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Faculty can get a helpful introduction to UC Davis Canvas during a special “Canvas boot camp” in 75 Hutchison Sept. 13-14.

The sessions are intended for instructors who will teach with the new learning management system (LMS) this fall, although all UC Davis faculty are welcome. There’s no cost to attend.

For both new and advanced users

The program includes three, repeated half-day sessions on the basics, plus one session on advanced uses of Canvas.

The basic sessions are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 13, and 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 14. The advanced session occurs 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 14.

In the basic sessions, instructors will receive an overview of UC Davis Canvas, learn how to use it to create content and design courses, and learn how to use its tools. They will also have time to ask questions of the instructor, Sallie Michalsky of Instructure (which makes Canvas), while they practice.

Topics at the advanced session include Question Banks, Collaborations, advanced elements of the grading tool and shared resources, and more.

“Take the introductory session first if you’ve never started with Canvas,” said Todd Van Zandt, UC Davis LMS program manager. “But if you know Canvas already, feel free to skip the introduction and take the advanced class.”

Special session for trainers

Michalsky will also lead a separate “train the trainers” session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12 for staff whose jobs include teaching others how to use UC Davis Canvas.

Separate registration is required for the introductory, advanced and “train the trainer” sessions. Space will be assigned first come, first served.

UC Davis is transitioning from SmartSite during 2016-17. The main migration starts this fall, although SmartSite can be used for instruction through spring term 2017. Read more at movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu.


Dear UC Davis Faculty Colleagues,

I’m writing to invite you to the 2016 Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology (SITT), to be held (primarily) in 6 Olson Hall on September 9th from 8:30-5. Our theme this year is “Innovation in a Time of Change.” I hope you can join us.

This year we will enjoy “lightning” (that is, five minutes or shorter) presentations on innovative teaching from our fellow faculty. We will also hear from faculty and staff on new and important “teachnologies,” tools and applications that we can use to help our students reach their learning objectives in our classes. In the afternoon we will enjoy labs and presentations led by UC Davis faculty and instructional support staff.

Courtesy of Academic Technology Services, Dos Coyotes will be providing burritos to all participants. We will also enjoy some coffee and snacks in the morning to encourage you to join us by 8:30.

In addition, before the fall quarter begins you are encouraged to ease into Canvas, the new learning management system that UC Davis has begun to adopt, at one of the many workshops offered by the faculty support team within Academic Technology Services. Workshops will be held all summer, with even more intense offerings in the week before and after SITT. The schedule for the current week of Canvas workshops can be found on the Move to Canvas website under Events & Workshops (https://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu/events/). You are also invited to participate in an instructor-led webinar introducing you to Canvas.

In order for us to order enough burritos, we invite you now to sign up for the September 9 Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology. Please fill out the registration form to secure your seat. The Google forms link is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdX-qgKa4w8nULdyhCeqnTqXcFkc5E2nAxqCQg84VZcoCjpXg/viewform?c=0&w=1

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in September!


Andy Jones


P.S. Please share this invitation with new faculty colleagues, and with other interested parties who would like to take advantage of the oldest yearly teaching institute at UC Davis.


Invitation SITT Flyer


Dear Faculty Colleagues,

I’m writing with news of two Canvas-related summer opportunities, a three-hour UC Davis Canvas workshop coming up this Wednesday morning, and the Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology coming up on September 9.

Due to faculty interest, we are holding yet another Introduction to Canvas workshop this coming Wednesday, June 29th, from 9-12 in 21 Olson (a computer classroom). We welcomed 40 faculty members to our first such workshop this summer, and now that our summer session classes are well underway, we shall offer another orientation to faculty who are teaching later this summer, or who plan to move to Canvas with the majority of faculty this fall.

Instructional Technologist Steve Faith will lead this workshop on the Fundamentals of Canvas. During our three hours together, participants will learn how to organize and add content to course sites, use the most relevant tools in UC Davis Canvas, and understand key differences between SmartSite and UC Davis Canvas.

Faculty who attended our last workshop had their many questions answered, and felt much more confident with teaching with our new learning management system. Wednesday we will also hear from our lead Educational Technology Partner, Joey Van Buskirk, as he tells us about his experiences using Canvas as a student, and about the ways that he and other ET Partners will stand ready to support your use of UC Davis Canvas. Instructional Designer Mark Wilson will also brief us on the variety of ways one could organize a class with Canvas.

You need not register for Wednesday’s workshop. Just show up to 21 Olson by 9 on Wednesday to learn about UC Davis Canvas.

Whenever you have a question about the use of UC Davis Canvas, please contact the parent company of Canvas, Instructure, via live chat and phone support that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for faculty, staff, TAs, and students. To access this great new resource, click on the “Help” link in the lower left corner of any Canvas page, or call the UC Davis’ Canvas hotline: 844-303-8285. To log on to UC Davis Canvas, visit http://ucdavis.instructure.com.

We’ve established sandbox sites for all faculty (meaning you could get started playing in your summer sandbox right now), and any practice course site that you create now will easily be transferred to a new course site later this year. If you find that you don’t yet have a sandbox site, or if you have any other implementation questions about UC Davis Canvas, please send an email to movetocanvas@ucdavis.edu.

This workshop will be filled on a first-come basis, so feel free to arrive a few minutes early for our Wednesday at 9 AM opportunity to meet in 21 Olson to learn about UC Davis Canvas. We will offer more such opportunities in July and August.

Finally, we hope you will consider not only participating in but actually giving a five-minute presentation at the September 9 Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology. If you would like to give a short presentation on innovative work that you do with your students, please fill out our survey at http://ucdavis.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9NZI39iBDgcS04J — we would love to include you!

Thanks, and I hope to see you Wednesday morning at 9 in 21 Olson for the Introduction to UC Davis Canvas!


Andy Jones

Academic Technology Services


Dear UC Davis Faculty Colleagues,

Because of the dramatically increased interest in UC Davis Canvas, the Learning Management System to be rolled out officially this coming fall quarter, 2016, we in Academic Technology Services are offering a series of Canvas workshops on Thursday, June 16th from 9-12. We will meet in the Student Community Center Computer Lab, 2102 SCC.

The timing of the workshops is meant to be especially helpful to faculty wishing to teach with Canvas during Summer Session I. If you would care to join us, please register your intent by filling out this registration form. We will need to know who is participating by the afternoon of Wednesday, June 15th so that we can create Canvas course sites for all the participants.

Please find the agenda, below:


June 16 Canvas Workshops Agenda

June 16, 2016 9 a.m. – Noon :  Student Community Center Computer Lab /  2102/2013 SCC


Welcome and Introductions, Dr. Andy Jones, 9 – 9:20 a.m.


How we got here and where we are going, Steve Faith and Faculty Support Members, 9:20 – 9:50 a.m.

  • The selection of UC Davis Canvas as our new LMS
  • Recent events with SmartSite
  • What moving to Canvas means
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly
  • Outcomes for today, and participants’ personal goals
  • Canvas from a student perspective (Joey Van Buskirk)
  • Questions and concerns


Break 9:50 – 10 a.m.


Part 1 – Canvas Fundamentals, Steve Faith, 10 – 10:45 a.m.

This Canvas training will focus on the following features and use of Canvas:

  • Interface and navigation
  • Establishing your user profile and Canvas notification settings
  • Using the Canvas calendar and syllabus
  • Getting organized with modules
  • Course settings


Break 10:45 – 10:55 a.m.


Part 2 – Canvas Fundamentals, Steve Faith and Andy Jones, 10:55 – 11:40 a.m.

This Canvas training builds on features and concepts covered in part 1, and will focus on the following features and use of Canvas:

  • Establishing scope and sequence using Modules
  • Building content using the rich content editor
  • Going deeper into pages, assignments, discussions and quizzes
  • The Canvas Gradebook and SpeedGrader


Break 11:40 – 11:50 a.m.


Canvas Instructional Design Consultation, Mark Wilson and Faculty Support Members – (Time Permitting)

This session teaches how to set up a course within Canvas. We take a rapid course development approach, and show participants how to create an outline for their course. This outline serves as a solid foundation for completing a course.


Check in and final remarks, 11:50 a.m. – Noon



To register for this free workshop, click here.


Dear Faculty Colleagues,

On Thursday, May 26, a number of faculty and staff came together to discuss teaching with Box.com, a tool that UC Davis faculty are using to share materials with students during the extended SmartSite outage. Questions were asked and answered about communication via class mailing lists, the use of Box to share course content (such as podcasts and slide presentations), and the safeguarding of student data in communications.

If you would like to listen to the conversation, please visit https://video.ucdavis.edu/media/SmartSite_update_5-26-16/0_gdfkubor — please contact IT Express at 754-HELP with any questions. Questions about the move to Canvas should be sent to movetocanvas@ucdavis.edu.

Andy Jones


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The update found below has been posted at http://status.ucdavis.edu. We at Academic Technology Services regret this downtime that affects all of us and our students.

Andy Jones


Update – The SmartSite learning management system continues to be unavailable. Scriba, which hosts the service for UC Davis, is performing emergency maintenance and is working to resume service, but has missed its target of restoring service by 11 a.m. today.

UC Davis is asking Scriba for further information on the interruption, and will post an update as soon as one is available. The campus is also pushing Scriba to pursue its established contingency procedures.

Other universities that employ Scriba to host their learning management systems report that their services are coming back online.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the IT Express Service Desk, and continue to check status.ucdavis.edu for service updates.


Dear Colleagues,

Our campus move to a new learning management system (LMS), UC Davis Canvas, will require all of us to learn some new nomenclature and new protocols for familiar LMS functions. We will discuss some of these changes at tomorrow’s Faculty Panel on UC Davis Canvas. I will also introduce you to our lead EdTech Partner, Joseph VanBuskirk, and talk to you about our plans for this group of undergraduates who will help to support UC Davis Canvas users in late summer and throughout the coming school year.

We will also discuss the SmartSite outage taking place this weekend, a topic covered in a recent post on The Wheel. I hope you can join us Friday, May 20th at noon in 1310 Surge III, The Grove.

As always, for more information on UC Davis Canvas, please visit http://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu.


Andy Jones


Faculty Panel on UC Davis Canvas

Featuring the EdTech Partners Program

Friday, May 20th

12 Noon

1310 Surge III

The Grove

(Two buildings west of The Silo)


Emergency maintenance: SmartSite will be unavailable from 9 p.m. Friday, 5/20, through 11 a.m. Monday, 5/23



Scriba, which hosts SmartSite for UC Davis, told UC Davis Thursday afternoon that the company is taking SmartSite offline this weekend for emergency maintenance. SmartSite will be unavailable from 9 p.m. Friday, May 20, until 11 a.m. Monday, May 23 (all Pacific time).

Scriba hosts Sakai-based learning management systems like SmartSite for several universities and colleges, and the outage will affect all of them. UC Davis has contacted Scriba to protest the short notice and extended duration of the outage, but the interruption in service seems unavoidable. Faculty, students, and staff should plan accordingly.

If possible, any work you would normally do in SmartSite from Friday night through Monday morning should be done outside of SmartSite. You can move the work into SmartSite after the interruption, as needed.



Academic Technology Services’ instructional technologists also offer these ideas for faculty:

  • If you have timed any Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, or Announcements so that they end during the outage, you might wish to edit those items so they have an end date after the outage concludes.
  • If you want to give specific instructions to your students before the outage, you can do so by using the Announcements tool. When you create a new announcement, select “High – All participants” from the “Email Notification” area at the bottom of the announcement creation page.
  • You might wish to use these non-SmartSite tools to share information with course participants:

Class Lists (http://itcatalog.ucdavis.edu/service/class-lists) can be used as a substitute for the Mailtool in SmartSite to send email to students.

Class rosters are available to print or download (as Excel) from https://classes.ucdavis.eduor from ucdavis.edu -> My Classes -> Classes I’m Teaching

Files can be shared (or worked on collaboratively) through google.comor box.com by using the email addresses in the “Email” column found in your class roster download.



In an email to SmartSite administrators Thursday from Michael Sanders, president of Scriba, the company said “over the past few weeks we have experienced a large number of failures in our primary data center. The failures are as of a result of a third party and are outside of our control. We have been using a number of backup resources to keep our systems operating. However, these systems were intended as a short-term solution, and will not continue to run much longer if the data center cannot resolve the issues.

“Therefore, as a result we are going to have to schedule emergency maintenance window … to relocate our equipment to a higher class facility. This facility will ensure continued operations.

“We apologize for any inconvenience that may be caused, and we can ensure you we have thoroughly investigated the performance and stability of our new vendor, and we are confident future problems shall not arise. We can assure you that all systems and data are secure, and there is no risk of data loss during the emergency maintenance.”



UC Davis will post updates about the status of SmartSite at status.ucdavis.edu. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the IT Express Service Desk (itexpress.ucdavis.edu) at 530-754-HELP (4357) or ithelp@ucdavis.edu.

As previously announced, UC Davis is moving to a new learning management system, UC Davis Canvas, starting in 2016-17. The next faculty panel to discuss UC Davis Canvas will take place on Friday, May 20th, at noon in 1310 Surge III, The Grove.


David Levin

Director, Academic Technology Services


May 6th DOLCE Meeting — You are Invited!

The UC Davis Arboretum -- Photo by Bev Sykes

The UC Davis Arboretum — Photo by Bev Sykes

Dear Colleagues,

Another first Friday of the month is upon us. I hope you can join us for the May 6th DOLCE: Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education. We will meet in 1310 Surge III at noon on Friday, May 6th.

Kate Meley of the UC Davis Bookstore will speak about Inclusive Access: Affordable Digital Content Delivery.

UC Davis Stores has implemented an award-winning, innovative program to deliver digital content at low prices. Inclusive Access helps the bookstore prioritize affordability, access, and student success. In addition, the bookstore will be piloting two adoption software programs that offer faculty low-cost adoption choices, including when available, preferred digital options.

Kato Meley is the UC Davis Stores Assistant Director for Course Materials. The former chair of the California Association of College Stores (CACS) Course Materials Committee, Meley will assume the presidency of CACS in 2018-2019.

In addition, at DOLCE this month Instructional Designer Cheryl Diermyer will preview a new and enormously helpful resource that will be launched later this spring: The EdTech Commons. This project is a joint endeavor between the Center for Educational Effectiveness and Academic Technology Services.

Finally, Instructional Technologist Steve Faith will tell the story of how he and others have helped one particular college at UC Davis inform faculty about our move to Canvas. Find out more at http://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu.

I hope you can join on May 6th!

Andy Jones


Textbooks, EdTech Resources, and Moving to Canvas at DOLCE

Friday, May 6th at noon

1310 Surge III / The Grove



Palm Trees Make Up a Small Grove

Palm Trees Make Up a Small Grove

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This coming Friday, April 15th, a number of our UC Davis faculty colleagues and I will gather to discuss UC Davis Canvas, the new learning management system that we will get to use in our classes beginning this coming fall quarter. At Friday’s faculty panel, we will discuss content migration from SmartSite to Canvas (if you end up finding migrating content from SmartSite to be necessary), and the Canvas SpeedGrader, a tool that I have been testing out in a writing class that I’m teaching this quarter. I hope you can join us.

Please bring your concerns, questions, and curiosity. We start a bit after noon in 1310 Surge III, now also known as The Grove.

Andy Jones