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Get training, support for summer and fall courses ASAP

Online preparation in Blackboard and Canvas is essential for faculty.

By Matt Griswold, Ed.D.

May 26, 2020

Student Olga Sago taking an online class on her laptop.This spring, faculty members moved their in-person courses to remote delivery in a matter of days and did so with widespread success – more than 97% of students continued to be active in newly remote courses. For this fall, we have a window to build on this success.

As was shared via email last week, Metropolitan State University of Denver is expediting its transition to Canvas for the fall semester. To make this a smooth transition, faculty members will be trained and supported while they learn to use Canvas and integrate course-creation practices that produce efficient teaching and learning experiences.

Course-creation and facilitation goals

In cooperation with the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs and Directors and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, six broad design and facilitation goals will guide our work to bring existing courses into Canvas and to build new fall online courses. In general, they ensure that we offer courses where navigation is easy, student effort is equivalent to face-to-face courses, expectations are logical and the learning experience is engaging and accessible to everyone.

Comprehensive support to meet these goals

As instructors create courses that meet these goals, the CTLD and Information Technology Services will train, guide and troubleshoot along the way. A variety of trainings, workshops and self-directed tutorials will address the six goals while allowing faculty members to choose which specific concepts, techniques and tools they want to explore.

Department-specific trainings

Trainings and workshops specially delivered to departments will be a new aspect of CTLD support. Department chairs will receive information on the availability of these efforts and a request for information about how each department would like to be supported.

Live trainings and workshops – summer (Blackboard) available now; fall (Canvas) versions available July 6

Live virtual trainings and workshops cover many aspects of the six course goals, as well as other evidence-based design practices, online course facilitation and technology options. For current options (supporting summer courses in Blackboard), view the Live Training and Workshop Sessions page, then register to attend. Topics that directly involve Blackboard will have new versions for Canvas by July 6.

Self-directed tutorials – summer (Blackboard) available now; fall (Canvas) versions available July 6

Roughly 100 self-directed tutorials are available right now. The tutorials cover a variety of topics such as how to set up group work and collaboration; recording, delivering and uploading lecture videos; and ensuring that content is accessible. Visit Ready Self-Help Tutorials to learn more. A large portion of these tutorials cover topics unrelated to Blackboard (or Canvas), so don’t hesitate to check them out. Topics that directly involve Blackboard will have new versions for Canvas by July 6.

Staff members implementing tools for virtual student services or staff collaboration can review trainings on the ITS Online Ready page, LinkedIn Learning courses found on the Faculty and Staff Hub or these self-directed tutorials.

Virtual support hours and support tickets – available now

Instructors can ask pressing technical questions on the Immediate Support page. In a 10- to 15-minute session, instructors work with the support team on specific questions or concerns.

Compensation supplements

One-time funds available through the national CARES Act have been dedicated to support instructor efforts to learn Canvas, engage with new methods and plan for effective teaching and learning. Canvas training will be essential for every instructor (even those not teaching online), and those who begin trainings starting July 6 and complete their work in a four-week period will receive a $1,000 supplement. This window is necessary for current faculty training so the CTLD can devote time to new faculty and transition to wider support before the term begins. The instructional-design team estimates it will not be able to manage more than 5% of current faculty delaying training until two weeks before fall begins. 

After completing these trainings and support options, instructors will leave with components of their courses built as well as the knowledge needed to complete their courses throughout the fall term. Active training will require approximately 30 hours of work in the four-week window.

Details on the scope of work to receive the supplement and logistics on the process are being finalized in cooperation with the Faculty Senate and the Council of Chairs and Directors. Please stay tuned as we work to get that information to everyone, including FAQs to address questions you likely already have. For those eager to learn about Canvas now, this LinkedIn Learning course provides an overview.

Topics: Academics, Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, Excellence, Online Learning, Student Success

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