Meet the Canvas team: Outreach conversion
During three semesters, the 17-member Outreach Conversion team helped transition 429 World Campus courses from ANGEL to Canvas, and they continue to closely monitor how faculty and students are adapting to the new Learning Management System (LMS).
Those 429 courses are about one-third of all World Campus courses. The other 700 were moved to Canvas by other instructional design areas.
“It’s been a huge team effort,” said Rick Shearer, director of LMS conversion for World Campus Learning Design and co-chair of the team.
Team members represent different areas of World Campus, bringing multiple perspectives to their focus on the transition to Canvas. The team moved its focus from transition to implementation last October.
“It has become more of an operations focus, as we continue to look at how things are going, if there’s additional trainings that we need to do for the faculty,” Shearer explained.
Even though the team is in more of an operations mode this semester, a lot of work is still being done to make sure Penn State World Campus faculty and students are happy with the new LMS.
As team lead, Shearer facilitates bi-weekly meetings, where he and John Butler, user experience consultant for Penn State World Campus Learning Design and project team co-chair, create an agenda with information from five other Canvas project team meetings they attend on a weekly basis.
Another new initiative in development is an early warning report for students who have not been logging into their course in Canvas. World Campus Academic Advising will use the information from the report to reach out to those students early in the semester.
“The scope of [the early warning] project will broaden outside of World Campus, but at this point in time, we are just focusing on World Campus,”said.
Another project the team is looking at is how to better share data between the Canvas and Starfish systems in hopes of making things easier for staff and students, according to Dawn Coder, manager of Penn State World Campus Academic Advising.
There have been quite a few accomplishments in the past year in regard to the Canvas transition, Shearer said. A lot of communications were shared on training opportunities for faculty and staff and many new processes were put in place during the Canvas rollout.
The team is happy with the improvements that were made in Canvas after the initial pilot semester. Butler said the team has been sharing student feedback with developers. Coder’s role on the team has been to ensure that students’ voices were heard, and she has also been working with disability services and academic advisers so they have the information they need as changes are made during the implementation of Canvas.
While all World Campus courses have been converted, the team still has advice to offer faculty who are coming to Penn State World Campus to teach in Canvas for the first time.
Shearer said, “The biggest single piece of advice is to make sure they attend the faculty training events and peruse the Canvas website for the trainings and videos that Canvas has available.”
(This is the sixth in a series profiling each of 11 Canvas project teams: project governance, project management, training, college/campus conversion, migration/conversion, Outreach conversion, service desk support, Outreach integration, technical integration, marketing/communications, and project finance.)