Canvas FAQ

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Foothill College has adopted Canvas as its college-supported course management system. All online and hybrid classes must use a college-supported course management system starting with the 2016 Spring Quarter.

FAQs about Course Management System Options for Foothill College

  1. Why did Foothill College adopt Canvas?

    Colleges commonly review their course management systems (CMS) on a regular basis, especially if the CMS has been in use for over five years. Because we have used Etudes since 2006, we were overdue for a CMS review. Furthermore, the selection of Canvas by the California Community College Online Education Initiative (OEI) as its CMS for use by colleges at no cost meant that we had an affordable alternative to Etudes that was not available in the past. Based on the lengthy and extensive review by the OEIís Common Course Management System Committee, Canvas can be considered as a high quality alternative to Etudes.

    During 2015 Spring Quarter, the Academic Senate charged the Committee on Online Learning (COOL) with making a recommendation for a CMS. After six open town hall meetings, three division meetings, and a faculty survey, COOL recommended Canvas for adoption by Foothill College to the Academic Senate by a significant margin. The Academic Senate accepted the recommendation. Subsequently, in June 2015, Foothill College decided to adopt Canvas.

  2. How do Etudes and Canvas compare?

    Crosswalk of Etudes to Canvas (pdf)

    Features unique to Canvas include:

    • Course Setup Checklist: The Course Setup Checklist helps instructors remember all the necessary steps before a course goes live
    • Peer review: A peer review assignment enables students to comment and provide feedback to other students in the course (Audio and Video tools allow students comment in class forums discussions and peer reviews.)
    • Learning outcome mapping: Outcomes allow the administration and faculty to track mastery in a course
    • Online rubrics: Rubrics are a way to set up custom or outcome-based assessment criteria for scoring
    • Learning analytics: Analytics evaluate components of a course and student performance.
    • SpeedGrader: Instructors can view, annotate, comment on, and grade submissions without downloading and re-uploading files
    • Navigation Tools: Include Global Views, Activity Stream, To-Dos, and more
    • Canvas Commons: Commons allows Canvas users to share learning resources with other users as well as import learning resources into a Canvas course
    • Easy and intuitive drag-and-drop editing

    Features unique to Etudes include:

    • Users Group that is widely used by Foothill faculty that provides a high level of personal and peer support
    • Administration of students' course evaluation survey follows procedures already approved by our Faculty Association
    • "High Priority" announcement option which allows instructors to push a message to all students, regardless of their notification preferences
    • Option within quizzes for instructor to allow students explain their answers as part of a question
    • Tools and Features
  3. Can I keep using Etudes (or another CMS?) if I donít want to use Canvas?

    Starting with the 2015 Spring Quarter, all online and hybrid courses must use a college-approved CMS. Foothill College is obligated by accreditation and federal requirements to systematically authenticate the identity of students who take online courses. This obligation is best met by using a single college-approved course management system that is integrated with our student information system.

  4. When can I start using Canvas for teaching classes?

    A Canvas Migration Planning Group was convened in June 2015 to determine a timetable for the process of migrating from Etudes to Canvas. Currently, membership includes representatives from BHS, BSS, Counseling, FA, LA, Library, Foothill Online Learning, and Office of Instruction.

    To-date, the CMP Group has made no final decision about the timetable. The Group is scheduled to meet again on October 2, 2015. An announcement will be sent to all faculty once the timetable has been finalized.

    The major events on the timetable include:

    • When to start to migrating course sites from Etudes to Canvas
    • When to start using Canvas for live classes college-wide
    • When to end our use of live Etudes course sites
    • When to end our use of archived Etudes course sites
  5. How will conversion of my course sites from Etudes to Canvas work?

    Faculty will be provided with ample staff support, hands-on training session, and step-by-step instructions from Foothill Online Learning. Starting in the 2015 Fall Quarter, a form for requesting assistance with course site migration will be made available to faculty. An Etudes-to-Canvas Migration Tool will not be available for use until December 2015.

  6. What sort of training will be provided about how to use Canvas?

    Faculty can chose to learn about Canvas by attending hands-on training session or completing a self-paced online course. To register for a hands-on training session, go to the Professional Development Calendar for October, November or December.

    Details are available at the Learning Canvas as an Instructor webpage.

  7. Will Canvas training be mandatory before I could use it?

    Most likely, faculty will be required to complete Canvas training or provide evidence of skills in use of Canvas before they can request a live Canvas site for a scheduled class.

  8. What does a course site in Canvas look like?
  9. How can I get more information about Canvas?
  10. When will Etudes go away?

    The Canvas Migration Planning Group has made no final decision about the timetable for when Foothill College will no longer use Etudes. The Group is scheduled to meet again on October 2, 2015. An announcement will be sent to all faculty once the timetable has been finalized.

  11. How long will my Etudes course be archived?

    Most likely, we will keep Etudes course sites archived for one year after the last live Etudes course site is offered.

  12. Can I receive PGA credits for the time to migrate to Canvas? Will I be allowed to use my PDL to create a new Canvas Course?

    No decision has been made about this. First, we need more information about how long it takes to migrate a course and then explore this possibility with our Faculty Association.

    The following is stated in the FHDA Faculty Agreement at 2013 - 2016 Faculty Agreement Article 34: Distance Learning on page 36:

    "34.5 A faculty employee may apply for a maximum of three (3) quarter units of professional growth activity (PGA) applicable to column change and step advancement or the Professional Achievement Award under Article 38.4.2 when he or she (a) develops an online course and is subsequently scheduled to teach it; or, (b) converts an existing online course to a new platform or course management system when required to do so as a consequence of a college decision to change its designated platform. The college shall determine the requirements for earning the unit credits."

  13. Why will use of a college-supported course management system be required for online and hybrid classes at Foothill College in the future?

    Some reasons for only using a college-supported CMS for online and hybrid courses include:

    • In order to be in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Foothill College MUST use "student authentication" for online courses. One of the ways that the "student authentication" requirement can be met is to have students log into the course site using a college issued ID number and a unique password. Both Etudes and Canvas require students to use their student IDs and unique passwords in order to access course sites. If we are out of compliance, Foothill College could face fines and/or loss of federally-funded Financial Aid for our students.
    • Our accreditation agency also requires that we have "student authentication" in place for our fully online classes. If we don't, Foothill College could be placed on probation or denied accreditation.
    • Some of our students who are enrolled in classes that do not use Etudes or Canvas tend to contact several people on campus when they can't figure out how to access the course site. And, many of those staff are not sure what to tell these students, especially when the student is vague about the problem and doesn't know the course CRN. This creates unnecessary confusion and frustration for these students as well as extra, unnecessary work for staff in the division offices, A&R, Library, and Foothill Online Learning.
    • Given our limited staff resources, we can only provide students with tech support for two CMS.
    • Some students, especially those with learning disabilities, find it confusing to use several different CMSs. They have expressed a desire for greater standardization in the interface of our online course sites.
Last Updated September 17, 2015
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