Online Office Hours in Instructure Canvas

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the video chat service provided in Canvas was turned off in Fall 2012. It has now been replaced with a Text Chat that is built in to Canvas, but no video.


I have been incredibly happy with the online office hours that I’ve been holding in Canvas this semester (see previous post on SAVI tools in Canvas here).  Day after day, students are showing up for office hours to ask their own questions, hear other students’ questions, and just kind of hang out while they work on problems.  It’s lovely to SEE my online students regularly and I feel a much greater connection to this summer’s students than from any prior semester.

I’m quite sure that the difference is the ease of use of the Canvas Chat tool.  There are no logins, no scheduled sessions, and there is no separate software to install.  To get into the online office hour, the student (and the instructor) simply has to click on Chat.  To share camera and/or audio, they click “Start Broadcasting” and follow the prompts.  It really does not get much easier than that.

Images of Instructor and Student Guides for Online Office Hours in Canvas. Click on image to enlarge. Follow links in blog post for actual documents.

To make it easier for other instructors to implement the practice of online office hours, I wrote two guides:

The instructor guide contains tips on:

  • Webcams: Should you require or not?
  • Scheduling sessions: When and how?
  • Syllabus considerations
  • User Limit to Chat
  • Sharing a YouTube video, with an interactive whiteboard, or a screenshot
  • Sharing a document through the link to a Canvas page
  • Taking attendance
  • Students with low bandwidth
  • Troubleshooting technical problems
  • Reducing the “echo” effect that commonly plagues SAVI tools

If you’re going to share these with colleagues or students (which is fine), please share through the hyperlink so that if I update the documents in the future, you’ll always have the current version.  Hope these are helpful to you!

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Mobile Phone Cameras in Teaching and Learning

My latest “Teaching with Tech” column for MAA Focus just published this week.

Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

Teaching with Tech: Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

 

Here are the general topic areas:

  • Carrying a library of “good problems” with you for topics you are teaching.
  • Transfer an application problem to the computer/projector in your classroom.
  • Share your lecture notes from class (from a blackboard, whiteboard, or document camera).
  • Keep notes from a meeting.
  • Make a copy of a handout or meeting agenda.
  • Share student work for discussion about good methods or errors in thinking.
  • Answer emailed questions easily.
  • Tips for Conferences

Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

Archive of Teaching with Tech Columns

 

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Web Tools to Enhance Learning

Here’s a new mindmap containing my recently organized collection of great sites and tools for learning and teaching.  The collections are:

  • Google Sites and Apps
  • Video Collections
  • Synchronous Communication Tools
  • Asynchronous Communication Tools
  • Mindmapping Tools
  • Data Visualization
  • Scheduling, Appointments, and Information Collecting

Mindmap: Web Tools to Enhance Learning

To see more digital mindmaps, go to Resources: Mindmaps.

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Abandon the Red Pen

I have a new Teaching with Tech column published in MAA FOCUS about digital grading. In particular…

  • Why would you want to grade papers digitally?
  • What kind of hardware/software would you need?
  • How do you manage the files and workflow?
  • How to use custom stamps to give more detailed feedback (more details on that one on an older blog post)

Abandon the Red Pen, MAA FOCUS, October/November 2011

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Calculus Tweetwars: The End

The Calculus Tweetwars: Act 3

We hope you’ve enjoyed the production of “The Calculus Tweetwars” and thanks to all that participated by interacting with the characters.
Also, check out our mention in the Chronicle of Higher Education Newton and Leibniz Duke it out on Twitter

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