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 https://www.canvaslms.com/try-canvas.
  • 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

April Online Ed News You Can Use

Welcome back!

Course Management System Evaluation – STILL TIME FOR YOU TO PROVIDE INPUT!

Thanks to all who have responded to the CMS evaluation survey to help our task force choose between Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas. If you haven’t yet done so, please see http://miracosta.edu/cms-eval for background on the evaluation, and by this Thursday morning, faculty may complete the feedback process detailed at:


Student Orientation to Online Learning – TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY

Two final SOOL sessions (especially for late-start online students) will be offered on 3/29 (4 pm) and 3/30 (9 am), both online.

Any instructor can now use SURF to find out which of their students have attended. Scroll to the bottom of any SURF Class Roster page, and click the “Student Orientation to Online Learning Roster” link to get a PDF showing which students attended an orientation, and on what date.

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 use them as you “develop and redesign online classes” and to “foster conversation in departments about online instruction.”

Open Educational Resources Adoption Grant for 2016-17

MiraCosta will be submitting a grant to support the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) in 2016-17 in order to reduce course material costs for students. I’ve been in touch with a number of interested departments and faculty, but if you’d like to learn more about OER or are interested to hear more about how these funds might provide support for you and your students, please contact me.

Online Teaching Conference

MiraCosta College has been sending great groups of faculty to OTC for several years. It’s again in San Diego, June 16-17 – see the conference website for details. It’s likely that Online Education will have budget to again support attendance for a number of faculty. If you are interested, please send me an email (jjulius@miracosta.edu) letting me know which hybrid/online classes you expect to teach in summer or fall (if any), and when the last time was that you attended OTC (if ever). Likely my budget can support registration and parking/mileage, but not hotel stays.

Professional Learning Opportunities (got Flex?)

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

March Online Ed News You Can Use

Course Management System Evaluation Update

The task force of faculty, staff, students, and administrators is working hard on this, and March will be a big month for getting your input. See http://miracosta.edu/cms-eval to view the 1-hour Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle demonstration videos from Flex week, and to see details on our evaluation process. You can also learn there how to get access to Canvas, the latest Blackboard Ultra, and Moodle, if you’d like to try any of the systems out for yourself. Stay tuned for more from the task force!

Student Orientation to Online Learning Attendance Reporting

Almost 300 students have attended a Student Orientation to Online Learning this semester, bringing the total to nearly 1200 students since we began offering this two years ago. I’m very happy to announce that any instructor can now use SURF to find out which of their 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. If the roster doesn’t open, please ensure that it wasn’t blocked by a popup blocker. Two final SOOL sessions will be offered on 3/29 and 3/30.

Open Educational Resources Support

Recent legislation (AB 798) makes $50,000 per college available to support the development and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) in order to reduce textbook costs to students. Support for OER is an item in the Online Education Plan, but OER, while often digital, can also be in print and can be used in any class. If you’d like to learn more about OER or are interested to hear more about how these funds might provide support for you and your students, please contact me.

TIC Resources: Now with iPad Pro!

Remember that OC 1253, the Technology/Teaching Innovation Center, includes workstations, software, and a space for faculty to work in a supportive environment. We also have laptops, netbooks, tablets, and more available for checkout, if you’d like to explore a new tool and/or check out how your online class looks on different devices. Our newest devices are two iPad Pros. Visit the Tools in the TIC webpage to learn more.

Online Education Initiative (OEI) Update

MiraCosta College is one of 24 OEI pilot colleges; two of our faculty have been actively teaching OEI pilot classes and several others are moving toward doing so. Eight of the pilot colleges are planning to pilot the OEI Course Exchange this fall; MiraCosta at present is not slated to do so until fall of 2017. However, many resources are already available to all MiraCosta online instructors through the OEI. See the latest update from OEI’s director to learn more.

Professional Learning Opportunities (got Flex?)

  • The ASCCC is holding a regional meeting on Online Education at Glendale College on Saturday, April 9. I can support faculty attendance – let me know if you are interested.
  • The Online Teaching Conference is returning to San Diego this June. If you have been accepted as a presenter, please let me know! I’ll begin recruiting general faculty interest around spring break (early bird registration ends April 15).
  • Are you interested in becoming a peer course reviewer for the OEI, or just learning more about the OEI course rubric? 1-day workshops are coming up, with the closest this Friday 3/4 at Orange Coast College. I can support faculty attendance – let me know if you are interested.
  • The University of Central Florida is running a free, open course called Becoming a Blended Learning Designer this spring – it started a week ago so check it out!
  • March 7-11 is Open Education Week with all kinds of free online presentations and learning opportunities.
  • Check out recorded archives of past Online Education workshops .
  • Take @One’s free, self-paced Introduction to Teaching with Canvas if you’re curious about the Canvas course management system.

– Jim

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

New Year 2016 Online Ed News You Can Use

Spring Student Orientations to Online Learning

I will offer ten online learning orientation sessions this spring, starting on Tuesday 1/27. Please share the schedule with your online/hybrid students and encourage their attendance. AIS is nearing the completion of a SURF roster report that will make it easy to see which of your students in a given class have completed an online learning orientation and when – look for more info from me on that soon.

Online Instructors: Please Update Online Class Schedule

For all those teaching an online or hybrid course this spring, please make sure your class description is up to date on the separate Online Class Schedule page. Students use this page to learn how to get started with your class, and you can provide other important information there to help students prepare for success. The TIC site has information on how to update your class info.

Online Academic Support Resources for ALL Students

As you finalize your syllabi and course resources, please make your students aware of online tutoringonline writing center, and the 24×7 online ask-a-librarian service (under “ASK US” 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.

Course Management System Evaluation this Spring

This spring, MiraCosta College will be re-evaluating its course management system. The process began with demos by representatives of Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas last week. These demos were recorded and will soon be available online. A taskforce has been formed and will be meeting soon to guide this evaluation process – stay tuned for more details and opportunities for you to provide input.

Online Ed Tools Notes

  • Blackboard’s Video Everywhere tool is no longer working with YouTube.
  • TechSmith Relay’s captioning feature is no longer working with YouTube.
  • Blackboard’s Voice Tools will be discontinued this summer, and we now have VoiceThread available for faculty who wish to incorporate multimedia discussions into their classes. Learn more about VoiceThread.
  • Through the Online Education Initiative, all online classes at MiraCosta now have free access to an online proctoring/authentication tool called Proctorio. You can learn a bit more about it here, or contact Jim Julius for more information.

Professional Learning Opportunities (got Flex?)

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

Course Management System Semester-End Tasks

Blackboard faculty:

  • Review steps here including ensuring your grades total correctly, saving key information from your class, and copying courses into the spring.
  • Be aware that Google is planning to discontinue webcam recording in mid-January. This could mean that the “video anywhere” feature of Blackboard will no longer work at that point.

Moodle faculty:

  • Contact Moodle support for any questions about the grade book or archiving/copying current course information.
  • Remember that it is a good idea when setting up a spring class in Moodle to make the corresponding Blackboard class available and send students to Moodle from there. See Lisa Lane’s video on how to do this.
  • If you haven’t yet contacted Karen K (kkorstad@miracosta.edu) to set up a spring class in Moodle, please do so ASAP!
  • Be aware that Moodlerooms will be updating our Moodle version to 2.9.3 on Dec. 29. You can learn more about 2.9.3 and, if you’d like to preview it before 12/29, contact Karen K to get access to MiraCosta’s Moodle sandbox, which has already been updated.

All faculty:

  • This spring, MiraCosta will be conducting a course management system re-evaluation, taking a close look at how well Moodle, Canvas, and the next generation of Blackboard will support MiraCosta’s strategic online education plans for the next several years. We’ll have a major Flex event on 1/19 to start the process, featuring hour-long demonstrations of each system. Look for more information in January.

Have a great break!

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

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