Canvas Training Services Center:

Need help navigating Canvas or setting up your course site? Try one of Canvas’s ready-to-go training resources available to you through the training services center in your Canvas site.

This brief video demonstrates how you can access the Training Services Center. Text-based instructions for accessing the resource are below.

  1. Login to your Canvas site at canvas.meca.edu
  2. Click “Help” in the navigation menu
  3. Click “Training Services Center”
  4. Click “Authorize”
  5. Click “Launch Training”
  6. Review the Learning Pathways and Courses for subjects that might support your learning goals
  7. Click “Enroll” in any course or pathway of interest to you
  8. Then “start” or “launch” the course you want to complete

Expectations for All MECA Courses in Canvas

All courses being offered through Maine College of Art will have a course website in Canvas, the college’s learning management system. For each course website a faculty member has been assigned, that member is asked to please minimally do the following tasks:

  1. Update your Canvas Profile and add a photo of yourself (or an avatar) to your Canvas account (this need be done only one time when first logging into Canvas. You do not need to repeat this step for every course site)
  2. Upload your Syllabus to the “Syllabus” button in your Course Site at least two weeks prior to the start date of your course
  3. Edit your Home page with YOUR unique course description, faculty bio and contact information, and how you will use the course site.
  4. Publish your course site at least 24 hours before your course is due to start.
  5. Revise course organizational content as needed based on the site review conducted by The Dean’s Office using the design checklist.

Note: The Dean’s Office will review your course site against our design checklist within two weeks of the start of your course. We will send revision notes as needed.

 

Faculty may additionally choose to expand their Canvas course sites in any of the following ways:

  • Add learning modules, projects, topics, or themes
  • Include course discussions using the discussion boards in Canvas
  • Add upload links for students to upload papers, slideshows, videos, or project portfolios
  • Create a handout repository to share course handouts, lecture slideshows, demo videos, and other useful resources
  • Design and delivery a fully or partially online course

Colloquia Series: 


1. September 17, 2020 “Five Hacks to Make Your Canvas Site Sing”

with grant-funded instructional-designer, Eleni Margaronis and faculty member, Nico Jenkins:


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Canvas and How Can My Students and I use it for Class?

Canvas Studio is an interactive Video-Recording and Editing Feature available in your course site anywhere there is a Rich Text Editor.* This tool is available both to YOU and STUDENTS within Canvas.
Canvas Studio Features:
  • Create screencast recordings of slideshows or websites, record your webcam, or both from within Canvas
  • Upload recordings from your other devices into the Canvas Studio library (be mindful of copyright)
  • Caption your videos and add multi-lingual transcripts (great study-aids for students!)
  • Have your students upload videos for homework or discussion posts for just you or the whole class to see
  • Upload a video to discussion and you and the other students can make comments at specific points in the media file’s timeline
  • Watch the analytics on your video files to see what parts of your demos students watch over and over or what points in your video students may start to fade
  • Video files in Studio can be graded in Speedgrader, meaning you can enter grade info and feedback while watching the video at the same time
  • Use the Studio quizzing feature to insert questions directly into your videos–these questions can be graded, if you like, and grades will go into the Canvas GradeBook

Introduction to “Using Studio” Video from Canvas (Instructure): 

602 – Using Studio from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.

Studio Resources for You (Faculty): 

Studio Resources for Your Students (that you may share with them): 
Canvas Support Guides you can share in your course site to help your students submit Studio videos as assignments or take Studio Videos you created as Quizzes:
How do I use the Rich Text Editor in Canvas to make video, images, and hypertext?

Here is a brief video introducing how to use some of these features:

How do I access my Canvas Course Sites?

Faculty user accounts have been created. They use the same authentication that your Google accounts use to access your MECA email. To access your Canvas account, visit: https://canvas.meca.edu/ and click the big orange button labeled “Log in with @meca.edu email.

How do I update my Canvas Profile?

Faculty can update user profiles with individual photos or avatars and information by following these simple steps. For a visual guide with step-by-step instructions, including screen-shots of where to click, visit here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-26280-how-do-i-add-a-profile-picture-in-my-user-account-as-an-instructor

  1. Log into Canvas at canvas.meca.edu
  2. Click “Account”
  3. Click “Settings” in the “Account menu”
  4. Click the profile picture icon
  5. Click “Upload a picture’ and choose a picture from your device
  6. Use the corner dots to click and drag the crop-screen to crop your image
  7. Click “Save”

Alternatively, you may choose to take a photo directly from your Canvas App. See more information at the link above.

How do I edit my Home Page?

Your course home page comes preloaded with some content to support your course structure. During our first iterations of Canvas use, these are locked and we ask that you all use these as your home pages. We will meet with faculty user groups later in the semester to determine how to improve on this design, but for now we are all using the same structure for ease of use. Each home page will come ready-made with a course banner unique to your discipline crated by our marketing department based on the Be Seen campaign. To edit your home page and replace the Lorem Ipsum text, follow these instructions:

  1. Log into Canvas at canvas.meca.edu
  2. Click on the course you wish to update
  3. Click “Home” in course navigation on the left
  4. Click the “Edit” button toward upper middle right
  5. Click your mouse into the Course Description section of the Home page and replace the Lorem Ipsum text with your course description. Note: You MUST use the Department-approved course description in this portion of your course site. You may NOT change this language. We are unable to automate the process of bringing your course description over to the home page, so we do need you, the faculty member, to please paste in the description in this portion of the page. 
  6. Click your mouse into the Faculty Introduction section and introduce yourself. Include an image of yourself and your contact information so your students can easily reach you
  7. Quick Access is pre-populated with content for your students
  8. Review the Communication section for yourself. Delete the bold-text designated just for you, the instructor. The remaining text on the home page is for your learners.
  9. Click “Publish” to finalize your home page changes
  10. Note: you may choose to ADD to your home page, including images, but please do not delete content designed to make course navigation easier for our learners. Also, please leave this as your home page. Thanks!

How do I upload my syllabus?

You can easily upload your syllabus or any course document to Canvas by following these simple instructions. You may follow the instructions at this link https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12958-415241537  You can also follow these instructions:

  1. Log into Canvas as canvas.meca.edu
  2. Click on the course you wish to update
  3. Click on the “syllabus” button in your course navigation
  4. Upload a PDF version of your Syllabus
  5. Click Publish

How do I create a calendar of due dates for my students?

Canvas automatically creates a calendar of due-dates for your students whenever you set your Assignments, Discussions, or Tests/Quizzes to have a specific due date. Students are then able to self-select a view of your course site based on the schedule of due-dates you have assigned to each item in your course. Please note that this is not the same thing as the “availability” date. In short:

  • DUE DATE: creates a notification flag for both student and faculty that there is something the student needs to do by a certain date and time. For example, every time I set a due date on a discussion or assignment, I’m creating a way for online students to organize their timeline based around what they have to do and when. If I set an assignment to be due at 11:59 PM on October 3, and later, I set a quiz to be due at 9:00 PM on October 1, Canvas will automatically re-order the student’s due date notification list to show the quiz comes before the assignment.
  • The AVAILABILITY DATE: refers to the date range in which a particular item in your course site is viewable to students. In other words, I may set a module to be available between November 1 and November 15, and thus my students won’t be able to see that module at all until 11/1 rolls around. I can put an additional end date on that availability. This might be useful if, say, I have a big exam students need to study for–I could set the study-guide materials to be available right up until the test is due and then disable access to the study materials during the test.

Click this site to learn more about the difference between due date and availability date.

Note: You must enter a Grade value for your assignments, discussions, and quizzes. If you are not going to use your Grade Book in Canvas to calculate final scores, then I recommend you simply hide the Grade Book from student view. Having said that, you will need to include at least a single point in the “Graded” section of assignment, discussion, or quiz in order to trigger the system to notify you when someone submits and also to create the course calendar.

For a Quick Guide to Canvas Grade Book, click here.

I want to teach my course online or partially online. How do I start?

That’s great news! We want to help you develop your first online or web-facilitated course. Please contact your Associate Dean (Paul or Araminta) to learn more about how to use Canvas and how to design your first course. Because we  want to help everyone have a successful online implementation, the Dean’s Office will review your course site before you publish your course for student-access. We use a checklist based on International standards for course design called Quality Matters.

For a copy of the checklist, please visit this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aT1jVVwYJIKe3n09NUxFEUwTFKOtPiOpVR3ykK1V8hQ/edit#gid=158197077

Please note that our current policy is that all courses must be built out with up to two weeks of content (minimally) at least two weeks prior to the start of the course for our review. This allows us plenty of time to support as many people as possible in the design and development of Canvas resources.

I noticed Conferences in my Canvas Course Site. What is this, and how does it work?

Canvas Included Conference Tool is BigBlueButton:

Canvas offers a free video-conferencing software called BigBlueButton as part of the Canvas suite. You can use this to create conferences (or online class video sessions in real-time). BigBlueButton allows you to stream your video, webcam, computer screen, or powerpoint to your students. You can also whiteboard, which is when you use your mouse or your finger-on-a-tablet to “write” on the web-screen (useful for, say, a math problem or circling a part of an image for attention or annotating something on the screen). This software also allows students to text-chat with you and each other and create a shared notebook of notes during your lecture.

The major limitation of BigBlueButton is that the video is one-way only. The instructor/s (single or plural) are the only people who can project video. to the group. Student webcams do not work in this software, so you will not be able to see them. They will see you, however–just not each other. Many faculty have elected to use Google Meet instead, which is a freely available video-meeting technology that comes with our Google Suite for Education. You can link your Meet events with your Canvas site by embedding a calendar in your site and creating calendar events with recurring Meet sessions, for example. Another option faculty are using is Zoom. Zoom is not freely available for our needs, so you will need a license to use this tool.

BigBlueButton Resources:

For information about BigBlueButton, check out this entry in Canvas’s Community Forum about Conferences. Or try…

How do I create a Conference in my Canvas Site? (BigBlueButton)

How do I record a Conference in Canvas? (BigBlueButton)

How do I moderate and present content through Conference in Canvas? (BigBlueButton)

Would You Rather Use Meet? Google Meet Resources: 

How Can I use Google Meet (formerly Hangouts) in my Canvas Site? (Google Meet)

How do I Embed a Google Calendar into a Canvas Page? (Google Meet using Google Calendar Events)

Hint: You can set up a Google Meet link to recur, as well. A Google Meet event is just a URL. When you click that URL, it takes you to a video-conference space on the web. That means you can copy-and-paste the URL for any Meet you create and share that link with others. For example, if I want to host a committee meeting and we meet at different times, I can create one Google Meet event in my Google Calendar and “add meet” to the event. Then, I right click on the “join meet” button in the event, and hit “copy” (or “save URL,” etc. Language varies by browser). I now have copied the link to my Google Meet event. Now I just need to paste it. I pop into Canvas, create a Canvas page with some instructional context, and paste the link. Et voila! A recurring video classroom is born.

Do You Have a Personal Zoom Account? Zoom Suggestions:

Note: If you do have a license to Zoom and wish to use Zoom in your Canvas site, you would need to do this manually. Simply schedule the Zoom call as you normally would and copy the invitation to the meeting link. Then, in your course site, create a page that offers some instructional context (like: “This course will meet every Thursday at 9:00 AM. Please use the following Zoom link to join that course session.”), paste in the Zoom invitation link, and then highlight/insert the link to make it clickable-hypertext.

Hint: If you set a Zoom link to be “recurring,” you can use the same link for more than one class session. 🙂

How can I record videos for my course site?

We have detailed instructions for how you can record and share media for your courses, including demos, lectures, 1-take videos, paper-slides, lessons, and studio-tool how-to’s. We also have a variety of repositories you can access to curate a set of ready-made videos you may elect to use in your course site, as well. Contact your Associate Dean or your ID facilitator for more information.

During the pilot session of our Canvas training with faculty, Siobhan Haggett of Continuing Studies provided us with a brief demonstration of recording, hosting, and embedding video in Canvas. Just remember to organize your content when you embed it on your course site. Check out the video recording of this session:

How can I get started with Canvas?

During the pilot session of our Canvas training with faculty, Shiva Darbandi of the JoAnne Waxman Library provided us an overview of using the MECA blueprint, adding content to our course sites, editing content already there, adding and grading discussions, and using the Commons. This is one quick-start guide for using Canvas. Check out the video recording of this session:

Another option for getting started with Canvas is this short, all-inclusive video from Canvas directly. This video will show you virtually everything you need to know to set up your course site and begin teaching with Canvas asap.

What are the minimum Canvas expectations of all faculty?

DUE AUGUST 15, 2020

As a reminder, all courses being offered through Maine College of Art will have a course website in Canvas, the college’s learning management system. For each course website a faculty member has been assigned, please minimally do the following tasks by August 15.** Instructions for these four expectations were sent by email and will soon be available on our website for quick reference. 

  1. Update your Canvas Profile and add a photo of yourself (or an avatar) to your Canvas account (this need be done only one time when first logging into Canvas. You do not need to repeat this step for every course site)
  2. Upload your Syllabus to the “Syllabus” button in your Course Site at least two weeks prior to the start date of your course
  3. Edit your Home page with YOUR unique course description, faculty bio and contact information, and how you will use the course site.
  4. “Publish” your course site at least 24 hours before your course is due to start.

**Note: This date is the latest date for courses scheduled to begin August 25. The August 15 deadline allows us time to troubleshoot any errors in the course delivery. It is critical your course sites are ready for review by this date, please. Thank you!

How and when do I publish my course site on Canvas so students can see it?

DUE **24 hours before your course is scheduled to begin (ex: August 24)

Please note that your students will not be able to access your course until you publish it. We recommend you do NOT publish your course until immediately before your course is set to launch in August or September. 

We recognize that many of you will complete your minimum expectations (profile, syllabus, and home page edits) early and want to publish your course website immediately. Others may need more time to develop content, assignment links, discussion boards, and other instructional materials in Canvas. Either way, please know the following critical information: 

  • Students cannot see your course until YOU publish the course site 
  • Publishing your course site is different from publishing an individual page on your course site–it is still possible to add hidden content to your course site even after you publish the course for student access
  • Instructors see their course sites differently than students do–use the student preview option (by clicking the eye-icon in the upper right) to view your site as a student

To Publish Your Course Site: 

  1. Log into your Canvas account at https://canvas.meca.edu/ 
  2. Click on “Courses” in the left side navigation
  3. Click on the image tile for the course you wish to publish
  4. Click “Publish” in the upper right corner (Note: if your course is unpublished, the “publish” button will be red. If your course is published, it will be green.)
  5. Please publish your courses no later than 24 hours before it is scheduled to begin. 

Need more help? Try Canvas’ resource here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13030-how-do-i-publish-a-course 

What resources are available to help me design my course on Canvas?

We are working to help you prepare for distance learning. The following resources are available to you in varying stages of development. 

Part Time Instructional Design Support: 

In addition to the instructional design hours provided by existing staff at MECA, we have been able to supplement with a part-time instructional designer who will join us through December thanks to a faculty development focused Davis Education Foundation grant (Thanks Advancement!!). Eleni Margaronis will be available at least one day a week in-person on-campus, and another 1-2 days a week remotely (including occasional weekends) to help you design your course content and navigate Canvas and/or Google Suite for Education. She will report to Araminta, who will share Eleni’s schedule with you semi-regularly. In the interim, if you wish to schedule time with our new ID, please email her at emargaronis@meca.edu  Eleni’s first availabilities to meet remotely are Thursday and Friday this week (8/13 and 8/14). She may also be on campus on Monday, 8/17.  

Tier One Supports from Canvas: 

When we obtained our new learning management system, we also purchased “Tier One Support,” which provides 24/7 customer support services to all MECA Canvas users–yes, that includes both faculty and students!

You or your students may call Canvas directly for support: 888.965.3645 

Additionally, a 24/7 Live-Chat option exists in our Canvas Navigation Window. Just click “Help” in your Canvas Navigation.

This image shows the menu of options under "Help" when you select this option in the Canvas Navigation. Options include Chat support for both faculty and students.

Canvas-Direct Instructor Resources:

Canvas Area of the MECA website: 

Araminta is developing an area of the MECA website under information for faculty and staff related to these FAQ’s about Canvas. We will update content there as new processes and information develop. When the link is published, you will find it at: https://www.meca.edu/academics/canvas-faculty-faq/

Training Recordings from MECA Sessions: 

A small group of faculty have been working with the Canvas implementation team to develop skills and a training path for using Canvas. Two of these sessions were recorded and include demonstrations. These videos are embedded above, but for your short reference:

Future Plans for Support: 

  • Nico Jenkins has agreed to develop a Colloquia Series of sessions devoted to best practices in Canvas which we will roll out in a few weeks. 
  • Eleni Margaronis will be offering a brown-bag Canvas Webinar series during the lunch hour on Mondays or Wednesdays each week (varies) over video conferencing.
  • Araminta Matthews will continue to curate resources on the new MECA webpage and send out periodic Canvas-news emails (like this one) to support your development
  • The Deans Office (Ian, Paul, and Araminta) will be reviewing your course sites using the checklist starting August 11th and will get back to you with web-design revision suggestions and resources to make those revisions.
  • Is there something else that might help you? Don’t see what you are looking for? Reach out to Araminta at amatthews@meca.edu and let me know how we can better support your Canvas integration. 

What are some of the Highlights (or key features) of Canvas that can help me this coming semester?

Integration with Google Suite for Education: 

Google Suite for Education is an integrated app within Canvas. This means you can easily use your Google documents and calendar right inside Canvas:

  • Accept Google doc submissions from students
  • Use Canvas’s Speedgrader to grade Google docs your students submit 
  • Automatically change Google doc content into Canvas content everywhere you go–Announcements, Discussions, Assignments
  • Embed a Google Calendar right in your Canvas course site

Web Conference with Big Blue Button and Whiteboarding App:

Canvas offers a freely-available web-conferencing tool called BigBlueButton at no extra charge to us. This tool is defaulted to 60 minutes, but you can change the length of your conference to any length you want. You can schedule a conference right in Canvas and all your students are already invited to join. The tool comes with a whiteboard application (an ability to “draw” on the screen). Learn more about this tool here: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-create-a-conference-in-a-course/ta-p/1156

Dynamic Discussion Board for Ongoing Engagement:

One great way to get your students engaging with one another outside of class is to use the discussion board feature in Canvas for dynamic, asynchronous discussions. You can host a weekly discussion around big questions in your discipline, you could use discussion boards as a way for students to demonstrate participation, or you might use discussions as a way to keep class going while you or your students are off-campus for quarantine. When you set up a distance discussion, just remember to offer an engaging question as your prompt and declare at least two deadlines: one for students to respond to the topic and another for students to respond to one another. Learn more about this tool here: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-create-a-discussion-as-an-instructor/ta-p/1029 

Quick Updating with Course Announcements:

You can use the Announcements feature in Canvas to set quick announcements, such as changes to the course site or additions of new lessons or handouts to the course content feed. Announcements can be shared with all sections of your course, or just posted to one course site/section. They can also be set up to allow students to comment. These are not automatically emailed. To learn more about announcements, check this resource: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-add-an-announcement-in-a-course/ta-p/1194 

Sharing Content (Lessons, Demos, Handouts):

One of the most useful features of any learning management system is the ability to quickly share thematic content with your students. Canvas calls the area where you store and organize content a Module. A module can be a theme, a week in the calendar, a project in the studio, a unit of study, or just the collection of content for the course. It is best practice to break your course down into units of some kind. Within a module, you can then create a Page where you design your own webpage or upload a file. If you design your own simple webpage, you can easily embed a video you have made from, say, Youtube or Vimeo, attach a stack of files you have stored on your hard drive, link to a series of websites you want students to visit, and more! Learn more about sharing content here: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-add-course-content-as-module-items/ta-p/1157

FRIENDLY REMINDERS and UPDATES

  • Please remember that all faculty are asked to minimally upload syllabi, update course home page (with the Registrar-approved Course Description language), and publish course sites
  • It is up to faculty to let students know how much, if, and when Canvas may be a part of your specific course routine. Please let your students know what you expect them to do with Canvas
  • Both you and your students can log into Canvas by visiting: https://canvas.meca.edu/ Please alert your students where to go to log into your course site and access course materials by providing them this website if/when you use Canvas to support your course.
  • It can take up to 48 hours for course rosters to update. If a student drops or adds a course, for example, you may continue to see that student’s name on your roster for a day or two while we wait for the system to catch up. Big shout out of gratitude to IT and the Registrar for helping to populate our course rosters! Thanks IT and Registrars!
  • Your course site should come pre-populated with a Course Home Page Discipline Banner designed by our MECA Marketing team based on the BE SEEN campaign. Please do not remove this banner image. You may add additional images if you like, but the discipline banners are a signal to your students regarding place and space online. And another big shout out to Marketing for getting our banners into our course shells! Thanks Marketing!
  • A HUGE THANK YOU to the core Canvas Implementation Team for working long and difficult hours (and at a distance!) to get Canvas up and running for us all.
  • Stay tuned for a series of brown-bag, Zoom-based colloquia coordinated by Nico Jenkins and featuring many topics of distance learning over the coming weeks. Thank you, Nico!
  • Stay tuned for training webinars from your friendly instructional designers, Eleni Margaronis and myself. Thanks, Eleni! (Please remember you can reach out for instructional design support by emailing our part-time, grant-funded instructional designer: emargaronis@meca.edu or by contacting/scheduling with me at amatthews@meca.edu )

This page is maintained by Araminta Matthews, Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. Last updated on 11 August, 2020.