Canvas as the Next Generation LMS

Carli TegtmeierRegional Sales DirectorThis session had a couple of parts to it. During the first part, Carli talked about the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment. Based on a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, experts did a study to determine what the LMS was going to be moving forward. It was interesting to hear about how important it is for interoperability across add-ons that are used. Not only that, but supporting Common Cartridge, IMS, LTI, etc. is very important.After that brief overview, Carli did a demo of Canvas with the new user interface.

Communications

The really interesting thing that I didn’t know could happen within Canvas is the ability to have 2-way communication between student/instructor, if the student sets up notifications. 

Calendar

The new calendar interface allows instructors to drag/drop due dates for assignments. These due dates are then auto-updated across the course and a notification is sent to students. This is something that I have to mess with all the time. Whenever I create a new course, I have to change the due date on every assignment/quiz/discussion forum/etc. in a new course to reflect the new dates. One thing that I’m not sure about is how that drag and drop functionality changes the “available until” date on the assignments.

Home page

One of the things I haven’t liked about Canvas is that there is a home page. I know that it can be very helpful for higher education, but in the training that I’m doing, I don’t like having a static home page. The new user interface now allows you to set the home page to the modules page, which is something that I would definitely prefer.

Image/video integration

Canvas now has a direct link to Flickr Creative Commons and YouTube. These integrations make it easy to include rich media without needing embed codes, digging through copyright images, etc.

Speedgrader

Based on the demo, it looks like the Speedgrader has undergone some changes recently. Most notably, the ability to annotate the submission from the students and the ability to have a back and forth conversation with the student on the submission.

Messaging students

One of the things that we’ve been having to do is track down students who haven’t completed assignments for the online portion of their training program. This is typically done manually, but it appears that this can be done automatically through the Canvas course site. Since we have a new section of the training program starting shortly, I’ll definitely be looking into this functionality to make the administrative side of facilitating a course when I get back to the office.Overall – I knew about a lot of the topics in this session, but I’ve definitely taken away some small tips/tricks to make facilitating an online class much easier!

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