Meet the Canvas team: Outreach integration

Aug 11, 2017 | News

Image of a woman working at a whiteboard on team projects with other developers watching

Jeanette Condo goes over the various integration projects at a recent team meeting.

 

They have been working hard to make the transition to Canvas a smooth one for the Penn State World Campus Learning Design community.

They are the members of the Penn State World Campus Learning Design programming team, who, along with the help of a couple additional programmers, have made it their mission to ensure that the integration of learning tools into the new learning management system (LMS) goes off without a hitch.

One primary responsibility of the team has been to reprogram World Campus Learning Design learning tools to have learning tools interoperability, or LTI, as opposed to acting as stand-alone tools. According to programmer Jeff Rohan, LTI is a standard for external learning tools, which allows programmers to get specific LMS data into their tools.

Manager of programming for Learning Design World Campus Jeanette Condo said this makes it a seamless experience for students. “They don’t realize that the tool they are looking at doesn’t live in Canvas, it looks like everything is right there together,” she said.

The team has been working on a handful of projects during the summer, as Penn State faculty gear up for fall, when Canvas will be the only LMS available to faculty. One project involves support in Canvas for mathematical markup language, or MathML, Condo said. MathML makes the use of mathematical and scientific content on the web easier through integrating equations into web pages and other documents in a structured text format. This tool is especially beneficial for low-vision and blind users who use screen readers.

Condo said her team’s biggest accomplishment during the integration was integrating the World Campus Learning Design content management system (CMS) into Canvas. Along the way, World Campus Learning Design programming logic has become more efficient and simplified as well, said programmer Ryan Anderson.

“We can now utilize the CMS in a centralized location on the server. Similar to the LTIs, this has improved our programming speed and made the system manageable,” Anderson explained.

During this process, things became a lot smoother. Anderson said he believes this helped with the team’s error processing, troubleshooting, and coding. As an added benefit, it helped the programmers work together more efficiently as a team.

Condo said she is glad the Canvas project gave her and her team the opportunity to work more with a variety of departments and colleges throughout the University to help ensure that courses run smoothly in the University’s new LMS.

(This is the ninth 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, marketing/communications, Outreach integration, technical integration, and project finance.)