WyoCourses 2.0 August Newsletter

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

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Adoption Consultant Update

Adoption Consultant Map with locations for July Travels

Looking back on July, it was the calm before the impending August storm; August is always the busiest month of my year. Last year, I was in 16 different Wyoming districts over 19 work days. This year is much the same, but totally different - I plan to work with 13 districts in August, but instead of being live, in-building, I will be coming to them live via Zoom. In fact, two of the workshop days in August will be dedicated to our newest districts starting their Canvas journeys this fall. This August will be just as busy as the past...but fewer miles on the rental car. That, and I will be able to be present in more districts than I could if I were in person, working with multiple districts on the same day.

So what does preparation look like for seemingly endless workshops? It starts with direct communication with each district to make sure we are creating useful sessions. Then, I create agendas that align with district needs, to best serve the teachers and administrators and their goals for Canvas usage. Of course, COVID-19 has definitely changed how many are viewing Canvas, with many more of our elementary teachers learning to build and deliver content to their students. One of my greatest joys is watching our newest teachers explore and begin their Canvas journey.

As you read this newsletter, there will be dedicated space to all those teachers getting started in Canvas. You will see information about best practices to get started this fall, along with reminders about how you can get your Canvas questions answered using Canvas Support. In light of this, I have two personal reminders for you: First, understand that as Canvas comes back online for tens of millions of teachers and students around the country (and world), Canvas Support will do all they can to respond as quickly as possible. And second, as I will be in workshops for most of the month, my response times will likely also be impacted. As with support, I will get back to every email, and voicemail left for me as soon as I am able. And I will leave you with the same quote I left you with last month:

“I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.”

David Signature

Statewide Training Opportunity

During the afternoons of August 17 and August 18, Canvas will be providing a live Zoom training for any interested Wyoming teachers. Join the session with this Zoom link.

Canvas Best Practices

Preparing Your Canvas Course

As teachers are getting ready to log back into their Canvas courses for the new school year, they will likely fall into one of two categories: either they need to build a Canvas Course from the ground up; or they would like to copy content from another Canvas Course into their new course shells. Regardless of a teacher’s starting point this fall, the Canvas Training Team has created a Beginning- and End-of-Course Checklist. This document speaks to both essential and best practices for starting a Canvas course.

The Checklist discusses copying course content. On the new course homepage, there is a button located on the right of the screen entitled “Import Existing Content.” 

Once selected, a new menu will walk the teacher through the process of copying previous content, whether it is in a course the teacher used in a previous school year, or a Sandbox where they were building over the summer:

Canvas "Import Existing Content" Screenshot
Canvas "Import Content" Menu Options Screenshot

For content type, select “Copy a Canvas Course.” This will allow the teacher to choose a course where they are a teacher either by selection, or by searching. The user has the choice to bring over the whole course, or simply a smaller portion by selecting specific content. The newly copied course will keep the due dates from the original course. You will need to adjust events and due dates to the new courses needs.The user should use the Beginning date fields to enter these dates. Ending dates are not necessary, as they could unnecessarily modify the schedule. As a final thought, use the Canvas calendar to drag and drop any due date changes before students arrive. This whole process takes only minutes, allowing teachers the time to prepare other pieces of the classroom and/or course experience. 

District Spotlight  

The Canvas Support Team

As everyone gets back to school this fall, the Canvas Support Team is readying for their typical fall rush of support needs. The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) has granted Tier 1 Support access for all teachers, staff, and administrators using Canvas. When a teacher calls Canvas support, the call will be answered within one minute; if that is not possible, the teacher will receive a call back within 15 minutes. If the teacher chooses to use the “Chat with Support” feature, they will be connected to a support agent within two minutes. 

The question often arises as to whom the teacher should contact when various issues occur. First, there are usually issues that the local district IT and technology teams can help with, including issues related to student enrollments and logins. Generally, anything else can be handled by Canvas support. David, Wyoming Adoption Consultant, can also be directly contacted if the issue is related to pedagogical uses and examples of Canvas that school district personnel may not be able to answer.

Regardless of the question or issue that you have in Canvas, know that the district and the WDE are making sure teachers have all possible resources for a successful Canvas launch this fall.

Statewide Adoption Consulting Meeting 

These meetings are to discuss the successes, concerns, and needs of Canvas districts around Wyoming and to demonstrate new Canvas features. Consulting meetings will start at 10 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The August meeting should already be on calendars. Email David to be added to the email invite list.

Next Meeting: 10 a.m. on August 25, 2020

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calendly 

Phone: 307-777-5315