The implementation of Canvas continues to progress well and training for staff is well underway. Since our last update in early April bookings to attend Canvas Fundamentals workshops have been flooding in. The demand has been such that Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) are now running a minimum of 3 sessions every week with dates currently available through to the 12th of July. As of this update a total of 182 staff have attended training on the new VLE: 165 colleagues from across the University’s Schools of Study and 17 Professional Services staff. A further 238 colleagues are booked on future sessions through May and June.
Feedback on the workshop, and on Canvas itself, has been overwhelmingly positive with colleagues from across the institution enthused by the new teaching and learning opportunities afforded by the new VLE:
“A much more versatile VLE with lots of opportunities to encourage student interaction and formative assessment – I’m excited to get cracking!”
“From what I’ve seen today I think the new VLE will be more intuitive. Particularly the possibility to drag and drop will make my life a lot easier!”
“This is an interesting platform and interface – I’m keen to not just translate what I have previously used on Study Direct, but rather find new ways of presenting the courses that enhance the learning experience.”
“Takes a bit of learning, but once you get used to the new system it’s a lot less clunky that study direct – smoother, faster and much nicer interface – just a bit tricky getting used to working with different kinds of bricks as it were.”
The feedback has also included lots of useful suggestions for further training and guidance which would help staff enhance the look and feel of sites within Canvas and to understand how to take advantage of the new functionality within the VLE. We’ll be reviewing this feedback within TEL and considering how we can best support staff to achieve their goals.
Now that term has finished, work to migrate the Spring and Autumn-Spring 17/18 module sites from Study Direct to Canvas is underway. Some 1260 modules will be exported from Study Direct and transferred to Canvas where they will be reviewed by the Learning Technologists in TEL to ensure content has moved over successfully. This is a considerable amount of work and will take time. We’ll provide information on our progress in our June project update.
Communication and engagement
Members of the project team have been providing briefings on the rollout of Canvas to staff and students at every opportunity including School Teaching and Learning Committees, Departmental meetings and Boards of Study. Working with the Internal Communications team, updates have been published on the University’s Staff and Student web pages, while training opportunities for staff have also been publicised on digital screens across campus. Learning Technologists from TEL ran two workshops at the recent University Teaching and Learning Conference, to help staff think about how Canvas might be used to enhance feedback to students. We’re also continuing to post regular updates to this blog, providing information on how the project is progressing and showcasing some of the exciting features in our new VLE. To make sure you don’t miss out on these posts you can enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and have posts sent directly to your inbox.
We strongly encourage all Sussex academic staff to sign up for a place on our Canvas Fundamentals training workshops. Attending the workshop will familiarise you with Canvas and your options for teaching with the new VLE. It also gives you access to your migrated modules from 17/18. Demand for the spaces has been incredibly high, and the workshops have been filling up quickly. We are doing everything we can to schedule additional dates and our booking page is being updated daily. Please do let us know if you are having difficulty finding a place.