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CanvasCon Sydney 2018: A Course Coordinator, Educational Technologist and Learning Designer share hacks

Several staff members recently attended CanvasCon Sydney on the 11th September at the International Convention Centre on Sydney’s beautiful Darling Harbour.

What is your role at the University of Adelaide?

Yvette:  I am a Course Coordinator in Adelaide Nursing School.

Kym:  I am an Educational Technologist in Learning Enhancement and Innovation.

Trish:  I am a Learning Designer in Learning Enhancement and Innovation.

Mark: I am Manager, Learning Systems and Innovations in Learning Enhancement and Innovation.

Have you been to CanvasCon in Sydney before?

Yvette:  No

Kym:  No

Trish:  Yes in 2017 as part of the “Students as Partners at the University of Adelaide” presentation team with Liz Heathcote, Thomas Crichton and Stephen Leahy.

Mark: Yes 2017

What was your favourite moment?

Yvette:  Happy hour at the end where we all talked about what we had heard throughout the day and the impacts this information can have on our ability to develop better platforms for our students – this added significantly to the day giving differing perspectives to the discussion as we all had different hats on.

Kym:  Agreed – happy hour was a definite highlight. A good time to reflect and talk about the sessions and what we would do to follow up.

Trish:  Networking throughout the day with similarly experienced and enthusiastic Canvas users in Higher Education, Registered Training Organisations and K12 respectively.

Mark: Networking and hearing what other Universities are doing here in Australia, it sounds like we are well ahead of most.

What was your top tip?

Yvette:  To expand on old concepts, tweak ideas and alter what you see – to fit, flex or improve your perspective. Much of what I saw in the seven presentations was not “new” as such, but it was presented in a different perspective and many times my thoughts wandered to how I could use what the presenter was saying in my space. And it was not always the topic of the presentation that stimulated the wandering of my mind – but at times the thinking behind why they had chosen the change was just as inspiring. So my top tip is to not reinvent the wheel but to “tweak, expand on and revise” what is known to you, to “fit and shape” what you want to happen – and don’t be scared to flow out of the box currently expected of you and into a new space where change is possible.

Kym:  I’m still deciding.

Trish:  The importance of the online Canvas Community for providing help, identification of improvements to Canvas for voting and the joining of groups for support.  Users of Canvas in the Asia Pacific region are highly recommended to follow, share and participate in the Canvas Community for APAC.

Mark: Reach out to your colleagues or MyUni Support if you need help setup you course.  Take some risk in using technology for teaching and learning

What will you be bringing back to the University of Adelaide?

Yvette: HTML presentation for creating pages in Canvas from your current word documents with ease. Much of what we do is reinventing basic tools from one old LMS to a new LMS (or altering presentations from one technology to a new technology). This process, although probably known by those familiar with the intricacies of using HTML code, was a light bulb moment for a course developer. Most academics are used to working with Word to shape and  develop their initial ideas and concepts in a familiar space. We are easily able use Word to format and develop text, put in tables and pictures etc and alter the overall layout and look to our documents quickly and simply using the familiar tools available in Word, so to be able to just cut and paste to convert the text in a word document to HTML code using a converter and then cut and paste to move this newly converted text into our Canvas LMS with the HTML editor, and have the formatting be in place was such a time saver giving back hours of development time which can be used to make course content more stimulating and engaging … and, of course, it also more time for marking …

Kym:  Probably a tool we will investigate called inkert. It seems to capture handwritten work on paper into Canvas.

Trish:  One of the most engaging sessions I attended was Flipping Practical Subjects with Canvas.  As a Learning Designer who works closely with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in the Faculty of Sciences and member of the Flipped Community of Practice it was pleasing to reinforce that our staff do this and do it well.  Further information is available regarding the Flipped Classroom Community of Practice at the University of Adelaide.

Mark: A better understanding of how we might support and use technology here at Adelaide

Would you recommend this to your colleagues?

Kym:  Yes a really great way to connect with staff from other universities and schools using similar technologies. It affirms what we are doing and even acts as a checkpoint for us to compare what we are doing with other universities.

Yvette:  Yes the company was great, meeting new people and refreshing the creative juices seeing what others were doing and how they approached their problems (which we all experience in our roles) And the harbour lights was definitely worth the trip 🙂

Trish:  Absolutely.

Mark: Yes with over 700 delegates it is going to grow and become a bigger event each year.

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