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In today’s post, I will share time-saving tips, tools, and resources to help you organize and build student-friendly courses for the coming spring term, or any term for that matter.

1. Course Prep & Start-of-Term Checklist

The Course Prep & Start-of-Term Checklist in our Canvas Faculty Center walks you through the basics of setting up your Canvas course:
  • where to find cross-listing information
  • how to copy a course
  • how to adjust course settings to fit your needs
  • how to publish a course (and how to publish individual items in a course)
  • steps to manage enrollment and who to contact if issues arise
  • what cool tools are available to use in Canvas
  • how to get support

2. Canvas Commons & Cidi Labs

The Canvas Commons has loads of course content for you to adopt in your course. I won’t rewrite my previous post about using the Commons, but I’d like to highlight our Home Page Template and FOMA (Module) Template that you can import into your course. Both templates use Cidi Labs, but you don’t need to know Cidi Labs to use the templates in your course. You can edit any of the text in the templates without ever touching Cidi Labs! That being said, Cidi Labs can save you time as you build your course. Read on to find out how.

With the Cidi Labs Multi Tool, you can easily set the imported Home Page Template to show as the Home page in your course. And whether you use the FOMA Template or your own templates, the Multi Tool, allows you to quickly duplicate the templates for the 16 weeks of the term or however else you prefer to structure your course. Next, you can use the Cidi Labs Design Tools to quickly build your syllabus by inserting Syllabus Blocks and/or Institutional Templates. Beyond the Multi Tool, Cidi Labs can do so much more.

Don’t know how to use Cidi Labs? Attend our Pre-Semester Intensive on Wednesday, February 10, 2021! We’ve designed it from the perspective of using Cidi Labs to save you time in prepping your spring courses. “Build Better Courses…” from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM will cover Cidi Labs the basic tools in Cidi Labs, including Design Tools, Upload/Embed Image Tool, and Multi Tool, while “Next Level Design…” from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM will cover intermediate and advanced Design Tools as well as more on using Cidi Labs Templates. Register in POD for one or both sessions!

If you can’t attend or prefer to learn Cidi Labs on your own, visit our Learn About Cidi Labs DesignPLUS course. You’ll get an overview of what you can do with Cidi Labs DesignPLUS and have the option to import a course from the Commons into a sandbox for more guided practice.

3. Mt. SAC Captioning Service

Need video captions? Don’t have time to do them yourself or don’t know how? Mt. SAC has you covered! Take advantage of the fast and free captioning service provided by Broadcasting Services. Whether you need captions on your own videos or others’ videos, you can submit your request via the Mt. SAC Captioning Request form. You’ll get your videos back with accurate captions as soon as four days to one week. For more on captioning including info on free video storage, how to DIY captions, and finding already captioned course content, see our Captioning webpage.

4. Tools & Apps At-a-Glance

Want to try a new tool or app in your Canvas course, but not sure which is the right one for your needs? No need to scour the internet or the Mt. SAC website. We’ve created the Tools & Apps page in our Canvas Faculty Center for just this purpose; however, please note that this page is not a complete or exhaustive list of all tools and apps in Canvas. The page includes an overview of the major tools and apps available in Mt. SAC Canvas organized in a handy chart that’s sortable by column, so you can sort by name, purpose of the tool or app, where it can be accessed in Canvas, or by category. The category column on the page includes icons with a legend at the bottom that tells you what each symbol represents.
Legend in Tools & Apps page
Here are a few highlights of frequently requested and newer tools and apps:
  • Accessibility-related: Ally,
  • Communication: Pronto
  • Video Interaction: Flipgrid, PlayPosit
Flipgrid is a recently added page since we’ve received many inquiries from professors about this app, and there will be a Canvas Studio page coming soon too. Visit the Tools & Apps page to learn more about a new or new-to-you tool or app to try out; we recommend and trying out tools and apps in a sandbox before using them in a live course.
Do you have any time-saving tips to share? Comment below!

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