Uncategorized

Student Guest Post: My Experiences Using the Canvas Mobile App

By Danea Manson, 4th Year Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Student at Georgia Tech 

One of my favorite parts about the transition from T-Square to Canvas has been the mobile app. Grades, assignments, files, and announcements have never been so easily accessible. With the Canvas app, I have real-time access to my courses to ensure that I am always on top of my schedule. Additionally, the Canvas app allows me to learn across multiple devices, picking up where I left off. Some of the features that I find most useful are:

  1. To-Do List. Canvas automatically consolidates the due dates for my upcoming quizzes and assignments in all my courses into a single to-do list. Being able to view all my assignments in one place and in chronological order helps me plan for the week and allocate my time efficiently. 
  2. Messaging. Canvas’s messaging platform is fully functional within the mobile app, which allows me to communicate on the go with classmates, TAs, and instructors. 
  3. Submissions. Not only can I view all the course content from the mobile app, I can also actively participate in the course from my phone by submitting assignments, taking quizzes, and posting to the discussion board.  
  4. Push Notifications. I get notifications every time files are added to my course, an announcement is made by the instructors, and grades are updated.  
  5. Canvas Widget. With the Canvas widget, I can view my overall course grades at a glance without logging into the app just by swiping left to the Today View (iPhone).  

What I appreciate most about the Canvas app is that its interface is user-friendly; it’s intuitive and extremely easy to navigate. The Canvas app is so similar to the desktop view that the learning curve is minimal. 

Faculty Guest Post: Reflections on Using Respondus 4.0 within Canvas (Part 2 in a Series)

By Dr. Michael Smith, Full Time Lecturer in Information Systems

I have keyed many questions into Canvas quizzes to create short quizzes, but that process would be tedious and slow for tests. Since I have many tests already created as Word documents, I sought a way to upload them into Canvas. However, Canvas cannot import directly from Word documents and I didn’t want to rekey so many questions, so I had to find a way to migrate questions from Word to Canvas, including images referenced in questions.   

Canvas accepts mass question uploads in several ways. A review of options and discussion on the topic led me to select the QTI .zip file upload method using the Respondus 4.0 exam authoring tool. Respondus 4.0 is the only program I have found that can convert questions in Word documents into QTI .zip files. The product is offered by the same company that makes the LockDown Browser. I spent $80 for a single-user license. A site license is also available. 

Before importing the questions into Respondus 4.0, they must be reformatted to indicate correct answers, among other possibilities, and saved as a .txt or .rtf file. The help system in Respondus 4.0 indicates how to accomplish these tasks for different kinds of questions.  

I find it useful to create titles for the questions, as that helps me group them later according to topic by sorting them in Respondus 4.0. Here is a sample MC question indicating title and correct answer. The title formatting is my own.  

TITLE:  GT History – mascots – Stumpy’s bear 
1.Which GT “mascot” was a gift from a defeated football rival? 
*a. Stumpy’s bear 
b. Sideways 
c. Burdell the Bulldog 
d. The original Ford Model A Ramblin’ Wreck 

Since I direct Canvas to scramble answers when it creates quizzes, I usually put the correct answer first just to make creating questions more regular. For the same reason, I must change answers such as “b and c” to answers that don’t depend on any specific answer order, since Canvas will order the answers when it generates the quiz for each student. If I didn’t scramble answers, I would not need to do these things. 

If a question refers to a graphic, that graphic must be uploaded into Respondus 4.0 and embedded in the question. If the same graphic is referenced in several questions, all can refer to the same image file. Respondus 4.0 provides an editor for doing fancy formatting of questions and placing images within them.  

Respondus 4.0 provides for the export of groups of questions into QTI .zip files, among other formats.   

In Canvas, the upload process is accessed through Settings | Import Course Content | Content Type = QTI .zip file. After having uploaded the questions into a bank linked to the appropriate Canvas course, I import them into a question group in a quiz.  

In my next post, I will write about managing questions in a quiz.   

Guest Post: Updates to Banner Grade Publishing Tool within Canvas

By Matt Lisle, Director of Digital Learning Technologies at C21U

Around the same time that Georgia Tech implemented Canvas as its new learning management system, the new Faculty Grade Entry (FGE) module was introduced in Banner. This module makes it much easier for faculty to import and finalize grades in Banner. However, we needed to make a few minor improvements within Canvas to streamline the process.

Last Fall, we launched a pilot of a newly-developed “Banner Grade Publishing” tool created by my team in the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U). Around 50 faculty members volunteered to try the new tool and provide feedback. We are taking those suggestions into account and will be rolling out version 2 of the grade publishing tool to all Canvas courses in the coming days. 

To access the tool, look for “Banner Grade Publishing” in the left-hand menu of your Canvas course. This tool exports your grades into a Banner-ready spreadsheet that can easily be imported into FGE. If you’re teaching a Canvas course in which you’ve combined multiple sections, you can export one spreadsheet and import it into each of your sections in Banner.

We hope to continue improving this process, and we have high hopes for some of the emerging standards coming out of IMS, including EDU-API. As our platforms continue to recognize and adhere to industry standards, this process can be streamlined even more.

As always, email us at canvas@gatech.edu if you have any questions about this new tool.

Respondus 4.0 and LockDown Browser

What is Respondus 4.0?

Respondus is an exam authoring tool used to create and manage exams, which can then be printed to paper or published directly to Canvas. Whether you are a veteran of online testing or relatively new to it, Respondus will save you hours on each project.

For more info, visit the Digital Learning Team’s Respondus page here.

Download Respondus 4.0 from OIT Software Distribution here.

(Please note: Respondus 4.0 is currently only available for Windows.)

What is LockDown Browser?

LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Canvas. Used at over 1000 higher ed and K-12 institutions, LockDown Browser is the top choice of educators for securing online exams in classrooms or proctored environments.

How can I find out more or attend an online training?

Click the links below to access a variety of online training videos and webinars:

Video – LockDown Browser (Instructor Training)
Video – Respondus 4.0 (Create and Manage Content)
Instructor Training (Live Webinars) for LockDown Browser

TurningPoint Training Round-Up: February 20th, 2019

Are you a faculty member who is using TurningPoint this semester? Are you interested in learning more about its classroom capabilities? In this week’s training round-up, the Digital Learning Team highlights several training webinars for both TurningPoint Desktop and TurningPoint Web platforms, any of which can be accessed when it’s convenient for you!


TURNINGPOINT DESKTOP TRAINING WEBINARS

PowerPoint Polling:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using the direct integration with PowerPoint!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/27/2019 10:00am EST 1 hour
Register 
3/5/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
Register 
3/12/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
Register 
3/19/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
Register 
3/20/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
Register 
3/27/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
Register 
 
Anywhere Polling:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using Anywhere Polling to poll over any application!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/21/2019 10:00am EST 1 hour
Register 
2/28/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
Register 
3/6/2019 10:00am EST 1 hour
Register 
3/7/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
Register 
3/14/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
Register 
3/21/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
Register 
3/28/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
Register 
 
Self-Paced Polling:
 This training class is designed to comprehensively teach all users how to build answer keys, as well as facilitate a self-paced polling test!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/26/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
Register 
3/13/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
Register 
3/26/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
Register 


TURNINGPOINT DESKTOP WEB TRAINING WEBINARS

TurningPoint Web for Powerpoint:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using the direct integration with PowerPoint!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/21/2019 11:00am EST 30 minutes
Register 
2/25/2019 11:00am EST 30 minutes
Register 
2/27/2019 11:00am EST 30 minutes
Register 
 
TurningPoint Web:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using the web platform for live polling and scheduling polling!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/20/2019 2:00pm EST 30 minutes
Register 
2/21/2019 2:30pm EST 30 minutes
Register 
2/26/2019 1:30pm EST 30 minutes
Register 


 

New Feature Spotlight: Canvas Analytics Beta

By Matt Lisle, Director of Digital Learning Technologies at C21U

In October, Canvas quietly added a new feature called Analytics Beta. As the name implies, this is not a fully realized tool, but it does provide some helpful insights and tools for your Canvas courses. Here are three things you can do with Analytics Beta:

1) Spot an assignment that’s giving students trouble

In the screenshot below, you’ll see a chart that displays assignments and grades. Each assignment appears along the X-axis, and its average grade appears along the Y-axis. At a glance, you can see that the “Lab Grouping” assignment received abnormally low grades (when compared to other assignments’ grades in this course). The teacher can click on that assignment to reveal more details. In this case, the teacher might consider revisiting this content in an upcoming class session.

2) Send targeted messages to groups of students

Teachers can also easily intervene with students using the dashboard. In this case, the teacher clicks on the problematic “Lab Grouping” assignment to reveal more details. The detail card displays a grade distribution for the assignment. By selecting the 80% range, the teacher sees that eight students fall into this category. By clicking the envelope icon in the top right, the teacher can quickly send a customized message to those eight students. He or she might send a different message to the six students in the 20% range by following the same steps. This allows the teacher to send targeted messages about this assignment to six groups of students with just a few clicks.

3) Spot when a student is particularly struggling

Let’s suppose a student arrived at office hours to ask why his or her overall grade is so low. The teacher could quickly compare the student’s grades to the course averages by adding them to the filter at the top of the dashboard (in this case, the student’s actual name has been disguised with grey rectangles). The student’s scores appear as green squares, and the class scores appear as blue circles. The teacher can quickly spot that this student scored a 40% on the “Lab Basic queries” assignment, while the rest of the class scored an average of 82% on that same assignment.

If you’d like to start using this tool, follow the step-by-step instructions at https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15581-canvas-release-analytics-beta-student-grade. Be sure to provide feedback to Instructure’s product team as you use the tool, as it’s under active development.

Canvas Training Round-Up: January 23rd, 2019

Are you a faculty member who is still getting the hang of Canvas? Or perhaps you’ve got the hang of Canvas, but are interested in learning more about its capabilities? We know spring semester is a busy time, and it may seem nigh impossible to fit in time for a training, but there’s good news: Instructure hosts a variety of live trainings, all of which can be accessed when it’s convenient for you!

Below you’ll find a round-up of a few upcoming training sessions which might be helpful as you finish up the first month of classes:


“Outcomes and Rubrics for Instructors” – Monday, January 28th, 2019, 10:30am – 11:30am (EST)

“Outcomes & Rubrics for Instructors” reviews best practices and classroom applications for utilizing outcomes and rubrics in Canvas assignments, discussions, quizzes. Instructors will learn also learn how to make use of the Learning Mastery Gradebook and the Canvas Magic Marker app.

Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to log in or create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)


“Gradebook and Speedgrader (version 1.0)” – Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 4:30pm – 5:30pm (EST)

Explore the interface of the Canvas gradebook from the instructor and student perspectives. Users will experience the power of the Speedgrader and the various ways it can be used to provide timely and detailed feedback for students while making the grading process more efficient and enjoyable.
 
Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)

Mobile Apps: The Teacher App” – Wednesday, January 30th, 2019, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (EST)
 
 *Prerequisite: Please have your updated mobile device (iPad or Android) and app store password for downloading apps in this session.
 
“Mobile Apps: The Teacher App” is designed to help teachers better understand the features of the Canvas Teacher App to easily facilitate a course on a mobile device. During this webinar you will learn the features and functionality of the Canvas Teacher App to improve communication, teach more efficiently, and grade more effectively with mobile SpeedGrader.
 
Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)

“Creating Assessments with Quizzes.Next” – Thursday, January 31st, 2019, 11:30am – 12:30pm (EST)

 (Note: More information is available on Quizzes.Next on our blog, including how to enable the tool within your Canvas account. Click here to read the post!)

“Creating Assessments with Quizzes.Next” will prepare instructors to use the new assessment tool in Canvas. Users will learn how to create questions and customize settings. A variety of assessment question types will be explored, and participants will have the opportunity to view 21st century assessment interaction.

Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)


To check out additional upcoming trainings that might be of interest, click here for the full list! (Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)


 

Guest Post: From “I Caught You!” to “I Taught You!”: Utilizing Turnitin To Improve Student Writing

By Dr. Vincent M. Spezzo; Center for Teaching and Learning

Starting this semester, the Georgia Tech community gained access to Turnitin within the Canvas system. At its core, Turnitin is a web-based program that checks submitted work for unoriginal content that has been published elsewhere on the web or submitted previously to the Turnitin database. While some instructors are satisfied to simply leave it there and just use this tool as a plagiarism checker and deterrent to catch students cheating, others have taken a different path and found that Turnitin can be a very powerful tool to help students develop better writing habits and submit more thoughtful work regardless of discipline.

Several research studies have been conducted over the years using Turnitin as a means to improve student writing (Baker, Thronton, & Adams, 2011; Davis, 2007; Graham-Matheson & Starr, 2013; Rolfe, 2011). Some found by giving students access to submit drafts to Turnitin and receive their own reports, students were able to become aware of their own unoriginal content and submitted final papers that contained large reductions in unoriginal content. In a lot of cases student unoriginal content seemed to be unintentional and often a surprise to students who were unaware they were not paraphrasing and citing correctly or realized just how much of their paper was comprised of direct quotes. Researchers pointed out that this seems particularly the case with international students who may come from a different academic culture where the copying and drawing upon previous authors tends to be a common practice rather than considered plagiarism.

This passive usage of simply letting students run drafts through Turnitin not only resulted in better final papers due to a decrease in unoriginal content, but it also largely resulted in a positive experience for students. Graham-Matheson and Starr (2013) had students comment on their survey that “The draft facility (of Turnitin) enables you to double check that all information is appropriately referenced and not plagiarized.” and another who stated “It teaches me how to avoid it (plagiarism). It encourages me to read more and support my ideas with empirical evidence.” Similar positive comments were found in the various studies that allowed students access to run drafts and read their reports. This seems to show that the simple act of allowing for draft runs can largely impact how students view and use the Turnitin tool.

While providing students with the ability to submit a draft to Turnitin and see their unoriginality report seems to be a useful method on its own, some researchers went even further and actively utilized Turnitin to provide a learning opportunity for students. In her research, Mary Davis (2007) found positive results when using Turnitin in an academic writing class as a means of refining student writing. In her usage, Mary not only provided students with their Turnitin report, but held a session with students where they could openly discuss the report, what it meant, and why certain things were flagged as unoriginal content before beginning to rework their draft into a final submission. Mary found that while students were able to see where their submissions were flagged as unoriginal they sometimes were left confused as to why it was flagged. Through utilizing Turnitin in this way, Mary was able to positively impact student’s ability to cite correctly, diversify their sources, and paraphrase appropriately; all of which leads to helping students become better writers. As a result of this study, Mary advocates for the usage of Turnitin not just as a self-referenced report for students, but also as a possible tool for tutors. In this way, tutors can have students bring their reports with them and expedite the review process and allow students and tutors to make the most out of sessions.

As the research seems to indicate, there is great value and a positive impact on student learning to be found in going beyond the basic usage of Turnitin as a checker of unoriginal content. Just the act of allowing students to run drafts and see their reports seems to make for a more positive learning experience and increases student writing abilities. Going beyond that and engaging students with their reports so that they can truly understand what it is they are doing wrong and have their confusion about writing cleared up is certainly a method that can enable student to improve their writing even further. All of this is just with the basic usage of Turnitin’s unoriginality report; which is actually just one part of several tools Turnitin users have available to them. There are other additional tools inside of Turnitin, such as a grammar and style checker and an instructor feedback system, which can also be used to further educate students about their writing. In the end, educating students to recognize the unoriginal issues with their paper, as opposed to just catching them plagiarizing, is a much more effective method of using Turnitin and has been shown to lead to positive learning opportunities, increase student satisfaction, and create better overall student writing.

 

If you’re interested to learn more about using Turnitin at GaTech, please visit the GaTech Turnitin webpage to find resources, such as instructor guides and getting started documents, as well as information about upcoming workshops.


References

Baker, R.K., Thronton, B., & Adams, M. (2011). An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Turnitin.Com as a Tool for Reducing Plagiarism in Graduate Student Term Papers. College and Teaching Methods & Styles Journal 4, 9. Doi: https://doi.org/10.19030/ctms.v4i9.5564

Davis, M. (2007). The role of Turnitin within the formative process of academic writing: a tool for learning and unlearning. Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, 2. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281848114_The_role_of_Turnitin_within_the_formative_process_of_academic_writing_a_tool_for_learning_and_unlearning

Graham-Matheson, L., & Starr, S. (2013). Is it cheating – or learning the craft of writing? Using Turnitin to help students avoid plagiarism. Research in Learning Technology, 21. doi: https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.17218

Rolfe, V. (2011). Can Turnitin Be Used to Provide Instant Formative Feedback? British Journal of Edcuational Technology, 42, 4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01091.x

Combining Courses within Canvas

Are you a faculty member or TA who would like to combine your courses within Canvas? Good news: there’s a Georgia Tech tool for that!

Check out the New Course Combining tool here. Built by Georgia Tech, this tool simplifies the process of combining your courses within Canvas.

Not sure whether you can or should combine your courses? Make sure to check out the following links before you decide:

  1. More info on Combining Courses: http://canvas.gatech.edu/combine-courses  
  2. Georgia Tech’s policy and procedure for FERPA considerations when using Canvas: https://registrar.gatech.edu/info/optional-confidentiality-flags-student-records

Canvas Mobile Apps for Faculty and Students 

Did you know that Canvas has user-friendly mobile apps available for both faculty and students? Canvas Teacher and Canvas Student apps are available for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded via the App Store or Google Play! For step-by-step download instructions, click here 

What can I do with the apps? 

Canvas Teacher

The Canvas Teacher app allows teachers to facilitate their courses on the go, both inside and outside the classroom by providing quick access to Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. With Canvas Teacher, you can: 

  • Grade and offer feedbackBrowse student submissions and provide feedback via the new and improved mobile SpeedGrader 
  • Communicate with students: Post announcements, send messages, and participate in course discussions 
  • Update course content: Correct due dates, publish assignments, manage discussion settings, and adjust quiz options  

For more information, visit the Canvas Teacher App Guide here 

Canvas Student

The Canvas Student app allows students to access their courses and groups on the go by providing quick access to Assignments, Discussions, Grades, and course materials. With Canvas Student, you can: 

  • View and submit course deliverables: View assignment details, participate in discussions, submit assignments, view grades and course materials 
  • Access course communication tools: Use navigation bar to view course calendars, to do items, notifications, and Inbox 
  • Access courses and groupsUse Dashboard to access courses and groups using the same navigation items found within the browser version of Canvas 
  • Manage account: Manage files, display course grades, get help from Canvas support, change users, and log out 

For more information, visit the Canvas Student App Guide here! 


*Updated* You can now access the Canvas Student App directly from the Georgia Tech App! The Georgia Tech App is available for iOS devices via the App Store.