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. The page should look something like this:
 
canvas page
 
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) there will be a template that will change the look of your actual courses, so to minimize changes, do all your creating in modules (not assignments, quizzes, discussions). You should go to settings and change the notifications to suit your preference as to how often Canvas notifies you of changes. 
 
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. 
 
For faculty (or staff) who want to do in person training with me, we will have workshops every week of October and November on both main campuses (except Thanksgiving week). Those in person trainings will be:
  • Monday: Room B45 in Alberta from 3:00-4:00pm
  • Tuesdays: Room 229 (LRC) in Keysville from 2:00-3:00pm
  • Wednesdays: Room B45 in Alberta from 3:30-4:30pm
  • Fridays: Room 229* in Keysville from 11:00am-Noon (*Friday 10/12 will be in Room 21)
NOTE: Due to some mandatory trainings for me, we may have to move a date or two in October or November, but I will provide alternate days/times if necessary.
 
We have had a lot of positive feedback from everyone who has worked with Canvas and the webinars so far. I hope that you will all take advantage of those, and of the in person trainings. Also note that the Help button in your Canvas blue navigation bar gives you access to the Canvas Guides, which are blogs about how to do almost anything in Canvas. As more training resources become available, I will get those on your calendar.
 
Questions: Terri Milroy, terri.milroy@southside.edu