Ready for Resits

Posted on: 28 July 2021 by Karl Gimblett in General

Ready for Resits banner image
(Host and Guests in Online Meeting)

At CIE, through our work in support of the Canvas project and community space Canvas Connect we’ve worked with a number of departments and schools around their resit planning. Therefore, we thought it would be useful to share some of the key tips and findings from this work for those that are new to using Canvas.

Choice of approach

With VITAL being switched-off for students on the 31st July, revision materials for resits and the resit assessments themselves will need to be set out in Canvas. If you have already been using Canvas this last academic year, then chances are that you and your school will continue to use the same Canvas courses spaces for resits. But if you are coming over from VITAL then CSD have laid the foundations for a couple of approaches that you can use to build your revision/resit course in Canvas.

Approach 1

CSD have taken a snapshot of all modules in VITAL at the end of Semester 2, and deployed a copy of all content into course-shells in Canvas, (all those in your course list that start with the word ‘(VITAL)’ in their title). Student enrolments are also in place. So the first approach would be to check through this content, make any changes, inserting new submission points as advised by your school team, and then Publish the course for the students to access.

Approach 2

The second approach that we hear a lot from lecturers, is that when modules in VITAL were complex maybe having lots of different content, that it is in fact easier to start with a blank course space, and populate it by hand with content copied from CSD’s import. Here you could use any 20/21 course from your course list – these will be empty but crucially will have student enrolments in place. And then Canvas has a number of approaches for moving materials between courses (see next point).

(Some Schools and Departments are doing something completely different to the above. Electrical Engineering and Electronics for example have created a single course to act as a resit portal to host all of the resit assessments in Canvas. So do ask around to find out if plans are already in place.)

Copying materials between Canvas course spaces

In Canvas, it is very easy to copy content and other materials between course shells. Therefore, this could be an approach to select some of the content from the ‘VITAL’ course shells to a fresh course.

  • An easy way to do this is to use the ellipses button (...) to the right-hand side of an item in the Modules area and choose the Copy To option (see image below). This allows you to choose one of your other courses to copy the resource to. It works for while Modules, Pages, Assignment and Quizzes. The appeal of this approach is that it is very hands-on – you choose what you need, then you copy it. There’s not much written about this so far online, but see this guide on how to copy a page to another course (although can be used in the Modules area instead):
  • Using the Course Import tool gives a quick way to copy everything between courses (such as will be used to ‘roll-forward’ materials for the next academic year), or it does also allow you to select or exclude types of content or activities: How do I copy content from another Canvas course using the Course Import tool?
  • If you’d like to copy content from VITAL yourself then follow the steps from the Staff Canvas Help course: Moving content from VITAL to Canvas

Turning on Manual Post Grades

Whichever course space you look to use, we cannot overemphasise the importance of this step! By default Canvas will automatically alert student to every new grade or piece of feedback as it is left. Most of the time we don’t want this, instead preferring to release to all students at the same time. There is a simple setting you can use to change this so please do (the University if actively exploring how to change the default in the future to Manual): Turn on Manual Post Grades

Simplifying the course for students

For the purposes of Resits you may not be looking to make use the full Canvas feature set, and you may feel that reducing the clutter will help reduce problems. One way that some departments are doing this is to edit the Course Menu of a course to get rid of the extraneous items.

Try your course out in Student View to see what students actually need. See this guide on how to manage course navigation links.

Put in place a practice assessment for students

If you are setting up resits it might be a good idea to provide students with a ‘trial’ or ‘dummy-run’ assessment/assignment which they can undertake in advance of the actual resit. This is not about testing academic skills but simply about students being able to test out and be comfortable with the technology. Ideally set something that mimics the type and settings of the actual assessment, allow students to do it in advance and multiple times (in case they change computer), and direct students to undertake it. The data from this can be useful. We’ve got more advice like this – please see best configurations for running online exams through Canvas quizzes.

Student View

Before releasing anything to students, particularly a course space for the first time, make sure that you drop into Student View to examine what is presented to students. Student View faithfully reproduces what students will see once the course is Published, you can even use it to undertake an assignment/assessment. Look out particularly for things such as content items which should be available but aren’t (often because of their individual publish settings), or areas of the course menu that you would rather students not see (e.g. the Files area). How do I view a course as a test student using Student View?

Publishing the Course

So, you’ve built your course. You have tested it out and made some refinements. It is now ready to go and needed for students. The final thing that you need to do is to Publish the overall course. See this guide on How do I publish a course?

Getting Support

For technical questions, the quickest way to get technical support is to speak to our ‘Tier 1’ Canvas Support Team: log on to your Canvas account and, on the sidebar, select ‘Help’. We find that the Live Chat and freephone telephone options are fast ways to get help at the point of need. The support teams have access to all courses so can walk you through an approach. They can also escalate things to CSD if it is something that they can’t help with.

Keywords: VITAL, Canvas, Resits.