“Canvas, the Commons, and Course Design, Oh My.”

On April 21, Leslie Fuller worked with other SMU librarians Megan Heuer, Melissa Johnson, and Ramon Garcia to give a presentation at the Texas Distance Learning Association Conference entitled, “Canvas, the Commons, and Course Design, Oh My.”

The presentation was based upon the work of the Online Learning Team, which has created self-directed Canvas modules covering topics such as Writing with Sources for graduate and undergraduate students, various citation styles, Evaluating News Media, and Searching for Information Online, among others. Each module is published within Canvas Commons and available to any SMU faculty for importing into their existing courses. Modules can be tailored to specific courses, programs of study and are adaptable for undergraduate and graduate levels.

The team started working together last spring and gained momentum with the onset of the pandemic. We wanted to be able to support faculty as all courses and assignments moved online by providing instruction on basic research and information literacy skills. Faculty across campus have let us know how helpful they find them. They even bragged about them to the SACS accreditors last month.

Covid-19 also impacted our dynamic as a team – we had to figure out how a new team could work together efficiently. As a new staff member at SMU, I had never been in the same room as most of the others. It wasn’t a particularly smooth process, but after some trial and error we have become quite efficient at building new content through collaboration with other faculty and librarians (and proficient at Zoom, like everyone else). We have plans for more modules over the summer and plan to keep reviewing and updating the ones we have already published.

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