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.
- 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)
- Copy or move all relevant course files into the relevant course folder.
- 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!)
- 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.
SMU’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:
- Learn Canvas
- Prepare Course Materials for Canvas
- 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:
We hope to see you at one of our workshops and labs soon!
Continue Reading: Preparing & Building Courses in Canvas.
Post updated 02/12/2016.
The Academic Technology team is pleased to announce all courses for the upcoming J-Term and Spring terms are available for use in SMU’s new cloud-based learning management system (LMS), Canvas. While courses are still available for J-term and Spring term in Blackboard, Canvas will be replacing Blackboard as SMU’s LMS for all online, hybrid, and enhanced instructor-led courses. Still operational during J-Term and Spring semester, Blackboard will be completely phased out by June 2016.
Questions can be directed to the OIT Help Desk. SMU’s Canvas service also offers additional 24/7 live chat or phone help for the Canvas system simply by clicking on the question-mark icon in the Canvas toolbar. This can be especially useful for quick questions! Canvas Guides are also available to find answers to common questions.
Log into Canvas using your SMU username and password at http://smu.instructure.com/.
More information about Canvas resources, FAQ’s, how to get started, or find information on an attending an SMU Canvas workshop or scheduling 1:1 consultations for course-building assistance will be available soon at the OIT Canvas Service Page.