Canvas releases new feature updates to their system on a regular basis, about once a month, and these can have varying impacts on the user experience. This means that the product may change more often than we were used to with Blackboard as Canvas is constantly evolving.
As we approach the Fall term, and our full Canvas transition, Educational Technology will be present at many campus events to offer assistance when and where you need it so that you can best prepare for our complete transition to Canvas. Below, you’ll find a list of many of the upcoming events, along with instructions to RSPV or enroll.
As of August 3rd of 2019, Canvas will no longer support the Internet Explorer 11 browser. This includes any previous versions of Internet Explorer as well.
Training Opportunities, User Guides & Support
Welcome to Arc! We hope you’re enjoying the new system. Here are details on some of the most popular Arc features - including how to find, add closed captioning and sharing your videos.
Need to know more about Blackboard Collaborate’s replacement tool? It’s called Canvas Conferences, and we’ve got tutorials, webinars and more to introduce you to this brand new tool in Canvas.
Academic Technology is proud to continue the segment to provide monthly updates on the FSCJ transition to Canvas. On the last Friday of each month of the Spring Term, the Educational Technology team will discuss a different piece of the Canvas puzzle.
You’ve migrated your course completely, checked all your assignment settings, created your custom grading scheme, and are ready to begin your first semester as a Canvas instructor! When you reach this point, don’t forget the most important final step: publishing your course!
As was the case with Blackboard, Fall course shells will be created automatically 90 days prior to the course start date. This has been our process for course shell creation since Spring 2018.
Join us for Canvas Days! Whether you have a last-minute question about Canvas or you’re not even sure how to access the system – this event is for you!
Third-party publisher content can be a great way to enrich your Canvas course and provide your students with any materials that they need for success without ever having to leave the LMS. Canvas will allow you to use all of the same publisher tools that you are used to in Blackboard, in many cases in a more streamlined and simpler way.
March’s chat will focus on the organization of course content, specifically working within the modular structure that Canvas offers, and what options instructors have when preparing to migrate content.
Here’s a little help to introduce you to two ways you could approach migrating your Blackboard course content over to Canvas. For more in-depth information, please log into Canvas via myFSCJ, and view the Course Migration class that is available within your Canvas Dashboard.
February’s segment addressed all things migration - including the transition from Kaltura/MediaSpace to Canvas’s video system, Arc, and moving course content from Blackboard over to Canvas.
As the College moves from Blackboard to Canvas, we’ll also be moving all of our video from MediaSpace to Arc, which is Canvas’ video system. If you have created your own videos or had one created for you by the Digital Media Productions team, there are a few steps we need you to complete before the video migration occurs on March 1.
If you use videos that the Digital Media Productions (DMP) team made for you:
Please contact Robin Herriff ASAP with the names of those videos so that we can add them to your MediaSpace account. This ensures you’ll be able to access them in Arc after the video migration is complete. This is necessary for all videos created by our team, whether they are currently being used in Blackboard or not.
If you created your own videos:
Before February 28th, please take some time to go through your MediaSpace account and delete any videos you no longer need or use. (All HR interview videos that are less than three years old must be retained.)
If you have anything that you think could be historically valuable to the College but which may no longer be directly pertinent to you, please contact Jennifer Grey at Jennifer.email@example.com before you delete the video so that we can see about transferring it to the College’s Archive. Examples of things which might be relevant to the Archive include videos highlighting the history of College’s programs or programming, interviews with faculty/staff/students about their time at FSCJ, or recordings of events hosted by the College. Please reach out to Jennifer directly with any questions, or if you think you may have something she should look over.
As of February 28th, you will no longer be able to add videos to MediaSpace. We will move all of the videos into the Arc system during the first few weeks of March.
From March 1st through summer session, you’ll still be able to use videos linked to MediaSpace, but these links will all need to be changed to Arc links before the fall terms begins. More on how to do that coming soon!
A Very Important Note about Captions
Captions will not be automatically migrated to the new system with the videos. If you used the REACH machine auto-captioning for your videos -- and have edited those captions – you’ll want to download those caption files to your own computer. You’ll then be able to easily add them back to the videos in Arc. (Here’s how to do it.) If you used REACH and did not edit your captions, no need to worry. You can just re-caption your videos in Arc, and it’s even easier and more accurate. If the DMP team created a captioned video for you, we’ll take care of adding those captions back after the migration is complete.
Keep an eye out for a training course called Canvas at FSCJ: Arc and Video Migration.
In addition, the Educational Technology Team will be hosting live Canvas Chats at 11:30 a.m. on the last Friday of every month this term, so you can email us any questions you may have to be answered live. This month we’ll be talking all things video and Arc.
You can also email DMP@fscj.edu or Robin.Herriff@fscj.edu directly with any questions about video, MediaSpace, and/or Arc.
This broadcast aired live Friday, January 25, 2019 at 11:30 a.m..
As the Fall term has progressed, many of members of our faculty have asked us what they should be doing to best prepare for the migration of their courses to Canvas. During the Fall, it was not yet essential that faculty do anything in preparation. Now, however, the Canvas system is set up and it is a good time for all faculty to begin preparing their Blackboard courses for the transition by doing some Spring (Term) Cleaning.
As course shells are used and re-used over terms, they can begin to get a bit cluttered with materials that may no longer be needed or that may not be well-organized. This content does not need to come over to Canvas, and may make your transition more difficult. So, as we begin to migrate course content from Blackboard to Canvas, there are a few things you can do to prepare your content by ensuring that it is well-organized.
Exporting Your Course:
The first step that you should take in this process is exporting your Blackboard courses, which will ensure that you have a backup of the complete course before you make any changes or delete files. You can store the packaged file on your local computer or within OneDrive through Office365.
For instructions on backing up a course, review this knowledge base article: How to export a Blackboard course
To Access OneDrive:
Clearing Out the Content Collection
Next, you can begin the clean-up! You’ll start in the area where your Blackboard course content is all stored, the often-neglected Content Collection, which can be accessed as shown below.
Once there, you can determine if completing any of the following tasks will make your course less cluttered, and more organized.
Delete Unused Files
If there are files that you no longer using in your course, delete them.
Delete Duplicate Files
If the original file exists, then the duplicate file(s) should be removed. These files generally contain keywords in their file name such as (1) or Copy.
Export Videos Store within Blackboard
All videos that have been directly uploaded into Blackboard should be exported to your local computer so that they can be re-uploaded into Arc (Canvas' new video storage system). Video files will have the following extensions: .MP4/.AVI/.FLV/.WMV/.MOV
If you have used a Kaltura MediaSpace, YouTube or similar product to simply embed the video, you will not need to move/address the video - it is not actually being stored in Bb. We will address how those videos will be migrated more thoroughly in future communications/training.
Canvas is coming! We hope that you are as excited about this change as we are! But, for those who are experiencing some trepidation, we have scheduled abundant training and outreach at each campus throughout the 2019 Spring Term. Educational Technology will be teaming up with Training and Organizational Development, the Center for eLearning, and Digital Media Productions to offer in-person and online training opportunities, campus visits, and live broadcasts so that you can learn more about our new Learning Management System, Canvas (or just express your excitement, if you are already a Canvas FanPerson).
Here’s a list of the events that will be occurring through the the 2019 Spring term:
Canvas at FSCJ: Basic Training Course
What: This course will provide introductory training on the Canvas Learning Management System. It will provide attendees with an opportunity to become accustomed to Canvas’s user interface, as well as learn how to build, manage, and grade course content and communicate with students.
When: This course will initially be offered on January 4th during Professional Development Day, then advertised throughout the Spring term.
Where: Online or in-person, at each campus.
How to Join the Fun: Pay attention to weekly emails from Training and Organizational Development and register for the course that meets your needs within the Student Center of myFSCJ.
Open Lab: Canvas Migration Assistance
What: Scheduled to assist instructors with migrating their course content from Blackboard to Canvas.
When: Every Friday during the Spring term during the hours listed below. If you are in need of assistance at a time that is outside of the hours listed, please email EdTech@fscj.edu to schedule an appointment.
Deerwood Center TV Studio from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Kent Campus Faculty Resource Center from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Downtown Campus Faculty Resource Center from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
South Campus Faculty Resource Center from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
North Campus Faculty Resource Center from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
How to Join the Fun: Just show up and bring your Canvas.
Tech Tours: Canvas Transition
What: The Educational Technology, Center for eLearning, and the Digital Media Productions teams will visit each campus to discuss the details of the transition to Canvas and answer any questions instructors may have.
When & Where
Deerwood Center TV Studio from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Nassau Center B202 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
North Campus Faculty Resource Center from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Cecil Center Room 206 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Kent Campus Faculty Resource Center from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
How to Join the Fun: Just show up! No Canvas needed.
LIVE Canvas Chats
What: These live broadcasts will provide an update on our LMS transition, as well as an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Each month we’ll focus on a different piece of the Canvas puzzle.
When: Live at 11:30 a.m. on the last Friday of each month during the Spring term
How to Join the Fun: Review our blog to see each month’s topics and send in those questions in advance to be answered live.
As always, if you have any questions, please email us at EdTech@fscj.edu.
During the second week of October, the Educational Technology Department hosted two members of the Canvas support team: our Customer Success Manager, Brianna, who will be responsible for managing our Canvas account throughout its life, and our Implementation Consultant, Greg, who will be assisting us in setting up the system for faculty and student use.
The purpose of the on-site visit was to share information and resources that would ensure that FSCJ’s IT team was progressing towards a successful implementation of Canvas here at FSCJ. We had three days of meetings scheduled, covering wide-ranging topics such as PeopleSoft integration, log-in authentication, faculty and student training, support portal setup and course migration.
Much of the two-day visit was spent working on the two most technical (and most immediately important) parts of the implementation process: Authentication and PeopleSoft integration. If you are not a person with an interest in college IT processes, the terms “authentication” and “integration” probably don’t mean much to you, but they affect the work that you do in the LMS every day. Authentication refers to the way that users log in to all college systems, so that each system knows who you are, and allows you log you in with the same password, showing you the same information that uniquely identifies you. In order for this to happen, each college system needs to be connected to our Active Directory, the database that stores usernames, passwords, email addresses, and employee IDs. When systems are connected to Active Directory, then user passwords can be created and changed in one place, rather than needing to be managed in each system individually.
The setting up of PeopleSoft Integration involves creating a bridge between myFSCJ and Canvas that will allow the enrollment data that is created in myFSCJ to come over to Canvas fully and completely. Basically, all courses, users, and enrollments are created within myFSCJ through the encoding (courses), application (users) and course selection (enrollment) process. This data is stored in myFSCJ as our college’s system of record, but must be moved over to Canvas in order for students to take online courses. It is vital to ensure that a system is set up that moves the correct data over to Canvas at the right time with no interruptions. So, as you can imagine, getting these two processes right will have a massive impact on FSCJ students’ and faculty’s ability to use the Canvas LMS as it was meant to be used. Without authentication, users cannot log in to the system. Without integration, there are no users, courses, or enrollments!
Once we had a firm concept of how to complete these two processes and our IT teams began doing the work, we moved on to discussing other issues that are much more visible and immediately important to our faculty! We had extensive discussions about content migration and strategies for successfully moving courses from Blackboard to Canvas with Greg, Brianna and the Center for E-learning Team. Our goal was to identify the best process for moving courses efficiently from one system to another without losing or scrambling content. We gained valuable information about the best practices for moving courses, what types of content can be moved (and which cannot) and information about whether it would be best for users to just start fresh.
After this we sat down with the Information Technology Service Desk Staff to discuss the best approach on how to support our students and faculty with Canvas. For the first year of our Canvas rollout, our staff and students will have dedicated support from the Canvas Help Desk, via phone, email, ticket, or SMS. Canvas support has a response time of under three minutes in most cases, and can resolve most issues within 24 hours. Support will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all faculty have a dedicated line so that they won’t be confused with the students when getting their issues handled.
We hope you're just as excited as we are for Canvas! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 19, the Canvas Transition Team held their second meeting, at which they really started to dive into the challenging work of making decisions about how to set up the new LMS. Because we wanted to start at the top level of the project and work down to the specifics, this month the team was tasked with deciding whether FSCJ would utilize a hierarchal sub-account structure for the overall LMS instance.
Let’s pause for a minute to explain what this task actually is and why it is important. Currently, our Canvas LMS instance is like a completely blank, well, CANVAS (for lack of a better term). When a user logs in, they see the normal side navigation menu that one would expect, but it only holds fifteen users and fourteen courses. There is NOTHING in there—it is an empty container. So, before we begin to fill it up with courses and tools and content and students and instructors and all of the things that make an LMS a place where learning happens, we wanted to take a hard look at the structure of that container to see if we could find a way to divide it up. These smaller buckets would allow us to group courses by subject area so that we could deploy tools and user permissions more strategically, based upon the needs of our college’s varied academic units. Because (as we all know) FSCJ is an institution that serves an incredibly varied community of learners that often have drastically different needs and wants in our shared eLearning space.
We landed upon the concept of the sub-account to help us create these smaller containers within the larger Canvas account. A sub-account is an organizational unit within Canvas that can be customized so that it may provide a slightly different experience for the students and instructors who are accessing the courses within it. LTI tools and resources can be made available to specific sub-accounts where they are used and users can have different permissions granted to them based upon their needs.
In order to understand how this works for the user, it is helpful to think about the way that the physical structure of a traditional school is organized. Students all enter through the same front door and walk in the same common areas, but in a mathematics classroom, they may have access to tools like graphing calculators while in a science lab they may need to use beakers and graduated cylinders. Students can move from class to class easily, but the tools that they encounter and the responsibilities that they have change based upon the learning space that they are currently occupying. The access point is the same, but the experience within the class is different.
The Transition Team was tasked with figuring out if such a structure would be desirable for the FSCJ community, and then to figure out how to set this structure up in a way that was logical, sustainable, and able to be automated. During the meeting Robyn Reese, our LMS Administrator, walked the team through a presentation that explained how to meet these three goals. In order to do this, the team had to figure out how to use the existing academic structure within myFSCJ (the SIS or Student Information System) to create groups that would also fit with the current structure of our schools and departments.
As we progressed through the meeting, the Transition Team provided a great deal of valuable information about the level of structural complexity that they thought would be valuable for the areas that they were representing. As might be expected, it was found that certain areas of the college would require more dedicated sub-accounts for purposes of management and tool deployment. For example, in the Credit area, because of the variety of courses that are offered, we plan to pursue an sub-account organization based upon academic department. For areas like Professional Development, CWE, Not-for-Credit, and Clock, a simpler sub-account that encompasses several subject areas was thought to be best because it will allow for more management flexibility. Moving forward, the Educational Technology department will be meeting with the staff that oversees these areas to obtain more details regarding the specific structure and composition of the sub-account, as well as what support staff are used in this area and what LTI tools are utilized by their instructors.
The Transition Team’s next meeting will focus on training and will be held mid-October.