Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

InstructureCon 2019, the annual convention of Canvas vendor Instructure, was held from July 9-11, 2019, in Long Beach, California.  During the convention, Instructure announced important updates to Canvas that are recently released or on the way in the near future, such as:

  • Improved analytics, including average course grades and average weekly course activity, viewable via an interactive chart or table (released)
  • A new and streamlined Rich Content Editor (forthcoming)
  • Assignments 2.0, a new way of creating and submitting assignments through Canvas that promises to improve the user experience for instructors and students alike (forthcoming)

In the breakout sessions, faculty and instructors from universities around the world introduced attendees to innovative ways in which they have been using Canvas and related digital technologies to promote teaching and learning.  Among others:

  • Denise Ann Bodman and Bethany Van Vleet of Arizona State University are working to promote innovative use of Canvas discussion boards.  They encouraged the use of unusual and creative discussion starters to get students talking and build a sense of community, rather than simple “introduce yourself” or “prove you did the reading”-type prompts.
  • Rob Dietz of Weill Cornell Medicine discussed ways to use multimedia to engage medical students. In the suture assignment, students submit images of their suture practice for faculty to provide feedback. In a physical diagnosis video assignment, students work in groups and submit video and scripts of their objective structured clinical examination practice. In the lung sound quiz, students listen to recordings of lung sound and provide a diagnosis based on what they hear.
  • Ira Strauss and Luke Ferner of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have devised novel methods to tackle the problem of student participation and retention in online courses.  They use Canvas Data to detect students who are not actively participating in online courses, create early warning reports, and then contact those students’ advisors through a button they have added to the Student Context Card.
  • Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa api of Nevada State College gamified her online introductory English composition class, using Canvas Mastery Paths and the digital badging tool Badgr.  She assigned students to write and edit an online magazine, taking on different roles (proofreader, copy editor, researcher, etc.) in the process.  Students had the option of earning digital credentials they could take with them when applying for jobs.

For more on upcoming products announced at the convention, see: InstCon 2019 Product Announcements Summary

If you are interested in integrating discussion boards, multimedia, and other interesting things like these into your course, please contact Academic Technology Solutions.