IT Training: Canvas, Sitecore 8.1, and a contest for staff

 

New Canvas trainings
Canvas Now that Blackboard is no longer an option, get up and running with the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). These walk-in sessions will introduce you to the Canvas interface, creating course content, customizing your course’s look and feel, plus assignment grading. Find the full schedule on the IT Training page.


What is new in Sitecore 8.1
Sitecore We will be offering several courses in using the newly upgraded Sitecore 8.1, SMU’s Web Content Management System, later this summer. Until then, join us for “What’s New in Sitecore 8.1.” We will go through the new interface and highlight the changed from the current version of Sitecore. To register for one of the webinars, please visit the IT Training page.


President’s Picnic Contest
scooterAs part of the SMU Staff Association’s annual President’s Picnic, OIT will be there to join in the celebrations with giveaways and fun prizes! Staff, stop by our booth at the picnic on May 18th to learn more about OIT’s services including our lyndaCampus service which provides staff, faculty and students with thousands of courses on hundreds of topics.To make it even easier for you to watch Lynda.com courses, we’re giving away three Roku Streaming Sticks to three lucky staff members so you can watch courses (and also Netflix and other streaming services in your free time) on your television! We’ll be giving two away during the picnic, but follow the instructions below for a chance to win one right now.

Just simply log onto smu.edu/lynda at anytime between now and May 17th and watch at least one video and you will be entered into a drawing for a Roku Stick! The winning staff member will be announced during the picnic.

Also, we’ll be giving away a scooter from our friends at Qualtrics, so you can cruise around campus in style!

lyndaCampus Adoption on Campus Increases

lynda.comWhen we at OIT introduced lyndaCampus in late 2015, we were excited to begin offering a new way to learn about all kinds of business and creative skills and software. Turns out, you were just as excited!

As of April 1, almost 800 people ranging from students, faculty, and staff have logged into Lynda.com. On top of that, over 15,000 videos have been viewed, totaling around 11,00 hours of online training reviewed since Lynda.com was first offered.

Out of all those hours of viewing, here are the top courses overall that have been viewed in Lynda. Maybe some may be of interest to you the next time you log in.

  1. Foundations of Programming: Data Structures
  2. Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician Essential Training
  3. Up and Running with Canvas 2015
  4. Interactive Data Visualization and Processing

 

OIT and A-LEC Help Students Excel with Excel.

Almost two dozen students attended last night’s Excel@Excel hands-on-workshop at SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center. The OIT-lead workshop was part of the A-LEC’s practical learning strategy sessions offered throughout the term. A-LEC has partnered with OIT to facilitate four of the 25 sessions available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Excel@Excel Training in the A-LECYesterday’s workshop covered the basics of Excel and an introduction to formulas. OIT will offer a second Excel workshop for students on February 25th that will explore more in-depth formulas and functions. While last night’s and the February 25th session are both a student-only training, IT Training regularly offers workshops for all members of the campus community.  For more information about upcoming training opportunities, visit our IT Training workshop schedule.

“I’m excited that we have such great training opportunities for all of our campus,” stated Laurene Klassen, the Manager of IT Training, “but, let’s not forget the challenges that some people have to attend our workshops. I always try to encourage others to check out Lynda.com. So many people aren’t yet aware of the great online resources we have and I’m working hard to get the word out. Our Lynda.com license strengthens our training department by offering the courses we can’t regularly offer. Now, we have the tools to assist others to increase their learning by leaps and bounds.”

 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Umobong

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.

Canvas is Now: Learn, Prepare & Build

Canvas LMS LogoSMU’s transition to Canvas is rapidly moving forward. Formal weekly Canvas training workshops began in early January and will continue through September.  Roadshow sessions and “convert to Canvas labs” will be offered throughout May and June and customized departmental Canvas training sessions may be requested. OIT’s embedded academic technology team, in partnership with the Center for Teaching Excellence, is gearing up to provide expanded support and instructional design consultation to assist and to ensure SMU’s educators can capably LEARN Canvas, PREPARE course materials, and BUILD courses with this exciting new SMU cloud system. If you are an instructor who has yet to begin preparations for using Canvas, the time to begin is now.

After the current term, SMU courses will be published exclusively for use within Canvas. Blackboard will no longer be available for open use after this semester.  As of June 30th, 2016, Blackboard—and all course materials and information stored therein—will no longer be openly accessible to educators or students.  

How should faculty proactively prepare for changing to Canvas?

Do not wait until the last minute.  Prepare now.   All educators currently have unrestricted and open access to previous course materials in Blackboard.  However, waiting until the last minute will result in frustrations and challenges which are entirely avoidable and will result in unfavorable teaching experiences for educators and students alike.  While SMU’s academic technology team, training team, help desk and instructional designers are available to assist educators and students through the transition to Canvas, educators must begin learning Canvas in order to ensure the best and smoothest experience in building out courses in the new system.

Canvas Preparation Elements:

  1. Learn Canvas
  2. Prepare Course Materials for Canvas
  3. Build Courses in Canvas

LEARN CANVAS.  The more you learn about Canvas and its capabilities, the more Canvas can be used to serve you and your students in your classes.  Though many faculty have already chosen to “jump in” and find Canvas to be highly accessible and intuitive, attending a training session, participating in an online Canvas class or watching self-paced online tutorials will help grow your own broad awareness of the powers (and subtle nuances) of SMU’s new LMS. Please take advantage of these resources:

Workshops Canvas Resources Request Departmental Training
Online Training Canvas Community SMU Canvas Page

We hope to see you at one of our workshops and labs soon!

Continue Reading: Preparing & Building Courses in Canvas.

02/12/2016: Post updated with reference to faculty.
03/10/2020: Updated course link(s) from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning