Canvas spring courses and support strategy (News Digest)

This news digest is part of a regular series of updates about UW-Madison’s transition to the Canvas learning management system (LMS).

Spring credit-based courses now available

Spring credit-based courses are now available in Canvas. Courses can be accessed by logging into the Learn@UW Course Dashboard. In the dashboard, there will be links to both Canvas and D2L courses. Links to Moodle courses will appear after the courses have been created in Moodle. Students will only see links to the courses that have been “published” (Canvas) or “activated” (D2L, Moodle).

Please note that daily roster updates will not begin until November 14.

Additional support coming to schools and colleges this spring

In addition to the variety of online resources, and in-person training and consultation sessions that are currently available, specific support offerings that target each school and college will begin in spring 2017. Support will initially cover credit-based courses and include scheduled, on-site office hours with support staff, as well as additional one-on-one consultations. Support offerings will be scheduled based on the transition timelines that each school and college identified in an initial needs assessment. More details will be available later this fall and into the new year.

Various training sessions available through December

Demonstrations, webinars and skill-specific training sessions will be offered through December. Click on the links below for more details, and to register. A fully online, self-paced Canvas training course for instructors is also available. To access the course, log into Canvas and click on “Canvas Training Course for Instructors.”

  1. Canvas Demonstration: What is Canvas?
  2. Getting Started with Canvas
  3. Webinar: Introduction to Canvas
  4. Managing Grades in Canvas

What are faculty saying about their switch to Canvas?

“I transitioned my UW Arts Enterprise Course (MHR 365 in the Business School, crosslisted as Theatre/Music/Art/Design Studies/Dance 469) to Canvas this fall. For all of my students this is the first semester they’ve worked in Canvas so it’s been a good test of the platform – how intuitive it is, how easy to use, and such. I’m happy to report that it’s been a breeze – Unlike Desire 2 Learn/Learn@UW, which was often problematic for students (from finding information to uploading assignments) and difficult for me as an instructor (updating pages, creating links, etc), Canvas has been easy to use and update.” – Sarah Marty, UW Arts Institute, and Arts Program, Division of Continuing Studies

“I participated in the pilot to switch from D2L to Canvas last spring, and made lots of changes to the class anyway, so we basically started fresh. I like Canvas much better. Now I’ve made two classes in Canvas, with maybe 60 students in a class.

I like being able to make quizzes or exams. It’s much faster and more intuitive. When you look at the tool, you are likely to find almost anything you would like to do. The grading structure is better, giving and receiving feedback is more flexible. And Speed Grader is wonderful.

It is so much better than D2L when it comes to writing formulas. If I need a unique formula, I can create it in other tools (Word, for example), and paste it in. And (improvements) are happening much more quickly in Canvas than with any other tool I’ve used. There are not really any issues that pose problems for me. A few other features would be nice, but they are very minor.

I would encourage people not to hesitate to make the move … jump in and use the help-documentation, personal help, and so on. It’s really pretty painless.” – Robert Anex, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Working to further enhance Canvas functionality

Like many learning management systems, Canvas offers a comparable set of basic features while also providing some new and improved functionality such as SpeedGrader and advanced calendaring. At the same time, Canvas requires additional enhancements and customization in order to best support our faculty, staff and students. The UW-Madison Canvas Transition Team is working diligently to identify, prioritize and address these needs in a timely manner.

Currently, some of the needs that are being addressed include enhanced quizzing capabilities, content authoring tool functionality, automated transfers of final grades and student response systems integration. Some of Canvas’ basic features also operate slightly differently than the other LMSs on campus and, while they provide the same functionality, they will take some time to get used to.

View a list of considerations about using Canvas. The Canvas Transition Team will continue to explore solutions for the identified needs and will share more information as it becomes available.

Campus Canvas event

Join campus leadership to learn more about the progress being made with Canvas and next steps for upcoming semesters at the “EI Brown Bag: Adopting Canvas at UW-Madison” event on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from noon-1:15pm in Union South. View more details and register.

Requesting Canvas sandbox courses

Sandbox courses offer the opportunity to experiment with Canvas before using it for an actual course. It is recommended that faculty and instructional staff contact the designated instructional technology point-person for their school or college to request a sandbox course. Requests can also be submitted through this form.

Questions or issues? Get help with Canvas

In addition to the training sessions listed above, there are numerous ways to get help and learn more about Canvas including the UW-Madison Canvas Knowledgebase, the Canvas Instructor Guide, and one-on-one consultations with learning technologists from DoIT Academic Technology, and some schools and colleges. All of these resources, and more, can be found on the “Help & Training” page.