Friday, August 3, 2012

QNA about Canvas

Q. What is Canvas?
A. Canvas is a learning management system. It allows teachers, students, and parents to communicate via a web-based, open source, platform agnostic, and mobile device friendly interface.

Q. What is a learning management system?
A. A learning management system (aka: LMS) is like a virtual “school” that allows organizations to create an environment where content, resources, and information is shared among stakeholders. Canvas has the following specific features:
  • a place for learner expression (blog/portfolio/wiki/threaded discussion)
  • a place for content interaction (posting/submitting assignments; accessing courses; posting/submitting grades; online assessments etc.)
  • a place to connect with other learners (e.g. threaded discussion forum)
  • a place to connect the thoughts of other learners in a personal, meaningful way
  • a place to dialogue with the instructor (email, chat, VoIP, etc.)
  • a place to dialogue with gurus and the larger Canvas community
  • a place for learning artifacts i.e. content management capabilities accessible and managed by the learner.
  • modularized for additional functionality and tools which allow for incorporation of new approaches as needed.
Q. Why do we need an LMS?
A. A robust LMS (if user-friendly and widely adopted by students, teachers, and parents):

  • ·         saves paper
  • ·         enhances communication
  • ·         extends the learning environment beyond the school day
  • ·         supports collaboration, makes feedback accessible and easy to manage
  • ·         allows for digital portfolio creation and archiving
  • ·         serves as a portal or dashboard that can be used to access apps, productivity tools, media and rich content, classroom communications, etc.

Q. Are we required to use Canvas?
A. The District adopted Canvas to help support the success of 21st Century learning. Over the next 6 years, Canvas will be adopted District wide. Middle School Principals have been introduced to Canvas. Many have participated in “basic” training. There is no “requirement” that teachers use Canvas but the hope is that teachers will use Canvas when they see the value-added features Canvas has to offer. Minimally, Canvas streamlines communication with students and parents and eliminates the need for a “backpack express.” When fully used, Canvas can integrate and manage every aspect of the administrative side of teaching (communication, grading, posting assignments and collecting work, content sharing, etc.)

Q. Do we have to use the grade book in Canvas?
A. Canvas has a grade book along with a very intuitive speed grader that allows teachers to review, mark, and comment on work (written, video, and voice) with ease. Once a grade is posted, a communication goes out immediately to the parent via text or e-mail depending on which preference the parent chooses. Many teachers have shared that they use other grade book tools.

Q. Will we get support and training for Canvas?
A. Yes. One of the factors in selecting Canvas over other LMS providers is that Canvas provides excellent training and support. We are also incorporating Canvas training with the Apple training scheduled for August.

Q. I have logged on to Canvas but I don’t see my classes. Do I have to create my own rosters?
A. IT is in the process of creating e-mail addresses for students as well as integrating each school’s master schedule with Canvas. Once this occurs, your class rosters in Canvas will synchronize with student information in Chancery. You will be notified as soon as class rosters are visible in Canvas.

Q. How do I get a Canvas account?
A. Go to Use your e-mail ID as your username e.g. If you don’t already have a Canvas account, click on “I don’t know my password.” Canvas will e-mail you a temporary password. Then you will be prompted to créate a new password. USE THE SAME PASSWORD YOU USE FOR YOUR DISTRICT E-MAIL. 

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