New Classroom & Computer Lab Entrance Display Pilot

This term, CAEN is piloting new electronic displays outside select computer labs and College of Engineering classrooms. The displays show room availability at a glance, and allow searching for rooms based on course or event name. For CAEN computer labs, the displays show the current workstation availability. All displays will indicate when a recording is in progress using the lecture capture service.

In addition to information about the rooms, the displays show DPSS alerts for campus. Also, to aid accessibility, a two-finger swipe down the screen will speak the room’s current status. An update later this month will add building and campus maps, directions to building lost-and-found locations, and emergency information.

Displays have already been installed outside of the following classrooms:

  • 1670 Beyster
  • 1690 Beyster
  • 1008 EECS
  • 1012 EECS

and the CAEN computer labs in:

  • B505 Pierpont Commons
  • B507 Pierpont Commons

We value your feedback on these new displays. Feel free to send your comments and suggestions to us at caen@umich.edu.


New lecture recording status lights in every classroom

You may notice a new attachment to the cameras used for lecture recording in College of Engineering classrooms.

Each camera now has a light that will illuminate when a recording is in progress. The intent is to provide instructors a quick visual confirmation that the recorder is running.

Additionally, the light acts as a presentation timer by changing colors to indicate the time remaining in the recording. It will change from green to yellow (10 minutes remaining), and finally red (2 minutes remaining). Manually-started recordings will be indicated with a cyan (greenish-blue) color.

Any questions or feedback on the new status lights can be directed to caen@umich.edu.


New features now available in Canvas

Since Canvas was adopted as the learning management system (LMS) for course sites at the University of Michigan, there have been many feature updates and additions to make teaching with Canvas easier for faculty, and enhance the learning experience for students.

Canvas Skill for Amazon Alexa

The capability to integrate voice recognition with Canvas has been added to assist both students and instructors. By using the Canvas Skill with Amazon’s Alexa service, students and instructors can verbally ask questions, perform quick tasks, and get information about their courses from any Alexa-enabled device. The Alexa voice service will respond with the relevant information according to their Canvas account. For example, students can ask about “what assignments are due,” or “what are my grades?” Instructors can ask about tasks like “what submissions still need to be graded?”

The Amazon Alexa App can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Further information about setting up Alexa with the Canvas skill, including examples of useful voice commands, can be found on the Canvas Community page.

BluePrint Courses

Blueprint Courses allow sub-account admins (i.e. individuals within departments who manage Canvas course sites) to create, deploy, and maintain a course design “template” across any number of courses or instructors within the department. For example, if you have a newly-created Canvas course that has not yet been configured, you can use a Blueprint Course to automatically:

  • Push out content (pages, files, assignments…)
  • Update settings (sections, apps…)
  • Organize the course navigation (menu, links, redirects…)

This process can save time for instructors who have a standard way to organize their Canvas courses. It is especially useful if a course is taught each term, and the curriculum/site navigation does not vary greatly. A sub-account admin can create a Blueprint Course in Canvas and push (or sync) out a standard set of settings and features to the new course each term, so there’s no need for the instructor to set it up manually. In addition, if a department would like to have a standard navigation menu for all of the courses they offer, a Blueprint Course can be used to sync those settings to each Canvas course site within the department.

When syncing occurs, any content that has already been added or updated by the instructor will not be overwritten, and new content created in any associated course is also not affected (i.e. this is an manually additive function, and it will not overwrite what has already been added by the instructor).

More information on using Blueprint Courses as templates for Canvas course sites can be found on the Canvas Community page.

Teacher App

Canvas Teacher App

The Canvas Teacher App allows instructors to interact with their Canvas courses and data, both inside and outside the classroom, from their mobile device. This app provides quick access to the most frequently used Canvas tasks – Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. For example, instructors can browse submissions and provide feedback to their students, post announcements, send messages, and participate in course discussions. They can also update course content such as due dates, and even publish assignments or adjust quiz options.

The Canvas Teacher App can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Guides for using each version of the Canvas Teacher app can be found on the Canvas Community page.

Updated Canvas App for Students

Canvas continues to offer a separate “Canvas by Instructure” app that students can use to access their course sites and data. The app is updated frequently to apply bug fixes and performance improvements, so students are encouraged to download the latest version. It is available at no cost to students from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Guides for using each version of the Canvas by Instructure app can be found on the Canvas Community page.

Future Feature Updates & Support

ITS provides a Canvas at Michigan course site, where faculty and course instructors can sign up for announcements and updates about the service. College of Engineering faculty and instructors are also welcome to contact CAEN with any questions or problems they may have using Canvas in their courses.


CoE Classroom & CAEN Lab entrance display pilot

CAEN is piloting new College of Engineering (CoE) classroom and CAEN computer lab entrance information displays in select locations. Data and feedback from the pilot will help guide the final version of the interface. (Click images below to enlarge)

CoE Classroom Entrance Display
CoE Classroom Entrance Display

For CoE classrooms, the entrance information displays will show:

  • A quick glance of the room status to see if it is available (green) or reserved (red)
  • Current and future scheduled classes and events
  • A weekly view for the classroom schedule
  • A list that will show classroom availability in the same building, or around the College
  • A feature to search the next 10 days of the schedule by class, department, or room
CAEN Lab Entrance Display
CAEN Lab Entrance Display

For CAEN computer labs, the entrance information displays will show:

  • Whether or not the lab is currently reserved
  • Any future reservations for the lab that day
  • Current number of open computer stations for the lab
  • A scrollable list of open computer stations in other CAEN computer labs
  • Important CAEN Service Status messages
  • An interactive button to “Report a Problem”

 

Students who have interacted with these displays are welcome to contact CAEN with any feedback or suggestions for improvement.


Reminder: Canvas to replace CTools for course sites in Fall 2016

As you may already know, Canvas will replace CTools as the campus-wide learning management system (LMS) used for courses in Fall 2016. This means that those who teach or support a course at the University will no longer be able to use CTools to publish their course materials. Background about this transition is available on the main ITS Canvas project website: http://its.umich.edu/projects/canvas/

Now that we are only three months away from this campus-wide change, it is a great time to beat the rush for help with Canvas if you have not already made the transition. In collaboration with ITS, CAEN is available to assist in moving course materials from previous terms into Canvas, and can also provide support in working with the differences of this new system. College of Engineering faculty can use the following form to request assistance, and also to let us know what support resources would be most useful:

https://docs.google.com/a/umich.edu/forms/d/1BkBqPTh4XfPwvSg-B4CTs18KDy6j8KjJ6pqrZhMYIP4/viewform

Further information about this transition, including a calendar of upcoming Canvas training workshops and walk-in Q&A sessions, has been made available at http://canvas.engin.umich.edu. Instructors should also feel free to send questions about this transition directly to caen@umich.edu.


CTools Course Sites to transition to Canvas in Fall 2016

Beginning in the Fall 2016 term, Canvas will replace CTools as the campus-wide learning management system (LMS) used for courses. This means that those who teach or support a course at the University will no longer be able to use CTools to publish their course content beginning in the Fall 2016 term. Background about this transition is available on the main ITS Canvas project website: http://its.umich.edu/projects/canvas/

In collaboration with ITS, CAEN is evaluating options for assisting College of Engineering instructors with transitioning CTools course site content to Canvas. In preparation for this process, we would like to capture faculty and instructor interest in obtaining assistance with this transition. Completing the following form will aid in our planning for the transition:

https://docs.google.com/a/umich.edu/forms/d/1BkBqPTh4XfPwvSg-B4CTs18KDy6j8KjJ6pqrZhMYIP4/viewform

Further information about this transition, including a calendar of upcoming Canvas training workshops and walk-in Q&A sessions, has been made available at http://canvas.engin.umich.edu.

Instructors should also feel free to send questions about this transition directly to caen@umich.edu.