Canvas Q&As

Questions have arisen during Canvas training sessions. I am listing those questions and answers here and will update as questions are added.

What do I do for a student with an incomplete?

We set term beginning and end dates within Canvas. Once the term passes students will only have view access of a course. If the student has an “Incomplete” they will need a way to access the course to submit unfinished work. As an instructor you can allow a student access by setting course participation dates. The course participation dates will override the term dates. Please note that doing so will change the access for all students in the course. You may want to unpublish all else except what the select student(s) will need.

Can I import grades into the Canvas gradebook?

The instructions on this page share the steps to import grades into Canvas.

How do I download and re-upload at once all student submissions?

It is possible to download all student submissions to an assignment.

It is also possible to re-upload student files back to Canvas. You will want to make sure you have not changed the names of the submission files from your bulk download. Canvas will not be able to recognize the files that should be replaced if the file names are different.

Is it possible for me to create an anonymous survey?

Anonymous survey is possible. (Select Survey Type, point 4) One note about the anonymous survey:  
“The anonymous option can be enabled or disabled before or after a survey has received submissions, allowing a user with sufficient permissions to see a student’s identity and responses. To collect fully anonymous survey responses, you may want to use a third-party survey tool.”

How can I import a course from Moodle to Canvas?

Here a link to a video demonstration of how to backup a course in Moodle and import into Canvas.

Why don’t I see any past enrollments on my “All Courses” page?

Whether a course appears in current or past enrollments is controlled by the term dates. If all the courses listed are for Fall ‘21 and beyond, then there will be no past enrollments.

How can I access and manage question banks in Canvas?

Question banks are imported from Moodle courses which contain them. Here is some information about accessing and managing question banks.

Does the Canvas quiz/survey support question branching?

This doesn’t currently exist in the quiz tool or currently in the new quiz engine Canvas is developing. There is a convoluted way you could create something like this in a course, but I don’t know that I can recommend this as a way you should go. One option you might try is using a Microsoft Form to create a quiz with branching.

How can I download all my course files?

I am pleasantly surprised that this is possible for you (and students if they have access to the Files area.)

How do I give a student extra time on a quiz?

This is possible using quiz moderation.

Can I set different due dates for different groups of students within a course?

This is possible. One thing this solution references is sections. Because of the way we are syncing enrollments, faculty are prohibited from creating/managing sections. If using groups does not work for you please contact me and we will investigate how to get this working for you.

Perusall Exchange, May 17-28

I was just made aware of an opportunity for anyone who uses or is interested in learning more about Perusall: Perusall Exchange. The event will be held May 17 (today) through May 28.

A banner with the information: Perusall Exchange 2021, May 17-28
Dear Peruser,   From May 17-28, more than 1,200 of your colleagues will participate in Perusall’s first community event: a truly social asynchronous conference. The Perusall Exchange will offer  50+ sessions across a diverse array of disciplines that highlight innovative pedagogical approaches by instructors using our platform. The conference is free to attend. View the program and register today!  

View Program  

Pick and choose from sessions that pique your interest and watch whenever it suits your schedule. Ask questions or chat with other participants synchronously if they are online at the same time as you, or asynchronously if they are not.   At the end of the conference, presenters and participants will gather in live sessions to continue the discussion. The live sessions include: Promoting Equity and Inclusivity with Perusall Maximizing Student Engagement with Perusall Transitioning Back to Campus with Perusall Register today to stay up-to-date and get quick access on May 17th. We hope you can join us to share your ideas and connect.  We look forward to seeing you at the Exchange!   Take care,   The Perusall Team

Moodle Support Videos and Links

This post will be used to host links to all the Moodle workshop, support videos, and links. Links will be grouped as best as possible by topic. If there is a Moodle support topic you would like to request, please contact Jedidiah Rex.

Course Design

Grading and Assessment

Tools

Moodle: Demystifying the Gradebook Session Summary

The Moodle gradebook can be a confusing, headache-inducing, tangle. But it doesn’t have to be. The strategies shared in this session and post can help make the Moodle gradebook more clear to instructors and students about how grades are calculated. Bringing clarity increases transparency making the gradebook more usable and inclusive.

There are a number of different methods to arrive at a grade, called aggregation methods. There are three which were the focus during the session: weighted mean of grades (WM), simple weighted mean of grades (SWM), and Natural aggregation. These three methods should be able to address the majority of desired grading scenarios.

Each of these may be used to arrive at the same grade. But they each calculate grades in a slightly different way. One big difference between WM, SWM, and Natural is that the first two normalize the grades to be out of 100 (points or percent). This can potentially create lack of clarity about how a grade is calculated. Natural used to be called “Sum of grades” and at default functions in the same way. For Natural then, the category and course totals are a sum of all the grades contained within. You can see a comparison of the three methods in the session video beginning at 0:07:50.

Strategies

Whether an instructor chooses WM-SWM or Natural grading there are some strategies that can be utilized to make the Moodle gradebook more usable.

Start with your syllabus – What is meant by this is that an instructor should review how their grading strategy is laid out in their syllabus and replicate this in the Moodle gradebook. Many instructors use categories of grades i.e. Assignments, Quizzes, Exams, Final Exam, or Participation. Create these categories in the gradebook first, before adding activities or grade items. In addition to creating an organizing structure this approach allow an instructor to add activities directly to categories when they are created making less work down the road.

Use numbers – The Moodle gradebook calculates most accurately with numbers. It can use and display letter grades, but doing so can introduce some variability. For instance, does an “A” mean 100, or 94, or… ? Scales (check, check minus, or satisfactory/unsatisfactory) are difficult or impossible in some cases for Moodle to use in calculation. If an instructor desires the grades be displayed in certain way there are options for controlling this.

Keep it simple – While it is possible to mix and match aggregation methods, to use extra credit, drop the lowest ‘x’ grades, and nest categories, doing so can make it less clear to students how a grade is calculated. Anything an instructor can do to make this is as clear as possible limits challenges to grades, and through understanding created through transparency, allows the student to engage more fully.

If you have questions about setting up your gradebook, or about grading in Moodle please contact Jedidiah Rex.

Session Video

The recording of the session (1:18:12) is posted below. It is only available to Lawrence University faculty and staff.

Resources

https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Grade_aggregation
https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Grades_FAQ
https://docs.moodle.org/38/en/Grader_report

“UDL: Unplugged” Workshop

RESCHEDULED!

Calendar planner.The workshop has been rescheduled for Thursday March 14th, 9:30-11:00 AM

Please RSVP via this form if you would like to attend the workshop.

 

One possible criticism of the universal design for learning (UDL) framework is that it requires the use of technology. In the spirit of LU Unplugged, we will be working together to identify strategies based on the UDL framework that do not require the use of technology.

Resources

If you are interested in learning more about UDL please visit the following resources:

On the Web

Books

UDL: Unplugged Workshop

One possible criticism of the universal design for learning (UDL) framework is that it requires the use of technology. In the spirit of LU Unplugged, we will be working together to identify strategies based on the UDL framework that do not require the use of technology.

The workshop is planned for Thursday February 7th, 10:00-11:30 AM

Please RSVP via this form if you would like to attend the workshop.

Resources

If you are interested in learning more about UDL please visit the following resources:

On the Web

Books

Summary: “Active Learning is Loud!” Workshop

Four people high-fiving eachother around a work table.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Yesterday a group of faculty, staff, and I convened in Main Hall 401 for a workshop, “Active Learning is Loud!” The well-attended session centered on active learning strategy, and associated challenges and countermeasures. The time consisted of a brief summary of active learning, which you may find here, presentations by Beth DeStasio (Biology) and Kathy Privatt (Theater) about their experiences with active learning, and then an activity and discussion around challenges associated with active learning and brainstorming ways about how we might address those.

Presentations

Beth shared her work in biology highlighting her use of manipulatives in which she uses straws of various colors and lengths to teach DNA replication. She also shared some of the strategies she employs to manage the logistics of group work during the active learning activities.

Kathy shared a few different examples of active learning activities that she has done with her students. One well received example was the mention of a variation of the Think-Pair-Share strategy in which students will leave the classroom and walk rather than having a sit-down meeting. Kathy shared that the addition of the movement helps the students engage and have richer discussion.

Take-Away’s

While brief, the session proved valuable to all in attendance as was evidenced by their take-away’s. Some poignant comments are shared below.

One attendee noted, “It was good to see examples of active learning that are not dependent on technology. It was good to hear that other people run into some of the same challenges that I do.” The second part of that comment is probably one of the most valuable parts that I see come out of these workshops and something that I aim to incorporate into every workshop or session I facilitate.

Another attendee appreciated Kathy’s mention of the “walking meetings,” mentioning that, “Physical movement in classroom and outside of classroom promotes discussions.” The same person commented on Beth’s example of using the manipulatives saying that the, “visual aids/hands-on materials not only help students but also help instructors to check progress.” These are two benefits of an active learning approach.

Related to the idea of movement another attendee commented that they, “especially liked hearing how leaving the classroom to go on a walk and then returning helped overcome challenges of a physical space.” This is a key point as limitations of space are a large challenge for active learning. The space doesn’t directly influence teaching and learning, but it does have strong influence in how the space is used and the sort of activities it can support. Finding creative ways to work within the space that we have is a key skill for instructors.

It was a pleasure facilitating this workshop and appreciate everyone who participated. I look forward to learning more about active learning strategies, especially with an eye toward assessment, and working with the faculty here to implement these and other strategies to make the teaching and learning experience the best it can be.

 

Announce: “Active learning is Loud!” Workshop

Four people high-fiving eachother around a work table.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I am pleased to announce that I will be offering a workshop around active learning.

The workshop details are:
DATE: Thursday, January 10
TIME: Convo hour (11:10-12:20)
LOCATION: Main 401.

 

During the workshop we will review what active learning is, and specific active learning strategies. We will hear from a couple instructors about their experience using active learning strategies in their teaching. We will conclude the time with an activity designed to help us identify solutions to active learning challenges.

I hope to see you there. Please RSVP via this form if you wish to attend.

UDL Workshop Summary

What is UDL?

Image of the UDL Guidelines. Link to web version.
UDL Guidelines. Click the image to view an interactive version.

“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. ”

UDL has its beginning in the universal design architectural movement which came out of “barrier free” movement. The term universal design was coined by Ronald Mace (North Carolina State University) in the 1960’s. Some examples of universal design are:

  • Smooth, ground level entrances without stairs
  • Lever handles for opening doors rather than twisting knobs

Universal Design for Learning was created by David H. Rose, Ed.D. of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) in the 1990’s. UDL, based on research in neuroscience,  uses three principles. These principles are to provide: 2

  1. Multiple means of representation
  2. Multiple means of action and expression
  3. Multiple means of engagement

The three UDL principles are based on three learning networks. The three networks are recognition, strategic, and affective.

  1. The recognition network deals with, “how we gather facts and categorize what we see, hear, and read.”
  2. The strategic network deals with how we plan and perform tasks,” and “how we organize and express our ideas.”
  3. The affective network deals with how, “learners get engaged and stay motivated.”

There are other uses of universal design in teaching and learning:

  • UD for Instruction (UDforI)
  • UD of Instruction (UDI)

While similar, they are not the same as universal design for learning. UDL is distinctly focused on the student experience and attending to  varied ways students may approach a learning experience.

Two common ideas and terms withing the UDL framework are the ‘myth of the average‘ or ‘learner variability.’ These terms point to the idea that students vary (in strengths, background, experience, perspective, and many more)  from context to context, and from day to day.

Some examples of variability are:

  • background knowledge
  • gender
  • socio-economic status
  • culture
  • non-native language learners
  • learning exceptions: physical disability, mental illness, anxiety

UDL is meant to address this variability by providing as many on-ramps to the course material as possible, and as many means for the students to demonstrate what they have learned. You may be saying, “Well isn’t this just differentiated instruction?” One analogy in, Design & Deliver: Planning and Teaching Using UDL3, by Loui Lord Nelson, compares differentiated instruction to creating single meals for each student while UDL is a buffet. The buffet allows each person to choose those things that the like and that work best for them.

Here is a link to the guidelines. The way that this chart is organized is by principle. Under each principle are three guidelines. Each guideline then has a few supporting checkpoints. Each of the checkpoints in this chart are linked to further explanation. The three levels on the left-hand side, access, build, and internalize, speak to increasing levels of engagement of students with the learning materials. The checkpoints are what we  use to identify the specific strategies we will employ as we design a specific learning experience. I have attached PDF copies in the “resources” section of the guidelines and the graphic organizer to this post.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the checkpoints to see how we might apply them. Some examples are below.

  • 1 – Provide options for perception.
    • The mighty PDF. Quite ubiquitous in the higher-ed environment and at the core and inaccessible file. The PDF file format is technically an image. Even though we can see text, there isn’t any underlying text that may be manipulated. Optical character recognition, or OCR, is the process of identifying or extrapolating the text within an image.  Adobe Acrobat Pro is one example of software that can do this for PDF documents. Once this process has been completed other options for interacting with the document become available. Such affordances are:
      • having the document read aloud – providing another mode of interaction. Toward this end there are programs, web tools, and mobile apps that can help facilitate this.
      • searching the text – making the document a study/research tool.
      • Redeeming time – the ability for a student to listen to the document on a mobile device allows the student to listen when they have time e.g. student athlete traveling to/from and event.
  • 3.3 – Guide information processing and visualization.
    • Mind mapping or concept mapping provides a way for the student to organize information and make connections between the ideas.
  • 5.1 – Use multiple media for communication.
    • Providing the student audio or video feedback allows tone and non-verbal cues to be communicated. Making this an option for students can provide assistance to those students who are better explaining ideas verbally than in writing.
  • 5.2 – Use multiple tools for construction and composition.
    • Allowing students to create a podcast as an option to writing a research paper gives the students a creative alternative.
  • 6.1 – Guide appropriate goal setting.
    • Providing time estimates for readings/materials supports the student in managing their own work, planning and prioritizing for when works best for them.
  • 6.3 – Facilitate managing information and resources.
    • Chunking, or breaking a larger task or piece of information supports the student in managing the task and/or understanding the larger idea.
  • 6.4 – Enhance capacity for monitoring progress.
    • Helping students to see their progress in a course can allow them to better assess their work and the learning they are doing. Course completion tracking in Moodle is a tool that could be leveraged to support this.
  • 7.1 – Optimize individual choice and autonomy.
    • Providing alternative formats of course materials and providing options for assignments and activities support this checkpoint. Other strategies that may do so also are creation of class norms, collaborative assessment/rubric design in which the instructor and class work together to create the assessment or rubric.
  • 7.2 – Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity.
    • Whose voices are represented? Are the materials relevant to all the learners? How can they made to be relevant?
  • 8.1 – Heighten salience of goals and objectives.
    • The more an instructor can deliberately share of the “why” of the task/assignment/activity/process, the better the students will understand the importance of the said task/assignment/activity/process, and most importantly be more engaged and motivated in the learning process.
  • 8.3 – Foster collaboration and community.
    • Shared class notes are a way to foster collaboration and to support students who may not be as strong in this area.
  • 8.4 – Increase mastery-oriented feedback.
    • Providing learners feedback that a particular response is correct or incorrect really only provides limited information. Creating feedback that guides a student toward discovering the correct answer supports this checkpoint. Utilizing Moodle quiz feedback and the  question bank are examples of a tool that an instructor might use.
  • 9.3 – Develop self-assessment and reflection.
    • Including metacognitive prompts – “What worked?,” “What didn’t?,” “Why?,” “What would help you learn?” – Can support the student in taking control of their learning, knowing themselves better and provide them the means to identify and search after those things that help them the best/most.

Some things to keep in mind or questions to ask as you consider adapting a learning experience within the UDL framework:

  • What does this design change require? Technology? Time? Funds?
  • What are challenges against this design change?
  • How easily could this change be implemented in a course?
  • How might you assess the impact of the change?

Take-Away’s

The hour for the workshop went by very quickly. Everyone was able to get something out of the time together. One common thread was appreciation for the analogy of UDL being a “buffet” – providing options for the students to choose what they like and works best for them, versus differentiated instruction where you are making separate meals to fit each student. Others from the workshop voiced appreciation for the time and space to talk with peers about what colleagues are doing and realizing that they are dealing with a lot of the same issues.

This workshop was a great experience for me as a facilitator and I look forward to discussing these ideas further and working with instructors to implement these and other strategies into the teaching and learning experience.

Resources

Web

Books

References

  1. udloncampus.cast.org
  2. Burgstahler, Sheryl, Universal Design in Higher Education: from Principles to Practice, 2015.
  3. Lord Nelson, Loui, Design & Deliver: Planning and Teaching Using UDL,” by Loui Lord Nelson