Thursday, May 30, 2024

UTSA faculty join digital platform Canvas, preparing for fall 2023 launch

UTSA faculty join digital platform Canvas, preparing for fall 2023 launch

MAY 3, 2023 — As the semester nears its conclusion, faculty have many opportunities to prepare for the university-wide transition to Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), the digital platform that will replace Blackboard Learn in fall 2023.

The Academic Innovation Office of Teaching, Learning & Digital Transformation (TLDT) is leading the course migration effort. Throughout the summer, staff will work to ensure faculty’s courses are moved from the current platform to Canvas.

“We’ve seen how excited students are about working in Canvas, and we’re really proud of how faculty are responding to the change,” said Jonathan Gutierrez, TLDT associate director for digital transformation initiatives and strategy. “Since we opened platform access in March, more than 500 faculty members have started to become familiar with the LMS.”

“We’ve seen how excited students are about working in Canvas, and we’re really proud of how faculty are responding to the change.”

Canvas will be the first significant overhaul of the student and faculty digital learning experience since 2012. Its extensive features will bring an even richer experience to students’ gateway to the classroom.

TLDT will host instructional sessions on five topics to promote best practices and show faculty how to leverage unique Canvas LMS features. The Canvas transition team designed the faculty classes to demonstrate specific features and, more importantly, demonstrate how to use them to promote student engagement, track progress and make time-consuming tasks easier.

Topics include:

  • Canvas+Assignments: This session will explore different student assignment settings, options and related grading features.
  • Canvas+Quizzes and Tests: The event will demonstrate testing features, address outcomes alignment and assessment question formats.
  • Canvas+Communication: This session will help faculty maximize Canvas’ built-in messaging system and connect it to Microsoft Outlook.
  • Canvas+GradeBook & SpeedGrader: TLDT will also provide a demo on this program to help faculty efficiently view, assign and curve grades and learn how to provide them to students.
  • Canvas+Adapting your Content: This session will show faculty how to use course guides and templates to fine-tune their existing courses that have been migrated from the legacy LMS.

Faculty can find more details and sign up for these sessions on the Faculty Center event calendar.

⇒ TLDT has created multiple avenues of support to make the change to Canvas easier for busy faculty members. Visit the Canvas+UTSA website for information on features, training, a 24/7 helpline and one-on-one consultations.

“While the Canvas migration team will be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to moving courses, faculty have an opportunity to explore how the new features can enhance their course materials and make management easier,” Gutierrez said. “Additionally, faculty who have used Canvas before are giving us ideas and examples on how to use the platform in engaging ways.”

“Canvas was more intuitive to learn and has all the features I could ever want in a modern learning platform,” said Ryan McPherson, associate professor of practice at the College of Liberal and Fine Arts’ Department of Communication. McPherson emphasizes the benefits of Canvas’ grading, assignment and student messaging sessions. He says the tools allow his students to track when an assignment is due, access course materials and provide feedback.

“And it’s not just better communication with students — the design of the entire platform is built around our modern teaching needs,” he added.

Brett W. Copeland

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