WyoCourses 2.0 January Newsletter

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

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Adoption Consultant Update

The last month of 2019 was a relatively calm month. I specifically worked on updating documentation for current districts, as well as communicating the benefits of using Canvas to some of our non-Canvas districts. I have also started working on a project with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to help create more statewide professional development courses in Canvas.

I did have one trip this month, a week of personal professional development with my Learning Services teammates at Instructure Headquarters in Salt Lake City. Our five days were spent on a variety of topics from a deep-dive on MasteryConnect to a fantastic session on Humanizing Learning led by Whitney Kilgore of iDesign. There were also a number of great tips on creating remote courses to help students feel connected to their distant instructors. 

A major key that can be used in both brick and mortar classes, as well as distance courses to improve courses is leveraging video content created by the instructor. In fact, video feedback (using the Canvas SpeedGrader tool) can dramatically increase the effectiveness of feedback over traditionally typed or written comments. The main reason is students get to see a teacher’s expressions, and hear vocal inflections that cannot be attached to written words. See our Canvas Best Practices section below to learn how to leave video comments for students.

January 2020 will start as I visit teachers in both Teton #1 in Jackson and Sweetwater #1 at the Farson School.

David Signature

Canvas Best Practices - Leaving Audio/Video Comments in SpeedGrader

During the Instructure Professional Development week, one of the most impactful pieces of it was speaking to how teachers can humanize learning in an increasingly digital environment. The big key is to not use technology for technology’s sake, but it should be used if it can help enhance student learning. In traditional methods of grading, pen is used on paper to correct and give instruction. Using the Canvas LMS, comments can be digitized using the Canvas SpeedGrader, but that in itself may not save time, or enhance student learning. 

A best practice enhanced by using the Canvas LMS would be to leave audio and/or video comments for students when their assignments have been graded. There are two reasons for this: first, students can gain context from a teacher’s comments on the page through visual and audio cues, and second, parents can have access to the same audio/video comments on their student’s work. 

In order to attempt this, the Canvas SpeedGrader can be accessed in three locations. First, any items beginning with the word “Grade” in the To Do list, link directly into the SpeedGrader. Second, access the SpeedGrader from any published assessment by finding the SpeedGrader link on the upper-right hand side of the page. Lastly, SpeedGrader can be accessed from the Gradebook. Select a student’s grade in the Gradebook, and a small icon appears with an arrow pointing to the right: Selecting this icon will cause a grading tray to slide out from the right of the screen. There will be a link to access the SpeedGrader from that tray.  

Once in the SpeedGrader, on the right side and near the bottom is where overall comments can be left for a student submission. The record media icon (highlighted in blue) is how to access the Media Record tool:

Photo of the Assignment Comments box

Speak to record for a few seconds, and the media comment will show in the Assignment Comments Box:

Photo of the Assignment Comments box with video uploaded

Submit the personalized media comment using the purple button. Comments can now be accessed by only the student and/or their parents. The return on investment, by using the SpeedGrader to leave comments, is greatly increasing a teacher’s effectiveness to create a more personalized educational environment.

Statewide Canvas User Groups

Continuing the Meetings

  • Canvas for Elementary - Learn about new successes the group members have seen, as well as provide a space to brainstorm future ideas to implement in their elementary classes. 
    • Next meeting date: 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 9, 2020
    • Meeting link
  • Canvas for Professional Development - Discuss how Canvas is being used for professional development around the state, celebrate successes and discuss how to bring effective and creative professional development to all staff members.
    •  Next meeting date: 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020
    • Meeting link
  • Creating Engaging Canvas Courses (Formerly Canvas for Secondary/Online Classes) - Share best practices and wisdom learned from our experiences teaching both online and in traditional classrooms using Canvas.
    • Next meeting date: 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2020 
    • Meeting link

To sign up for the monthly Statewide Canvas User Group meetings, or for past agendas and recordings, email David

Statewide Adoption Consulting Meeting

The purpose of these meetings is to discuss the state of adoption consulting in Wyoming, and to demonstrate new Canvas features. For the 2019-20 school year, adoption consulting meetings will start at 10 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Expect to see a January invite coming soon after the newsletter. Email David to get added to the list.

Next Meeting: 10 a.m. on January 28, 2020

District Spotlight  

Calling for submissions: Use this form to nominate an innovative Canvas user, be it a teacher or administrator, or an initiative happening at a local school, to be highlighted in future newsletters. We look forward to sharing all of the amazing work our Wyoming educators are doing in Canvas. 

Happy New Year 2020 Photo

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calenderly 

Phone: 307-777-5315