Category: eLearning

Video Code Easter Eggs

I have this sneaky trick I use to tell which students watch online videos and which don’t.  I hide “secret codes” in the videos (like the programmer’s Easter Eggs).  When a student finds one of my “Easter Egg codes” they can submit it for 1 point towards participation.  Sometimes the codes are numbers I generate at random (Ex: 40234) and sometimes it’s a word, phrase, or story (my cat is chasing a fly in front of my computer). I don’t tell the students where the codes are. I don’t tell them HOW I’ve shared the code or what kind...

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New Chapter: Life Reboot

For the last year, I’ve felt this yearning to do something different. I’ve been a full-time faculty member for a decade now, teaching many of the same courses semester after semester after semester after … yeah, well, you get it. A series of conferences and events in the last 6 months has made me realize that my “alignment” between my passions and my job was off.  I attended the UpToAllOfUs un-conference in February, and felt a strong pull to do something different, something more amazing.  I attended the TEDxSummit in April, and coming back to work was like a...

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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...

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Blackboard to Canvas: Finding Missing Files Quickly

When you import a course from Blackboard to Canvas, all the text, hyperlinks, and general structure of the course remains intact, but any files you added to the Blackboard course become unlinked in the Canvas rebuild.  The files are there in Canvas, it’s just a matter of finding them.  This can be quite tedious unless you know a little trick (one of those “Secret Technology Club” tricks): Use Ctrl-F / Cmd-F to find the missing file in the File menu. Click on “Edit Page” to start.  Then go to the file menu (right panel) and drill down to the...

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Aligning Inline Equations Vertically in Instructure Canvas

When you use the Canvas equation editor to insert an equation surrounded by text, you may be wishing there was some way to align the equations in the middle vertically, instead of on the bottom (the default setting for inline equations).  Well, there is, but you’re going to have to be just a little brave and do a tiny edit to the HTML to fix it. The basic fix is to grab a small bit of HTML code and paste it into each equation image definition.  The code you need is: style=”vertical-align:middle;” First, click on “Switch View” to see...

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