronto will not show up within the Canvas app or inside of Canvas in a mobile browser. Use the free Pronto app (search “Pronto: Team Communication”)
Here are some excellent additional Pronto resources:
Pronto vs. Discord – Discord is a popular tool for free-flowing online class discussions – it has its downsides though as a tool that has not been vetted by the college and is outside of the college’s control