Eliciting Video Responses from Your Students

By Tyler Isbell

Adding the ability to receive video responses from your students within Canvas assignments or discussions does not require any special software, complicated set ups, or an expertise in computer programing.  In fact, this feature works within Canvas out of the box!  Because of Canvas Studio integration, faculty and students can import or record a video directly into any course activity that uses the rich text editor.  Below you will find student instructions on how to add or record a video into a Canvas activity.

You can also download the PDF of these instructions here and share it with students!

How to Add or Record a Video into an Activity using RTE

Begin by enabling the rich text editor within the activity.  For a discussion, click ‘Reply’.  For an assignment, click ‘Submit Assignment.’

On the second row of the rich text editor menu, select the blue ‘V’ with a white background.  This icon is for ‘External Tools.’  Choose ‘ARC’ or ‘Studio’, depending on which option is available to you.  (Canvas Studio was called ARC before last fall, but the links have not been updated everywhere yet.)

Picture1Your Canvas Studio ‘My Uploads’ menu will open. If you have already uploaded or recorded the video, you can simply find and select the video now.  Otherwise, use ‘Record’ to create a new video or ‘Add’ to upload a video from your computer’s hard drive.

Picture2Canvas Studios gives you two main options for recording — ‘Screen Capture’ or ‘Webcam Capture’.  Screen Capture is the more robust option and will give you options to trim and even edit your video post-production online.  Screen Capture allows you to capture just what’s on your computer screen, just your webcam, or you can include both in your capture (picture-in-picture).  Webcam Capture will only capture from your webcam and does not offer the same editing features, but it works well for a quick video that won’t require any editing.

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Screen Capture

First, select if you are capturing the ‘Screen’, ‘Webcam’ or ‘Both’.  For ‘Screen’ or ‘Both’, you will draw a rectangle around the part of the screen you would like to capture.

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When you are ready to start recording, click ‘Rec’

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You may pause and resume right where you left off during recording.  To finish the recording, press pause and then ‘Done’.

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Use the next screen to trim your video, access the advance editing tools, and save your video.  Use the bumpers to cut off parts of the beginning and end of your recording.  To save, give your recording a title and description, then click ‘Upload.’  The save process may take a bit, depending on the length of your video.  Canvas Studio is encoding and then uploading the video directly into your Canvas Studio account.  For more information on the advanced editing features, use the Canvas Studio Canvas Guides (link — also available through the ‘Help’ button).

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Webcam Capture

Make sure your Mic and Webcam are selected correctly, then simply hit ‘Start Recording.’

Picture9When you are finished recording, click ‘Finish’ or ‘Start Over.’

Picture10Give your recording a name and then click ‘Save’ to encode and upload your video.

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Selecting the Video and Posting/Submitting

After uploading or recording your video, click on the clip (‘Select This’) you are wanting to post or submit.

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You will be given the opportunity to choose to allow comments directly on the video and to allow/restrict other users from downloading your video.  Click ‘Embed’ once your options are set.

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You will now see your video directly in the rich text editor box of the discussion or assignment you are working on. Click on ‘Post Reply’ or ‘Submit’ to finish and share your video within the activity.

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Tyler Isbell is an Instructional Designer and Trainer for the Center for Digital Instruction at Christian Brothers University. He holds an Educational Technology Master’s Degree from Boise State University and masters-level certification in Technology Integration and Online Teaching. Before coming to CBU, Tyler was a trainer and instructional specialist in secondary education. 

Online Course Design Class Launched

By Lurene Kelley 

OCD Kickoff event held in the Sabbatini Lounge. Members of our team in front, presenting the layout of the course.

OCD Kickoff event held in the Sabbatini Lounge.

Many of you have taken Canvas training. Some have even completed the four week, fully online Faculty Training (OFT) course. Even if you’ve not participated in a single OLET training – we’d like you to see what’s ahead, as online learning will play a vital role in the future of CBU. A cadre of faculty and adjuncts prepared to deliver and facilitate high quality online learning will be essential to the success of this initiative.

On January 13th, we launched our inaugural Online Course Design (OCD) session – a 16-week, hybrid course created to produce fully-developed, quality online courses by the end of the semester. Eighteen professors and adjuncts are part of the first OCD cohort.

To head off your question, yes, we are aware of the OCD acronym! And yes, we want our educators to be a bit obsessive-compulsive when it comes to generating and facilitating their online class!

The course began with a kickoff and happy hour for facilitators and participants to get to know each other, as well as a presentation about the unique design of the class. Some participants in the class have little or no online teaching experience. Others have been teaching online, but understand that designing a quality online course is something different.

“I am taking this course in order to become a more well-rounded online course designer,” said Cort Casey, an associate professor in the CBU Education Department. “I have actually taught quite a bit online before, but I am a novice online course designer.”

The first six-weeks are fully online. Participants read articles, watch videos, take quizzes and contribute to forums, just as their online students do. It’s part learning online course development, part “what it feels like” to be an online student. In these six weeks, professors explore ways to engage with their class, how to develop a course that students can easily navigate, and advanced features in Canvas. We also ask educators to rethink what they know about teaching in a traditional classroom and approach digital learning in a new, yet familiar way. The entire course is built on the foundation of student-centered design – all aspects focus on creating an online learning environment that considers how students best learn, navigate and participate online.

Karen Golightly is an associate professor and Chair of the English Department at CBU. She has taught online at various institutions, including CBU, for 20 years. But as any good professor knows, online or in the classroom, there is always room to grow.

“I’m trying to balance the specific student outcomes needed for each assignment/discussion question and some of the smaller details that are required, such as guiding questions for videos with the content of a literature (or creative writing) course,” said Karen. “The OFT (Online Faculty Training) got me working directly on these two aspects, but I want to refine those aspects of my course. I also want to engage students more. I’m going to work on how to make my courses more interesting. I hope this doesn’t include videos of me speaking very often, as I don’t like doing that. But I’m looking forward to learning how to establish a social presence online (I am often too direct) as well as engage students better.”

A period of contemplative, self-paced work follows the online portion. In this phase, professors take what they’ve learned and apply it to creating their fully-online course. Each participant is assigned to one of our Instructional Designers (ID). During the course design phase, participants meet one-on-one with their assigned ID. Participants will also gather in person at least once during this phase to share ideas and learn alongside their colleagues and our entire OLET team.

The culminating event will be a showcase that the entire CBU community is invited to attend! Our participants will give short presentations about their online course in an open forum. The goal is to share ideas with fellow participants, but also to show any interested faculty, students and staff what a high quality, online course looks like at CBU.

It’s going to be a challenging 16-weeks for our participants – all who teach, serve in leadership roles and/or work outside CBU. OLET has provided a fair stipend for successful completion, but just two weeks in and it’s obvious: these educators are in this to teach their students well, no matter where it happens.

As stated in CBU’s strategic plan, we are all dedicated to providing transformational learning experiences by “expanding vibrant academic programs and student experiences.” Developing a high-quality, interactive, meaningful online learning program is a key part of this mission. Online teaching is not antithetical to a Lasallian education. If we do this with care, it is central to it.

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Lurene Kelley is the Online Student Success Specialist for Christian Brothers University’s Center for Digital Instruction. She holds a Ph.D in Organizational Communication from the University of Memphis and is a former college professor and journalist.  

Spring Prep Checklist

Screenshot 2019-12-16 11.41.59The Spring 2020 semester is quickly approaching, so if you intend to use your course Canvas shell, now is the time to create or modify your course. Every CBU class comes with a Canvas shell. Whether you are teaching fully online, hybrid or a traditional course — your digital course space is there for you!

Consider this Spring Prep Check List to make sure your Canvas classroom is ready to receive students:

  1. Make sure you’ve updated your online classroom for the new term. Import what needs to be there. Our Instructional Design team created this short video to show you exactly how to import your content! Clean up what doesn’t need to be present. The new term begins on January 4th and tidying up your online classroom while the students are in it can be confusing for all involved!
  2. Publish your course. Make sure you publish the contents of each module, as well as each module. A green circle with a checkmark in it means it is published and visible to the students. If you don’t want students working ahead, you can limit access by controlling the dates of accessibility. Always check the “Student View” by choosing that perspective in the upper right side menu. If you can’t see it in Student View, then it’s not been published.
  3. If you run into a problem creating a quiz or discussion, check out our helpful Canvas Job Aids. They are all available here by description.
  4. If you’re teaching a fully online or hybrid course, include this Canvas Student Orientation course in your class. This 30-minute tutorial will make the transition to using Canvas easier for your students. Consider making it a graded assignment to encourage participation. Here is the link: https://cbu.instructure.com/courses/4870
  5. Plan to expand your use of Canvas, our LMS. You may have just used it as a repository for lecture notes or as a means of giving a quiz in your on-campus class. Did you know that you can use Canvas to take attendance? It’s really easy. Give it a shot. Learn something new. Try the gradebook. Click this video to learn how to create a screen capture video for your course!
  6. If you’re teaching a fully online or hybrid course, run it by our Online Course Checklist. It will help ensure that all the elements are in place to make your course is easily navigable and prepared for students.

Although our office is closed during the break, Canvas Support is available – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just call Canvas Support at (901) 318-3024 to speak with a knowledgable, helpful person or chat with a representative by clicking on the Help button in the main sidebar menu inside Canvas. They’ll even send you a transcript of your conversation for reference! Our Instructional Design team returns to campus on January 2nd and will be refreshed and ready to assist you – OLET@cbu.edu or (901) 321-4004.

How Organizing Modules, Using Course Template Can Help Students

Screenshot 2019-12-10 09.28.23By Tyler Isbell 

Believe it or not, the organization of your online course makes a major impact on the success of your students’ learning.

Online courses are a shared experience that requires careful planning and guidance, so that students can reach the learning goals successfully.

Without the proper organization and facilitation, an “online course” is little more than a shared cloud space. Furthermore, students lacking the immediacy of the face-to-face classroom become disoriented, unmotivated, and even anxious if there isn’t some clear and consistent organizational structure in place. The organization of your course should serve as a pathway for students to follow so they know what to do, when to do it, how it all fits together, and why it is important.

Modules          

Begin by thinking through the structure of your course. What is the teaching sequence?  How might you group the content? The grouping of content or modules may represent one week at a time or longer periods of time centered on a specific concept, theme, or topic (such as a unit or chapter).

While the inclusion of instructional content, assignments, and assessments within a module is obvious, it is also important to include an introduction, conclusion, and other activities as well. The use of overviews, to-do lists, wrap ups, and similar pages within your modules provide ‘trail markers’ to guide students through the course content. Students will feel better supported and more motivated to work within your course when they know where to go and what to do.

The creation of these “extra” pages for each module might be overwhelming. Luckily, there is a tool provided within each Canvas course at CBU to reduce the time required to create these pages – The course template.

What It Might Look Like: The Course Template    

Regardless of your content area or audience, the template provides a shortcut to the course planning, designing, and building process. Instructors are able to modify and customize features within the template to create a new course rather than starting completely from scratch. The template includes:

  • A generic module-based navigational layout, easily adapted for weekly, topical, or chapter-based units. 
  • A customizable course home page, instructor page, course overview, and online learning orientation to strengthen social, cognitive, and teaching presence. 
  • Pre-built pages designed with Universal Design in Learning (UDL) and adult learning best practices in mind.  This includes the necessary pages needed to guide students through the content within each module: An introduction, to-do list, sample student activities/assessments, and conclusion. 

Check Out the Template

Open any of your future production shells to get started OR follow this link for a read-only example: https://cbu.instructure.com/courses/4087

Want More Information on Online Teaching?

Did you know the OLET team offers a completely online training related to teaching an online course?  Our Online Faculty Training (OFT) course dives into:

  • How to navigate the online classroom, both as a student and as an instructor.
  • How to create a community of inquiry among online students.
  • How to have an effective teaching and human presence in an online classroom.
  • How to create courses in our Learning Management System (LMS), Canvas.

Instructors complete OFT with the first module of their new course completed and reviewed.  Participants that finish OFT and teach their course online also receive a stipend!

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Tyler Isbell is an Instructional Designer and Trainer for the Center for Digital Instruction at Christian Brothers University. He holds an Educational Technology Master’s Degree from Boise State University and masters-level certification in Technology Integration and Online Teaching. Before coming to CBU, Tyler was a trainer and instructional specialist in secondary education. 

 

That Time I Made My Own Course Video

Kyle Purpura's first teaching video.

Actual footage of Kyle Purpura’s first video!

By Kyle Purpura

In the early 90s, I began teaching accelerated economics courses in the international high school where I was employed. Although the language of instruction was English, over half of my students were non-native English speakers. This meant that I had to be cognizant that some of the course materials I inherited, such as the 600-page textbook, might not always be the best choice for a few of the members of the class. So from the outset of the year, I found myself on the lookout for relevant, suitable, palatable course materials to supplement what I had inherited.

Enter Phil Holden, the “Godfather of YouTube Economics.” Although we might be tempted to think otherwise, YouTube has only been with us since 2005. By 2006, Phil Holden, a charming economics teacher from a small, British international school in Greece, began publishing a series of straightforward, 5-20 minute videos focusing on various aspects of economic analysis. Filmed from a flip-cam mounted on a tripod, Phil’s videos consisted of him standing in front of a board, diagramming, explaining, and analyzing economic models and events.

The videos were technically simple, but Phil’s mastery of the content and his delightfully upbeat presentation made them something really special. They were obviously the product of a passion: making economics accessible to an audience that did not necessarily learn efficiently from reading economics textbooks. With permission, I downloaded every one of Phil’s videos and began sharing them with my classes. My students loved them.

There came a point where students would ask for a demonstration of something Phil’s videos hadn’t touched upon. So, I was motivated to make my first video (truth be told, I was also motivated by a desire to be just like Phil). So armed with a tripod and flip-cam, and wearing – for some inexplicable reason – a salmon-colored shirt, I shot the raw footage for my first video. I was nervous.

Don’t ask me why I was edgy, because it was just me, the whiteboard, and the camera. I hit the little red record button, and walked to my mark in front of the white board. I was awkward and felt wooden. I halted, stammered, and stuttered. Somewhere in the back of my mind though, I knew I could edit some of the stuttering out later. Finally, I finished! And then I edited (and edited, and edited), completing the process by publishing my very first YouTube video to my newly minted YouTube channel.

On Monday, I showed my students the video. The feedback was tough and hopeful all at the same time. Students didn’t love the piece as much as they loved Phil’s stuff, but they appreciated that I took the time to create and share something that could help them with the course. That was all I needed to hear.

Screenshot 2019-11-20 15.50.44Motivated to create better and better course content, I shot more and more videos, finding the process easier with each passing shoot and subsequent editing session. After the fifth video with me in front of the camera, I switched tactics, taking up screencasting instead of me in front of the camera. Through narrated, animated PowerPoints, I was able to focus more on the nitty gritty of the econ diagrams, while still providing “color commentary” with my recorded thoughts. Screencasting, as opposed to me on camera, allowed me to be more comfortable and to create better quality videos. I found that being behind the microphone was much more natural for me than being in front of the camera.

My students loved the new screencasts, every bit as much as they loved Phil’s stuff. Often they would tell me that they used both sets of videos – mine and Phil’s – in tandem with one another. Students also loved that they could ask me to create a video on a certain topic, and that I would have one finished within a day or two. And I certainly loved making them. The screencast format allowed me to easily fill in the skill and content gaps that students were sometimes experiencing. I could also tailor the video content to address the particular questions my students were asking.

But did this strategy produce positive outcomes? Now that I am no longer in the classroom, it’s a question I often ask myself. The answer is, “I think so.”

When I consider my students’ average scores on externally moderated exams, their scores increased after 2007/08, which is about the time I began to shoot my own vid-casts. This makes sense to me, as many of my students were kids whose first language was not English and had a fairly difficult time with advanced level textbooks. The videos distilled complex information and ideas so that they could better follow along; plus, if students were viewing at home, they could pause and go back back to information to hear and see for a second or a third time.

On the other hand, the increase in students’ median scores could have also been the result of other factors: changes in examination formats, a teacher who felt more engaged now that he was creating his own content, differences in class sizes, differences in international schools, etc.

Nonetheless, I believe that my strategy paid off – that better outcomes were attributable to my created video content. Students benefited because they could modify the speed of the course content at home to suit their different abilities to process information. They could also copy down and repeat in writing the step-by-step analysis that I highlighted in my videos. And they could show me – by pausing a video in class – where they were having problems in their understanding of the material. And students knew that they could request a new video of me at any time … which I delighted in accommodating.

Over ten years and almost a million channel views later, econ students from all over the world still contact me. “Mr. P, could you maybe make a video on …”

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Kyle Purpura is an Instructional Designer and Trainer for Christian Brothers University’s Center for Digital Instruction. He holds an Educational Technology Master’s Degree from Boise State University and has served as a technology trainer and content developer in higher education overseas, as well as a high school administrator. 

Encourage Reflection, Improve Involvement, and Sharpen Writing Skills with Student Blogging (in Canvas)

By Tyler Isbell 

Are you looking for different ways to incorporate more student writing in your classroom? Consider student blogs.

Students blogs can provide:

Screenshot 2019-11-19 06.33.12

  • A way to have your students write frequently in your classroom without having to assign (and grade) more term papers or essays.
  • A creative means to have your students reflect upon their thoughts, experiences, and course content in a space they can design.
  • A platform for students share their ideas on a course topic, work with their peers, and connect with an authentic audience.

If you are unsure what a blog is, check out this four minute YouTube video.  Essentially, we understand that a blog is a collection of one’s “thoughts, ideas, experiences, and more” presented in one place online (WPMU DEV, 2013).  The creation of this collection will allow students to practice writing and improve their communication skills, while also sharpening their brain’s performance and boosting their confidence.

All of this is in a space that students can design to be their own and be shared with more than an audience of one instructor (Thomson, 2018). Furthermore, students work with and learn from both their instructors and peers virtually. Blogs provide chances for students to see others’ perspectives and to explore other resources included in posts.  These opportunities promote active learning, student ownership, and reflective practices, provided that the purpose of and expectations for blogging in the classroom is clearly defined to the students (Chawinga, 2017).

How Do I Create Student Blogs (in Canvas)?

A quick search of the Canvas Guides for student blogs will turn up no results.  Although I did find three interesting videos from previous InstructureCons (the Canvas annual conference – See the list at the bottom) regarding the benefits of student blogging, Canvas currently does not have a native blog feature or tool.  However, instructors have developed a few options that others may adopt in order to include student blog posts within their Canvas courses.  I will highlight two main solutions in the table below:

Solution 1:
Native Tool Substitution – Discussions
Solution 2:
Third-Party Tools – Blog + Aggregator
Individual discussion boards are set up for each student as a ‘blog.’ Students use a third-party tools such as WordPress, Blogspot, or Tumblr to create their own blog.  Another third-party tool knowns as an aggregator is then embedded into Canvas in order to present student blog posts within a Canvas page.
Example Examples
Canvas Discussion Example Blogspot/Inoreader Feed (Gibb’s Example)Tumblr/Inoreader Feed
PRO
Benefits of using the Canvas discussion tool
PRO
Benefits of using third party tools
  • Easier setup for faculty.
  • No third party app to learn, use, and teach to students.
  • Administrative rights over blog content — Faculty will retain owner access to student work.
  • Speedgrader integration
  • Students control content and design; picking colors, style, etc.
  • Lives after course — Students can reference their work and/or continue to contribute to their blog even after the course is over.  This could make it more authentic and meaningful to the students.
  • Unique – Blogging will be less confusing because it won’t look like a Canvas discussion board.
CON –
Setbacks for using the Canvas discussion tool
CON –
Setbacks for using third party tools
  • Less customization and features — It’s a discussion board, so it looks like a discussion board.
  • Students lose access when the course is over (unless they save the content externally).
  • Could be confusing to students when trying to use the same platform for blogs and/or journals and/or discussions.
  • Learning curve for faculty and students.  Integrating third party tools — training and supporting students in the creation of their blogs goes BEYOND Canvas support.
  • Faculty does not retain owner access of the student work.  Faculty can remove posts from course feed, but cannot directly edit/remove a student post from the web.
  • Speedgrader integration is NOT automatic (but there is a work around!)

Solution 1 GuideCanvas menu

  1. Go to ‘Discussions’ on your Course navigation.
  2. To create a student blog, click the +Discussion button.
  3. Input the name of the blog.
  4. Use the Rich Content Editor box to add a description of the blog.You may also include instructions for the author and/or guidelines for replying to a post.
  5. Choose ‘Options’ – Allow Threaded replies should be checked.
  6. Click the ‘Save’ or ‘Save and Publish’ buttons.

Screenshot 2019-11-21 15.01.54

 

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*In your course ‘Settings’, it is recommended that you uncheck ‘Let students create discussion topics’ and check ‘Let students attach files to discussions’ and ‘Let students edit or delete their own discussion posts.’

courses setting

Solution 2 Guide

DIY Instructions

Step 1: Student creating blogs and aggregating their feeds into Inoreader
Instructions on collecting student blog posts into Inoreader for easy instructor access.

Step 2: Embedding Inoreader feed into Canvas
Instructions on embedding Inoreader feed in Canvas in order to share/publish student blogs in Canvas.

Tested Third-Party Tools

Here are a few tools tested to work well for student blogging and Canvas integration.

Learn more on our ‘Exploring Student Blogs’ Canvas Page: https://cbu.instructure.com/courses/3988/pages/blogs-in-canvas

Note:  Whether you wish to use solution 1 or 2, feel free to contact our team if you have any questions, concerns, or difficulties setting up or facilitating an activity in your course!

OLET@cbu.edu             (901) 321-4004

Extra Canvas Resources:

References:

Chawinga, W. D. (2017). Taking social media to a university classroom: teaching and learning using Twitter and blogs. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 14(1). doi: 10.1186/s41239-017-0041-6 https://educationaltechnologyjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41239-017-0041-6

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Tyler Isbell is an Instructional Designer and Trainer for the Center for Digital Instruction at Christian Brothers University. He holds an Educational Technology Master’s Degree from Boise State University and masters-level certification in Technology Integration and Online Teaching. Before coming to CBU, Tyler was a trainer and instructional specialist in secondary education.