Canvas now open to all MiraCosta faculty

All spring 2017 classes are available to faculty now in both Blackboard and Canvas. MiraCosta will support Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas through spring of 2018, with full conversion to Canvas by summer 2018. (Faculty who wish to use Moodle for any classes should request those from Karen Korstad –

Please see the TIC page on Canvas for lots of great resources if you wish to begin learning about Canvas. A number of MiraCosta faculty have been teaching Canvas pilot classes this fall, including the Canvas Transition Team of Billy Gunn, Curry Mitchell, Gail Meinhold, Leola McClure, and Robert Kelley. They are currently developing training resources to share with all faculty, and we will soon release a list of Canvas introduction/open lab sessions to be held this fall. We are also planning an all-day Canvas workshop for the first day of Flex week in January (Friday the 13th).

You may also be interested in the video of the fall Flex “Goodbye Blackboard and Moodle, Hello Canvas” webinar featuring Billy Gunn and Curry Mitchell.

Finally, if you have not seen the FA’s update on the Canvas transition, it is recommended reading.

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
MiraCosta College

Nov. 2016 Online Ed News You Can Use

Spring Classes – Blackboard & Canvas

All spring classes are available to faculty now in Blackboard, and will also be in Canvas within the next few days. Remember, MiraCosta will support Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas through spring of 2018, with full conversion to Canvas by summer 2018. Please see the TIC page on Canvas for lots of great resources if you wish to begin exploring Canvas now; you may also be interested in the video of the fall Flex “Goodbye Blackboard and Moodle, Hello Canvas” webinar featuring MiraCosta faculty Billy Gunn and Curry Mitchell. Also, if you have not seen the FA’s update on the Canvas transition, it is recommended reading.

Online Teaching Conference

After a few years in San Diego, the CCC Online Teaching Conference will be held in Anaheim June 19-21. The call for presentations is open until November 30, and the Office of Online Education will fund travel costs for all MiraCostans who have presentations accepted at the conference.

Blackboard Quiz/Test Bug

If you give Blackboard quizzes or tests that include open-ended questions, and that present all questions at once, please review the details about a problem with students using Internet Explorer 11 to take your quiz or test.

Turnitin Unavailability this Saturday, Nov. 5

Turnitin has scheduled maintenance this Saturday from 6-11 am which means Turnitin will not be available during that time. Please share this with your students if they might be trying to hand in work via Turnitin this weekend.

Blackboard Archive Access

Access to the Blackboard archive server, which contains courses from spring 2015 and earlier, is now restricted to AIS helpdesk staff. You may view directions for requesting an export of courses from spring 2015 or earlier.

Online Education Initiative (OEI) Update

MiraCosta is one of 24 pilot colleges in the OEI. Pat James, the OEI’s first executive director, is retiring in January and recently provided a thorough look back at all the OEI has accomplished and a look ahead at what is to come.

Professional Learning Opportunities

  • Take a 4-5 week online teaching class starting January 9 from @One. The Introduction to Teaching with Canvas course is free for MiraCosta faculty with the OEIfree4U code.
  • Get up to speed on 3CMediaSolutions, a great resource for storing, streaming, and curating instructional video.
  • Watch an archived online Flex workshop led by me or Karen Korstad from this fall or past semesters.
  • Santa Barbara City College is hosting a free event, Pedagogy to Increase Student Success: An Unconference for Online Educators on Feb. 25, 2017.

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Vice President, Academic Senate

Sept/Oct 2016 Online Ed News You Can Use

Happy fall!

Canvas Transition Update

MiraCosta’s two-year transition to Canvas is off to a good start with about 20 classes piloting it this fall. Among the faculty teaching with Canvas now are the stellar Canvas Transition Team – Billy Gunn, Robert Kelley, Leola McClure, Gail Meinhold,and Curry Mitchell, who will be providing leadership and support for faculty making the transition over the 2016–17 year. You can watch a fall Flex workshop featuring Billy and Curry talking about their experiences with Canvas, as well as me recapping the decision made in the spring.

Please see the TIC page on Canvas for lots of great resources if you wish to begin exploring Canvas now. All spring 2017 classes will be available in Canvas for faculty starting November 1. The Transition Team is working with me to offer many learning opportunities on Canvas this fall – details coming soon. The Program for Online Teaching is offering an opportunity to experience Canvas starting Oct. 3 – sign up at POT’s website.

Accreditation and Distance Education (DE)

With regard to DE, the visiting accrediting team will be looking at our institutional DE planning efforts, how we approve DE courses, what kinds of support services we provide to DE students, and how we evaluate and improve our DE. You may be interested in the slides and/or video of a Flex workshop on this subject that Chris Hill and I did this August, as well as a “cheat sheet” that calls out all the mentions of DE in our institutional self-study

The team will look for evidence at the class level as well. Just as they can visit classrooms, they also can enter into our online and hybrid classes. The key things they will likely look for are aligned with many of the “Essential” elements for DE in MiraCosta’s Online Class Quality Guidelines. I provided more details to all MiraCosta instructors currently teaching online and hybrid classes earlier this week; please contact me if you have questions.

Blackboard Outage this Weekend

Please note, AIS will be performing maintenance on Blackboard early this Sunday morning (9/25) from 2-6 AM, and Blackboard will not be available at that time.

Amazing New Resource for Online Professional Learning

The Professional Learning Network was initiated in 2016 to support faculty and staff from the CCC system. Sign up at to gain access to the video libraries of and Grovo, containing thousands of tutorials on software (including Canvas and Blackboard) and professional skills. The Professional Learning Network also includes resources (examples and materials shared by colleagues across the state), discussions, and a calendar of professional learning events. Your time spent engaging with these online professional development opportunities can be recorded as Other Pre-Approved Activity in MyFlex. 

Student Orientation to Online Learning 

Nearly 1500 students have attended one of these sessions since 2014. You may pull a report from the SURF Class Roster to see which of your students have attended an orientation session if you wish to require this or offer extra credit, as many instructors do. Two more sessions will be offered on October 18 & 19 – please share the schedule with your online/hybrid students and encourage their attendance. 

Captioning Support

Robert Erichsen of DSPS is coordinating the submission of media for captioning through a special grant-funded program. This is open to all instructors using online multimedia and it’s extremely important that we ensure such material is captioned. Please contact him to learn more:

More Online Professional Learning Opportunities

    • Take a 4-5 week online class starting October 24 on Canvas and online course design from @One
    • View archived sessions from June’s Online Teaching Conference in San Diego
    • Get up to speed on 3CMediaSolutions, a great resource for storing, streaming, and curating instructional video
    • Learn more about Open Educational Resources at a fall webinar from the Community College Consortium for OER
    • Watch a live or archived webcast about Turnitin
    • Watch a live or archived webinar from the Instructional Technology Council, aimed at supporting distance education in community colleges. MiraCosta has a membership; contact me for details.

In-Person Learning Opportunities of Note

    • MiraCosta faculty have been invited to attend an OER Summit at Santa Ana College on Friday, October 7, featuring David Wiley, one of the key figures in the OER movement. Visit Santa Ana’s OER site for more information, including RSVP details.
  • Save the date: Online Teaching Conference 2017 will be June 19-21 in Anaheim. 

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Vice President, Academic Senate

Message to Summer and Fall DE Instructors

Hello – as an instructor of a summer and/or fall online/hybrid class at MiraCosta, the following information and action items are especially for you.

1. Update Online Class Schedule

It’s time to update the MiraCosta Online Course Schedule. It is VERY important that you complete this. Students use this information during registration and after enrolling to find out more about your class(es). Students have been learning about this resource during the Student Orientation to Online Learning and appreciate having more details about online and hybrid classes.

Providing clear, detailed information helps students (a) determine if your class is right for them, and (b) get ready for success in your course. For fully online classes, students may be anxious about how they are expected to get started. For hybrid classes, students want to know what the expectations are for in-person meetings and/or proctoring. Please add this information! Some instructors include details such as how much time students should expect to commit, what days work will be due for online classes, and/or what course materials are required.

Directions to update your class details on the schedule:

  1. Go to the Online Course Schedule
  2. Click the Faculty Login link at the top right, and log in with your MCC username and password
    3. In the left menu, click on the + symbol to the left of Faculty Preferences (if the + symbol is displaying)
    4. In the left menu, click on Set Preferences (be patient, may take a few moments)
    5. Select the Term if necessary, and then select your class.
    6. If you have information from previous classes, you may copy it to the current class, or provide new information.
    7. Click the Set/Update Preferences button at bottom. A message appears toward the top, “Your preferences have been set for this course.”
    8. You may close the window, or choose a new class to update.

2. Incorporate Online Student Services, and consider tutoring options

Please make your students aware in your syllabus and online environment of online tutoring, online writing center, and the 24×7 online ask-a-librarian service (at upper right). These services are open to all MiraCosta students in any class! Also, the OEI has made its set of student online learning readiness modules open and available to anyone – feel free to link to any that you like.

A new online tutoring option for MiraCosta distance education classes is NetTutor, which is available to MiraCosta as a CCC Online Education Initiative pilot college. NetTutor provides 24×7 coverage of just about any academic subject, and is available via a link embedded within your class course management system environment (Blackboard or Moodle). The link would take students directly to the subject-specific tutoring area with no additional login required. Also with NetTutor, each instructor may specify “Rules of Engagement” that inform tutors about the approach and resources you would like them to use when working with your students. Contact me if you’re interested in NetTutor for your summer or fall class(es).

3. Refer your students to the Student Orientation to Online Learning

Over 1200 MiraCosta students have attended one of these sessions over the last two years. I will offer two online learning orientation sessions this summer and ten in the fall. Please share the schedule with your online/hybrid students and encourage their attendance. You can use SURF to find out which of your students have attended. When you scroll to the bottom of the Class Roster page, and click the “Student Orientation to Online Learning Roster” link, a PDF should open in a new browser tab or window with a roster showing which students attended an orientation, and on what date.

4. Consider the new MiraCosta Online Class Quality Guidelines

In March, the Academic Senate approved online class quality guidelines developed by the MiraCosta Online Educators committee. The document has two parts – (I) Essential elements for all distance education classes as already required in department and college policies and practices, and (II) Good practices featuring principles and examples commonly recommended for consideration in online education. Please take a look at these guidelines and put them to use!


MiraCosta transitioning to Canvas


As you have likely heard, MiraCosta College will be transitioning to the Canvas course management system over the next two years. This decision was finalized on Friday by the College Council, concluding an in-depth and inclusive process this spring. The attached 6-page document summarizes the evaluation process and provides an overview of the transition timeline and support over the next two years

Some important highlights:

  • Blackboard and Moodle will continue to be available through spring 2018; only Canvas will be supported for MiraCosta classes starting in summer 2018.
  • MiraCosta’s Canvas system will be available to all faculty starting this November.
  • For fall semester instruction, we have a limited license for Canvas, allowing for 400 total users (faculty and students), meaning that we likely can have 10-15 instructors using Canvas for one class each in fall 2016.
  • Faculty who wish to try out Canvas prior to November but who are not part of the fall pilot group may access Canvas for free via
  • See the MiraCosta TIC site with many links for Canvas training and support.
    I am planning to soon send out a call for interest in being one of the 10-15 fall pilot faculty using Canvas for one class. The intent is that this group would be involved over several semesters, and thus this opportunity is open only to full-time faculty. The expectations and support of these faculty are to be negotiated by the district and Faculty Assembly, but if you would like to let me know of your interest in this opportunity, please feel free to let me know. Once the structure has been determined for the pilot group, I will send a message to all full-time faculty.

It is worth noting that over 70 other California Community Colleges have also made the decision to transition to Canvas, including several of our SDICCCA neighbors.

Finally, my thanks to the faculty, staff, students and administrators who participated on the CMS evaluation task force. They accomplished excellent work in a very tight timeframe, and MiraCosta should be confident in the quality of the decision-making process.

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Vice President, Academic Senate

1 18 19 20 21 22 24