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Building Culture: Adjunct faculty success and connection

Contact info:, (Olivet University)

Training for Instructors:

  • Learn canvas by training in canvas
  • Self paced modules on other teaching topics
  • Simple assessment for completion
  • Important factor: University has a dedicated help desk for faculty

Community of inquiry model for faculty training & specific expectations:

  • Teaching presence
    • Presenting course content
    • Provide personalized, concise weekly announcements to students using multiple modalities
    • Respond to questions from students within 24 hours
    • Grade all assignments within 7 days
  • Cognitive presence
    • How the teacher facilitates learning and helps students make meaning
    • Faculty authors approx 20% of all posts in each discussion forum
    • Provide a variety of posts (orienting, summarizing, redirecting,etc.)
    • Utilize speed grader and rubrics for feedback
  • Social presence
    • Engage students, get to know students, facilitate students getting to know each other
    • Include biographical info about themselves in the course
    • Respond to every student in the introduction forum
    • Be visible in the course 5 out of 7 days a week
    • Be present with video, audio, and text (in feedback and announcements)
  • Institutional presence
    • Represent the university within your course

Mentor program (required):

  • Mentors go through special training and are incentivized to participate (small stipend)
  • Mentor/mentee timeline
  • Mentor evaluation rubric (contact for details)

Other factors:

  • Introduction to online teaching course is required for all faculty; this includes veteran faculty who weren’t trained in the first place
    • Faculty are enrolled in the course in Canvas as students.
    • Post an intro video
    • Introduce community of inquiry (find 3 articles, annotated bibliography, short reflection)
    • Best practices online vs f2f (discussions)
    • Spend a week on social presence
    • Grade calibrations and speed grader/rubric practice in a canvas sandbox
  • Supportive administration (dedicated to providing support, requiring training, etc.)
  • Courses at the university are all templates

1-1 teaching: Challenging perceptions and transforming pedagogy

Contact info: (Royal college of music, London)

Institutional Context:

  • 1-1 lesson format common: 1 prof to 1 student, meeting weekly throughout a student’s program (Master/apprentice)
  • Also traditional one-to-many courses in addition to 1-1 instruction
  • Relevant technology used at the uni: Performance simulator, studios, low latency audio streaming (LOLA), no LMS before Canvas

Canvas Implementation:

  • Tag line: Support- Enhance- Innovate
  • Entirely up to the prof whether/how to engage with Canvas

Faculty Development Approaches:

  • Blended format with 6 live sessions and activities in between
    • Live sessions (all f2f) included guest speakers, prep work, and extensive hands-on practice.
    • Faculty met once a month over 6 months.
  • Faculty were enrolled in the Canvas course as students
  • Identified champions among the faculty to be involved in the first run of the program
  • One of the sessions included an assignment for faculty to plan, record, and develop a video (all within 1 hour) for use in a flipped classroom model.
  • Advantages included breaking down barriers between the faculty who taught “academic” courses and the faculty who taught the 1-1 lessons.
  • Included recruiting faculty champions to submit a proposal to a major call for proposals (for funding research in education innovation). Purpose was to further encourage the 1-1 faculty to use Canvas (because their adoption was lower than the “academic” faculty).

Examples of what faculty tried in their classes:

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Techniques faculty chose to incorporate into their blended courses mostly related to empowering student choice (allowing students to dictate the content of future lessons, often using discussion boards), providing new opportunities to help students prepare for their careers (e.g. Portfolios and mock auditions), and engaging with students between lessons (e.g. Technique videos).

New Gradebook: Phase 1


  • Gradebook changes will be available as limited beta due to possible disruption to day to day coursework.
  • Contact CSM to join focus group and get access to beta
  • Includes step by step tutorials on all new features

Phased rollout plan:

  • Phase 0.5: Currently available in prod, only to focus group participants (contact CSM to get access). Admins are the only one who can turn this on at the sub account level. No issues with switching back and forth from old to new Gradebook.
  • Phase 1: To be complete around New Years next year. Will become generally available to all, as long as the admin turns it on. Instructors will then be able to turn it on themselves, but won’t be able to switch back and forth.
    • Ability to sort and filter the entire Gradebook by module, by section, etc.
    • Filter an individual column by late/missing
    • change from points to percentages etc right within a column.
    • Instructors can color code various values in the Gradebook (late, missing, etc.). Colors customizable by instructor, even for multiple instructors in a single course.
    • New settings for late policies
    • Add as many notes columns and as much text as you want
    • May be able to manually adjust the final grade.
    • Grading schemes won’t be affected by this, but there is a separate project to look into this.
    • Only change to student view is that they will be able to see late and missing labels in the next release, but later, there will be some other changes to the student view. (These labels will show up automatically based on the due date)
    • Grade change history is being expanded so there will be no limits.
    • Extra credit not included in phase 1. Maybe phase 2.
    • Drag and drop columns anywhere (including total)
  • Phase 2: Iterative through summer 2018. Old Gradebook will be turned off at that time (approximately 1 year from now).

Phase 1 features:

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Canvas network as an innovation sandbox: designing, testing, and evaluating new teaching and learning approaches in a MOOC


  • Ball State is using canvas network to test ideas/approaches before including them in any credit courses.

Video creation for the MOOCs:

  • Avoid talking heads.
  • Created interview-style videos (more of a conversation than a lecture)
  • Used student workers at the university for post-production work

Modules have minimal pages due to use of tabs:

  • Minimal # of pages due to use of tabs in the pages.
  • These tabs also work well on mobile.
  • Follow up note: Contact presenter to ask for the code. Definitely not the standard tab code from the Canvas style guide as these don’t work on mobile and are currently being deprovisioned.


  • Held discussions outside of the course (on the corporate partner site, TCM) so they could continue to be available after the course closes.


  • Another tool used in the course; a type of pin board/bulletin board. This is free.

Badging & module structure:

  • Using badgr integrated in the course. Looks like it includes something called “my learning path.”
  • All modules are released by date. Also using “complete all items/mark as complete” for students to see what they’ve done so far.
  • Badges are awarded weekly for completing all of the daily modules for the week.
  • Thematic badges helped motivate students to collect them. Communication emphasized “collect them all!”
  • If students earn all badges in the course, that is how they are awarded their certificate for the course.

Other considerations:

  • There is a dedicated developer who develops tools and content for these courses (e.g. games they integrated throughout the course)

Introducing Canvas Teacher: The next step in mobile

Goal of Canvas Teacher app:

  • Be the best at saving teachers’ time


  • New features should be available by the beginning of the school year.


Defining the App:

Course facilitation interactions available in the app:

  • Updating course content
    • Editing assignments: change point value, publish/unpublish assignment,
    • rich text editor
  • Communicating
    • “Message students who…” built in.
    • Student context cards give at a glance view of key student info
  • Grading
    • Visualizations of assignments submitted, needing graded, etc from within any assignment on the app.
    • No Gradebook, but ability to essentially view one column of the Gradebook at a time in the “submissions” screen.
    • Includes Speedgrader (entirely new. No relationship to old Speedgrader app)

Data Visualization

New course analytics in Canvas were built on several key principles..Visual mechanisms to distinguish difference:

  • Color
  • Hue
  • Misalignment
  • Grey value (brightness)
  • Motion

Note: Most of this presentation was necessarily visual. See session recording when posted for additional details.