A hive of activity in Education’s Canvas pilot
With 20 years’ experience building online courses, Jo Blannin, Digital Learning Leader, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, was surprised to discover that Canvas does everything she wants in a Learning Management System (LMS), and she shares her pilot experience.
“Canvas gives me lots of opportunities to work with people to develop best evidence-based practices in the online learning space,” Jo explained.
“Canvas does everything more intuitively [than Blackboard]. It makes sense to people, the design is much more contemporary,” she said. “I haven’t found anything it [Canvas] can’t do”.
Jo upskilled by attending all the Canvas workshops, roadshows, and completed external online courses to ensure she was as prepared as possible to support her colleagues through the transition to Canvas.
She facilitated ‘working bees’ – providing a supportive space for staff to learn about Canvas in a tangible and self-directive way.
“It’s getting them to understand that the skills they have are still useful in an online space,” she said, so they have the knowledge and confidence to apply the learned skills to their educational role.
The pilot hasn’t been without its challenges. Jo explained that there were, “a couple of minor user problems and technology problems,” but she acknowledged that, “it’s part of learning a new system”.
Jo encourages academics, “to push [pedagogical and subject design] boundaries where they can and put effort and time into playing with Canvas.”
“For those struggling, go to the workshops, especially the Assessment and Feedback one, and sit with other people so you can bounce off ideas.”
Jo is looking forward to using Canvas for greater collaboration with colleagues, and best practice online learning.
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