Tour Your Colleagues’ Courses in Canvas: Education, Chemistry, Cultural Foundations, Digital Media Management, and Math

canvas_classEighteen of your colleagues are trying out the Canvas Learning Management System this semester as a potential alternative to Blackboard.  The full list of Canvas pilots is available on this webpage: Canvas Pilots.  Hear from five of them on Tuesday, March 3rd at 3:30 pm in Library 141. These faculty will briefly present their courses followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A:
  • Chris Flynn, CULF 1318.15: Madness and Civilization
  • Carol Gee, MATH 4343: Topology
  • Liz Johnson, EDUC 2332: Educational Technology Integration
  • Jason Rosenblum, DMBA 6220.01: Independent Research
  • Tricia Shepherd, Chem 2320: Analytical Chemistry
The Task Force for Learning Management System Evaluation will base their recommendation, in part, on the experiences of instructors in these pilots.  Come find out how students like Canvas, how it compares to Blackboard, how the transition between systems works, and what it’s really like to teach with Canvas.
If you can’t make this session, there will be a second demonstration of Canvas pilot courses on Tuesday, March 24th at 10:00 am, also in library 141.

Tour St. Edward’s Courses in Canvas with Faculty

Canvas course page for LMS Evaluation Task Force with courses and groups, grades and calendarInterested in how your colleagues are using Canvas?  Would you like to ask questions about the faculty experience using Canvas? Do you want to see a real course in Canvas?

As part of the Learning Management System (LMS) Task Force two panel discussions of Canvas will be held to allow the community to take a closer look at how Canvas is being used on campus. On March 3rd at 3:30 and on March 24th at 10:00 am a panel of St. Edward’s faculty who are piloting Canvas this semester will demonstrate their Canvas classes and discuss their experience with Canvas.  Both sessions will be held in Library 141.

We currently are piloting Canvas with 18 courses.  The full list of Canvas pilots is available on this webpage: Canvas Pilots. Faculty who are teaching these courses will

  • Show selected areas of their Canvas course
  • Share their experience developing their course
  • Contrast use of Canvas to Blackboard
  • Share student reaction to Canvas

Join us for an opportunity to see Canvas and provide feedback to the LMS Task Force.

What is Canvas, Who Is Piloting It, and When Can You See It?

Canvas logoSee the possibilities of Canvas in one of two available demos for faculty, students, and staff on Wednesday, February 4 in Library 141 at either 9:30-11:00 am or 1:00-2:30 pm.  Even if you can’t make a whole session, stop by to get a taste and ask questions of an instructor experienced with Canvas.

What is Canvas?

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) created by Instructure.  Launched in  2011, Canvas offers a cloud-native, flexible interface, designed for the social network era. In other words, Canvas applies contemporary, user-centered design principles for learner-centered teaching.  Recognizing  that learning happens throughout the digital ecosystem, rather than a walled-garden approach, where everything must happen in the LMS, Canvas takes an ecosystem approach by intentionally linking out to a variety of third party providers.

Canvas InterfaceFor example, students can choose how and when to receive communications—by personal or university email addresses, by text message, even by Facebook. Canvas also has a much more flexible interface that allows instructors to implement powerful student-centered learning design, drawing on such standards as the Quality Matters rubric, which focuses on research-based, tested design principles for digital course elements.  For example, in addition to linking activities to clearly stated course learning outcomes, faculty can link to rubrics while grading, but also give just-in-time video feedback.  In fact, students can easily communicate by video, as well, which reenforces the high-touch experience of SEU even outside of the physical classroom.

Why are we talking about Canvas?

As part of the SEU Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation, the task force for LMS Evaluation is considering whether Canvas might be a better tool for preparing our students to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.  To help us explore that question, the LMS  task force invited faculty to pilot courses in Canvas this semester.  Eighteen faculty from twelve departments in all six schools took us up on the offer. The full list of pilot faculty is available on this webpage:  Canvas Pilots. We will gather data from these faculty through three task-force-designed surveys (a pre-semester baseline survey on LMS use, a mid-semester survey on Canvas use, and an end of semester survey on Canvas use).  We will also survey students and invite both students and faculty to participate in focus groups.

We hope to learn if Canvas is a better tool from the student and faculty perspectives, but also what it would take for faculty to migrate as easily as possible from Blackboard to Canvas.   Is a change feasible? What kind of training and support do instructors need? How can we make any potential transition as seamless as possible.  We already know that if the LMS task force should recommend a switch, that we would want to run the two LMS systems in tandem for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Later this semester we’ll invite some of these pilot faculty to share their experiences with campus.

What is an LMS?

The learning management system or LMS is an integral part of our learning ecosystem that aggregates, connects, and manages many aspects of the course-based learning experience.  Any LMS must support a variety of activities for faculty and students including, posting course materials, documents, and other content; course administration and communication; recording and sharing grades; assessing students and their work and offering feedback; submission of assignments; providing opportunities for interaction for all course participants, e.g., through online discussion, collaboration tools like wikis, and sharing of student work.  Our current Learning Management System is Blackboard Learn, which was last reviewed in 2010.  Since that time there have been many changes in the LMS market.  Our current version of Blackboard is outdated and needs to be either updated to a newer version or replaced by a different learning management system.

Attend Blackboard and Canvas Demonstrations to Have Input on Choice of Learning Management System

Blackboard and Canvas Logos As part of St. Edward’s Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation, the task force for LMS Evaluation  has invited two learning management system vendors–Blackboard (our current LMS) and Canvas by Instructure– to campus to demonstrate their products to the community. The Learning Management System (LMS) is an integral part of our learning ecosystem that aggregates, connects, and manages many aspects of the course-based learning experience. We urge all faculty to attend the demos and provide feedback to the task force as part of our evaluation process, so that we can choose the best system for the St. Edward’s University community. Both vendors will demonstrate their products twice during their campus visit to reach as many faculty as possible.


Blackboard will be demoing their latest release on Tuesday, January 27th in Fleck Hall 305.

  • 9:30-11:00 AM Open Faculty/Staff/Student demonstration – teaching and learning tools
  • 2:00-3:30 PM Open Faculty/Staff/Student demonstration – teaching and learning tools


Canvas demos will take place on Wednesday, February 4 in Library 141.

  • 9:30-11:00 Open Faculty/Staff/Student demonstration and Q and A
  • 1:00-2:30 Open Faculty/Staff/Student demonstration and Q and A

We will collect input at the sessions by anonymous feedback form, as well as by an anonymous online survey. You may also contact any member of the LMS Task Force to share your input on this process. To find out more about the evaluation process and see the list of task force members, please see this announcement, “Learning Management System Evaluation Task Force Named.”

Watch Videos about Experiments in Teaching at St. Edward’s University

Curious about what your colleagues are up to in the classroom? Looking for some new ideas for next semester?  Check out this playlist of two-minute videos from the “Experiments in Teaching” faculty innovation showcase held Friday, October 24th.

Want to try your own experiment? Consider applying for an Innovation Fellowship or Technology for Innovative Learning & Teaching Pilot Project Grant.

Enable Student Creative Work with Digital Scholarship Projects

Class blog for Contemporary World Issues, taught by Chris Micklethwait

Class blog for Contemporary World Issues, taught by Chris Micklethwait

We invite all faculty to join your colleagues for a tech snack on how to engage students with digital scholarship projects on Wednesday, November 5 from 3:30 – 4:30 in Library 141.  This tech snack will feature three innovation fellows discussing a variety of digital projects: Continue reading

Did you miss the Experiments in Teaching Showcase on Oct. 24th?

If you missed the Faculty Innovation Showcase “Experiments in Teaching” on Friday, October 24th. Here is a full recap on what the attendees learned from the faculty 2 minute “lightning” presentations:

Presenters Announced for Experiments in Teaching

Green lightningJoin the Center for Teaching Excellence, Instructional Technology, and the Munday library for lightning talks and a discussion on pedagogical experiments, Friday, October 24, 3-5 pm in the North Reading Room (Library 137), Munday Library.

We invite all teaching faculty (full-time, adjuncts, and staff who teach), staff, and administrators to join us for talks and a reception celebrating pedagogical experiments on campus. Featuring a wide variety of St. Edward’s faculty members making brief presentations about their innovative teaching projects, “Experiments in Teaching” will explore the range of teaching initiatives at St. Edward’s University and the models they afford our teaching community. We aim to create a venue for colleagues to share the challenges and successes of teaching innovation. The event will be an open reception with food, drink, and “lightning” talks, followed by informal conversation among all participants.

Presenters will use the brief lightning talk format to share a “teaser” for their project then be available for more conversation. Lightning talks will begin at 3:30 pm and include the following faculty and topics:

John Abbott | Using the Citizen Science Website iNaturalist In and Out of the Classroom

Alex Barron | Service Learning in Bangladesh

Peter Beck | Teaching a field research course at Wild Basin

Mary Brantl & Charles Porter | Endurance & Excitement: 2012’s Enduring Women

Monica Cicciarelli | Teaching with a Tablet and Screen Video Capture

Billy Earnest | The iPad-enabled Classroom: Results & Recommendations

Jennifer K. Greene | A Citizenship-Centered Capstone Model

Raelynn Deaton Haynes | Food for Thought: Teaching Marine Conservation through the Eyes of Biodiversity and the Mouths of Students

Kendall Kelly | Bringing the World to Austin: Using the GDC to Create a Global Classroom

Judy Leavell and David Hollier | Anticipating Teachers’ Futures with iPad Technology

I. Moriah McCracken | Teaching Writing with Online, Self-Directed Resources

Jeff Potratz | Hodge Podge: Google Forms, Annotated Answer Keys,’Screen Capture’ Videos, and Pre-Lab Videos

Mark Poulos & Angel Tazzer | The value of classroom teamwork assignments: Is it to reduce the amount of time we spend in grading or is it to prepare students to work well with other colleagues in their future endeavors?

Jason Rosenblum | Gameful learning in Global Social Problems : Fostering impact through experiential engagement

Georgia Seminet | Real Time Quizzing, Polling and Assessment in Class Using Socrative

Tricia Shepherd | POGIL – focusing on both what (content) and how (process) using guided inquiry team based learning

Michael Wasserman | A Travis County Almanac: Using Nature Blogs to Connect Students to Their Local Environment

Pre-register for the event:

We hope to see you there!

Trends in Academic Publishing Round Table, Thurs., Oct. 16, 3:30 to 5 PM, Fleck Hall 314

Open Access LogoThe Internet, digital tools, and digital methodologies have drastically transformed scholarly communication.  This Thursday the Munday library is sponsoring a round table discussion that considers these transformations specifically in the area of academic publishing.  Here is the official announcement:

You are invited to a Round Table discussion on the state of academic publishing. If you ever wondered how books are sold, library collections are built, and how new modes of information dissemination affect your scholarship, please join us in this discussion. The panelists will be Sara Hills, Collection Development Librarian, John McLeod, Assistant Director UT Press, and Gary Morris, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences. Pongracz Sennyey, Library Director, will moderate the panel on Thursday October 16, 3:30 to 5 PM in Fleck Hall 314.


Learn about Local Archives for Student Research, Sunday, October 19, 2-6 pm

Interior of old St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Alice, TX, June, 1936; photographer unknown. Courtesy of Catholic Archives of Texas

Interior of old St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Alice, TX, June, 1936; photographer unknown. Courtesy of Catholic Archives of Texas

One of the greatest resources for students doing research at St. Edward’s University is Austin itself—its community, environment, and history.  This coming Sunday twenty Central Texas archives will be showing off their amazing collections in one big room.  These archives are perfect sources for students looking to research local history or issues.  Such archives provide opportunities for students to do their own authentic research rather than just reading about the research of others.  So if you are looking for ideas for future student research projects, check out the Austin Archives Bazaar, Sunday, October 19th from 2-6 p.m. at the Spiderhouse Ballroom near 29th Street and Guadalupe in Central Austin.  The event is free and features Continue reading