We’ve been talking a lot about Canvas, the University of Auckland’s new learning management system this year. Learn Do Share 2015 was devoted entirely to it and there have been numerous email updates, particularly around training, as well as training itself. The roll-out is going well with many staff having attended training and moving towards course design for 2016. But what can we look forward to?
It’s too early to assess the effect that Canvas will have on learning and teaching in this Faculty and the University as a whole. However, a full-scale upgrade like this has enormous potential to impact students’ experience of learning as well as the way we collectively think about course delivery and teaching. Gehan Gunasekera’s experience on one of the GSM pilots, Andrew Eberhard’s course-mirroring and learning designer Narissa Lewis’s course development are starting to flesh out what we can expect in the short term.
Everyone interviewed is very positive about what Canvas will deliver, particularly in terms of multimedia and for the student experience, with Narissa commenting that the user interface for students is particularly good. There is, unsurprisingly, also some expectation that Semester One will present challenges as greater numbers of staff at the University tangle with Canvas for the first time.
Both Gehan and Andrew agree that making the time to engage with the platform is key. Gehan has observed that “it takes time for the non-tech-savvy people to pick up what you need to do.” Andrew points out that “each time we go through a new process for the first time, whether it’s creating a quiz or dealing with exam grading, there are going to be some surprises and hiccups. We have to expect that tasks are going to take longer than they did before and allow more time to achieve them.”
However, as a learning designer, Narissa has found Canvas significantly simpler to get to grips with than other learning management systems she has used. She finds that Canvas also “makes it easy to change and update everything – it’s very flexible.” So there’s always a chance to improve or fix things as you go!
Combined tips list:
- Use a checklist to make sure you’ve done everything you need to
- Remember to publish – this can be easy to forget
- Give it a try. If you can’t work it out, drop-in sessions are available
- Use student view to check that everything is visible
- Set up your quiz bank BEFORE you set up your quiz
- Make use of multimedia – especially videos and images
Innovative Learning and Teaching is well aware that what we’re all being asked to do as we move to Canvas is huge, and has huge potential to impact learning in a very positive way. Support for Canvas will continue well into 2016 as more staff and courses come on board in the second half of next year. For more information about training and support you can see our page on LINK, or email us. We also welcome any feedback.