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

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

 

MiraCosta Online Ed News You Can Use – Welcome to Fall 2017!

For ALL faculty:

Canvas Transition

Blackboard and Moodle will no longer be available after spring 2018 – if you haven’t already begun learning Canvas, it’s time! Please see the TIC page on Canvas for lots of great resources. The Transition Team will be offering many Flex week workshops and more 4-week online Canvas training classes this fall – stay tuned.

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. These services are open to all MiraCosta students in any class!

Preferred Name Change Form for Students

A&R now has a very simple Preferred Name Change form up for students. Preferred name is the default name automatically used on class rosters and student ID cards, in class systems online (Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle), and to borrow items from the college library. This form is linked in two places on the A&R site:

It can be faxed or emailed to A&R so students don’t even need to come to campus. This is especially important as we transition to Canvas since unlike Blackboard, students don’t have a way to alter their first name within Canvas. So, for students who prefer to be known by a different name from their legal/formal name on record, this is a great option.

Open Educational Resources (OER) Update

Check out MiraCosta’s brand new OER website to learn more and find links to top sites with OER that might work for you and your students! MiraCosta College obtained about $150,000 in grant funds in the last year to expand adoption of free and open course materials. OER, while usually found online, can also be in print and can be used in any class. SB 1359, passed last fall, will require that our class schedule contain a special notation of all zero-textbook-cost classes starting in spring 2018.

For faculty teaching at least one online/hybrid class this fall:

Fall Student Orientations to Online Learning

I will offer many online learning orientation sessions this fall – 6 for Blackboard and 9 for Canvas. Please share the schedule with your online/hybrid students and encourage their attendance. 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. Research conducted this summer shows that over the last 3 years 72.8% of those who attended the SOOL in the same or a previous term successfully completed DE courses vs. a 64.7% DE success rate for students who have not attended a SOOL.

Please Update Online Class Schedule

For all those teaching an online or hybrid course this fall, 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. See detailed instructions if needed.

NetTutor Online Tutoring Service

In addition to eTutoring, an online tutoring option for MiraCosta distance education classes is NetTutor. Unlike eTutoring, 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 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. Contact me if you’re interested in NetTutor for your fall class(es).

Distance Education Requirements and Guidelines

Please review the MiraCosta online class quality guidelines. The document has two parts – (I) Essential elements for all distance education classes as already required in department and college policies (especially AP 4105 and the Syllabus Checklist), and (II) Good practices featuring principles and examples commonly recommended for consideration in online education. See also a 1-page handout and a 50-minute archive of a workshop I conducted last fall on this document.

Captioning Support

Videos shared online with students should be captioned. 3CMediaSolutions is a video storage and streaming system for California Community College faculty that provides free professional captioning as an option when you upload your media to the site. It’s a great way to manage your media and to get everything captioned. You can also work with Robert Erichsen of DSPS to submit media for captioning through a special grant-funded program. Please contact him to learn more: rerichsen@miracosta.edu

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

Summer 2017 Online Ed News You Can Use

Summer & Fall Classes – Blackboard & Canvas

All summer and fall classes are available to faculty now in both Blackboard and Canvas. Remember, MiraCosta will support Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas through spring of 2018, with full conversion to Canvas by summer 2018. Please refer to information I recently sent out for more details on Canvas and Blackboard.

As you update syllabi and classes…

Please make your students aware of online tutoring, the online writing center, the 24×7 online ask-a-librarian service, and support workshops for online learning. These services are open to all MiraCosta students in any class! For online and hybrid classes, you may wish to review the online class quality guidelines approved by the Academic Senate last spring. The document has two parts – (I) Essential elements for all distance education classes as already required in department and college policies (especially AP 4105 and the Syllabus Checklist), and (II) Good practices featuring principles and examples commonly recommended for consideration in online education.

New Preferred Name Change form for students

A&R now has a very simple Preferred Name Change form up for students. Preferred name is the default name automatically used on class rosters and student ID cards, in online courses (Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle), and to borrow items from the college library. This form is linked in two places on the A&R site:

It can be faxed or emailed to A&R so students don’t even need to come to campus. This is especially important as we transition to Canvas since unlike Blackboard, students don’t have a way to alter their first name within Canvas. So, for students who prefer to be known by a different name from their legal/formal name on record, this is a great option.

Online/Hybrid Instructors: Please update Online Class Schedule

For all those teaching an online or hybrid course this summer or fall, please make sure your class description is up to date on the Online Class Schedule page. This is especially important over the next few semesters as students will be wondering which course management system to find each class in. You can provide that and other important information there to help students prepare for success in your class. Please contact me if you are uncertain how to update the information.

Summer Student Orientation to Online Learning sessions

I will offer two online learning orientation sessions for Blackboard and two for Canvas this summer. 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.

Trial of a New Online Teaching Evaluation Tool this summer

This year, MOE investigated tools that may increase the typically very low response rates for student surveys of online instruction, and recommended that MiraCosta take a close look at CourseEval HQ. PG&E and FA approved the idea of running a trial of this in the summer term with the clear caveat that student responses would be shared only with the instructor and not used for any evaluative purposes; only response rate data will be shared more widely. If you are a full-time faculty member teaching an online or hybrid class in Canvas this summer and would like to be part of this initial trial of the tool, please contact me.

NetTutor Online Tutoring Service

An 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 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. Contact me if you’re interested in NetTutor for your summer or fall class(es).

Summer Online Ed Professional Learning Opportunities

Happy summering,

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

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