Teaching Online at FRC
FRC will be begin Fall 2016 using Canvas as the standard platform for online courses rather than Moodle (see below).
The Distance Education Faculty Handbook (see the link below) contains detailed information about regulations, guidelines, how to start managing your course area, contacting students, and other tips about teaching online courses at Feather River College. The examples in the current edition refer to Moodle, but there is still much information that will apply to teaching any online course. It also has links to valuable resources in the Appendix. The handbook will be distributed in hard copy at the faculty development "Flex" meetings in the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters.
Developing New Courses In Advance
Once the full integration of Canvas at FRC is completed your courses should be available as soon as they are visible in our online schedule of courses. Once you have an FRC Canvas account, you can create your own new course areas from your Canvas dashboard before your official course area appears, then easily move the materials to your official course area when it is available.
You can develop your course material prior to entering your FRC Canvas course area by either using another Learning Management System and exporting the materials, or by going to the public Canvas site and using their free account feature to develop your course. Creating your course in the public site will be the easiest route if you haven't already created material in another system. Soon all FRC courses will automatically have Canvas course areas created for them, although you will need to "publish" them before your students can see them. So remember:
Your Canvas courses will not be visible to students until you "Publish" them
using the "Publish" button on the upper right of your course dashboard.
Canvas to Moodle
The entire California Community College system is in the process of moving to a common Learning Management System called "Canvas." This will replace our use of Moodle. FRC began implementing Canvas in October of 2015 and we expect to be using primarily Canvas by fall of 2016. Training in the use of Canvas began Spring 2016. Course materials from Moodle and most other Learning Management Systems can be imported into Canvas.
To find out more about Canvas and the Online Education Initiative, go to: http://ccconlineed.org/ .
You can easily move material from Moodle and most other Learning Management Systems into your FRC Canvas courses. The import feature for course materials is one of the first things you'll see in your new Canvas course dashboard. To move Moodle course material, use the backup feature in your Moodle course area to save course materials without student data. You should also exclude any materials you know you won't use to make the file smaller and therefore faster to upload to Canvas. If your backup file is too large you may have to create a couple of backup files, each with part of your materials. Once you create your backup file, download it to your computer. Then you will be ready to enter your Canvas course area and use the import feature. In most cases the entire process will take 10-15 minutes depending on the speed of your internet connection.
Canvas Help and Training Schedule
If you are teaching an online course and you are not familiar with Canvas, do not despair! Canvas is easy to learn, and help and training are available. If you are familiar with any other Learning Management System like Moodle or Blackboard you'll find the transition to Canvas will be easy. To join a training course see the schedule below. For tutorials and guides there are plenty once you get into Canvas (see below) or you can go to:
Support for Canvas within Canvas itself comes in a variety of flavors! They are all available in Canvas by clicking on the "?" on the lower left of Canvas pages. Here's a summary of what's available and some useful contact information:
- Canvas Guides are text-based detailed help files that cover virtually every aspect of Canvas. They are divided into specific topics to make it easy for you to find exactly the help you need.
- Canvas videos are available and custom made for students, instructors, and Canvas administrators.
- Report a Problem is a form that you can complete to report a problem with Canvas. Use this if something seems wrong or doesn't work as expected. You'll get a confirmation of your request and be contacted within 24 hours.
- Canvas Support Hotline is phone-based help available 24/7, even on holidays! Call 877-921-1120 . The help staff are provided by Canvas but are trained to answer questions that are specific to FRC. If your experience is that phone help is usually not helpful, the Canvas help staff will be a pleasant surprise! They are friendly, fix problems, and answer questions! They don't just read from a script and only answer exactly what you ask, as so many other help services do.
- Ask the Community is a link in the Canvas help area that takes you to online discussion groups that cover a wide range of topics. Find out tips, share ideas, and learn from the hands-on experience of other Canvas users!
FRC Canvas Training
If you are already experienced with Canvas or a similar LMS, you may not need much help. But if you do, besides the guides, videos, phone support, help request form, and user forums mentioned above, you can get one-on-one help for most user issues from FRC staff on campus face-to-face, by email, or by phone. Contact Mick Presnell at ext. 227 on campus, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
For a more thorough introduction to Canvas you can take our free course on using Canvas for online teaching (see the schedule below). These courses are available to all full-time and part-time FRC faculty for free!. The training is based on the @One training materials developed with support from the California Community College Chancellor's Office. Successful completion of this training certifies you as prepared to use Canvas to teach online courses in California Community Colleges.
Courses last 4 weeks and will require an estimated 10 hours of time commitment a week. You must complete the course with an 80% success rate on graded materials to earn a certificate. The courses are free and do not require official registration at FRC. The course will not appear on a college transcript nor earn you college credit. Contact the Dean of Instruction at FRC in advance of the course to arrange this training to count for professional development credit.
Contact Mick Presnell via email at email@example.com for details and to request to participate in Canvas training. Dates and course availability listed below are tentative and subject to change.
Here's a link to a PDF of the Course Design Rubric produced by the Online Education Initiative. These "best practices" guidelines will give you a picture of the ideal course design recommended by our Chancellor's Office. Don't worry if your course doesn't meet the top standards for every topic! These standards are intended to set goals and to serve as a checklist of the important issues to address. Online courses need to adapt to the particular requirements of their objectives and students so there is no single "perfect" model of an online course.
Below are the current dates for FRC Canvas training course. "Flex" professional development days will also include opportunities for Canvas training.
September 4 - October 8
October 10 - November 5
Here's a link to a PDF of the Course Design Rubric produced by the Online Education Initiative. These guidelines will be used by reviewers to determine if a course meets the requirements to be offered through the OEI.