OAT Update for 01/27/23

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Welcome to the latest issue of the OAT Update, produced by the Office of Academic Technology at CSU Stanislaus.

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Tech Tool Overview Recording Available

Tech Tools cover imageIf you weren't able to attend the OAT workshop on tech tools that are available for Spring 2023 courses, you can catch up with the recording.

Recording contents

Click a link below to skip directly to that topic in the video, or watch the whole thing.




Contact oatsupport@csustan.edu to learn more about any of these tools.

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Using Student View in Canvas Courses

Location of the Student View button in a Canvas courseCanvas's "Student View" is a great tool for getting a quick sense of what your students can see and do in your courses.

Read: How do I view a course as a test student using Student View? 

It has important limitations though. Student View mimics a student user, but it is not a full Canvas user account (with an email address).  Be sure to understand what Student View can and cannot tell you.

Student View Can:

  1. Preview the layout of your course, in terms of what is visible and what is not, including course navigation and modules
  2. Open a simple Canvas assignment to submit a file or a URL
  3. Be graded on its submissions, with its grades appearing in the Grades page of the course like any other student's
  4. Take a quiz and submit, and be graded on non-objective question types
  5. Post and reply to discussions that use Canvas's built-in discussions tool

Student View Cannot:

  1. Be used to test anything related to an External Tool, where you are connecting your Canvas course to a third-party web site. This includes Turnitin, Discussions Plus, VoiceThread, Hypothesis, and discipline-specific textbook tools (McGraw-Hill, Pearson, etc.).
  2. Access and interact with an assignment where "External Tool" is set as the Submission Type
  3. Access and interact with a link in a module that connects to an External Tool.

Testing External Tools: What to do?

Because Student View cannot be used with external tools, the simple fact is instructors do not have a way to view and test those tools in Canvas, as students.  However, such testing is not necessary from a technical perspective.  Each tool provider has documentation showing exactly what students will see.  If your instructor view of the external tool from Canvas works as expected, you can trust that the student's view also works as intended.  If you have further questions, contact the tool provider.

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OAT's Greatest Hits: Camtasia Lecture Videos

TechSmith Camtasia logoDid you know? Stan State has a site license for faculty to use Camtasia for video creation needs.  Use Camtasia to assemble and combine media items into a video file.  Media items can be pre-recorded or image files, or you can use its built-in screen recorder to generate media content.  Camtasia's flexible time line functionality allows you to edit the files and put together an engaging project.  Also, you can add short quizzes throughout the video as well as "chapter" markers for easy navigation.  Finally, your videos can be easily exported into Panopto for distribution via your Canvas classes.

Watch the video (created Spring 2020; duration: 50 min.; recommended to watch at 1.5x speed)

Note: Since it was recorded, an important enhancement has developed: Camtasia has the ability to export directly into your Panopto home folder for deployment into a Canvas course. Quizzes are not part of the export but timeline markers (i.e., chapters) are included.

Download Camtasia (contact OIT support for license key)

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Ally Accessibility Gauges

Ally is the automated accessibility checking tool that is installed within Stan State's Canvas system. This tool makes it easy to spot accessibility issues with your course materials and ensure access for all students.  There are two main purposes of the Ally tool:

  1. Scan every piece of content/document/image in a course and gauge its accessibility. Instructors are then guided through steps to address the accessibility issues. The severity of issues (and the lack of issues at all!) are indicated by a color-coded system of gauges.
  2. Provide students with alternate formats for most content, and even language translations in some cases. Alternate formats may be PDF versions of documents, spoken audio versions of documents, etc.

Gauge Colors & Access

Ally uses a small gauge icon next to each piece of content or image to represent its accessibility status.  The colors correspond to those on a traffic stop light:

Ally gauge spectrum

The gauges are only visible to instructors.  Students never see the accessibility status of an item.  Instead, they only see a small "download" icon next to each item that allows them to access alternative formats for the item.

More Information

Learn more about Ally and accessibility.

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Panopto Archive Protocol

Panopto logoPanopto requires OAT to establish an automatic archive protocol in order to manage the library of videos that are stored there. This allows the service to operate as efficiently as possible for all users.  In our case, any video that has not been opened or watched in more than 24 months is moved into the archive.

Archiving takes place every week on Saturdays.

Archive ≠ Deleted

Archived videos are not deleted.  "Archived" means the videos are placed into a 'storage' state and are not immediately playable, although they are still findable in searches.  Archived videos are indicated as such in the search results and in other views within Panopto.  Any archived video can be restored with one click if necessary by the video's owner or an administrator.

Archive Notifications

Unfortunately, at this time users are not automatically notified that any of their videos have met the criteria for being archived. Panopto has a feature request in development, but until then OAT will be glad to help track down the status of any video. Just ask!


Contact oat@csustan.edu.

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Canvas Teacher App

Canvas Teacher app iconIt's the Modern Era™, so everything has an app, even for Canvas instructors.  In addition to the app for Students, instructors can install the Teachers app to help manage courses when you're not in front of a laptop or desktop computer.

Use the Teacher app for the following situations:

  • Create a course Announcement (will be pushed to students based on their account notification preferences)
  • Send a message to a specific student or class (will be pushed to students based on their account notification preferences)
  • View your course and/or module content
  • Grade submitted assignments and discussion posts

The Canvas Instructor guides have full details on the capabilities of the app (available in the app stores for iOS and Android)

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Canvas Operational Protocols

As part of its administration of the Canvas system, OAT maintains a set of "protocols" it uses to guide the implementation of the LMS. While not official "policies", these protocols are operational in nature and represent best practices in LMS administration.

Review the protocols

Questions or comments?  Contact oat@csustan.edu.

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Don't Delete Students' Work: Using Differentiated Due Dates in Canvas

One of the most common misunderstanding of any graded activity in Canvas is the Assign To field, where Due Dates and Until Dates are configured. That field allows you to specify who an activity is assigned to. By default, Canvas selects Everyone, but it's best to think of this selection as merely one possible "window", and you can have any number of differentiated windows for the activity in order to meet the submission needs of your course.

Don't Change! Do Add!

The Assign To field annotated to highlight the Add buttonWhen you need to give someone a specific due date on an existing activity (perhaps as an extension), it's all too easy to change the "Everyone" in the Assign To area to just the specific student and then modify the dates. Panic usually ensues once you're done because any previous submissions to that activity suddenly seem to be deleted from Canvas!

However, all you've done by changing the "Everyone" window is to unassign the activity to everyone else. Because it's now unassigned, Canvas has no need to display anything for anyone else, even if they'd previously submitted. Without an assignment window, those student(s) aren't responsible for the activity at all, and so Canvas doesn't show those students in SpeedGrader. This is why they seem to have been deleted.

The solution is simple:

  1. Never change the existing Everyone field.
  2. Always add another window to the assignment to match the requirements for the specific student. Click the +Add button below the existing window to create a new window.  From there, click in the Assign To field and select the students who will be governed by this window.  You can add as many specific students as you want.  Thanks to differentiated assignments, Canvas will keep the existing window in place and no submissions will go missing.
  3. Phew!

Questions or comments?  Contact oat@csustan.edu.

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Canvas: Removing Previous Instructors from Rosters

Has your teaching assignment changed? If you are no longer listed as the instructor or a course or section in PeopleSoft, please contact oatsupport@csustan.edu and ask to be removed from the Canvas roster for the prior course. Currently, changes to the instructor-of-record field in PeopleSoft are not automatically reflected in Canvas so that any previously assigned instructors are removed from the course roster (only added). Remaining on the previous roster when courses begin means you'll receive notifications about the course, and students may also be confused about whom to contact.

Removing you from a previous course is very easy to do, but it must be requested first!

OAT and OIT have begun working on a solution to automate these removals, but there is no ETA for delivery at this time.

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2022-23 Faculty Ambassadors for Canvas

This year, OAT is again sponsoring the FAC program, which makes experienced Canvas instructors available to each college, as a supplement to OAT staff. Instructors may find it more helpful to work with other instructors in their general discipline on questions related to Canvas, and are encouraged to contact these individuals.

2022-23 Ambassadors

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Accessible PDFs

Supercharge accessibility scores for your Canvas courses! 

Now that the Fall semester is rapidly approaching, now is the perfect time to have our Document Remediation team make your PDF files accessible.

  • Were your PDFs created by scanning printed pages? 
  • Is the image quality of your PDFs less than ideal? (e.g., skewed pages, handwritten notes) 
  • Is the PDF your only copy of the content? 

If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, the PDFs are a perfect fit to submit to our Document Remediation team.

  • Submit a document remediation work order: Select "Accessibility Work Request" in the Request Type drop-down menu, and "Make my document accessible for me" in the Service Type section

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Article ID: 153276
Mon 1/23/23 8:50 AM
Wed 1/25/23 5:43 PM