Spring course availability in Canvas (and Blackboard)

All class sections scheduled for the spring semester now are available in Canvas where you can begin to work and build! If you expected a class to be set up for you, but aren’t seeing it in Canvas, check SURF to make sure the class is in the schedule and assigned to you.

There are many options for learning Canvas, including a 4-week online class led by MiraCosta faculty starting Nov. 13 – sign up here. Also, MiraCosta faculty now have access to a variety of great live online trainings conducted daily by Canvas staff through February 15. Create a training account using your miracosta.edu email address and then check out all the training events! Please contact me if you are looking for any guidance on which Canvas learning resources are best for you.

If you’re already using Canvas, you probably have noticed your spring classes showing up in your Dashboard. If you’d like your Dashboard to only show fall classes for now, check out this tutorial for customizing your course lists.

Remember, this spring is the final semester in which Blackboard and Moodle are options for teaching at MiraCosta. Blackboard classes for spring will NOT be automatically created – any faculty wanting to use Blackboard this spring must make a request using the Online Ed support request form.

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

Selectively Subscribing to a Canvas Discussion Board

Here is a video, from Dr. Robert Kelley, that covers how faculty can selectively subscribe to a discussion board in Canvas (choosing immediate or daily/weekly summary).  The hack is to use a separate student Canvas account, with notifications set up in the student account as desired (immediate or daily/weekly summary).

Video: https://youtu.be/21VOacuxjl8

For example, this approach has application for faculty who would like to provide an ‘Ask A Question’ discussion board for their class (and receive notifications in their inbox for request for help) without being notified all the time for any discussion board post.

Add a TA or other MCC Employee to Canvas

Instructors of Canvas classes can add a TA or other MiraCosta College employee to your Canvas course with TA, designer, or observer permissions.

DO NOT add students to your course on Canvas. Students are automatically enrolled from SURF to your Canvas course several times a day.

You should not add anyone to Canvas as a teacher. Teachers are assigned via SURF.

For Canvas access for other special cases such as faculty evaluators, tutors, writing center supplemental instruction leaders, or community education students, please see this post.

Add a TA or other MCC Employee to Canvas

  1. Enter your Canvas course
  2. Click People on the left course menu
  3. Click the +People button at far right
  4. Select Login IDAdd People
  5. Enter SURF ID of the user in the box.
    • You can enter one user at a time.  Example: jjulius
    • Or multiples with a comma and space between eachExample: jjulius, mparks
  6. Select the appropriate role for the user. ‍
    • Available role options are TA, Teacher, Designer, and Observer (see below for details on these options)
  7. Click the Next button
    • Some IDs may already be used in Canvas at other colleges. If you get a prompt about this, select the ID that is associated with MiraCosta College.
  8. Click the Add Users button

Add user from MiraCosta College

Course Roles Explained

Note: None of the following should be used for evaluators, tutors, SI leaders, or community education students. See separate instructions if you need to add any of those.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Role

  • Primary use: TAs assigned to a specific class to help the instructor.
  • Permissions: TAs have permissions equivalent to the Teacher role. They have all course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit and delete all content in a course; grade students; edit course settings; and manually add individuals with active Canvas user accounts.
  • Limitations: None.

Teacher

  • Please DO NOT use this role. Teachers are assigned automatically based on SURF.

Designer

  • Primary use: Department staff, content providers, and other instructional support staff.
  • Permissions: Create course content, discussions, announcements, assignments, quizzes, and other content features.
  • Limitations: Designers cannot add other individuals to a course and cannot access grades.

Observer

  • Primary use: Mentors, advisors, and others who need to monitor a student in a course. This is not for course evaluation.
  • Permissions: Observers have access to view course content.
  • Limitations: Observers have no permissions to edit or participate in course activities.
  • See the Canvas guide on the Observer role for more info

Add NetTutor to Canvas

MiraCosta’s primary option for free online tutoring for all students is eTutoring through the Western eTutoring Consortium. Another option made available through MiraCosta’s status as an Online Education Initiative pilot college is NetTutor.

NetTutor provides support for just about any academic subject, up to 24×7 for the most popular subject matter, and is available via a link embedded within your class course management system environment (Blackboard or Canvas). 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.

NetTutor can be added to a Canvas course via the course menu with the following directions. Note, however, that you should first contact Jim Julius to ensure that your subject is available through the NetTutor link that this procedure would add to your class.

1- Click Settings at the bottom of your course menu

Canvas SEttings

2- Click the Navigation tab

Navigation step 2

3- Click the gear icon to the right of NetTutor

4- Select +Enable

5- Click the Save button

Step 3-5 add NetTutor

NetTutor link now appears in your course menu.

Try These 10 Things To Fix Your Computer Problem Before You Call Support

Troubleshooting computer problems is part of modern life when you teach online. Before you make that support call, try your hand at fixing some of the most common problems yourself.

  1. Check your Course Management System (CMS) Status
    Is it a maintenance time? Or is your CMS currently experiencing an outage?

    1. Canvas
    2. Moodle
    3. Blackboard
  2. Clear Browser Cache (history, cookies, etc.)
    Clearing your browser cache often will resolve the problem by allowing your computer to download the latest version of the webpage and/or software.
  3. Try a Different Browser
    If you have cleared your browser cache and things are still not working as you expect try a different browser. Example: if you are using Chrome, try Firefox and visa versa. Ensure that your browsers are up to date. You can always download the latest version free online.

    1. Chrome
    2. Firefox
  4. Restart your Computer
    Many faculty and staff solve their problems with this simple step. Always a good option to try.
  5. Check your Internet Connection Speed
    A slow connection could be why your CMS system is running slow.  Share your result with your internet service provider as necessary to resolve.
  6. Enable Browser Cookies
    Cookies are small files which are stored on a user’s computer. They are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. This allows the online server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user, or the page itself can contain some script which is aware of the data in the cookie and so is able to carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.
  7. Enable Java
    It strongly recommended to have the latest version to ensure proper functionality of our online systems.

    1. Review ‘What is Java and Why do I need it?
    2. Download Java
  8. Manage Pop-Up Blockers
    Pop-up windows, or pop-ups, are windows that appear automatically without your permission. They vary in size but usually don’t cover the whole screen. They are often required for certain online website applications to work properly.
  9. Make sure that your Operating System is fully updated. 
    Neglecting updates could deprive you of important bug and performance fixes.

    1. Apple Computer
    2. PC Computer 
  10. Check your Device Settings
    This is a great tool to identify what is on your computer, browser version, plugins, etc. This tool can help you update your computer yourself, and/or can be provided to tech support to assist you further with troubleshooting.
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