Canvas Interface Changes


The following message is from Jared Johnson, Director of IT Instructional Services:

As we come to the end of the semester there are some changes coming to the Canvas system that we need to institute on our instance of Canvas.  The changes need to be completed before the first Summer Semester Blocks begins, and to give faculty teaching during Summer time to adjust to the new Canvas interface.  Starting tomorrow after 2pm you will begin to notice changes to the Canvas users interface and login page.  Most of the changes are cosmetic but there are a few new features and adjustment to get use too.  I have made a tutorial video demonstrating the new features and the new look.  Please click the link below, enjoy the changes.

For question or support please contact IT Instructional Services.  We want to help you succeed!

Jared – 7950,

Kory – 7951,

Holland Building 544

Evidence of Evidence-Based Teaching


Evidence-based teaching seems like the new buzzword in higher education. The phrase appears to mean that we’ve identified and should be using those instructional practices shown empirically to enhance learning. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there are lots of questions that haven’t yet been addressed, such as: How much evidence does there need to be to justify a particular strategy, action, or approach? Is one study enough? What about when the evidence is mixed—in some studies the results of a practice are positive and in others they aren’t? In research conducted in classrooms, instructional strategies aren’t used in isolation; they are done in combination with other things. Does that grouping influence how individual strategies function?

This post from The Teaching Professor Blog discusses a classroom observation tool (PORTAAL – Practical Observation Rubric to Asses Active Learning) that attempts to translate research-based practices into explicit and measurable teaching practices.

Below are a few of the 21 actions that are in the PORTAAL instrument:

  • Frequent practice: Observe the number of minutes students have the opportunity to talk about content during class
  • Distributed practice: Observe how often the instructor reminds students to use prior knowledge
  • Immediate feedback: Observe how often the instructor hears student logic (reasons for a particular answer) and responds
  • Time to think before discussing answers: Observe how often students are given time to think before having to talk in groups or in front of the class
  • Student confirmation: Observe how often the instructor delivers explicit positive feedback and/or encouragement
  • Error framing: Observe how often the instructor reminds students that errors are part of learning and not something to be feared

See the full post for more information about the PORTAAL instrument and research-based instructional practices to assess active learning.

Source: Evidence of Evidence-Based Teaching