Getting Graphs to Instructure Canvas Discussions

It’s not too hard to get graphs (or any kind of image that you can grab off your screen) into Instructure Canvas. From the instructor side, you can upload an image, which is easy enough, but what about from the student side?

An example of a student post that includes a graph (copied from Wolfram Alpha using Jing)

The trick seems to be copying and pasting from a stable URL. For example, in our first attempt, we tried to just copy and paste an image from WolframAlpha. Initially it looked like it worked. The image appeared on the discussion board as expected, and it seemed to save when the post went live. However, as soon as I visited the post from a different computer, the images copied directly from WolframAlpha were gone.

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Jing Refresher and Myths

Just in case you’re getting back into the swing of things this fall and finding yourself as forgetful as me, I thought I’d give a little Jing refresher here and remind you of some resources.

First, a little reminder of how Jing works!

jing2

Myth #1: I use Camtasia so I don’t need Jing

What about your students? Teach them to Jing and they can share screen captures and short videos with you!  Not enough motivation?  It’s much faster to whip out Jing and record a response to a student’s question than it is to create, edit, and produce a Camtasia video.

Myth #2: The 5-minute time limit is a problem.

No, the 5-minute time limit is a blessing.  Who really wants to watch more than 5 minutes of Internet video.  There’s great value in learning to get your message across in a concise little package.  When you ask students to submit videos to you for grading, you’ll quickly appreciate the 5-minute limit.  Plus, there’s nothing to stop you from recording a 3-part series if you really must get 15 minutes of information out there.

Myth #3: The EMBED button is gone!

The embed button is gone from the standard Jing installation, but you can get it back with about 2 minutes of time invested.   Use one minute to watch how to do it.  Use the second minute to do it yourself.

Myth #4: I’ve tried to use Jing, but I never get the image or video when it says my upload is complete.

The link (or embed code) for your captures is stored on the clipboard.  What’s the clipboard?  It’s that invisible place where content goes to wait between Copy and Paste.  What Jing does is create the copy of the URL or embed code on the clipboard.  All you need to do is paste (use Ctrl-V on a PC or Command-V on a Mac) and your code will appear!

Myth #5: Video EMBED doesn’t seem to work.

Many programs restrict the functionality of video embedding.  If your video takes up a large amount of screen real estate, or if video-sharing is disabled in the web-application you’re using, then you won’t be able to embed video.  You can, however, share the video with a live link.  It’s always good practice to include a live link even when you get the embed code for a video to work.  Many blog readers will cut out the embedded videos, and without a link, your reader will not be able to access the video.

Myth #6: Students will never figure it out.

Give them the links to videos on how to use Jing, a place to PRACTICE their newfound skills, and an incentive (2 points per skill seems to do it), and they will learn how to use Jing just fine.  One of my first assignments of the semester is a “Learning Project” that involves, among other things, practicing a bunch of different ways to use Jing (get handwriting to the discussion board, record a video and get it to the discussion board, get an image of some math equations you’ve written to the discussion board).

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Academic misconduct for a discussion board?

A student at Ryerson University is being charged with 147 counts of academic misconduct for running a discussion board for his chemistry class (on Facebook) that looks like it could essentially be the same kind of collaboration that we advocate FOR in online mathematics classes (even the kind of collaboration that we AWARD points for). Read the article here. Notice that the students are not collaborating on the SAME problem, they all have different versions of the problem.

Given the instructions on the assignment: “assignments should be worked independently” it is hard to say whether the discussions constituted academic misconduct. If the discussions were general, and the students did do the homework problems independently of each other, then I think the student should be cleared here.

However, let’s just weigh in on whether an instructor should discourage students from discussing general principles of homework problems online (as it sounds like the discussions were from the description in the article). One wonders if it is simply a case of the “digital divide.” Is using the textbook a violation of “working independently”? What if the textbook includes a CD of hints for homework problems that correlate to the online problems as well – is that still “working independently”? How about asking the T.A. for help or asking the professor?

Maybe all these students should just start emailing every question to their professor instead?

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