InstructureCon Reveals Upcoming Features in Canvas

Instructurecon LogoLast month, instructional designers from around the world descended on Keystone, Colorado for the annual InstructureCon. This convention is hosted by Instructure, the makers of the Canvas LMS, to announce upcoming features as well as allow educators to discuss innovative ways of using Canvas. SMU’s own Canvas administrators paid a visit to the Rockies to find out more about what Canvas has up their sleeve, and they weren’t disappointed! Continue reading InstructureCon Reveals Upcoming Features in Canvas

Problems with Lockdown Browser? Download SMU’s Version!

The IT Help Desk has received a few issues recently from faculty and students regarding Responds LockDownthe Lockdown Browser used for secure testing. The version they have downloaded is either the generic one from Respondus or even from another institution.

SMU has its own specific version of Lockdown Browser that takes you to SMU’s Canvas page automatically. This is the browser you should download to take Lockdown quizzes. You can download it by clicking here.

Once installed, opening this version of the browser will direct you to our Canvas service and allow you to take your secured quizzes. If you have any questions, let us know at help@smu.edu or 214-768-4357.

Canvas Corner: Context Cards, To Do Lists, & Full-Screen Canvas on Mobile

Canvas Corner

Every month in Canvas Corner, we discuss the new features and enhancements available in Canvas. This month, we cover new WalkMe guides, new Canvas Context Cards, Student Dashboard updates, and mobile full-screen view. Continue reading Canvas Corner: Context Cards, To Do Lists, & Full-Screen Canvas on Mobile

New In-Depth Canvas Sessions Announced

Canvas LMS LogoNeed some more assistance with the finer points of SMU’s new Canvas LMS? OIT has scheduled additional training sessions over the summer that cover advanced topics ranging from grade books to modules. Just like the basics sessions OIT has given through the spring semester, these summer sessions are walk-in only, so stop by on any of the dates!

Below is a list of the upcoming sessions, their locations, and their dates and times. For any questions regarding these sessions, please contact your academic technology liaison in your department.

Schedule of Courses

June 3, 1PM Intro to Canvas (Condensed) Crow 186
June 3, 2PM Assignments & Grade Book Crow 186
June 6, 10AM Quizzes Hughes-Trigg
June 6, 11AM Mastering Modules Hughes-Trigg
June 13, 2PM Intro to Canvas (Condensed) Webinar
June 23, 10AM Intro to Canvas (Condensed) Webinar
 July 11, 3PM Canvas Course Set-Up Workshop Crow 186
 July 11, 2PM Assignments & Grade Book Crow 186
 July 20, 10AM Quizzes Crow 186
 July 20, 11AM Mastering Modules Crow 186
July 28, 10AM Assignments & Grade Book Crow 186
July 28, 11AM Canvas Course Set-Up Workshop Crow 186
August 5, 1PM Intro to Canvas (Condensed) Crow 186
August 5, 2PM Assignments & Grade Book Crow 186
August 8, 2PM Quizzes Crow 186
August 8, 3PM Matering Modules Crow 186
August 8, 4PM Assignments & Grade Book Crow 186

Preparing & Building Courses in Canvas

Canvas Tips & Tricks
When teaching any online course for the first time, course materials and files must be readied and assembled for course uploading.  Creating new organizational folders for each course is one easy starting point for ensuring that your course materials for the transition to Canvas.

  1. On your computer, create a new course folder for each unique course you are teaching. (Include any/all courses you have taught previously using Blackboard that you will teach again—especially consider courses you teach infrequently but will teach again in the future)
  2. Copy or move all relevant course files into the relevant course folder.
  3. Utilize SMU’s Box cloud storage service to maintain your course folders so as not take up space on your hard drive (Tip: SMU Box is also a great way to share your course folders/files with colleagues!)
  4. Use your reorganized course folders to build your courses in Canvas.

Exporting, Reclaiming & Reorganizing course Materials from Blackboard

Many educators who have utilized Blackboard have accumulated substantial course materials and course artifacts which are still only stored within Blackboard.  While Blackboard is still openly available to faculty until the end of June, all instructors are advised to export/download any and all course materials for reuse well before the June deadline.  Since courses, course materials and files will not be moved automatically into Canvas, all educators must ensure, before June 30th, that course materials required for reuse are exported or downloaded from Blackboard for use in building new Canvas courses.  Academic technology team members and instructional designers are available immediately to help guide you through this process.  While SMU will offer numerous day-long “Canvas Conversion Labs” during May and June to assist with exporting course materials from Blackboard, please start preparing your materials now.  Recovering Blackboard course materials after June 30th will be handled on case-by-case requests, since Blackboard will no longer be openly accessible.

Build courses in Canvas

After you’ve become familiar with Canvas and have consolidated digital course materials in folders for each course, you are ready to build out your course.  course shells for your upcoming courses will be available for building and publishing well before the start of each term.  If the official course shell is not yet available, please request a “sandbox course” from the OIT help desk for each course you’d like to get a head-start on building.

We’re excited about the opportunities that the Canvas course management system offers the SMU community.  SMU, OIT and CTE are committed to providing as much training, guidance and instructional design assistance as possible during this transitional year.

Even with that support, however, most of the work that needs to be completed between now and the time SMU turns off Blackboard now falls to the instructor.

If you have yet to begin preparations for using Canvas, please begin the process of learning Canvas, preparing your course materials (especially those which you might need to retain from old Blackboard courses) and start building your courses in Canvas itself.  An initial investment into planning for this imminent change in course management systems will pay dividends as SMU moves exclusively into Canvas.

Post updated 02/12/2016.