Faculty Share: Ms. Knapp at San Jose State University

Today, we hear from Stacey Knapp as part of our Faculty Share series. Ms. Knapp is a Lecturer at San Jose State University.

Please speak to the importance of the LMS in your teaching.
I have moved my entire teaching world into the LMS. It has become the backbone of everything I do. From the Gradebook to discussion forums, my students and I depend on Canvas. Even though I have a student centered pedagogy, I count on the tools of the LMS every day.

How do you use the LMS?  What are the LMS features you use and find crucial?
I have tried many LMS systems and Canvas is the only system that I have found to be truly useful. Outcomes, Gradebook, discussions, Collaborative tools and speed grader are all absolutely essential to my teaching.

Do you use the LMS to teach all your courses, or a few?
All of my courses.

Do you access the LMS using a mobile device? If so, for what purposes?
Occasionally, to adjust assignments, if needed, when I am away from my desk.

Have you tried using the gradebook in any way other than keeping grades? Are there other features for which you find new uses?
To track low performing students and contact them.

Is there a particular use of the LMS you’re personally proud of?
I have invested 100s of hours building the sequenced, student-centered interface with the goal of creating a clear, easy-to-navigate architecture. The process was by no means easy, and I learned mostly through my mistakes. At first I overloading the LMS with too much information, creating confusion for students. The solution to this was to create a digital study guide that I now use in tandem with the LMS. The study guide includes my mini-lessons, video lectures, and activities. By removing the bulk of my teaching materials from the LMS, the space now works more like a virtual classroom—a place to go for peer-to-peer discussions, to access learning resources, to turn in your work and see how well you did on your work.

I am also proud of my recent project, which is to apply Student Learning Outcomes aligned rubrics to required assignments. This feature better serves students by making grading criterion more transparent (and aligned with course goals) but also helps me write my annual GE assessment reports because the Outcomes tool gathers all of the statistical data. My goal is to share these rubrics with other faculty who are teaching this course. One of my favorite Canvas teaching tools is the “peer review”  (graded) discussion forums where students help each other improve writing. They post their drafts in a small group discussion forum, then read each others’ work and write a “compliment sandwich” that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of their peers’ submissions.

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Article by: Stacey Knapp