ripe oranges on a tree with the words Fall 2021 welcome back

Hi there Professor!

Welcome back for Fall Semester 2021! As you return to campus along with your students this fall, we want to offer you a warm welcome and wishes for a good experience in the upcoming term.

Even though campus is reopening, we want to acknowledge that there are still challenges for both our professors and our students. It is a great time to use Canvas to support courses of all types in order to allow for greater flexibility (fitting with your own course policies) as we forge ahead this fall.

We applaud you for all of the technology learning under pressure that you have done this year. We know it has not been easy but it has been critical for so many reasons. As you finish your preparations for fall, we want to remind you of the resources and tools (so many tools!) that are available to you this fall. Tools offer ways to communicate and engage students and allow you to create flexibility and support to students as they pursue their educational goals.

Resources for Start of Fall

Please remember that the Canvas Faculty Center is an open resource in Canvas that can help you with many things! Here are a few resources that are especially useful at the start of term:

In addition, we recommend these useful, recent blog posts that can help you navigate your classes this fall.

SPOT Recert Day: Friday September 17

If you need to renew your SPOT Recertification this fall, i.e., if you completed SPOT four years ago and need to renew, Save-the-Date for our SPOT Recert Day sessions on Friday, September 17. Keep an eye on the POD Calendar to register.
  • 1-2pm   Regulations Update for SPOT Recertification
  • 2-3pm   Easy & Engaging Video with Canvas Studio
  • 3-4pm   Harmonize: Improved Discussions in Canvas
  • 4-5pm   What’s New in Canvas

Updates in Brief for Fall 2021

Here are a few places where you can read about tool changes and editions for fall 2021. Also, see the highlights below!

 Harmonize (discussion tool) Pilot is Open for Fall

harmonize logo

During fall, Mt. SAC is conducting a pilot for a discussion tool called Harmonize. You can access Harmonize for graded discussions by creating an Assignment and selecting “External Tool” as the Submission Type. Why are we piloting Harmonize? First and foremost, Harmonize allows originality checking in discussion posts! It also includes other features such as setting multiple due dates, auto-scoring for completion, counting and consolidating all posts and responses from students in speedgrader and allowing discussions that use rich media as the prompt and easily collect images or videos (which are auto-captioned as a default) from students. Finally, this makes it easy to select who is included in the discussion (your discussions should only include those enrolled in each CRN to comply with FERPA regulations).

Pronto is Back!

You will notice that Pronto has been extended starting in Fall for another academic year, but with some caveats (mainly, the live video features which were rarely if ever used in our prior Pronto license were discontinued this time). If you like having a flexible communication feed that resembles social media in your classes, be sure to check out Pronto.

You can find more information on the Harmonize page in the Tools & Apps section of the Canvas Faculty Center.

Cidi Labs now has TidyUP … and a New Default Color

Note that the default color in Canvas has been transitioned between summer 2021 and Fall 2021 from red (#7a0606) to blue (#0073a7). This affects the Cidi Labs headings that use the default color template, both past courses and new ones. A few added themes in Cidi Labs use the Mountie maroon as their default color. You can find them in the theme options with the prefix “Mt. SAC.” We hope to offer more themes with alternate default palettes in the future.

In the renewal of Cidi Labs through 2023, Mt. SAC has also added TidyUP. This tool allows you to keep your files and pages areas of Canvas neat and tidy by helping you sort out what files and pages are in use, and which ones you can pitch in the digital dustbin. Learn more in the Canvas Faculty Center or read our TidyUP blog post: Spring Cleaning with TidyUP.


We continue to have Ally in Canvas in the upcoming year. This creates alternative document formats automatically (found in symbol next to the page title). The symbols next to documents indicate their level of accessibility and are only visible to the Teacher role in Canvas.
  • Do you have documents that need to be converted into an easier format to make accessible? Consider using the free CCC Converter tool. 
  • Check out our recent post on the Faculty Accessibility Center. Take the 1-hour Accessibility for Windows self-paced course in Mt. SAC POD Connect.

Retired Tools

OTTER.AI and PROCTORIO have gone away. was no longer needed since Zoom now has built-in auto-captions and transcription. However, Otter is still available with 600 free minutes per month as part of their Basic plan. Proctorio has been replaced by Honorlock as explained above. Note: if you were using Proctorio in past courses and plan to use Honorlock now, please review important settings changes you must make in your quizzes so Honorlock will work! You can find these on the Honorlock Page in the Canvas Faculty Center.

Getting Assistance & Technical Help this Fall

  •  If you have questions or need help with Canvas please use the Canvas HELP button to contact support by email, chat, or phone.
  • For technical questions or issues, especially if they involve enrollment, contact the IT Help Desk (
  • Need some one-on-one help walking through setup or design in Canvas? Email the Faculty Facilitators! These peer faculty are available for one on one assistance.
  • Note that all of the above forms of help forward cases to us at the FCLT if we are needed. If you want to reach out to us directly, check out our Office Hours every Thursday from 2-3pm. At the start of term, the FCLT has extra “Open Lab” Hours for more opportunities to get assistance. For now all FCLT services are still remote and hosted in Zoom. Office hours and Open Labs are always drop-in hours; no advance sign-in is needed but for security purposes, you do have to log into POD Connect and click “Session Details,” then “Show more” to see the stable Zoom link that is used for these sessions.

Fall Open Labs & FCLT Instructional Design Office Hours

  • Tuesday, Aug. 24, 10-11am
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2-3pm
  • Thursdays (every week): 2-3pm
The Zoom link can be found in the POD Calendar. Click on a calendar item, then “Session Details” > “Show more.” No appointment or prior registration required to attend.
Do you have questions about any of these fall resources, tools, or services? Let us know in the comments! 

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