Instructor: Ken Romeo, Lecturer and Office of the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning, Associate Director for the Stanford Language Center
Department: Language Center
Art of Conversation
Language Policies and Practices, World Languages
Professional English for Non-Native Speakers: Presenting in English
Professional English for Non-Native Speakers: Writing in English
Canvas Interview with Ken Romeo
This Canvas Course Profile features Ken Romeo’s exemplary use of Canvas to enhance teaching and language learning. Ken shares his experience with setting up Modules to organize and structure his courses. He also shares tips for streamlining the grading process using rubrics, the mobile SpeedGrader app and Canvas Gradebook. You can learn more about Canvas at gocanvas.stanford.edu.
What has your experience with Canvas been like so far?
Mostly positive. Compared to the transition to other LMS platforms, this has been the smoothest for me. Canvas has a number of features that are very well thought out (To Dos, rubrics, gradebook muting, etc.), but some are clunky (Scheduler, Assignment / Quiz distinction, etc.). The fact that it is constantly evolving is its saving grace.
How has Canvas helped to enhance teaching and learning in your courses (e.g, facilitating assessment and feedback, supporting interactions, collaboration and engagement)?
Mobile Speedgrader is really effective for checking off things that don’t need text feedback. It will also facilitate recording audio and video feedback. The browser version of Speedgrader could use some re-thinking, but it is a step in the right direction. Rubric grading is a welcome addition but it does take some planning. Gradebook setup is actually a bit easier than in other systems I have used and visually, just works better.
Are there any challenges or areas for improvement?
Scheduler has one nice interface, but finding it is nearly impossible for a novice user. We need more control over media submissions: audio or video, and limits on recording time. The distinction between an Assignment and a Quiz needs to be clarified. In the future, it would be great if those two were combined into one tool, or if they are kept separate, they might be renamed to something a bit more descriptive. The desktop UI could be tightened up quite a bit as well since there is usually way too much white space, especially in Discussions. Also, the ability to add an expandable text passage to a module, rather than limiting entries to a few words that can only be linked to a full Page of information, would be nice.
What are some key lessons learned from your Canvas experience?
While the system is fairly intuitive, there are some areas where better planning by the teacher can lead to benefits later. Setting up Assignments / Quizzes / Discussions grading types to display grade as Complete / Incomplete or adding a Rubric makes scoring them in mobile SpeedGrader work better. I also think that the To Dos are very powerful reminders for students, perhaps more than Announcements, but I am not completely sure how students see / interact with the system. Better data on that would be useful.
Do you have any advice or tips for faculty just getting started with Canvas?
Try to forget how CourseWork (or whatever other system you have used) works and approach Canvas with a beginner’s mind. Also, use the mobile app and encourage students to do the same.
The VPTL Canvas team is always happy to help. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss your course and get one-on-one help. Join us during Canvas Office Hours or check out our Stanford Canvas help resources for instructors.
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This Canvas Course Profile features Ken Romeo’s exemplary use of Canvas to enhance teaching and language learning. Ken shares his experience with setting up Modules to organize and structure his courses. He also shares tips for streamlining the grading process using rubrics, the mobile SpeedGrader app and Canvas Gradebook.