Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Welcome to Fall 2020


Links and Resources to a Smooth Start:

If you taught this summer, remember to save a copy of your grades and copy your course. Cara Smulevitz, Online Mentor at Mesa, made this helpful video: Canvas Course Exporting

Remember to Publish your Canvas courses by the first day of classes.

As you have been working in a Develoment Shell, you'll want to copy content into your new course. Here's some tutorials:

The Humanizing Challenge (August 11-13)

Creating Your Course Brand (with helpful sizes and templates from Canva)

10 Quick Tips for Designing a Welcoming Home Page (quick 2-minute video worth your time)

Canvas Studio is available! Check out the Canvas Studio Guides

From @safsocialstudy on Twitter: A genius way to meet different students' needs in Zoom Breakout Rooms:

Sharing infographics below I created for my students about expectations and communication.
(Remember any infographics like this need clear alt-text to be accessible). If you aren't sure, check out Day 8 of the Accessibility Challenge: Complex Images).

Food for Thought

New Mentor Opportunity 


Finally, I want to end by thanking all of you! I enjoyed supporting everyone in the move to fully remote last semester, and continue to be absolutely inspired by all of your dedication and innovation. 

Thank you for allowing me the space to share my passion for technology and my love for online teaching and learning. 

Please look for an announcement coming soon for applications to be the next Online Faculty Mentor at Miramar College! I hope you will consider applying for this important role. 

Staying in touch: I won't be blogging here, but continue to share and post on Twitter @dmaduliwilliams and Instagram @professormadwill.

I'm also collaborating on a series of very short (15-minute) workshops with Rechelle Mojica called The LOTT: Learn One Tiny Thing, so stay tuned for more details.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Summer 2020

Miramar’s Faculty Learning Online Community (FLOC) has been busy the past month with 7 FLOC mentors and 80 participants. This learning community is a supplement to the District's DE Certification course.  FLOC aligns theory with practice to assist faculty in more fully developing their proficiency with an online modality.  It engages faculty in training, interaction with peers, and discussions of course design. 

Below, hear from some of the FLOC Mentors as they share a few words of advice to faculty about teaching online.

FLOC Mentors

Jae Calanog, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Physics/Astronomy 

Jae's advice: 

Practice what you preach. If we encourage our students to focus on the learning, then be willing to be a student yourself. Right now we're all learning new teaching methods, technology, etc. and it can seem overwhelming. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and trust that you will get better over time. 

Mary Klann

Lecturer, History Department. My Twitter is @mcklann and my Instagram is @prof_klann. 

Mary's advice: 

My main piece of advice comes from a blog post by Sean Michael Morris: “You will need to improvise and be patient.” This goes for designing and setting up your courses and the way you interact with students. Trust yourself, and stay focused on your content and your pedagogy. The technology is just technology. The class isn’t a class without the instructor, you! Also, get on Twitter because wow, there are a lot of experienced online instructors just freely pouring out wisdom and tips! :)

Laura Pecenco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Sociology & Faculty Advisor, REACT & Co-Advisor, Urban Scholars Union IG: @MiramarSociology, Twitter: @MiramarSOCO

Laura's Advice:

Embrace it! Online teaching can seem constraining and isolating at first, but it can actually open up all sorts of new opportunities. For example, is there a guest speaker from another state (or another country!) who might now be able to contribute to your course? Or maybe you used to run out of class time but have so many more amazing resources to provide and now you can add them in a "further exploration" section. How can you collaborate with other instructors, campus services, community organizations, etc. in ways that you haven't been able to previously? Realizing that our classrooms now have fewer limits can really expand the possibilities in supporting our students and become very exciting for us as instructors and engaging for our students!

Patti Manley

Assistant Professor, History

Many instructors moving to online environment want are encouraged to make their courses engaging for students. With that thought in mind, they might jump to finding new apps to use for assignments & student engagement or try to be creative in their course design by adding images, interactive materials, videos etc. All of these are great ideas and can be accomplished over a semester or two. You want to start off by focusing on ways to engage students and keeping student equity in mind. 

#1 - (do this before anything else) Create a fun, engaging homepage  with video that will captivate your students interests as soon as they enter the course. You can do that by easily adding images and video directly from Canvas into your homepage. Remember this is not a paper homepage or paper syllabus so you can be creative. 

#2 - Use the apps & resources within Canvas to accomplish what you want to do if at all possible before incorporating new apps or learning new tools.  You can add more ideas, apps & tools through the semester. 
  • Try small easy ones such as Padlet or Answer Garden for quick fun ways to increase student engagement. 
  • If you want to quickly communicate with students, show them how to use Pronto in Canvas.  Its a quick messaging tool that you can use as reminders & to send out fast notices to students.  Instead of adding an app or constantly checking your email - use what Canvas already has built into it - Pronto.
  • If you want to create videos, be sure to activate the Screen Cast O Matic app that easily integrates within Canvas.  It's free, ready to work with Canvas.  You can create videos directly in Canvas, no need to upload anything or send students outside your course to Youtube for example. There are many tutorials on the Screen Cast O matic website to teach you how to use it. Its easy to install in Canvas as well. I can send anyone a tutorial on how to install within your course in under 5 minutes.
  • Rather than send students outside your course or use an app for blogging or journaling, use the features already in Canvas to do that. Although there is no Blog or Journal assignment type, it can easily be done right in Canvas with just a few fast tweaks of an assignment.
  • Looking to have students make presentations - Don’t send them to Youtube or have them use their own video’s - teach them how to use Zoom and record their sessions/presentations. Its a great group presentation tool as well.
  • If you’re interested in fun apps, go ahead and try them but start slow with 1 or 2 apps and make sure you know the in’s and out’s and have the ability to instruct your students on how to use it. If you’re already using an app or program, see if it can be integrated in your course easily.
  • Always start off by “checking the tech” For example, if you create an assignment or assessment that requires students to edit PDF’s  and some students might not be can afford to buy a PDF editing software (you’ve unintentionally excluded some students from succeeding) Plan out how else might they can accomplish that assignment? (BTW there are free PDF editing softwares available). 

Ann Gloag

Associate Professor, Math

Exciting Things Are Happening at the REC

Rechelle Mojica, MS, CRC
Professor/Access Technology Specialist/Counselor

Tanya Hertz

Associate Professor and Director of Entrepreneurship at Miramar College and Lecturer at San Diego State University

The San Diego Miramar College REC Innovation Lab launched its first cohort in March, just as shut-down orders were being issued across California. We had to quickly pivot to a virtual environment to ensure that everyone had access the information and services needed to continue building their businesses remotely.


Since launching on March 4th, The REC has held more than 147 virtual events. All of the presentation recordings are available on our YouTube channel.


Upcoming Workshops:


We have experts in a wide range of fields providing workshops on topics such as: writing social media ads, how to obtain government grants, finance, and how to alleviate stress and how to create dynamic videos, just to name a few.  If you would like to learn more about any of these subjects, make sure to register for one of the workshops!


Join us for a workshop designed specifically for SDCCD online educators to learn how to create brief, engaging videos for your online classes, "Simple Ways to Create Videos to Engage Students with Mike Clark" to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/san-diego-miramar-college-rec-innovation-lab-29696058417 FLEX #5237


Our ongoing focus is on underrepresented portions of the population and right now, we are focused on spotlighting our services for black founders. We have several workshops and live webcasts with this goal in mind.

If you would like to learn Just One Little Topic

Join us each week for JOLT LIVE streaming on Social Media

We hope to see you soon!

Learn more about the 
REC Innovation Lab

Follow the REC Innovation Lab on Social Media at:

LinkedIn Facebook | Instagram Twitter | Youtube

Links and Resources

Coming Soon: What is Canvas Studio?

COVID-19 Reflections from a Community College Student

Confetti for Completed Canvas Assignments

Take the 10-Day Accessibility Challenge and read about Striving for Accessibility.

Don't miss this: Humanizing Challenge August 11-13. Remove your emotional armor. Tell your story. Be imperfect. Build connections (yes .. .online!). Live sessions and self-guided activities.

Cameras Optional, Please! Remembering Student Lives As We Plan Our Online Syllabus

Five ways to increase the effectiveness of instructional video. (Mayer, Fiorella, & Stull, 2020)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Week 16, Spring 2020

We did it! None of us could have predicted how this semester has ended, and how quickly we all moved to a remote environment. It has been a pleasure to support you during this time.

~ Denise & Cheryl

Important Canvas Housekeeping

Concluding Your Canvas Course

Canvas Course End Date for students:
Before last day, select the course end date. (Settings > Course Details) By default, it is the last day of the semester. In some cases, faculty need their students to have continued access to the course to complete unfinished work. In those cases, faculty can revise the course end date setting in Canvas. See further details at the District's Past Enrollment's Page

Canvas Course Access for instructors:
Instructors have full access to Canvas courses after the end date.

Export Grades:
(Grades > Action > Export) It’s good practice to save a copy of the Grades for each course.

Export Course Content:
This creates an archive of your course. (Settings > Export Type: Course > Create Export). Archives can be used to load onto different Canvas servers (for teaching at other schools). It’s also good practice to make periodic archives of your courses in the event of accidental data loss. 

If you prefer to view a video tutorial on the above click here: End of Semester Canvas Tasks (for instructors)

Updating Your Course Between Offerings

You may need a shell to revise your course. The concluded teaching shell is not the ideal place for those changes, and you may not yet have the teaching shell for the future course CRN. That’s why a Development Shell is useful.

A Development Shell gives you a safe place to work on your course between course offerings. You can request a Development Shell for every course you teach by calling the 24/7 Helpdesk (1-844-612-7422).

New/Empty Development Shell

If your Development Shell is new/empty, then copy from your teaching shell into that Development Shell. You can then update your Development Shell as you wait for the next teaching shell to become available. 

Old/Outdated Development Shell

If your Development Shell is now outdated (since it was a previous version of your course), and you want it to be an exact copy of your most recent teaching shell, then you’ll need to Reset the Development Shell first, before copying your teaching shell into it.

⚠️Resetting Your Development Shell deletes everything. A red confirmation message will be displayed. Be sure that you are in the correct shell and that you are okay with deleting everything therein.⚠️ (To Reset: Settings > Reset Course Content)

Once your Development Shell is empty, then copy from your teaching shell into that Development Shell. You can now update your Development Shell as you wait for the next teaching shell to become available.

For a link to a Google Doc with this instructions click here: Concluding Your Canvas Course
Thank you to Katie Palacios, Instructional Designer, for this document.

Canvas Hack:
Validate Links and Check Accessibility

from Patti Manley

Haven’t we all experienced - we add links to our pages, or links to a file and that one student will email that the link doesn’t work.  This often happens when we copy courses or YouTube videos or website links are no longer valid.
  • Before you copy a course (or even after) go to the “settings page” in the Course Shell and on the right hand side menu select “Validate Links in Content.” 
  • Canvas will automatically check all the links in your course to see if they are working.
  • It checks external and internal links such as links to files or other pages in Canvas.   
I just checked my development  course shell and found 8 links that we no longer valid. Fixing them now will save me so much time later.

Also remember you can check “accessibility” on each page.  
  • If you create a page or want to check your existing page while in the “edit mode”  near the top right above the text box there's a man standing inside a circle. 
  • Select that and you can check your page for accessibility.

Ongoing PD Opportunities

Image by manuel ramirez from Pixabay 
Miramar and SDCCD



Please take a moment to complete this one-question survey on your PD needs for online teaching:

Monday, May 18, 2020

Week 15, Spring 2020

Canvas Hack: What to do when it's over

Well, this semester has been a wild ride! While all those annoying ads pitched ideas for "what to do with all your free time at home," we were rewriting and rethinking assignments and student interactions week by week.

But we made it. It's all over but the finals. So, now what?

 About this time of the semester, when the tsunamis of final papers come crashing in, I start thinking about next year. (I know. I'm working on it.) 

Here's how I'm easing out of the semester and setting myself up for a less eventful fall:

Give students a great sendoff. I'm sending a "you did it!" email and exit assignment to remind students they just did something rather heroic. Their world shifted sideways halfway through the term, and they had to make sense of coursework that suddenly seemed to be a distant clamor. They may feel like they just dragged through, or didn't do their best work, but they made it. Reframe & celebrate. 

Capture my best stuff. Before I purge my emails and archive my Canvas shell, I'm going to save those announcements, witty comments on assignments, student feedback on what worked and what didn't. Cut and paste! (By the time I'm  pulling my fall syllabus together, these will be a haze of fond memories spread across multiple Canvas shells. I'm pulling it together now, as it's still happening.)

Note it/Tweak it.
You know those times during the semester when something's going really, really well (or really, really awful) and you think, "If only we could---" When I get the uncontrollable urge to plan next semester while this one's still going--I start a page in my Canvas development shell called "Notes."

Lose this reading. Put a link to info about X in this module. Revise this rubric ("reply" = "peer review"). Move this unit up to Week 3. Rewrite these assignment instructions.  Find that clip from the movie mentioned in that podcast.

*Note: If I find my self actually creating materials instead of grading finals, I know I've gone too far.

Make a copy of the gradebook. 

Watch  ScaredSenseless? Tips for Calming Students in Online Courses, a webinar that gives surprisingly practical things to do before, during, and after the semester to make your remote class less stressful for students.

One-Question Survey

Please complete the survey below to help us plan future professional learning experiences for you:

Links and Resources

Have you enrolled in the Mental Health Counseling Team's new Canvas Shell?

Go2Knowledge Online Database for Professonal Development is available (create a free account and use discount code miramar20 to order live webinars.

Highly recommend: The Mixtape: Deep Teaching Online beyond Zoom and Teach like a YouTuber: Off-Camera Online Teaching Options

Upcoming Webinars: 

FAST Track Guides on Motivation, from Dr. Linda Lee, Professor Emeritus of English

5 Myths About Remote Teaching in the COVID-19 Crisis

Have you registered for the free Online Teaching Conference? It's June 17-19, and the Agenda of presentations looks amazing!

CanvasCon Online is completely free as well. Register now and save the date for October 15, 2020.