Since I am still grappling with how to best use Canvas in my onsite classes and considering how to best plan my summer online course, I am going to stick with Canvas as the CMS I interrogate this week. Would Ayn Rand approve? Or argue that my free will has been overrun by zombies?
But seriously, Warnock’s charge to keep it simple resonates. Paradoxically, sometimes I think I keep it too simple and not simple enough. I use Modules, Group Discussions, Attendance, SpeedGrader, Announcements as my main tools in Canvas. But students still see Files, Collaborations, Chat, Google Drive, and Name Coach as navigable options. One concrete step I need to take is to limit the options that I don’t actually ask students to engage with. The truth is that I still fell a bit overwhelmed by all of the options and I tend to fall back on what has worked sufficiently in the past. But I want to do better!
Warnock’s suggestion to chart out needs/tech/ availability / training seems especially useful. And I plan to implement this practice as I plan my online course. I like the idea of mapping out a table/ chart that I can look at and interact with in an analogue space- on a white board or bulletin board.
One current frustration I have with Canvas is SpeedGrader, and in discussion with colleagues, we agreed that something that looks more like the comment function on Google docs would be helpful/ useful to include in a CMS. Which brings me to another spot on my to-do list which would be to investigate and learn how to use the Google Drive link on my Canvas courses. My ideal would be to incorporate plenty of videos to communicate with students, weekly missives from my desk to their inboxes, and I think these communications, as Warnock suggests, can go a long way in communicating important info to students. So I plan to keep getting more comfortable with Screencast-O-matic and Zoom, but perhaps my ideal CMS would have its own in-house video recording program.
Lastly, I thought Warnock’s suggestion to use a telephone, thought “it seems quaint,” to be an interesting take. I am currently doing coursework to get a Postsecondary Reading and Learning Certificate from CSU Fullerton. The courses are all online, but during the first course my instructor held office hours over the phone, and I have to say it was quite nice to be able to speak and interact with someone. Granted, the class only had 5 students, but I think if the schedule allows, maybe setting up a time to take phone calls from students might be a useful/ helpful way to build community and ease anxiety with our students. Or maybe working in more synchronous meetings/ office hours. Looking at the University of Central Florida’s seminars would be a good next step to get the ball rolling here.
See you all soon!