≡ Menu


Faculty Forum on Teaching with Canvas

January 20, 2017

12 Noon

1310 Surge III / The Grove 

(Three buildings west of The Silo)


Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year, and welcome back to campus! At noon on Friday, January 20th, UC Davis faculty will participate in a faculty forum on teaching with Canvas. Two of our most seasoned Canvas users, Wrye Sententia from the University Writing Program and Paul Salitsky from Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, will share stories about the joys and challenges of using our new learning management system.

Todd Van Zandt, the LMS program manager for Academic Technology Services, will be on hand to answer questions, and to update us on some lessons that we have learned about the grading process (now that our first full quarter of Canvas use at UC Davis is behind us).

About 75% of classes are using Canvas this winter quarter, so I expect a number of new users with questions to join us for this forum. Please share this invitation with anyone you know who would benefit from some additional demystifying and support.

Best regards,


Andy Jones

Academic Associate Director for Academic Technology Services

UC Davis




Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Typically, on the first Friday of the month we hold a DOLCE meeting that covers a number of teaching and instructional technology topics. This coming Friday, however, we thought it best to focus on a topic of interest to all UC Davis faculty: (final) grading with Canvas.

Faculty and teaching assistants who have questions about Canvas, especially its Grades tool, are invited to attend an open forum from noon to 1 on this coming Friday, December 2nd, in 1310 Surge III/The Grove. At this faculty forum we will hear from Canvas experts, share some of the more common grading with Canvas questions that we have received in recent weeks, and share ideas on how we are using UC Davis Canvas to inform, inspire, and assess our students.

As you know, UC Davis Canvas is replacing SmartSite, which will remain available for teaching only through spring 2017. Most of our faculty colleagues and almost all of our undergraduates have been using UC Davis Canvas this fall. Because students benefit from using a single learning management system in all their classes, we hope that all UC Davis faculty will plan their move to Canvas soon.

If you have questions but can’t attend the forum, you can also contact the Move to Canvas project team at movetocanvas@ucdavis.edu. To read more about Canvas, and to find resources to help you use it, see movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu.

Happy holidays, and I hope to see you at 1310 Surge III this coming Friday at noon to discuss grading with Canvas.

Best regards,


Andy Jones

Academic Associate Director of Academic Technology Services

UC Davis


Faculty Forum: Grading with Canvas

Friday, December 2nd at Noon

1310 Surge III/The Grove


Looking forward to today’s Canvas faculty forum, we wanted to share with you the handout prepared by Dr. Tabia Lee, one of our Instructional Technologists.



On another front, if you have been having trouble connecting with certain internet resources today, you are not the only one: See “When the Entire Internet Seems to Break At Once,” an article in today’s Atlantic by Robinson Meyer and Adrienne LaFrance.


Another wheel

Dear Colleagues,

Every third Friday of the month, Academic Technology Services hosts a faculty forum on different topics. This month we will be discussing grading with Canvas. Many UC Davis faculty have approached Instructure (for instance, by phoning 844-303-8285), or they have approached our LMS support team in 50 Hutchison, with questions about assignments, SpeedGrader, or the Canvas Gradebook. On October 21st, we will discuss these tools, and hear your questions and concerns.

I will briefly update assembled faculty on how I use SpeedGrader, Microsoft Word’s autocorrect feature, and rubrics within Canvas.

Instructional Technologist Tabia Lee will preview some of her planned advanced Canvas workshops on assignments and the Gradebook.

And should we have time after answering your questions and discussing your use of Canvas, LMS Manager Todd Van Zandt will share with us some Gradebook tips and tricks, including marking students excused from an assignment, setting default grades for assignments, and sharing relevant Canvas Community resources.

I hope you will join us Friday, October 21st at Noon in 1310 Surge III / The Grove. And as always, please see http://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu with your questions.


Andy Jones

Academic Associate Director, Academic Technology Services

A Bicycle in The Grove

A Bicycle in The Grove

Dear Colleagues,

This Friday we restart our meetings of DOLCE: Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education. Taking place on the first Friday of every month, DOLCE meetings typically feature a number of speakers on a variety of pedagogical and instructional technological topics.

This coming Friday we will hear from new instructional technologist Tabia Lee (known simply as “Lee”) on “Navigating Transformative Technological Change.”

Dr. Lee will ask and answer these questions: What is transformative technological change, and how does teacher ideology-in-practice intersect with pedagogical design, teacher agency, and individual and collective decision-making?

Tabia Lee holds a Doctor of Education in Urban Educational Leadership and Administration from University of California, Irvine, and has contributed to the design, implementation, and evaluation of numerous educational and professional development programs. Having worked with Canvas in previous faculty positions, Dr. Lee joins Steve Faith and Fernando Socorro as one of our three campus Canvas training experts who stands ready to answer your questions about our campus move to Canvas.

Members of the UC Davis community are also encouraged to call Instructure directly with Canvas questions. Staffed 24 hours a day, Instructure’s user support phone bank can be reached at 844-303-8285.

On Friday, we will also hear from Spanish professor Robert Blake. Many faculty in Spanish and other languages have moved to Canvas, in part because of Bob’s leadership and support. Bob will tell us some success stories.

If we have time, we will also share data about the LMS decisions made by different campus departments (with almost 60% of LMS users already choosing Canvas this fall). We may also discuss the Photo Rosters tool.

I hope you can join us Friday, October 7th at noon in 1310 Surge III / The Grove. Please also share this invitation with new and curious faculty who would benefit from hearing from the prepared and unprepared thoughts of these campus leaders.

Best regards,

Andy Jones


DOLCE: Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education

Friday, October 7

12 Noon (though you may join us at 12:10)

1310 Surge III / The Grove

{ 1 comment }


Canvas Town Hall

Friday, September 30th at Noon

1310 Surge III / The Grove


Many faculty at UC Davis have questions about Canvas, our new Learning Management System. Many have attended introductory workshops, but now that we are ten days into the quarter, we may have more advanced questions about assignments, grading, and the use of media in our classes.

As we always love to know how faculty are responding to new technologies, this coming Friday we will be holding a Canvas Town Hall to hear from you and answer your Canvas questions. We anticipate at least four kinds of interactions:

  1. Some faculty will need a problem or usage explained, something we will gladly do while projecting the “fix” to everyone who can attend.
  2. Some faculty will have big-picture questions about Canvas, about differences between Canvas and SmartSite, and about the future of the learning management system at UC Davis.
  3. Some faculty will not yet have moved, and will want to hear from colleagues about their experiences before moving over their classes in the winter or spring of 2017.
  4. Others will have heard rumors or concerns, and would like those explained, dispelled, or even confirmed.

Present to address all these needs and questions will be Todd Van Zandt, our UC Davis LMS program manager; Steve Faith, the instructional technologist who has given more Canvas workshops than anyone else in Yolo County; Joey Van Buskirk, lead Educational Technology Partner; and Dr. Andy Jones, your host and a longtime Canvas user who is teaching two classes with Canvas this quarter.

We hope you will join us on September 30th at noon in 1310 Surge III, also known as The Grove. See you then!


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.

{ 1 comment }

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.