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
As an instructor you can add a TA or other MiraCosta College employee to your Canvas course.
(You cannot add students to your course on Canvas. Students are automatically enrolled from SURF to your Canvas course several times a day.)
Add a TA or other MCC Employee to Canvas
- Enter your Canvas course
- Click People on the left course menu
- Click the +People button at far right
- Select Login ID
- 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 each. Example: jjulius, mparks
- Select the appropriate role for the user.
- Available role options are TA, Teacher, Grader, Designer, and Observer (see below for details on these options)
- Available role options are TA, Teacher, Grader, Designer, and Observer (see below for details on these options)
- 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.
- Click the Add Users button
Course Roles Explained
Note: None of the following should be used for evaluators, tutors, or SI leaders. See the following section for information about adding 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.
- Please DO NOT use this role. Teachers are assigned automatically based on SURF.
- Primary use: TAs or other staff who are grading, but should not be able to modify or significantly participate in the class.
- Permissions: Graders can view submitted student work and enter grades and comments. They can also view files, announcements, assignments, gradebook, and quizzes.
- Limitations: Graders cannot manage course content, manage messages, view discussions, view question banks, or view student pages.
- 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.
- Primary use: Mentors, advisors, and others who need to monitor the course.
- Permissions: Observers have access to view course content.
- Limitations: Observers have no permissions to edit or participate in course activities.
Adding Student Permission Level Users
You cannot manually enroll users at the student permission level to your Canvas course.
If you have any of the following, contact the departments listed below directly to have the user enrolled within your course at the student permission level.
- Faculty Evaluator: Contact Heidi Willis at (760) 795-6827 or email@example.com in the Office of Instruction.
- Tutor: Contact Janine Washabaugh at (760) 757-2121 ext. 7748 or firstname.lastname@example.org in the Tutoring & Academic Support Center (TASC) .
- Writing Center SI Leader: Contact Jessica Perez-Corona at (760) 757-2121 ext. 6339 or email@example.com in the Writing Center.
- Community Education Student: Contact Karen Turpin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the confirmation of student enrollment through community education, the SURF ID of the student, and your 4 digit class number.
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.
- Check your Course Management System (CMS) Status
Is it a maintenance time? Or is your CMS currently experiencing an outage?
- 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.
- 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.
- Restart your Computer
Many faculty and staff solve their problems with this simple step. Always a good option to try.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enable Java
It strongly recommended to have the latest version to ensure proper functionality of our online systems.
- 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.
- Make sure that your Operating System is fully updated.
Neglecting updates could deprive you of important bug and performance fixes.
- 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.
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:
- The FAQs page: http://miracosta.edu/studentservices/admissions/faqs.html
- and the forms page: http://miracosta.edu/studentservices/admissions/studentforms.html
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
- Access a wealth of Canvas support resources at MiraCosta’s Canvas support site.
- The Online Teaching Conference is in Anaheim June 19-21 but some sessions of the conference should be available online. No details are up on the conference site yet, but keep an eye on the program – hopefully details will be posted soon.
- Check out recorded archives of past Online Education workshops .
- Sign up for an upcoming online 1-hour webinar (free) or full course (may be a fee) on online teaching from @One.
- Access a wealth of resources including software training videos from lynda.com on the Professional Learning Network website for CCC employees.
- Get up to speed on 3CMediaSolutions, a great CCC resource for storing, captioning, streaming, and curating instructional video.
- Take a look at the tentative schedule for fall Flex online ed workshops
Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Hello, MiraCosta faculty – happy summer!
As you are hopefully well aware, MiraCosta is transitioning to Canvas. Blackboard and Moodle remain available through next spring, but by summer 2018 we will be fully onto Canvas. This spring, over 20% of our classes used Canvas and I have heard so much positive feedback from faculty and students. Read on for important information about both Canvas and Blackboard.
If you are planning on working in Canvas this summer, be sure to bookmark MiraCosta’s primary Canvas support page:
The page includes information about upcoming Canvas classes and recordings of past classes, screencasts of MiraCosta faculty touring you through their classes, and much more. Full-time faculty can still sign up for the upcoming 4-week online summer Canvas training.
In addition, the following new TIC pages may be of interest:
- Canvas End of Semester/Term (especially for those who used Canvas this spring)
- Canvas Start of the Semester Instructor Checklist (great links and checklists to refer to as you build a class in Canvas)
- Copying into Canvas from Blackboard or Canvas (tips on building content in Canvas using content from past courses)
All summer and fall MiraCosta classes are available to faculty in Canvas, so even if you’re not quite ready to teach with it, you can begin exploring it any time.
We are considering how long faculty would like to keep past classes in Canvas in their Dashboard vs. having the classes moved to the Past Courses area of Canvas. If you would like to learn more about this and weigh in, please take this quick survey.
All summer/fall classes continue to be available in Blackboard as well.
A major required update to our Blackboard system is occurring this Monday, June 5, and the Blackboard system will be unavailable throughout the day.
The system’s appearance and functions should remain largely consistent with your previous experience, but if you wish to learn more about the changes that are included in this update, please visit Blackboard’s release notes site and check out the notes for the Q4 2015, Q2 2016, Q4 2016, and Q2 2017 releases.
Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Create or Import your Content
You have multiple ways to build your class
• Copy content from a previous semester in Canvas:
- How do I copy content from another Canvas course?
When the copy is finished, verify the content has imported correctly.
• Create your content from scratch in Canvas:
• Import content from a Blackboard course:
- Assignments, Discussion Boards, Announcements, and Tests/Surveys/Pools work best for this. Refer to Copying into Canvas from Blackboard or Canvas.
Review Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions
- Verify activities to be used in the course are published.
- Verify dates. Due dates are added to the calendar and the syllabus and serve as reminders to students. “Available from” and “Until” dates will unlock and lock the activity.
- Verify instructions are accurate and well formatted.
- Verify the submission type (assignments only).
- Verify number of attempts is correct (quizzes only).
- Verify assignment groups are set up correctly. See: How to use Assignment Index Page.
- Verify assignments are weighted correctly, if using a weighted grading system. See: How to Weight Assignment Groups.
- Verify discussions are ordered logically on Discussions list page.
- Verify Quiz “Options” are correct. See: Canvas Quiz Options.
Review Course Details
- Verify total points possible in the gradebook is correct. To verify Download the Gradebook or within Canvas Student View navigate to Grades.
- Review Syllabus for accuracy.
- Verify all links. See: How to Validate Links.
- Customize course navigation links. Keep only the links that are necessary. For example, in most cases the following should be hidden: Files, Pages, Outcomes, Conferences, and Collaborations. If using Modules you can hide even more links to simplify navigation for students. See: How to Reorder and Hide Course Navigation Links.
- Verify Modules are logically ordered and published, if using them.
- Verify Module “Lock until” dates are correct, if using them. See: How to Lock a Module.
- Verify Module requirements and prerequisites are set correctly, if using them. See: How to add Requirements to a Module and How to set Prerequisites for a Module.
- Verify the course home page is setup correctly. See: Home Page Layout Options and How to Change the Course Home Page.
- Use “Preview” option in each quiz to check for errors.
- Use “Student View” to review the entire course. This is a good time to verify that all of your content is available in an accessible format. See: How do I view a course as a test student and Canvas Student View vs MCC’s Sample Student Account.
- Publish your course when you are ready for students to have access to it. This typically is on the morning of or before the official course start date. See: How do I publish a course?
- Encourage (or require) your students to go through the “Canvas Student Orientation”. Share this link with your students https://miracosta.instructure.com/courses/7685. For online and hybrid classes, encourage students to attend a Student Orientation to Online Learning for Canvas and/or a hands-on Canvas workshop.
- Especially for online and hybrid classes, send an email to your students through your SURF Roster telling them how to access your course in Canvas.
- Canvas email (Inbox/Conversation) messages will not be sent out if the course is unpublished. Send Email from your SURF Roster instead prior to publishing the course.
- Pay attention to the time stamp on anything you have placed a date on. 12:00 means the very first minute of the selected day. For end dates, it is often best to choose 11:59 PM to ensure you are setting it up on the correct date.