Latest Blog Entries

Support for Canvas Piloteers: 1:1 Meeting

Academic Tech is committed to fully supporting all of our faculty, and we are actively developing programs to meet the needs of faculty piloting Canvas. Academic Tech strongly recommends scheduling a 1:1 meeting with a staff member. This meeting should get you started using Canvas. It will take about 40 minutes including time spent actually building one of your courses.

Please feel free to look through the materials linked in the meeting agenda below – you don’t need to get started beforehand, but if you do, we can use the remaining time to address more specific questions or course design challenges. We especially encourage you to think about the organization of your course materials.

  • How to navigate the Canvas website
  • Differences between Chalk and Canvas, and 3 different organizing methods for Canvas (additional information attached)
  • Start building your course by creating at least one example of each type of component that you use
  • Housekeeping items
    • using Student View to proof read your course
    • the analytics available about class activity
    • Have a technical problem? Using Canvas’ technical help is a great idea. The link for all options is in the top right corner and includes
      • 24/7 live chat
      • phone support (844 334 6803)
      • and searchable help documents (like those linked here)
  • Advice for introducing students to Canvas
    • show them where to get help
    • show them the click path once for each new task

Canvas Sandbox Courses and Winter Pilot Participation

We are gearing up for the winter quarter of the Canvas pilot!

We will be expanding the number of courses from 16 to about 40. We hope to be able to accomodate everyone who is interested - if you are interested in participating in Canvas starting next quarter please use our webform to sign up.

If you are interested in seeing Canvas but not in using Canvas for your courses this winter, you can also use the form to request a Sandbox course - this is a place to experiment with Canvas. We welcome everyone to try it out - if you decide you want to participate in the pilot after seeing how it works, let us know.

We recommend the built in technical support (phone, live chat, written documentation) if you run into specific questions. If you're looking for an overview of how Canvas courses can be organized, we've found these materials helpful:


The Canvas Calendar

By Ana Lima, Senior Lecturer Romance Languages and Literatures

I accepted the invitation to join the Canvas pilot group out of sheer curiosity. I wanted to see what was in it for me and how it would compare with Chalk (I was one of the early Chalk users as well). So far the experience has been extremely positive and it has changed the way I organize my classes because of the one Canvas feature that is completely useless in Chalk: the Calendar.

My system has always been to print a calendar and write in all the assignments and class plan for every class period I teach per quarter. Then, on Chalk, I would create a folder for each class meeting and copy what I had written on my paper calendar. The students would then have to click on Assignments --> Homework --> Date. It was labor intensive and time consuming for me.

Canvas allows me to create my assignments directly on the Calendar, and a cool feature is that it lets me see with a click of the mouse what was the previous assignment and what is planned for that week. I have been discovering new and useful ways to use the Calendar almost on a daily basis, and I have both my classes on one calendar only (they are color coded). Everything is there in one page and it is easily accessible.

The Scheduler is also another game-changer -- it is easy to set up and it shows me who has signed up for conversation practice right on the Calendar. The sign up process through the Scheduler, right on the Calendar, eliminates the back and forth between instructor and student to find an empty slot. It also allows me to see who needs a reminder to sign up.

I am using many Canvas features that I did not use or see on Chalk. Maybe Chalk had more to offer, had I had time to explore, but the point is that Canvas is intuitive, smart, has a great customer support system and is answering my immediate needs more fluidly and with less layers than Chalk ever did. I did hit some bumps during my first few weeks setting up classes and importing materials, but I quickly learned how to think Canvas and now we are getting along smoothly.