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In the transition to remote teaching, tools seemed to appear from every direction and upgrades were frequent as tool vendors scrambled to fix and expand functionality to meet the needs of educators around the country and the world.
Here at Mt. SAC, many new tools arrived, and many of these are sticking around, but some aren’t. Here are some changes you might want to know about.
Ends in June 2021 (not available beyond spring term)
What is this tool? Pronto offered a method for communication via a Facebook messenger-like chat. It did not include options to grade.
Why is it being retired? Although it did offer some great functionality during remote teaching, it was not widely adopted on our campus.
What now? Nothing needs to be done by instructors as this tool is retired from Mt. SAC.
What are the options for similar functionality? There is a fall pilot coming for a discussion tool that has chat options. For summer, there is no replacement tool being introduced. Canvas does have a very basic “chat” option for classes that can allow text and emojis. If used, it is important for students to know that it is a “room” chat (everyone can see all posts) not a personal chat (one-one with professor). Professors have the option to delete any inappropriate posts. To add to the course, Go to Settings > Navigation and enable Chat.
Ends on June 15 2021.
What is this tool? Otter.ai was adopted primarily to provide smart transcripts in live Zoom meetings.
What now? Nothing needs to be done by instructors. When the Otter.ai institutional account expires, Otter says it will disappear from Zoom.
What are the options for similar functionality?
On this, it depends on which functionality you are after. As our prior blog post discussed (and as mentioned above) Zoom now offers streaming captions and smart transcripts
–the main purpose for which we adopted Otter. However, Otter.ai does have some other nifty uses: creating audio transcripts, captions, or live shared class notes are a few. The free Otter.ai account offers up to 600 minutes of audio transcription. Individual accounts do not integrate with Zoom. If you wish to continue using Otter for non-Zoom reasons, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and they can request your account be converted to a regular “free” Otter account.
Ends in August 2021, after summer term.
What is this tool? Proctorio is an online test proctoring tool. It was first introduced at Mt. SAC as a tool subsidized by the California Virtual Campus- Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI).
Why is it being retired? The CVC-OEI subsidy of this tool ended. Though it was available for re-adoption, this change, combined with controversies about online test proctoring at colleges around the country, led Mt. SAC to proactively engage in a comprehensive and inclusive review process to determine if we wished to keep a proctoring tool, and which would best serve our campus. Some programs require proctoring. A full review of tools available led a work group to select Honorlock. In June, Academic Senate voted to accept the proctoring software workgroup recommendation.
What now? Proctorio will be available for Summer, but beginning in Fall it will no longer be available as an option within Canvas.
What are the options for similar functionality?
As of Fall, Honorlock will replace Proctorio as the only option available for online proctoring within Canvas. Honorlock introduces some new options for online proctoring. See below in “New Tools Coming” for more info on this tool. You can also see the DLC recommendation
from December 2020 if you opt to use other proctoring methods or want more info on recommended options.
New Tools Coming to Mt. SAC Canvas Fall 2021
Here is a sneak peak of tools that are planned for Fall 2021.
What is it? Tidy UP is a tool from Cidi Labs that helps you clean up clutter in a Canvas course.
When can I get it/how do I access it? You already have it. You just have to enable it in course navigation: Settings > Navigations > enable or drag up to use. Look for workshop opportunities soon!
What is it? Honorlock is the new online proctoring option that is offered at Mt. SAC. For more on that process, see the Proctorio listing above, which explained more about the switch in these tools.
When can I get it/how do I access it? Training opportunities will be available in July. Resources and guides on using Honorlock will be posted in the Canvas Faculty Center and student guides will be put in the Mountie Student Hub. HonorLock works very similarly to Proctorio in how it is accessed within Canvas–it begins with a check box within the exam and it does require the use of Chrome as the browser.
Pilot planned for Fall- tentative
What is it? Harmonize is a discussion tool that can be integrated into Canvas. It has many features that are often requested, including the ability to use Unicheck to check posts for plagiarism/originality. Other features include allowing professors to add separate post and response due dates, making it easy to add rich content such as photos or video, and a chat feature to allow dynamic discussion options.
When can I get it/how do I access it?
This tool will be available in Fall 2021 as a pilot that includes unlimited licenses for all of Mt. SAC so there is no need to sign up or specify you wish to use it. You will find it available to you in Fall as part of the pilot. This tool is most often used by creating an Assignment in Canvas and using the “External Tool” option from list of “Submission Type” options. You will also be able to add the Harmonize “chat” option to your course menu. Training will be introduced after the details are finalized.Resources: Harmonize website
Want more Apps & Tools Info for Mt. SAC’s Canvas?
To find the list of institutional tools that are supported by Mt. SAC, see the Canvas Faculty Center Tools & Apps page. Check back often as we update this page as tools change.
Please note that some departments and programs introduce tools that the FCLT does not directly manage or support. We do our best to know about the tools that are available for the entire institution, but tools not purchased for institution-wide use may have specific criteria by department or program.
Do you have other questions or feedback related to the survey or to tools, old or new? Leave us a comment below!