Introducing CANVAS - Our new Learning Management System

 Canvas for instructors
 
We are introducing everyone to our new LMS and the initial training materials associated with it. There will be GOBS of training (yes, that is a word), both from me, and from Canvas themselves. But the first thing you need to know is that EVERY EMPLOYEE has a sandbox course in Canvas. Some of you may not care or ever want to use it, but it's there for everyone. To access your sandbox, please go to vccs.instructure.com and use your Blackboard credentials to log in. What you see may or may not include the Spring 2019 course template. You do not need the template to work in your sandbox ... when you copy to production, a template will already exist in the production shell.
 
 
Please note that (1) you will get a box at the top asking you to accept an invitation to join your sandbox course the first time you log in; (2) as both mobility of the Canvas course and best practices for online design require us to minimize the number of student navigation links, please do all your creating in modules (not assignments, quizzes, discussions). You will also want to note on your first login that if you go to Account and Notifications, you can tell Canvas how often to notify you (or if it should notify you) of changes to your course and/or work and messages submitted by students. Please be prepared to explain to students that altering their notifications to exclude communications from you may cause them to unsuccessful in the course.  Students can and should, however, feel free to add a phone number from which to receive text messages from Canvas about changes to due dates, announcements, messages from you, etc. Phone numbers can be added in Account-Settings, and then modified in Account-Notifications. [NOTE: Student phone numbers will not be viewable to students or anyone other than the student. Instructor phone numbers, likewise, are not visible to students.]
 
To begin, you may want to view some of the free Canvas webinars to which we have access for the next year. You can view the list of webinars by going to https://www.cysalesteam.com/instructure/, then you will see this screen:
 
canvas page
 
Either at the top, or in the middle, click "Create an Account", and enter your Southside email address and preferred password. You will now see a list of upcoming webinars. If you click on the calendar in the left navigation, you will see color coded webinars by day of the month (only September is shown now, but you can forward to the October calendar):
 
canvas page
 
Note the categories tell you whether you should view them. Introduction to Canvas webinars are RED; Building Blocks courses (things to manage the course site) are GREEN; Classroom series (often specific to a discipline) are BLUE; and Showcase Series (new features in Canvas) are BLACK. Please do NOT register for the GOLD webinars, as they are for Canvas admins only, and you will get nothing out of them. If you click on any webinar on the calendar, it will take you to a registration page, where you need to enter your name, email, title and college, then click submit. You should immediately receive an email saying you registered, with a URL to join the webinar at the appropriate date/time. Note that all webinars are done in Adobe Connect, so logging in a few minutes early for your first webinar will allow you to open/install that software for the first time. You should not need permission to use it, if you have any Adobe product on your laptop/desktop. NOTE: the webinars are live streamed, so you need a good connection. If you don't have broadband or high speed internet at home, please consider viewing the webinars at work. It is best to start with the RED webinars, as those will show you basic features of Canvas and how to navigate the course site. If you wish to move on, I suggest the GREEN webinars next, as they are about course management, and things like groups, gradebook, and the pages/modules areas. 
 
Please note that there are recordings of the eight weeks of in person trainings conducted by eLearning here at Southside, as well as a recording of the three hour Canvas Introductory Roadshow that took place in early November. Instructors should view these recordings if they are not satisfied with the information available in the webinars, or want something more personal to Southside. Future trainings will be on more advanced and in-depth subjects in Canvas, so familiarity with these basic tools is important.
 
Questions: Terri Milroy, terri.milroy@southside.edu