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Summer Faculty Development Week

The Academic Affairs Office is organizing a Summer Faculty Development Week for August 15-19. This will be hosted on campus in Old Main. Each session will be approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long.  Breakfast and lunch will also be served all five days in the Faculty Lounge.

Bookmark this page to stay tuned for more information and other events happening this week!

Submitted by: Tyler Kron-Piatek, Academic Technologist, COLI

Simplified Zoom Login

As previously announced, ITS is streamlining the Zoom login on July 7, 2022. This means all Canisius faculty and staff with Zoom pro licenses will login to Zoom using their Canisius College password, at the Canisius Single-Sign On (SSO) screen, instead of a separate password exclusively for Zoom.

The Canisius Single-Sign On (SSO) screen is becoming your gateway to all Canisius online resources. This means you need only one strong password, backed by multi-factor authentication.

A few other features are:

  • Go directly to canisius.zoom.us to access your online Zoom account instead of going to zoom.us.
  • For the desktop and mobile app, you can login using the Canisius Single Sign-On (SSO), too. See how at this tutorial.
  • This change should have little to no impact on scheduled meetings, saved recordings, or Zoom settings. It simply streamlines the login process.

This makes our Zoom license more secure but equally important, it makes your job managing your Canisius digital resources easier. You no longer need to remember a separate password for Zoom!

Essentials for Online Courses and Programs

In a recent revision to the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has elaborated a requirement for instructed online courses offered by colleges and universities participating in Title IV funding. This includes regular and substantive interaction (already an acronym! RSI). This set of standards ensures that both faculty and students regular participate in online classes, rather than treating them as self-paced correspondence courses.

At Canisius College our online classes are not correspondence courses, but instead are properly instructed or taught by active faculty. RSI requirements are great practices for any online teaching, and are familiar to anyone teaching online courses at Canisius.

You can read more about RSI requirements, and suggestions to meet them, at our guide.

No list is complete, as there are many fantastic ways to interact with your students using technology available on the internet. That said, here are some quick basics, with tips on how to promptly align your course with RSI:

All courses require Regular interaction.  This includes

  1. Good course design: repetitive and well-documented organization of content and activities.
  2. Frequent instructor-initiated communications, starting with a course orientation and including weekly communications.
  3. Frequent assignments, with individual feedback to students.
  4. Use of the D2L gradebook to monitor and help students monitor their own progress.
  5. Course pace enforced with start dates on content and regular deadlines for assignments.
  6. Regular office hours (via Zoom or D2L chat) posted on your syllabus.
  7. Instructor emails to students who have drifted away from the class.

All courses require at least two forms of substantive Interaction.  This means

  • Direct instruction: Synchronous teaching via Zoom, live chat, or similar realtime remote technology.
  • Assessing or providing feedback on student’s work.  See the third and fourth points above; frequent, helpful and actionable feedback to students beyond just numerical grade scores.  An instructor should monitor student engagement through assessments and participation in course activities.
  • Providing information or responding to questions regarding the content of a course or competency.  Scheduled (remote) office hours, Course FAQs, prompt replies to student emails, course and weekly orientations, and excellent course documentation all contribute to this.
  • Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency.  Assign regular asynchronous discussions, and participate in them yourself.

Substantive interaction may involve many other options than just those above.  What the USED seeks is proactive participation by the instructor during the course, rather than just course-building, caretaking, and answering student questions.  In synchronous courses, discussion meetings via Zoom can help satisfy RSI although exclusively lecturing via Zoom is insufficient.

To understand RSI, it is helpful to describe an alternative: correspondence courses that are self-paced and in which an instructor – or “subject matter expert,” “facilitator,” or really caretaker takes a passive role. Subject matter experts may develop such courses and star in recorded lectures. Possibly, someone grades student work, or grading may be automated. In correspondence courses, someone may answer occasional student questions if and as they come in. Students in correspondence courses are not eligible for federal financial aid.

We discuss these at greater length in our Online Faculty Development CourseOnline Updates workshops, weekly emails and newsletters, and other faculty development. More importantly, we offer a greater variety of tools and options so you are not just limited to the above. As always, you can email us with specific questions about online teaching methods and technology.

D2L Summer Updates

Pronouns are now available in the Classlist

Image courtesy of D2L

You and your students can now add their pronouns to the Classlist. You will also be able to see their pronouns in their Student Card.

To add your pronouns:

  1. Click on your icon (it likely has a picture of you) in the upper-right.
  2. Then choose Account Settings. The first thing you should see is a section titled “Pronouns”.
  3. You must first check the box to “Allow others to see my pronouns”. You can then choose the “Use different pronouns” and type in your pronouns.

Now, when you go to the classlist, you and your students will see your pronouns appear after your name in the Last Name, First Name column. If your students enter their pronouns, you will be able to see them as well.

You can also see a student’s pronouns when you hover over their image when grading a dropbox item, viewing a discussion, or viewing their progress.

Also, keep in mind that the pronouns in Account Settings is separate from your pronouns in Profile. Your pronouns will appear in the classlist and profile cards only if you use the pronouns in Account Settings.

Check out this video to see how to set your preferred pronouns and places where the students’ (and your) pronouns will appear to the rest of the class.

Grade Exemptions

There may be times when you need to exempt a student or students from an assignment, within the grade book.  This means that assignment is not calculated as part of their grade.

The general process:

  1. Go to a grade item that you want to give an exemption on
  2. Find the student you want to give the exemption to and select the checkbox
  3. Select “Exempt” in the upper-left menu
  4. Save and close

D2L will automatically update the grade to a very noticeable grey box with the word “Exempt” and the student will also see “Exempt” on the grade as well. If it is set up properly, the final calculated grade will auto-update as well. It works in reverse, too. if you unexempt a student from a grade, D2L will remember that student’s grade and re-calculate everything.

If you prefer a text and image tutorial, click here. A video tutorial can be viewed here.

New Quiz Editor Screen

Image courtesy of D2L

The Quiz Editor Screen is being updated to be more in line with the Dropbox Editor Screen. View the D2L Article here on it. And here is the COLI tutorial giving a quick overview. This will potentially make making quizzes easier and faster since you don’t have to go through so many pages to change the settings. For now, this will be set to Opt-in. Note, however, that this new screen will become the default at some point in the future.

Quickly Copy Dropboxes

Images courtesy of D2L

If you have ever forgotten to copy a dropbox from a previous course or wanted to use a dropbox from a current course, now you can without having to manually redo it or use the Course Import/Export/Copy tool. Simply click on the dropdown arrow to the right of the dropbox you want to copy and choose “Copy to other courses”. Then find the course you want to copy to and follow the on-screen prompts.

Here is a quick video showing how to copy a dropbox from one course to another.

Rubric Status Now Prominently Displayed

Images courtesy of D2L

In the next update, rubrics will now have their status displayed prominently, making it easier to understand if you are using a published rubric or an archived rubric.

D2L Text Editor Bigger Buttons

Image courtesy of D2L

The D2L Text Editor will now have larger buttons. This will make it easier to see the options available to you and also make it less likely to accidentally click on the wrong option.

Updates to D2L Dropbox Error Messaging

Image courtesy of D2L

Have you ever had a student email you in a panic saying that D2L won’t let them upload to the Dropbox? D2L is now providing an improved error message which may help alleviate this issue. Now, whenever a student uploads a file with an invalid file name, they will get the above message.

For more D2L Tutorials, click here.

Summer Faculty Development Week

The Academic Affairs office is organizing a Summer Faculty Development Week for August 15-19. These will be hosted on-campus in Old Main. Each session will be approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long.  Breakfast and Lunch will also be served all five days in the Faculty Lounge.  

Bookmark this page to stay tuned for more information and other events happening this week!

Submitted by: Tyler Kron-Piatek, academic technologist, COLI