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Meet The Prof.: Susanna C Calkins (Part 2)

Susanna C Calkins

Photo by Jarod Spohrer,

Back by popular demand! This is part two of our interview with Susanna Calkins.

—continued from our blog post of 4/14/14

Was it easy to move your class to Canvas from Blackboard?

Transferring my course from Blackboard worked pretty well, all my files from previous site were easy to pull over and have on my computer.

Do you have any pet peeves about Canvas?

Yes, I have two: there is no undo button! I can use Control-Z, but I want a button with an arrow on it.

Second, I didn’t see the usefulness of “upvoting” in the Canvas forums. For example, one of the topics I saw had about 30 different requests for a feature, but they weren’t compiled. It seemed like there is room for improvement there.

Did you go to training courses?

I did, but I went to more of the faculty presentations and had more one-on-one sessions with Les James and Vicky Getis. They were very helpful in locating how to do things that were not easily found in the help guides.

Do you feel like you could have benefited from more training courses?

I don’t do well in class settings, but that’s me, personally. I find it really hard: the class is either too slow or too fast and I miss something and I don’t know where we are. I do better when I can sit down by myself or with someone around so I can get help when I can’t figure it out on my own.

I think more importantly there are some fundamental questions from an instructor’s point of view, like what is the difference between a module and a page. When I first started I saw examples of each, which was helpful, but I wouldn’t have known that from the beginning, I would have liked that explained to me.

What advice would you give to faulty member who will join Canvas?

What do you want your course to do? What do you want your students to be able to do? Think about your learning objectives up front. I think when people are only thinking about the leaning management system in terms of content I think that’s the wrong way to think about it. I think we need to help the faculty think about the learning they want to have happen and how will this LMS support that.

Also, I’d tell faculty to give yourself enough time to work on it and use the help functions.