RSI with Creative Predictability
Ways to Be Predictable
- Create a Predictable Course Menu Change the order of items in your course menu, hide the things you aren’t using, and add useful tools and links. Here’s how to manage course navigation.
- Send out Announcements Predictably Announcements can come by inbox messages or the Announcement tool in Canvas. The nice part about the Announcement tool is it lets you delay posting so you can set these up at your convenience. Regular announcements are a part of “regular and substantive interaction.” Students receive these in Canvas and in their Mountie mail as a default, though they can change their settings or add SMS notifications if they wish. Just know that rich content is stripped out of the email versions of Announcements so students who only view announcements in email won’t see videos or photos!
- Use Modules Predictably Organize a student pathway through the course with Modules. Canvas is designed to use Modules as the student-facing table of contents of your course. Professors completely control the pathway here, and modules can be set ahead and deployed on specific dates. Leave “Modules” visible and let students know how it can help them with wayfinding in the course. If you think “that’s too hard,” the FCLT can show you just how easy it is to set this up.
- Organize Your Assignments Page Predictably The Assignments page creates the layout of the Grades page for you and for students. “Groups” on the Assignments page create the subtotals in your students’ Grades page. For this reason, you want to ensure that all Assignment Groups have sensible names and contain logical groups of content, or delete them.
- Set Due Dates Predictably Making things due on a predictable schedule helps students keep track! When dates are filled in on items in your course, it will populate many areas of the students’ courses including the Calendar and to-do list. We know students not only use Canvas to do course work, they use it to organize their student life! When the dates are in Canvas you make that easier for them!
- Actively Engage Students in Predictability Start out the term by asking students to find and note the explicit patterns. Use a student orientation activity such as a Canvas annotation assignment on the syllabus document, a discussion activity, or a quiz in Canvas or Kahoot! to help students retain the information by expending a little effort in noticing the patterns. It is still good to keep reminding them of patterns with instructions and announcements – every advertiser knows a little repetition goes a long way in retention!
Ways to Be Creative
- Try CidiLabs & Liven Up your Design Cidi Labs extends templating, module generation, and course design options, making it easy to create more graphical, consistent, and accessible courses.
- Add more photos: Consider a theme for specific assignments or modules that can add an element of novelty and surprise. Cartoons or even “what is this image?” puzzles can add a small interactive and creative element that will engage students, who will look forward to encountering each one! Icons or sticker-type graphics can also pump up the positivity of positive feedback and create a little bump in motivation because students look forward to this little reward.
- Add short videos. Online learning can turn into lots of reading if there’s no variation in content. Students appreciate having options for how to take in content. Short videos between 30 seconds and 2 minutes are often best. You can make videos of yourself or screencast your slides or other items on your screen.
- Turn videos into activities. Did you know that we have two tools – PlayPosit and Canvas Studio – that let you turn videos into gradable or autograded discussions or quizzes? You can use videos from many commonly used online platforms – or even use videos from the Mt. SAC library’s collection.
- Mix Up Prompts and Responses for Discussions Instead of writing out every discussion question, consider making a video that asks the question. Include a photo, a video clip or some other prompt to mix it up. You may find this enlivens discussions.
- Gamify just a little bit This may mean something small like playing an online game using tools like Kahoot! or Jeopardy. Have a treasure hunt for Canvas info. Or learn how to use free badges in Canvas to reward students as they complete material.
Here’s a little example using a Wordwall activity, which allows me to make up to 15 gamified activities for free. Even though I can’t automatically connect these to my gradebook, I can turn on the option to have students enter a name and see who finished it right in the fastest time. Padlet is another great option. Did you know you can get a free Mt. SAC padlet account? Just email IT Helpdesk. Padlet account seats are limited, but far from full, so write into IT if you’d like one courtesy of folks in the Natural Sciences division!
Share with your colleagues some ways you implement creative novelty or predictable patterns in your class, or how you fold creativity into predictability in the comments below!