WyoCourses 2.0 April Newsletter

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

WyoCourses Logo

Adoption Consultant Update

April Map for Adoption Consultant Travel

March was an interesting month that started with a road closure that affected my travel to Rawlins. I eventually made it, and worked with the transportation department on creating internal professional development courses aimed at training new bus drivers.

The next week, I embarked on Roadshow XV, stopping first with Albany County School District #1 to continue consulting with Laramie High School teachers on transition to Canvas. Next, I stopped in Douglas to work with the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy to deploy Canvas for all of their cadet training. I spent Wednesday of that week with Weston County School District #7 consulting with teachers from Upton Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. That evening, Covid-19 introduced itself to the U.S. in dramatic fashion by cancelling NBA games, and starting the quick cascade of events that eventually led to Adapted Learning Plans in Wyoming. The next two days were spent with the nursing faculty at Gillette College and Sheridan College, focusing on using Canvas Outcomes and standards-based assessment for nursing students. We also started cursory discussions about the best ways to use Canvas in an online environment.

I had additional travel plans, which were cancelled, causing me to schedule a virtual visit with a team of science educators from Washakie County School District #1 discussing Canvas Outcomes and standards-based grading. I also scheduled online training sessions that we opened to the state. We started with a “Quick Welcome to Canvas,” running this session once a day for three days. We had over 500 school employees attend these live virtual training sessions. Since posting the recorded versions, they have garnered nearly 1,000 views. I continue to deliver and create new webinar sessions each week for the foreseeable future; check the Canvas Spotlight section below for more information about where to find these trainings and resources.

While I know the past few weeks have been tough for many of us in education, I am reminded why I love my work...all of you. Your willingness to change everything that you know about teaching, and move it online in the span of 3 weeks is inspiring. And, you have done this with a universally positive attitude, focusing on your students before yourselves. As we continue this adventure, know that I will support you all as best I can.

David Signature

Canvas Best Practices 

Adding Staff to Canvas Courses

As Canvas usage has drastically increased statewide, there have been questions about how to include district staff in the education process. Canvas has a number of standard course roles that are available for users, but this often leaves out important contributors to our students’ education, such as special education staff, paraprofessionals, and classroom aides. Canvas administrators can create customized course roles for these staff members, and then teachers can add them into their courses.

ADMINISTRATORS - Setting the Stage

As the local administrators for the Canvas instance, these administrators have the ability to create custom course roles for any user they choose. Before beginning this process, administrators should verify that the staff members have Canvas accounts. User accounts are generally provisioned from the district's student information system (SIS) but can also be added manually. Once a district staff member has a Canvas account, this document describes all of the available course roles, permissions, and implications of those permissions. Administrators can create as many Custom Roles (under Admin > Permissions) as they choose; best practice would be to create one for each specific role type in the district. Finally, communicate these options out to teachers, for they have the ability to add users to their courses manually.

TEACHERS - Adding your Support Staff

As a teacher, to add support staff to the Canvas courses, select “People” in the Course Navigation menu. Once there, find the “+ People” button and add the users:

Screenshot of how to add people in Canvas

It is best to add users by their district email address. Administrators also can select the role of the user. Select “Teacher” and the new user will have all of the same controls an administrator has over content (including editing and grading). Choose “Observer” and these users can then be attached to specific students, having “view only” access to course content and submissions and grades from their student. Districts also can set up specific user roles for paraprofessionals, classroom aides, interpreters, etc., so use the Canvas role name that most closely matches an individual’s job title.

Canvas Spotlight

Canvas Resource Course 

In the shift to Adapted Learning Plans in Wyoming, a new Canvas Resource Course has been created by David Stokowski, Wyoming Canvas Adoption Consultant. This course contains a number of elements and does not require a login. David has been leading live webinars around topics of interest in Canvas as we have shifted to online learning. The following week’s schedule for these webinars will be posted each Friday. For each webinar session, a recorded version will be posted soon after the first live session. Content will be continually updated with new webinar agendas and slide decks as they are created, along with posting of resources on other topics of interest so keep checking this course for further updates.

Call 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.

Statewide Adoption Consulting Meeting 

These meetings are 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. The April meeting should already be on calendars. Email David to be added to the email invite list.

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

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calendly 

Phone: 307-777-5315