WyoCourses 2.0 January Newsletter

Update from the Wyoming Department of Education  |  view online |  website

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Welcome to the WyoCouses 2.0 Newsletter, which will serve as an update on all things Canvas. We want to keep you informed on what is happening at the state level as well as at the district level.

Wyoming Adoption Consultant

David Stokowski in front of Wyoming sign


Hello Wyoming! I am David Stokowski, your dedicated Canvas Adoption Consultant, and I am committed to making Canvas awesome in Wyoming.

I have taught science and math at the university, community college, and K-12 levels, most recently in rural Grants, New Mexico (pop. 9,000). I have seen effective uses of Canvas in online and traditional classrooms, as both a teacher and an administrator.

Adoption Consultant Update

Map of Adoption Consultant's Visits in Dec. 2018

I just completed my first Wyoming Canvas Roadshow, making visits to Niobrara #1, Converse #2, and Converse #1, and three Community Colleges (Eastern Wyoming College, Northern Wyoming Community College District, and Laramie County Community College). In addition, I met with some K-12 administrators and leaders at the Leadership for Personalized and Digital Learning training session in Casper.

An example of how I can help with Canvas adoption is a meeting I had with Niobrara #1. We created a schedule for the Canvas roll-out starting in 2019. We are also creating an introductory training course and training some of the district’s early adopters. We have two springtime trainings for the early adopters scheduled, and two more for all of high school teachers and staff. The first training will be a larger group setting, while the second will have me working one-on-one with teachers to help them polish their courses, and supply some tips and tricks for a successful Fall 2019 roll-out.

If you are interested in having me come visit your district, contact me (information below).

Canvas Best Practices 

Organize your Content in Modules!

Think of all of the materials and resources which you currently use in your class: worksheets, homework, quizzes, videos, websites, activities...how do you organize them? The point of Canvas is not to replace your classroom organization but to step alongside and help you organize more effectively.

screenshot of modules for classroom organizational structure

Best practice: use Canvas Modules to mimic your current classroom organizational structure. Do you organize content by topics or subjects? Create Canvas Modules along those lines, and start aggregating content in your modules.

Don’t worry about the physical order, just start by giving your course structure. For example, place all of the resources you have for a specific unit in one Canvas module, even if your students are not using Canvas. If you don’t want students to see the content of your modules, just keep them unpublished so that only you will be able to see and continue organizing, but your students will not have access. The use of Modules will help create a more effective framework from which you can deliver content, regardless of delivery modality.

Let’s say you have a second-grade class. This may be an example of how you would use modules, thinking that both students and parents would have access. Simple naming, and simple organization is key. Indentation using the kabob (three vertically stacked dots) can add a nice visual cue for students and parents.

screenshot for modules by content

What about in a secondary science class? Organizing your material by content, using Unicode (emojis) in your titles, numbering your assignments for more context (along with indentation), and even keeping drafted content unpublished until you are ready for your students to use it.

Tips and Tricks

Canvas side bar navigation

Did you know that you have a 24/7/365 resource, with as few as two clicks? The WDE has purchased Tier 1 Canvas support for all Wyoming Districts. Once signed into Canvas, in your Global Navigation, the “Help” menu item should be the last item associated with an icon. When you select the Help option, your district’s various help methods will appear. These include a Canvas Support Hotline phone number, live chat with Canvas support, Canvas help guides, and more. Our Canvas support representatives suggest that you use the "Chat with Canvas Support" feature to help generate the quickest resolution to your issue.

When should you contact Support? Whenever you have a Canvas question, no matter how simple you think it may be.

Tweet of the Month

Tweet of the month from David M. Stokowski

Tweet out about your Canvas usage or something you find interesting. Make sure to tag your tweet with #WYLovesCanvas and #WyoCourses2.0

District Spotlight

Converse #1 and Converse #2

The Wyoming State Legislature passed legislation requiring the WDE to offer a Learning Management System to all Wyoming districts. One of the most important parts of a statewide LMS is the ability to foster a system of sharing and to help leverage resources available throughout the state, which may not be available to a specific district. Enter Canvas as the platform, which will allows districts to share the expertise with other districts who may not have that resource available.

Converse County School Districts #1 and #2 are currently piloting a program where they are sharing the local expertise of their science teachers across district boundaries, using what we call a “trust relationship.” A “trust relationship” is a technical term where users login to their local Canvas, but can see content from other district’s Canvas'. The transition between the two is seamless for the user.

Local students can obviously take classes within their own buildings, but what if a certain specialty course (or core science course) isn’t easily offered? Canvas can facilitate these “remote” courses as if the students were sitting in the classroom with the teacher of record. As an example, a Glenrock (Converse #2) high school student is taking a biology course from a teacher at Douglas High School (Converse #1). Canvas allows this Glenrock student to see their Biology course (housed at Douglas) on the Glenrock dashboard. They interact with the content in Canvas the same way as the on-campus students in Douglas, by seeing the same announcements and completing the same assignments. The Douglas teacher can then authentically grade the assignments in Canvas, so the Glenrock student can see their grades. 

Happy New Year!

We look forward to working with you in 2019.

2019 Happy New Year

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060

Phone: 307-777-5315