WyoCourses 2.0 June Newsletter

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

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Adoption Consultant Update

Canvas Travel Map


As the school year is coming to a close around Wyoming, I still have a few travel-based engagements before shifting more toward district-level planning. At the end of April, I made a second trip to Lusk to work with the district leaders and early Canvas adopters. These teachers are incredibly important in the adoption process, helping to create local Canvas experts and champions that will greatly increase the likelihood of Canvas’s success in Niobrara County. Niobrara County School District #1 has a solid plan in place, and are definitely headed in the right direction for Canvas success.

In Early May, I spent two days in Casper at the Ramkota Events Center as part of the Wyoming Technology Directors Conference. It has been a great experience getting to shepherd many of your districts along your discovery of the power of Canvas.

My only other visit this month was to Glenrock to visit with Converse County School District #2. They are in the midst of a personnel transition, and I had the pleasure of working with their new Canvas administrator. While the district has been involved with Canvas for a few years now, their administrator is new to Canvas. We discussed the state’s continued vision, and how the software can continue to support their local initiatives.

It is still important to remember Adoption Consulting is available for any district in the state, regardless of the length of your Canvas usage. Every district will undergo changes, and I am available to help navigate these changes so the Canvas platform can remain a constant for your students, teachers, and staff.

As we approach  summer, I am shifting away from visits to working on information and documentation that will be available for the start of school in August. As a preview, a few of those items coming are:

  • Documentation to ensure a smooth connection for grade passback for your teachers in both PowerSchool and InfiniteCampus.
  • Information about templates and implementing these in your district. The WDE has selected a number of templates to distribute, and a few districts around the state have shared their templates as well. Documentation will be made available over the summer. These templates will be highlighted in the July newsletter.

I am always available to chat with you as you prepare your courses over the summer.

Feel free to sign up for a quick video chat meeting using this link. I will be updating my availability weekly and look forward to visiting with you virtually.

District Spotlight  

Goshen County School District #1 Logo

Goshen County School District #1 - Professional Development

As you and your districts seek to create Professional Development, there are a number of ways to do this. One thing to consider would be to engage in some meta-cognition and work-use Canvas to teach Canvas. There are a number of resources available in the Canvas Commons to help you reach that end. Look at the Canvas Best Practices section above to get started by importing the Growing with Canvas course from the Canvas Commons.

However, you can take the route  of Kevin Derby, Instructional Facilitator for Goshen County School District #1, by creating your own Canvas course from scratch. Kevin’s course consists of eight, two-week long modules, scaffolding the use of Canvas. Each module is centered around a specific theme, and makes extensive use of requirements and prerequisites within Modules, to ensure completion of content within a module before entering the next one. Teachers must view a number of pages and then turn in assignments as well as “score at least” on a summative quiz at the end of each module. In this manner, you could even “badge” the completion of individual modules using the Badgr LTI integration, and then hand out full badging for completion of the entire course. This particular course at Goshen County School District #1 was offered to teachers within the district who could complete the course for either PTSB or UW credit. There were 16 teachers enrolled in this course and 13 of them took the course as a three-credit UW course. 

Canvas Best Practices 

Compliance Training, Onboarding, and Orientation

Since our first newsletter in January, we have focused on best practices for classroom-based uses of Canvas. As we flip the calendar to our summer, we will shift the focus to another fantastic use of Canvas, one more focused upon the non-teaching and support side of your districts: training and informing your employees.  Schools need to make sure all of their employees are up-to-date on various statutory requirements (blood-borne pathogens, anyone?). Also, Office Managers and Human Resources are often responsible for ensuring new employees go through an orientation process. Compliance, orientation, and onboarding courses can be created to help streamline and organize the process while saving time. Canvas can deliver all modes of content - readings, videos, and even interactive demonstrations, all while tracking the employee’s progress. These courses could have assignments where your new employees could submit copies of documentation via upload through Canvas. Whomever is designated the teacher for this course could track progress via Modules or the Canvas gradebook.

For those of you running Canvas in your districts, understand that these courses do not need to be tied to your student information systems (SIS). You can manually add your district employees to any manually-created course using the People space in these courses. Here are the quick steps to create the shell of the course to be used:

1. In your administrator space make sure you are under “Courses.” Then select “+ Course” in the upper right of this screen. The Course Name and Reference Code are your choice. For the Subaccount, you may want to create one specific to the type of training you are asking the employees to complete. Finally, make sure this lives in the Default Term, so as not to cross with content from your SIS.


Canvas Adding a New course Screenshot


2. Once the course is ready, you can now manually add your employees. In the course, select the people link and select “+ People.” Make sure to designate the one in charge of the training/course as the teacher, and all your trainees as students. You can only add users of one role type at a time (all students at once and teachers at a separate time):

Canvas Adding Teachers Screenshot

Now, it’s time to add your content, and publish your course when you are ready.

Finally, I did want to make sure and acknowledge Canvas is a great platform to create effective and meaningful Professional Development. If you are looking for a simple Canvas course to help teach your employees how to use Canvas search for “Growing with Canvas” in the Commons. This course was created by some of Instructure’s pedagogical experts, and is based on best-practices developed by the Canvas Training team. If you are in the process of developing your own training courses using Canvas, make sure to read this month’s District Spotlight on Goshen County School District #1.

Statewide Canvas User Groups - Relaunching in August 2019

We will  relaunch these meetings as the school year approaches in August. Stay tuned for email updates on these meetings, and your personal invitations to join. The groups launching again in the Fall:

  • Canvas for Elementary
  • Canvas for Professional Development
  • Canvas for Secondary
  • Canvas for Online Teaching

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Phone: 307-777-5315