WyoCourses 2.0 September Newsletter

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

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Adoption Consultant Update

Canvas Adoption Consultant Training Map for 2020 August

This August was similar to last year in the level of activity, but it felt different. Say what you want about Zoom training, but it is effective at reaching more people than live and in-person training sessions. This August, I had nearly 900 unique teacher and staff logins to workshop sessions held with various districts around the state. This is a greater number than I had in August of 2019, and did not require driving nearly 4,000 miles. To be honest, I miss the personal interactions with the teachers around the state and the joy of seeing the stark beauty of landscapes as I traveled through Wyoming. If anything, working in Zoom has shown me the specific difficulties all teachers face when trying to present to and connect with a group of students in a virtual classroom. Specifically the skill at “reading the room” has been taken from us, and those social emotional cues are just harder to spot.

In spite of the challenges we are facing, I am incredibly proud to be part of making sure we can continue to deliver the high-quality education our Wyoming students deserve. In individual consultation sessions, I’m finding that our newest Canvas users are demonstrating the same creative spirit in their Canvas courses as would be found in their physical classrooms. That, and the creative uses and general abilities to get started in Canvas have been quite impressive. 

And I see you elementary teachers - you’ve been hard at work adjusting your curriculum so that it can be delivered (in part or wholly) in Canvas. While I know it's challenging to begin with, understand that you have direct access to me when you have questions. For any teacher who wants to schedule a time, my calendar is open to all Wyoming Canvas users. Simply go to my Calendly link below, and find a time available to chat virtually.

David Signature

Canvas Best Practices 

During the January Canvas update cycle, a new feature called Direct Share was released into the core Canvas code. This feature helped streamline the process of moving content from one course to another, as well as add the ability to share individual course components with other teachers in a district or school. The original version of this feature was available for individual pages, assignments, discussions, and quizzes. 

The newest version of this feature now makes working in a PLC or other course where multiple teachers can work with each other to create content, an easier proposition. Teachers now have the ability to share entire modules of content through the Direct Share feature. This works just like it does for the individual elements mentioned above:

Canvas screenshot of how to Sent content to someone.

Users can now use “Copy To” or “Send To” for Canvas Modules (and all of the content inside the module) to other courses or users. If content via Direct Share is received from another user, a number will appear on the Account Icon at the top of the Global Navigationand a new link called Shared Content will appear:

Canvas Screenshot of shared content notification

Under Shared Content, the user will see the name of the item, the type of item shared, who shared the item, when it was received, and a button to perform three potential actions for any item (Preview, Import, or Remove):

Canvas Screenshot of Received content

Enjoy the new way of both sending and receiving Canvas modules. This should greatly reduce the effort it takes to move content from shared PLC-type courses into the courses with students.

District Spotlight  

Park County School District #1 has been using Canvas at Powell Middle School and Powell High School for the past few years. The district moved its instruction online with Canvas when the COVID-19 closures hit in late March and early April. While many of their teachers were prepared to teach online, the district sought feedback from parents on how the process felt from their end. 

One piece of feedback that the district received was that parents and students struggled with how to access content in their Canvas courses. Zac Opps, Instructional Facilitator at Powell Middle responded by creating a Page template that encompasses all of the potential activities in a Canvas course on a given day:

Canas screenshot of Powell Middle School template to help students access content

Park County School District #1 has asked its middle and high school teachers to use a version of this page for every day a student should be accessing Canvas. These pages are organized in Canvas Modules, with each of the links on the page taking students to the content they need to read or watch, or to assignments they are expected to submit. The hope is that students will have an easier time navigating their Canvas courses with a familiar format greeting them everyday. 

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 September meeting should already be on calendars. Email David to be added to the email invite list.

Next Meeting: 10 a.m. on September 22, 2020

Contact Information

David Stokowski, Canvas, Adoption Consultant

Robin Grandpre, WDE, Project & Performance Manager

Phone: 307-215-3060
Calendar: Calendly 

Phone: 307-777-5315