Canvas furnishes an online home for my English 15 course. Read on for a tour of the course site.
On their dashboard, students are welcomed to English 15 with the customized icon for our course, “Rhetorica,” attributed to Mantegna–a reminder, at the moment of login, of rhetoric’s power!
When students enter the course site, the homepage is a list of modules. For easy navigation, I have arranged six modules: one for important documents, and five following the five units of the course. Under each module are links to each assignment requiring an online submission, plus any readings beyond our textbook.
Apart from in-class writing responses, all assignments in the course must be submitted through Canvas. Here is an example of the assignment page for a major project’s final draft. Note that the rubric partially visible here corresponds to the criteria outlined on the assignment page included in the syllabus.
Five minor assignments are configured as discussion forums. This configuration indicates to students that their responses will be shared with their classmates. These five discussions are used during class for activities, often in the form of peer review.
I enter all scores into Canvas, so students have continual access to their current course grade under the “Grades” tab. In this example, “Test Student” can see that she has a current grade of 66.67% (D), and has submitted less than 1% of all course assignments. Test Student, it would be wise for you to come talk to Mrs. Miron in office hours!
I employ pages in Canvas for three purposes: to offer an office hour signup, to provide technical instructions, and to furnish useful links.
A page that I update each unit displays my office hours, broken into 15-minute slots. Any student can edit the page, adding her or his name next to the desired time. While drop-ins are welcome during office hours, I find that the appointment option not only helps me prepare, but also pleases the students (though maybe not on a sunny, warm Friday afternoon!).
Since three out of five major projects in this course require students to use programs that are likely unfamiliar to them, I develop pages with technical instructions as needed. For the first project in a “new” medium–the (re)definition webpage–I composed a page with ten FAQs about how to accomplish the required format in WordPress, two of which are pictured below.
Finally, I’ve replicated the Canvas pages with links on Discipline-Specific Links.
Near the beginning of the course, I came down with a virus that gave me laryngitis. Unable to speak, and unwilling to impose upon my colleagues for multiple days of substitute teaching, I decided to develop an online lesson. This lesson was intended to evaluate–and thus promote–students’ comprehension of “Structuring Arguments” in Everything’s an Argument–an information-dense chapter that introduces students to concepts including classical oration, Rogerian and invitational argument, and Toulmin argument. Part of the activity, which I created using the Quizzes tool, can be seen below.
I liked the quiz format; it came with fewer glitches than the format I’d been using for proposal worksheets, PDF forms. So, I decided to create all future proposal assignments in Quizzes. I found that overall, this tool enabled my students to write more orderly proposals and me to easily view their responses to my prompts. Here’s part of the proposal assignment for Project #4, a short film.
So, it turns out my laryngitis had a silver lining to it: learning how to use Quizzes!