On February 28th, FIU co-hosted in conjunction with Canvas a regional edtech conference at the Roz & Cal Kovens Convention Center. The day before the main conference, pre-conference training sessions were available on Canvas basics for instructors and Canvas system administrators. The conference provided over 30 informational sessions with a K-12, HigherEd, Partner/Vendor and Innovation focus.
Key Points of the Keynotes
To kick off the event, Joseph Riquelme (Assistant Vice President, FIU Online) introduced attendees to the distinctive features of FIU Biscayne Bay Campus and to FIU in general. He also provided the Miami visitors with a lighthearted start to the day, dropping well-received hints about Miami culture. Kelvin Thompson (Executive Director, Center for Distributed Learning at University of Central Florida) delivered an energy-filled opening keynote addressing being mindful of the student experience when designing courses in Canvas. Kelvin also promoted TOPcast (Teaching Online Podcast) which discusses online and blended learning topics.
Matt Godwin (Senior Product Manager, Instructure) during the closing keynote provided insights on the future of Canvas and Instructure’s agile product development cycle. One item mentioned was the Canvas Skill for Alexa. Instructors can now inquire how many submissions that are outstanding to grade. In addition, students can now lock their Canvas account on Alexa with a 4 digit PIN, an important feature for those living with roommates.
FIU Online Presents
Three presentation proposals from FIU Online staff were selected for CanvasCon FIU. David Palmer (Associate Director of Instructional Design & Media) and Lergia Olivo (Instructional Design Manager) outlined FIU Online’s Affordability Counts initiative with standing room only. They shared how this program encourages faculty to save students money through the use of Open Education Resources and low-cost required course materials. Learn more by visiting the Affordability Counts website.
FIU Online’s Learning Management System (LMS) and System Support & Development (SSD) teams were selected to offer their insights of using automated processes to create courses and enroll users through integrated software.
Software Engineer Martin Perez opened the presentation discussing FIU Online’s data environment and generally how everything in the system interacts. Then, LMS Administrator Maggie Smith shared FIU’s unique use of Blueprint courses, a new feature to Canvas. Blueprint courses allow admins to easily deploy and update courses using a template across multiple synced course shells. At the end of the presentation, Jason Marchalonis (Application Developer) identified the architecture of FIU’s centralized work flows and integrated tools. He also addressed the capture of system, tool and user analytics.
Toward the end of the day, Maikel Alendy presented “Digital Fairytale, Not Your Everyday Online Course.” Maikel is a Faculty Fellow for FIU Honors College and a FIU Online Senior Instructional Designer. He shared the concept behind the course, pitching it to FIU’s Honor College and its development. Several techniques and valuable resources utilized in his class were provided. Some of these included: ApprenNet/Practice video discussions, Fakebook, PlayPosit, Wix and a variety of social media tools. Also, Maikel provided students the opportunity to volunteer online for United Nations Volunteers, promoting social good activities to impact problems in our world.
Conferences attendees using the hashtag #CanvasCon on Twitter lauded the event. They spoke highly of beauty of FIU Biscayne Bay Campus and expressed their gratitude for FIU hosting an exceptional event.