Link to NUIT Home


Fall 2014 Faculty/Staff Edition

eCommunicator is a quarterly newsletter about technology tools, services, and support at Northwestern University.

eCommunicator Home sidebar links

Article Sidebar Links

In this issue…

NUIT Events & Presentations

What’s New & Changing in IT?


Faculty/Staff Edition Fall 2014

Winter is Coming … Warm Up to Canvas!

With over 50 percent of fall courses in Canvas and more than 1,000 instructors already introduced to Canvas, it’s clear that campus adoption of the University’s new educational platform is growing.

Canvas training session

Instructors and TAs participate in small-group training to prepare
for using Canvas in their courses.

The School of Law is one University school that is continuing to make headway towards accomplishing their Canvas transition goal before Blackboard is retired in August 2015.   

Its school transition timeline was established last summer when faculty members were encouraged to use Canvas in all 35 of their summer course offerings. With the administrative support coordinated by Kara Young, librarian, Pritzker Legal Research Center, School of Law, the upward trend has continued with well over 90 percent of their fall courses now in Canvas.

Young scheduled Canvas learning sessions to make sure that Law faculty became aware of the school’s transition plans and partnered with team members from NUIT Academic & Research Technologies (A&RT) Faculty Support Services to collaborate on instructional user guides, including a comparison chart of functions in Blackboard vs. Canvas to help faculty more easily create their courses in the new system.

“It’s never easy to change to a new way of doing things,” said Young, “but Canvas is so intuitive. Once our faculty began using it, they immediately saw the benefits. I’m proud of our faculty for being leaders in this campus-wide effort.”

A Collaborative Effort

In May of this year, A&RT established the Canvas Distributed University Instructional Technology Support (CANDUITS) network—an ongoing group of representatives from University schools and departments involved in coordinating technology and instructional design support for the University’s teaching and learning activities.

CANDUITS meetings provide a forum for Young and other members to receive up-to-the-minute information about the Canvas transition, share Canvas user tips to pass on to their faculty, learn about upcoming workshops and events, and hear status updates on NUIT’s “canvas is here!” campaign to build awareness of Canvas on campus.

She says that their successful transition to Canvas would not have been possible without the tremendous support from NUIT.

“Sometimes we can feel disconnected on the Chicago campus,” said Young. “The support we have received from NUIT’s team of expert Canvas trainers—coming to speak with our faculty, tirelessly answering my questions, and interacting with our faculty—has been phenomenal.”

Five Cool Things Law Faculty Love about Canvas

Law faculty…

  1. Can use the scheduler to set up student appointments via the calendar option.
  2. Easily grade and provide voice comments on assignments; easily insert video and audio files into a course.
  3. Using the Groups feature to facilitate collaborative assignments.
  4. View a digital seating chart and call roll with the flexible attendance tool
  5. Appreciate that their students are able to seamlessly edit their projects and share with classmates inside Canvas, rather than linking externally to Google.

Don’t be Left Out in the Cold

Canvas workshop advertisement signage

There is still time to prepare to use Canvas for your winter quarter courses and NUIT has a variety of resources to support you along the way.

Get started by attending an Introduction to Canvas workshop offered in Evanston, Chicago, and even virtually. Advanced topics are also available for those who have already taken an introductory workshop. Check the NUIT calendar to quickly find a Canvas session that’s convenient for you.  

Visit the Canvas Learning Center for key information and tools that will make your transition to Canvas more successful. Check the blog often to read how instructors are using Canvas and to stay current with Canvas product updates.

Learn More

Watch a recording of last month’s NUIT Tech Talk webinar, “Canvas is Here! Northwestern's New Learning Management System.” Victoria Getis, manager, Faculty Support Services, NUIT Academic & Research Technologies shares school successes, how to get started using Canvas, and where to go for questions about using Canvas in your course.

Social Media