Canvas

It took me a long while to get online with my face-to-face classes. Mostly because it seemed like it was going to be painfully disruptive to all of my routines. What if it resulted in a whole quarter of disastrous classes? How many extra hours would I spend entering all my assignments into a website?

But I’ve done it. And it was fine. No disaster. No 100% fail rate. And here’s the best part… not really very much extra work. In some ways there’s a lot less.

I’ve always known if students could log in and see every assignment they passed and missed they would be encouraged to keep themselves current on the homework to improve their numerical scores (… it’s a lot of extrinsic motivation). That’s happened. Anecdotally, I can say a higher rate of students are on top of the assignments and among those students who aren’t, I have many more who take me up on my offer to submit late work. (My late work policy for home work is generous. I like how Falk put it once, “I don’t care when a student learns the concept in my class, so long as they learn it before the end.”) In my basic skills class, over half the students have done every single assignment, and those who haven’t are still in the 80-90% completion range. I think it might have something to do with that terrible Black Mirror episode where everyone is obsessed with their aggregate social rating numbers.

I also like how moving all of the homework online allows students to archive their writing so they can revise it to include it in their essays. If students are writing homework online instead of handing it in to me, the always have it. They can pull material from their previous work, and splice it into the essays they’re writing. If I collect it, sometimes it takes a while to grade, then respond, then enter the grades, and then finally, hopefully everyone is in class when I hand it back because if even one student is absent, then, that student’s work is going to sit languishing and neglected on my office desk until the day I remember to schlep it back to class and give it to them and hopefully they’re in class that day. Online, it doesn’t matter. They keep it and can see the grades and comments immediately after I’ve entered them.

On Canvas, I’m still trying to figure out how to streamline the grade book and also create groups (which were a disaster the first and only time I tried them), but I’m convinced. Every face-to-face class I teach from here on will essentially be hybrid.

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Canvas

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