Faculty Online Mentors – Connect with the team today: Courses and 1:1 Support

Hello, Faculty Community! 

I hope this message finds you well and full of joy! 🎉

It’s hard to believe that we are already more than halfway through the spring semester, but don’t worry; there are still some amazing opportunities to take advantage of! Have you checked out the professional learning opportunities offered by the MiraCosta Online Mentors? They are fantastic!  You still have time to sign up for one of the three 4-week online teaching courses starting Monday, April 3. Register for one now. Please take a moment to learn more details about these three course options. I highly recommend you register for one of them now!

If you want or need 1:1 support, remember that our peer faculty online mentors are here for you! They are always willing to help, so don’t hesitate to connect with a peer faculty online mentor!

All of these opportunities are Flex eligible. All of these opportunities connect you with your faculty colleagues. All of these opportunities help us provide better teaching and learning for our students. 🙂 

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now, and let’s make the rest of the semester joyful and successful!

Stay joyful,

Sean Davis
Joyful Teacher in Residence 🙂
Coordinator, C3 Teaching and Learning Center
Sociology Department Chair

Professional Learning for Quality Online Teaching – Spring 23

I’m happy to share with you some cool opportunities coming up: online teaching courses led by MiraCosta faculty, a local AI discussion workshop series, the CCC Online Teaching Conference in June, and additional free webinars.

MiraCosta Online Mentors will offer three professional learning courses for MiraCosta faculty starting Monday, April 3. Sign up now for any of our three course options (quotes are from MiraCosta faculty who took these earlier this spring):

  • Introduction to Asynchronous Online Teaching and Learning (“It gave me many ideas on what to do in my own classes.”)
  • Creating Accessible Course Content (“This course can be helpful to any faculty, not only those with online courses but for anyone utilizing Canvas or other online resources”)
  • Humanizing Online Teaching and Learning (“This class is well organized and provides great samples to help you find new ways to connect with your students”)

We’ve held two great Zoom workshops about Artificial Intelligence this spring, with two more coming up on April 14 and May 12, 2-3:30 pm. You can view or join a developing Canvas course where you’ll find links to recordings and resources we’re gathering.

Registration for the 2023 CCC Online Teaching Conference June 21-23 in Long Beach is now open. The Online Education budget can provide support for registration costs for interested faculty – please reply to me to learn how. Don’t forget that there may be additional budget resources to support your attendance at this conference. Discounted registration ends May 10. Let’s send a good group of MiraCosta faculty to this excellent event!

Online teaching webinars and recordings that may interest you:

In partnership,

– Jim

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


Perusall Flex Workshop Recordings

  • Social Annotation with Perusall (Zoom Recording, 1 hour 5 minutes) – 1/16/2023 workshop by Jim Julius, Michael from Perusall, Rob Bond, John Kirwan, & Aaron Roberts


Perusall makes it possible to have students comment, discuss, and share by annotating a document or image. Some possibilities might include:

  • annotating the textbook together (Perusall offers many common textbooks within its framework — see the catalog)
  • uploading pdf files and having students highlight and annotate
  • uploading images or videos and having students annotate

Perusall has been used independently by a number of MiraCosta faculty for several years, but starting in 2022 the college has licensed it, making it easier for all faculty to engage students in these kinds of rich, interactive learning opportunities. Perusall can be quickly added to any Canvas course. MiraCosta instructor and online mentor Lisa M. Lane has been using Perusall for some time, and has provided instructions and videos below to help faculty get started. You can also reach out to Lisa (email: llane@miracosta.edu ) to arrange for 1-1 mentoring support.

Before class starts: set up Perusall

To get started, you need to set up a site in Perusall. Perusall calls this a “course”. There are two ways to do this.

1: For Canvas courses organized around activity types

If your course materials for students are already set up by type (quizzes, lectures, readings) in Canvas, you may want to add Perusall to the menu. 

  1. Click Settings at the bottom of your course menu
  2. Click the Navigation tab
Settings, then Navigation

3. Click the gear icon to the right of Perusall

4. Select +Enable

5. Click the Save button

The Perusall link now appears in your course menu. You can click on the Persuall menu link and a new browser window will open. The first time you do this, Perusall will establish Perusall account and sync it with your Canvas account. If you already had a free Perusall account using your MiraCosta email address, Perusall will merge that account with the one being set up under MiraCosta’s institutional Perusall license.

Click on the Perusall course menu link in Canvas
A new window opens in your browser connecting your Canvas account with Perusall.  

Upon first launch (for anyone), they will be guided on a tour of the platform. If they ever need to restart the tour, they can click their profile icon in the top right corner. 

2: For Canvas courses organized in modules or units

If your course materials are organized for students to use Modules or units, you may want to use a test assignment to open the Perusall course.

  1. Add an Assignment, call it Test Perusall
  2. Don’t worry about points, instructions, and other settings
  3. Use External Tool – Find – Perusall
  4. Check the box to open in a new window
  5. Save
  6. In the assignment, click on the box “Load Test Perusall in New Window”

After doing this to connect your Canvas class and Perusall, you’ll follow the same process for setting up each Perusall assignment, and you can change this first Test Perusall assignment later to use it as an actual assignment.

The video below demonstrates both of the above methods for adding Perusall to your Canvas class.

Set up an assignment in the Perusall course

On the Get Started page: fill in boxes, but be sure that if you are not using groups, the number of students is set to your maximum

Library: choose the type of content for the first assignment and upload or put in URL

Assignments: click Add Assignment and select the content from your Library, choose your parameters for that assignment

Copy the name of the assignment exactly — it must be the name of your assignment in Canvas (that’s how Canvas knows which Perusall assignment to use).

Watch the video below for a demonstration of this:

Perusall settings and grading

Here is a video overview of the Perusall settings for a course:

One big settings choice for scoring or grading is this:

  1. Do you want the work graded as it is done, with student scores increasing as they go? or
  2. Do you want the work graded at the end by the instructor?

These are included in Settings, above. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Having grades go up as the student works can provide extrinsic motivation, but can also force the student to work to Perusall’s standards. Grading at the end means working quite a bit with the gradebook in Perusall, and it causes a problem with due dates. If the due date in Perusall matches the due date in Canvas (as it should so students cannot work past the due date), and the instructor grades after that date, Canvas will show the assignment as late. This will need to be explained to students, or manually changed in the Canvas gradebook.

Preventing problems with students going to the wrong assignment

There are two ways this can happen.

The student may go to Perusall.com trying to find the work

If a student gets locked out of the assignment, they may try to get in through Perusall.com, making an account. If they are successful, they will be able to annotate, but their grades will not be pushed back into Canvas, and they won’t get a score (you will see this with a red warning exclamation mark in the Perusall grades).

Solution: Encourage students to only enter Perusall through Canvas, through your assignment.

The student may navigate inside Perusall and click on the wrong assignment using the Library

Once inside Perusall, students, like instructors, can click on the left-hand list of both the Library and the Assignments. That means they can jump ahead to the wrong assignment or even in some cases jump back to an assignment that has already been graded, and work within it when you don’t want them to.

Solution: The best way to prevent this is to set the availability period for assignments, then make a hidden folder in the Library, and put all the Library items in there. Then make sure all Assignments have a due date. That way they can only click on an assignment, and only when it is open.

The video below discusses both of these potential issues:

During the class: Participating in annotating and discussing

Some instructors participate in the annotations as they occur. When participating, it’s good to use the @ symbol to alert particular students that you have a public question or annotation on their annotation. Perusall also allows students to upvote, and for you to upvote, particular annotations. The interactive nature of social annotation allows it to be a replacement for discussion if that’s how the instructor wants to use it.

Set up advance annotations if desired

You can set up questions, add video clips, or annotate your assignment yourself before the class begins as well as during the class. Instructor annotations are saved and can be rolled over to the next semester.

Grading assignments

It is usually not advisable to rely on Perusall’s automatic scoring algorithm.

Perusall’s algorithm attempts to analyze the depth and usefulness of a student’s comment, and that may not align with your goals. For example, an instructor who wants students to post five short superficial annotations or one long in-depth annotation will find that Perusall cannot make this distinction, and may give the student posting one long annotation a lower score.

Until you know the system is scoring like you want it to, it’s a good idea to check each student’s contributions. This can be done using the Students tab from the Course home page in Perusall:

view of student tab

Other options

Perusall is a complex program and can do many things. Scoring can be refined with multiple parameters. Student scores can be averaged and turned into a single Perusall grade rather than individual assignments. The recommendations above are designed for those who are new to Perusall.

Canvas Student View Warning

Canvas’ Student View button will not work with Perusall, since Canvas doesn’t send an email address to Perusall as part of that launch. To see what students will see once they launch into Perusall, utilize the Student View link on the left navigation bar within your Perusall course.

Perusall Faculty Support

Perusall Support for Your Students

Students should always launch Perusall from inside of Canvas


C3-2-1 Newsletter – Spring 2023 Week One

Hello, Faculty Community! 

Trust. Community. Sharing. 

These were three of the most salient principles we came up with during our Cultivating Human Connections event last week. And with that, spring has sprung, and the new semester is upon us! I trust that this semester will be filled with new opportunities for growth and success for both ourselves and our students. Let’s continue to foster a strong sense of community by sharing our knowledge and experiences with one another. Together, we can create a positive and productive learning environment that will make this semester one to remember. As we embark on this new journey, let’s remember to take a step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. After all, learning should be joyful, so let’s make sure to have some fun along the way! 

Wishing you all a wonderful end to the first week and a fantastic semester ahead.

These weekly newsletters feature 3 resources related to teaching and learning, 2 online tips and tricks, and 1 question for reflection.

Looking for archived resources, tips/tricks, and questions?

Revisit the past editions of the C3-2-1 Newsletter here

Want to share? 

If you have some resources, tips/tricks, and questions to share, please contribute to the newsletter using this C3-2-1 Form.

C321 Newsletter

(3) Resources

  1.  APIDA Ally Training – As important as ever. A brief description of this offering from the organizers: 

    We want to add to that Spring excitement by inviting you to participate in MiraCosta’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Ally Training on Canvas! 

    This upcoming session will begin in Week 3, which starts on February 6th. The first thirty MiraCostans to sign up here by February 3rd will comprise this cohort. If we fill up, then we can add you to the waitlist for the next cohort. The APIDA Ally Training is a DEqCC-approved, FLEX-eligible six-week asynchronous Canvas course that asks for an approximately two-hour commitment each week. Through a collection of videos, articles, images, and interactive discussion board forums, this training is designed to enhance participants’ awareness of diverse APIDA histories, cultures, identities, and responses to recent influxes of anti-APIDA hate crimes. 
  2.  MiraCosta Online Mentor support – MiraCosta Online Mentor faculty are ready to support you with 1-1, on-demand support 
  3. The Writing Center – Lots of cool and helpful services are provided here! 
    Jessica Perez-Corona, Program Manager, provides this invitation (and resource!):

    At the Writing Center, we help students find their voices and empower themselves through their writing. Our studio model allows students to come to the Writing Center and work one-on-one with a writing consultant or coach and get feedback on their writing. We encourage students to also check in with their professors for further clarification and direction. Students are welcome to use the Writing Center as a study space to work independently on their assignments.

    The Writing Center also has an impact on student success and retention rates. Specifically, in Spring 2022, our data shows that students who used the Writing Center were 14% more likely to succeed than their peers who did not use our services.

    Writing Center Canvas Page 

    If you’d like a page in your course with all Writing Center links, you can import the Writing Center Spring 2023 page from Canvas MCC Commons. If you’ve never imported from the Commons here’s a video that shows you how. Be sure to be logged into Canvas first.   

(2) Tips & Tricks

  1. Pronto is an incredible mobile-friendly and Canvas-integrated messaging platform that’s ready to use in every course.
  2.  Ally automatically converts content you share through Canvas into multiple formats for students, allowing for listening rather than reading and better access to content on mobile devices.

(1) Question

How do you build relationships with your students in your classroom/counseling sessions/library?

Stay joyful,

Sean Davis
Joyful Teacher in Residence 🙂
Coordinator, C3 Teaching and Learning Center
Sociology Department Chair

Spring 2023 Online Support for Equity & Success

Please see below for quick reminders of important online-focused resources to help you help your students succeed!

Support for You

Support for Your Students – Please help your students to be aware of and make use of these important services and resources!

  • Student Online Academic Readiness workshops – With the library, I offer nearly 20 of these across the first 9 weeks of the semester – see all dates and times on the TASC site and in Canvas announcements. These workshops (formerly known as Student Orientation to Online Learning) help to familiarize students with the resources MiraCosta provides online to support them, as well as to adopt habits and attitudes of successful online students. Encourage your students to attend and, if you like, find out which of your students participated in order to incentivize their attendance.
  • Online Student Support Access Points – the Student Support Hub in Canvas, accessed via the Student Support button on the bottom left in Canvas, gives quick access to online support from the library, STEM & MLC, online tutoring, writing center, counseling, career center, open computer lab staff, student help desk, health services, CARE team, and more! The Help Hut and Online Education webpages are also great starting points for students to connect with all kinds of support services when they’re not in Canvas.
  • Tech Support – Also at lower left in Canvas is a button for students to quickly access Tech Support options, including 24×7 phone and chat support from Canvas, and our local MiraCosta student help desk.
  • Technology Needs? – Be sure to share the form for students to fill out if they need a loaner laptop or hotspot.
  • Class Availability in Canvas – Faculty teaching distance education (online and hybrid) classes are expected to make their classes available by mid-day on the Monday of the week in which they begin. To learn more, please see MiraCosta Distance Education Class Authentication Compliance, Start-of-Term Availability Procedures, and Recommendations.
  • Zero- and Low-Textbook Cost Course Sections – If you are teaching one of these, please be sure to mark your class in SURF as LTC or ZTC if you haven’t already, so students know that your class has lowered that access barrier!

MiraCosta’s Online Education Tools

Click the link immediately after each bullet for a detailed MiraCosta-specific overview of each item below. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about these or other resources.

  • Canvas – the #1 tool for faculty and students
  • Zoom – if you’re using Zoom, make sure you’re using a pro Zoom account through MiraCosta.
  • Canvas Studio – enables faculty and students to create videos while inside Canvas. Faculty can create interactive discussion or quiz activities based on video.
  • Pope Tech helps faculty detect and correct accessibility issues within Canvas. See also Tips for Creating Accessible Course Content.
  • Pronto is an incredible mobile-friendly and Canvas-integrated messaging platform that’s ready to use in every course.
  • Perusall is a social annotation tool available within Canvas that makes it easy for students to comment/discuss right on a text, document, or image.
  • Lab Archives Electronic Notebook is an online notebook especially useful for translating lab manuals and student notes/work into the online environment.
  • Ally automatically converts content you share through Canvas into multiple formats for students, allowing for listening rather than reading and better access to content on mobile devices.
  • PlayPosit – This video interaction tool offers more complexity and options than Studio. Studio is a great place to start, but if you’re looking for more question types to add to your videos, PlayPosit is a great option. 
  • Turnitin – help students learn to properly cite sources and avoid plagiarism. Also provides grading and peer review tools for written work.

– Jim

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

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