MiraCosta Canvas Instructor Info – Fall 2017

To MiraCosta faculty who are using Canvas this fall:

Thanks for your efforts in switching to Canvas! It’s looking like around half of our classes are using Canvas this fall. Below are some informational and invitational items that may interest you:

Turnitin Update for Canvas

Yesterday, Turnitin enhanced the assignment inbox within Canvas. Here’s a 1.5 minute video with an overview of the changes, if you’re a Turnitin user.

Past Canvas Classes May Remain Visible to Students

A significant difference between Blackboard and Canvas is that concluded Canvas classes from past semesters remain by default open to students. Canvas is smart about closing off some things that might compromise academic integrity, and I think it can be quite beneficial for students to be able to go back to review course material and discussion. However, if you are concerned about this idea and would like to learn more, and/or would like to know how to prevent students from accessing classes once the semester is done, please review this tutorial.

Canvas Mobile App Differences/Limitations

Canvas’s mobile apps are quite good, but they don’t give students and teachers all the same experiences that would get when they access Canvas via browser. If you’d like to know more about the differences, here’s a document that helps provide some detail. (And if you didn’t know that Canvas has a special app for teachers, it does! Get it for iOS or Android.)

One difference that’s not made clear on the document linked above is that if you enable the course setting to display recent announcements at the top of your course home page, they don’t actually display on the home page when viewed through the app. One of our instructors noticed this and brought it to my attention. I submitted a Feature Request to Canvas asking that this work in the app the same as in the browser. If you use this feature and agree, you can upvote the feature idea.

Canvas Feature Requests

Speaking of feature ideas, one of the nice things about Canvas is that you can influence its development. A number of you have reached out to me and/or Karen with suggestions – actually, you can go directly to the Feature Idea forums and vote on ideas or submit your own. Here’s a guide to how all that works if you’re interested.

Enhanced Gradebook Coming

Canvas has a beta-version gradebook with some significant updates that’s now an option for you. Check out this ~8 minute video and if you’d like to give this a try in a sandbox class, contact Karen Turpin (kturpin@miracosta.edu). Or just have a look and know that enhancements should be rolling into everyone’s Canvas classes within the next few months!

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

 

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.

Copying into Canvas from Blackboard or Canvas

MiraCosta College has transitioned from Blackboard to Canvas. Starting in summer 2018, Canvas is the sole supported course management system for MiraCosta classes.

Canvas to Canvas

If you are teaching with Canvas, and/or you have created content within a Canvas course you can copy the entire course or parts of the course into one Canvas course from another.

Blackboard to Canvas

When moving your course from Blackboard to Canvas, it is recommended to only export parts, not all, of your Blackboard course. Hopefully you exported what you needed prior to the close of Blackboard at MiraCosta. If you discover you still need to export material from Blackboard, contact Karen Turpin for assistance.

These documents will help explain the process.

Content from Blackboard that is most likely to import well into Canvas

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Discussion Boards – Only discussion prompts will transfer over.
  • Tests, Surveys and Pools – These will transfer and be located in the Quizzes section of Canvas. Only multiple choice, fill in the blanks, essay, matching, numerical and formal will transfer. If not supported by Canvas, the question becomes a text only question.

For most other content and activities, it’s best to re-create/re-upload within Canvas. If you try to import entire courses or content areas into Canvas from Blackboard the work to re-organize and clean up the results generally exceeds the work to rebuild. Keep in mind that you can copy-paste text from Blackboard into Canvas – you don’t need to literally retype everything. It’s recommended that you use the “Paste and Match Style” command in your browser’s Edit menu, or first paste into an intermediate program where you can convert to unstyled text, to ensure that you don’t paste in unwanted code.

We have training classes and videos with ideas for Canvas. Check out the Canvas Information & Resources page.

Canvas User Profile Names

The first and last name displayed in your Canvas profile is stored in the preferred name field within the Peoplesoft / SURF registration system. Once your preferred name is updated in Peoplesoft / SURF it will update in Canvas during the next scheduled SURF integration.

To update your first or last name within your Canvas profile:

Faculty

Contact the Human Resource Office to update your preferred name in Peoplsoft/SURF.

Email: hr_dept@miracosta.edu
with a cc to: ragarcia@miracosta.edu

Specify that you want to update your preferred name in Peoplesoft/SURF for Canvas.

Note: If you update your preferred name in Peoplesoft/SURF for Canvas it will also update your instructor name on the SURF class schedule.

Please be advised that your permanent HR and payroll record will reflect your legal name unless you legally change your name and notify HR.

Students

This form is for students who wish to use a preferred name instead of their legal name for interactions with the College. This form should be filled out and submitted to the Admissions and Records Office.

Please be advised that your permanent record will reflect your legal name unless you legally change your name through the courts and complete MiraCosta College Change of Information form.

Canvas Scheduler to Manage Appointments

The Canvas Calendar allows students to schedule appointments within defined time periods. Scenarios can range from individual students choosing a time to meet in your office, all the way to sign-up sheets for who wants to attend a field trip event.

The Scheduler is a tool within the Calendar which allows the instructor to set up days and times when students can make reservations. For the official description check out “What is the Scheduler?” The Scheduler is an optional tool that we do have available here at MiraCosta College.

You may be wondering “How do I create an appointment group in the Scheduler?” That documentation covers several different use scenarios, so I’d like to suggest two specifics:

  1. Set up office hour time windows, and allow students to reserve one or more half-hour appointment times.
  2. Set up a scheduled event, and allow up to twenty students to reserve seats at that event.

For the first scenario, you’d want to set up your appointment group with wide time periods, such as from 10 am until 4 pm on Friday. Then you’d want to tell the appointment group to apply to any number of your courses, so that all your students will be able to reserve into the same appointment group. (This will ensure no dual bookings!) Finally you would tell the appointment group to divide into equal slots of 30 minutes. You’d probably want to limit students to attend a single session, else you could end up with a student reserving multiple time slots in a row.

For the second scenario, you’d set up your appointment group for the times of the event, such as from noon to 2 pm on Saturday. If this event is at an odd location be sure to specify that in the Location field. If this event can only support twenty students, set the Limit each time slot to 20 users.

In each of these scenarios, once you have the appointment group set up, students would follow the same procedure to reserve time. They can go into the Calendar in Canvas, and click the Scheduler button, then click on the appointment group, and finally click on the time slot they want to attend. This process is also detailed in “How do I sign up for an appointment using the Scheduler?

And if you want to message students about signing up using the scheduler, you can go into your appointment group, copy the address from the address bar of your browser, and send that link to your students. If they click the link, they’ll be prompted to log in to Canvas, and then should be taken directly to the appointment group. But of course they can always navigate to the Calendar and click the Scheduler button too.

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