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Advanced Canvas Training 2020 (ACT-20)

The ACT-20 program has ENDED.

Updated September 1st, 2020

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  • We are in the middle of a generational shift among our faculty. In 2019, a survey of MSU Denver instructors showed that 51% (of 315 respondents) had ever taken an online course, and only 18% had taken five or more.
  • On May 19th a wide range of MSU Denver leaders announced their decision to move to Canvas as our LMS for the fall 2020 term.
  • On May 20th the Provost sent an email to all instructors with the subject line "Fall course development, Canvas, and supplements." The email summarized the Six Course Design & Facilitation Goals that were developed in consultation with Faculty Senate and Council of Chairs/Directors. That announcement shared the forthcoming training plan and associated $1,000 supplements.
  • On June 4th, Chairs were emailed an ACT-20 Overview document, which offered a preview of this program (without actionable details).

One-time federal CARES Act funds have been dedicated to supporting the efforts of our instructors to learn new tools, engage with new methods, and plan for effective teaching and learning. We’re calling it Advanced Canvas Training 2020 (ACT-20). Every instructor who will teach in the next year will participate, regardless of category or contract. If they begin in July and complete their work in a 4-week period, they earn a $1000 supplement. 

The overall process outlined below has been discussed with representatives of both Faculty Senate and Council of Chairs/Directors, and been reviewed by several chairs, faculty, and senior academic leadership.

Overview & Time Commitment

The ACT-20 program requires ~30 hours of work where instructors will learn about Canvas and how to meet the Six Course Design & Facilitation Goals. 10 hours will be spent in live workshops, with the remaining 20 spent applying what they've learned, engaging with self-help tutorials, or attending additional trainings.

CTLD and Online Learning staff will deliver workshops all day, every day during this period. Instructors will have to plan ahead, schedule their time, and commit to attending any workshop they register for. 

In order for 100% of instructors to access this support it must be spread out in time. If a large fraction of instructors attempt to complete their workshops during the week of July 27th (or any other single week), there simply won't be enough capacity. Spreading out the work is one reason this must start on July 6th. Instructors who have inflexible extenuating circumstances and cannot complete the work during the 4 weeks between July 6th and July 31st should enroll before July 6th and will have a chance to work with their chair and the CTLD to discuss other options.


UPDATE:

We want to make sure everyone gains the background necessary to thrive as an instructor in Canvas, so we have extended the enrollment and completion deadlines for those faculty with specific extenuating circumstances. These new deadlines are the latest we can possibly offer.

Enroll in ACT-20 by Friday, August 7th (see step 1 under ACT-20 Process steps)

Complete ACT-20 by Monday, August 31st (see step 4 under ACT-20 Process steps)
You do not need to inform your chair of your new deadline.

We won't be able to offer any extensions/exceptions to these updated deadlines.


The final deadline is now past and we are not accepting any ACT-20 Self-assessment & Completion forms.


  1. Instructors review the six course design and facilitation goals (included in the Provost’s email on May 20th), and complete the Precheck and Enrollment form (available by June 22nd). They will select which 8 (or more) of the workshops they plan to attend. Form responses are shared with chairs/supervisors automatically.

    When: Anytime before July 3rd
    Procedural actions: Instructors submit ACT-20 Precheck & Enrollment form

  2. Between July 6th and July 31st August 31st, instructors register for and attend at least 8 workshops. Each workshop is offered twice a week, with 50 registration spots in each workshop. Registration takes place at either the ACT-20 Workshops page or the CTLD Events Calendar. All July workshops are now posted, and workshops in the first two weeks of August will be posted soon. A reduced schedule of workshops will eventually be available for the last 2 weeks of August.

    When: Between July 6th and July 31st August 31st
    Procedural actions: Instructors register for and attend workshops

  3. Beginning July 13th instructors can attend a 2-hour Final Course Checkup offered every weekday. This is a “capstone” workshop addressing the final steps needed to prepare fall 2020 courses in Canvas, such as using materials migrated from Blackboard. Instructors should complete their 8 workshops before attending.

    When: Between July 13th and July 31st August 31st
    Procedural actions: Instructors register for and attend Final Course Checkup

  4. After completing the minimum 10 hours of live workshops, instructors fill the ACT-20 Self-Assessment & Summary form. They will indicate which workshops they attended and briefly describe what they took away from each. Form responses are shared with chairs/supervisors automatically.

    When: By August 7th August 31st (CLOSED)
    Procedural actions: Instructor completes ACT-20 Self-Assessment & Summary form (only useable after finishing the 10-hour minimum)

  5. Chairs certify completion using the ACT-20 Completion form, so successful participants will receive the supplement. [No Salary Supplement forms will be necessary.] Payments should appear in end-of-September paychecks, but may be delayed if the completion form is submitted after August 7th.

    When: Within a few days of instructors completing the self-assessment form
    Procedural actions: Chairs confirm instructors to be paid. Use the link in the email to avoid retyping information. Or use the form.

List of ACT-20 Workshops

Pro-tip: It is a good idea to jot down which workshops you plan to attend (as in "1B, 2A, 3A, etc." before you go to the events calendar.)


Want descriptions, rather than just titles? Details can be found at the Ready - ACT-20 Workshops website.

Goal 1. Structural consistency

Workshop 1A: Overview of Canvas Blueprint

Workshop 1B: File Management & File Storage

Workshop 1C: Module building in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 4B)

Workshop 1D: Canvas Gradebook (cross-listed as Workshop 3C)

Workshop 1E: Building a Course from Scratch - Syllabus and Modules

Goal 2. Educational consistency

Workshop 2A: Using Yuja to record media

Workshop 2B: Creating Assignments in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 4C)

Workshop 2C: Creating Discussions in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 6A)

Workshop 2D: Creating Rubrics in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 3B)

Workshop 2E: Building a Course from Scratch - Discussion and Assignment tools

Goal 3. Feedback and Instructor Presence

Workshop 3A: Communication Tools in Canvas

Workshop 3B: Creating Rubrics in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 2D)

Workshop 3C: Canvas Gradebook (cross-listed as Workshop 1D)

Workshop 3D: Creating Quizzes in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 4D)

Workshop 3E: Building a Course from Scratch - Feedback and Gradebook

Goal 4. Alignment between outcomes, activities, and assessments

Workshop 4A: Improving Course Structure using Objectives

Workshop 4B: Module Building in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 1C)

Workshop 4C: Creating Assignments in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 2B)

Workshop 4D: Creating Quizzes in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 3D)

Workshop 4E: Building a Course from Scratch - Rubrics and Objectives

Goal 5: Accessibility and engagement by anyone

Workshop 5A: Accessible Pages, Assessments & Quizzes

Workshop 5B: Accessible Images and Alternative Text

Workshop 5C: Accessible Videos and Media

Goal 6. Effective and Intentionally chosen pedagogical methods

Workshop 6A: Creating Discussion in Canvas (cross-listed as Workshop 2C)

Workshop 6B: Using MS Teams for Synchronous Communications

Workshop 6C: Groups and Collaboration

Workshop 6D: Do More with Canvas: Integrating Apps

Workshop 6E: Building a Course from Scratch - Discussions and Quizzes

Additional Workshops

Workshop: General Canvas Course Overview

Workshop: Final Course Checkup (2-hour capstone, 15 registration spots)

Frequently Asked Questions


Non-students at MSU Denver have been enrolled (in a "student" role) in a handful of courses.
  • Exemplar courses: Some of these are explicitly labeled "Exemplar" courses which are intended to answer the often asked question "Can I see what a well-designed/effective online course looks like?" We hope you will explore them to see the variety of powerful ways these courses have been built.
  • Other courses: Non-exemplar courses are there for viewing/use during the ACT-20 program. Examples to find here: Courses with fall 2020 dates, courses migrated by K16 ("Tier 1 migration"), etc..
Don't forget you are in full-control of your notification settings. Check out the relevant Self-Help Tutorial in the Introduction to Canvas section (search for "notifications").

Any MSU Denver employee that will teach even one course in the fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 20201 terms is eligible. This includes all three categories of faculty, department chairs, and any other employee that will teach a course during that time. Instructors who are unsure about their eligibility should check with their Chair/Supervisor.

Payments should appear in end-of-September paychecks, but may be delayed if the completion form is submitted after August 7th.

Instructors who want to participate, but cannot do so in the 4 weeks between July 6th and 31st, whether due to personal extenuating circumstances or overfull workshops, should complete the ACT-20 Pre-Check & Enrollment form ASAP (before July 6th August 7th. All instructors have until August 31st to complete their final step of ACT-20 (step 4 in ACT-20 Process steps above).

Workshops, Details and Specifics


No. When you completed the ACT-20 Precheck and Enrollment Form you picked at least one workshop from under each of the 6 goals. That is the only criteria about which Workshops you should take, and you can take them all in any order.

The Final Course Checkup (2-hour capstone) should, ideally, be taken last.

Either be patient, or adjust your plans.
Update (July 8th):
All July workshops are now posted, and workshops in the first two weeks of August will be posted soon. A reduced schedule of workshops will eventually be available for the last 2 weeks of August. We hope you will be able to find a way to register for all the workshops you wish to attend (remember, you don't need to take them in any specific order). However, if it happens that you cannot find a spot, you are welcome to adjust your plans. Just be sure you attend 8 workshops, with at least one from within each course goal.
Finally, don't forget to explore the self-help tutorials at the Ready page.
This is just fine. In the enrollment form you committed to "Registering for and attending 8 workshops, with at least one from each course goal," as well as "Registering for and attending a 2-hour Final Course Checkup." You can adjust which specific workshops you attend as needed, as long as you fulfill these commitments.
 

Updated answer (July 8th)
We sincerely hope that the vast majority of ACT-20 participants will still finish by August 7th. However, rather than asking instructors to request an extension from their chair we have extended the completion deadline for all instructors to August 31st. We won't be able to offer any extensions/exceptions to these updated deadlines, even for someone who attended all but one workshop.

FYI: Completing ACT-20 after August 7th may delay payment of the supplement to the end-of-October paycheck.

ACT-20 Enrollment & Registration Qs


You (and your chair) received an emailed enrollment receipt when you submitted this form, which makes for an easy way for you to see what you indicated there. Good keywords for searching your email are "ACT-20" or "enrollment receipt." When you attend a workshop you will fill out an attendance form that will also email you a receipt!

As part of this unusual moment, we are going to ask new instructors to engage with this training on the same timetable as other instructors (starting July 6th). Human Resources and ITS will ensure new instructors have 900#s and NetIDs in advance, so that they can engage with Canvas and the ACT-20 program. As with other instructors who may have difficulty with the July 6th to July 31st schedule, new instructors will have until August 31st to complete the ACT-20 program.

Updated July 8th:

We want to make sure everyone gains the background necessary to thrive as an instructor in Canvas, so we have extended the enrollment and completion deadlines for those faculty with who cannot meet the original July 31st deadline, whether due to personal extenuating circumstances or overfull workshops. These new deadlines are the latest we can possibly offer.

Enroll in ACT-20 by Friday, August 7th (see step 1 under ACT-20 Process steps)

Complete ACT-20 by Monday, August 31st (see step 4 under ACT-20 Process steps)
You do not need to inform your chair of your new deadline.

We won't be able to offer any extensions/exceptions to these updated deadlines.

Canvas is new to the institution, as is moving so many course to fully online. This training is critically important to the success of all MSU Denver instructors. Additionally, the six course design goals are a core reason for asking instructors to do this work (and to do it during the summer). Instructors are responsible for meeting those goals, whether they participate in this program or not.

Instructors have choices about which workshops they take, allowing them to fill in gaps that exist in the knowledge of even the most veteran online instructor. The workshops are also tailored to address the six course design and facilitation goals for MSU Denver. Overall, to qualify for the supplement an instructor must complete the whole process.

That won't be an option for a few reasons, but here is the most salient: Our support staff (CTLD and ITS) have been working hard to support summer 2020 (for example) and have now had access to Canvas for a matter of days. Those teams are now working hard to get Canvas implemented and integrated. By July 6th we will have dozens of workshops ready to help instructors prepare for fall 2020 in Canvas. As instructors likely know, building robust, effective, and engaging self-paced modules is at least as much additional work as creating the live versions. There simply isn't time to produce these options.

However, to supplement the live workshops there are extensive tutorials and guides (text and video). We hope everyone will take advantage of those resources.

 More questions and answers:

Other questions, relating to all aspects of Canvas, course migrations, and fall 2020 are collected and answered here: https://www.msudenver.edu/online-learning/faq/.


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