iLearn runs on software called Canvas. There is extensive documentation at the official canvas site. We've tried to assemble the most useful resources here.
We refer to the "online classes" in general as iLearn, and access it at the URL ilearn.gavilan.edu. All online classes and supporting material will be using it.
Remember that we're here to help, and you can always contact someone in the Distance Ed department by emailing email@example.com. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions!
General iLearn Useage
How do I arrange my dashboard? / How do I see older classes? / See fewer classes?
The dashboard can be viewed as "cards" or as "recent activity".
To change your Dashboard view, click the Options menu and select your preferred viewing option.
To choose which courses appear on your dashboard, click on COURSES.
In Global Navigation, click the Courses link , then click the All Courses link .
To add a course to the Dashboard, click the star next to a course . Courses with filled stars show the course is a favorite .
In the Dashboard, any courses you have with an instructor role will be listed first, followed by TA roles and any other custom instructor-based roles. Your courses with student roles are listed last.
Note: After you have manually favorited at least one course, Canvas automatically favorites any new published course enrollments for you.
Show me a basic overview of an iLearn course home page
The Course Home Page involves Course Navigation , the content area , and the sidebar .
Note: If you view Canvas with a smaller screen, any sidebar content will align with the bottom of the page.
The Course Home Page is viewed from the Course Navigation Home link.
Course Navigation includes links that help you and your students get to specific locations in the course. As an instructor, you can customize what links are shown in your course. Learn more about the Course Navigation menu.
To expand or collapse the Course Navigation Menu, click the Menu icon.
Home Page content (and all Canvas content) is displayed in the content area.
The content can be a page, the syllabus, discussions, announcements, quizzes, or imported content as set by your Course Activity Stream.
The Home Page content also defines what sections display in the sidebar.
Breadcrumbs appear above the course content area.
As you view course content from your Home Page, the breadcrumbs leave a trail to show where you are inside the course. You can follow these links backward to visit prior course content.
The sidebar functions the same as the Dashboard sidebar but only shows content for the specific course and includes additional options.
The top of the sidebar  contains course tools for managing your course.
The bottom of the sidebar  includes the To Do list, in addition to other sections depending on the layout you set for the Course Home Page.
In the course tools section of the sidebar, you can manage your Course Home Page in addition to view other helpful links for your course.
To change the course home page layout, click the Choose Home Page link .
If your course Home Page displays a page other than the Course Activity Stream, view recent activity by clicking the View Course Stream link . Recent activity displays all recent activity and events in the course for assignments, announcements, discussions, and conversations. When the Home Page is set as the Course Activity Stream, this button will not appear.
If your sidebar includes the Course Setup Checklist link , you can view a list of checklist items to help populate your course. Note: If you cannot view the Course Setup Checklist link, your institution has enabled the Canvas course setup tutorial instead.
To make a new announcement, click the New Announcement link .
To view your Canvas course using a test student, click the Student View link .
Once you have published your course and students have started to participate in the course, you may be able to access analytics for your course with the View Course Analytics link .
The sidebar always shows the To Do section , which shows all items that require grading in Canvas, regardless of due date. Each item in the To Do list displays the assignment name, the number of points, and the due date for the assignment. Some assignments may display multiple due dates. Items remain in this section for four weeks. However, assignments that are not graded or do not require an online submission only display until the due date.
The sidebar can also include a variety of other sections , depending on the layout of your Course Home Page. Additional sidebar options include Coming Up or the Assignment list, Calendar and Assignment Groups, and Recent Feedback.
How do i upload a file to a course?
In Course Navigation, click the Files link.
Click the Upload button.
Click the title of the file you want to upload  and click the Open button .
Upload Files via Drag and Drop
Some web browsers contain a unique feature that allows the user to add to files by simply dragging and dropping the files from a file window directly into the Canvas file repository. Click the title of the file you wish to add  and drag the file to your open browser . Your file will automatically upload.
How do I create a new page in a course?
See the documentation on Pages in canvas.
How can I make a “Calender Event” without having an assignment due date?
To make a calendar item, or “event”, you’ll go to the calendar, on the main left hand sidebar:
and then click the '+' to make a new event.
This will make an item that shows up on their calendar. So just name it
something like 'Deadline for Opium Discussion postings' or something
- make an 'Event'.... there is a tab for 'assignment', but don't use that.
It'll make an actual, graded assignment. You probably don't want that.
- You want to choose the class that your new event applies to.
That last item, named 'Calendar'... choose the correct class there. Those will be the people who see this event on their calendar.
Does iLearn have voice recording capability?
Tags: multimedia, studio, esl
I would like to record a question and have students record their verbal responses for me to listen to.
I haven't finished this document! Please remind Peter to finish!
How do I use iLearn to take attendance?
The Attendance Tool lets you take a roll call for a live, in-person class.
Step 1: Add the tool to your class
- Start on the Modules list, and add a new item to a module.
- Choose External Tool, and then Attendance.
- Click on Add Item.
The tool has now been added to your class. You can choose to leave it hidden (unpublished) since you should be the only person using it.
Step 2: Use the Attendance Tool to take roll
- At the beginning of a class session, log into your iLearn class and click on the Attendance tool.
- You should see that it is set to today's date, and there is a list of students.
- You can change the date if needed.
- Take roll normally. For each student, click on the "universal NO symbol" next to their name. Each click will cycle through the following states:
- No data
- Everything is saved each time you click. When you are done, you can leave the page at any time.
Step 3: Creating a report of attendance
- When you need to see all the data you've gathered, click on the Attendance Report.
- Click on the little Gear / Settings icon in the upper right corner of the tool.
- Choose Attendance Report.
- Choose the dates that you'd like to report on, and confirm your email address is showing.
- Click Run Report.
Step 4: What the report looks like
- The report will be emailed to you. Click the link to download it and open it in Excel.
- It will have a line for each entry you've made, on each day covered.
I heard about something called Zoombombing.
Concerned about the new "Zoombombing" trend? Check out Rio Hondo's guide to proofing your class.
To avoid any risk of this, open your ConferZoom account settings page and change the following
- Join before host – OFF
- Mute participants upon entry – ON
- Private chat – OFF
- File transfer – OFF
- Allow host to put attendee on hold – ON
- Screen sharing – ON with “Host Only”
- Disable desktop/screen share for users – ON
- Annotation – OFF
- Remote control – OFF
- Allow removed participants to rejoin – OFF
- Waiting room – ON
Assignments and Grading
How do I set up a Turn It In (Turnitin) assignment?
http://www.gavilan.edu/staff/tlc/canvas_help/turnitin.php (TODO: update it)
Can I hide my grades until I'm done grading everone?
Yes, this used to be called "Mute" (your grades). Now they call it a "Grade Posting Policy".
The Grade Posting Policy controls how grades will be made available to students in the Gradebook.
Assignments that should be hidden before grades are assigned can be set with the Grade Posting Policy menu option . In the policy window, select the Manually Post Grades option . Then click the Save button . The word Manual displays indicating the assignment’s visibility in the assignment column, and grades will be hidden to students .
My students are using Google Docs / Office 365 / Apple pages and they need to upload a file to turn in an assignment.
Your student will need to "EXPORT" the assignment as a .docx
file, and then turn in that file.
How do I give extra credit in iLearn?
On any assignment, you can award more points than the assignment is worth.
So, you could give higher points on any existing assignment, or, to create a dedicated “Extra Credit” column in the gradebook, create an assignment, worth 0 points. Any points you award there will be extra credit.
iLearn Studio for Recording Video or Screencasting
Tell me about iLearn Studio
You can download a printable cheatsheet / quickstart for Studio.
The link to Studio should always be visible on the left-hand navigation. From here you can:
● See all your videos
● Record a new one
● Upload a video file from your computer.
1. Begin by clicking the Studio link in the main iLearn navigation. (On the left-hand-side)
2. Click the Record icon.
(If you've already recorded a video elsewhere, you can click the Add button)
3. Screen Capture will make a recording of your screen. Use it if you want to, for example, narrate a Powerpoint presentation.
Webcam will record video (of you) using the camera.
Follow the prompts to begin recording and stopping.
This is the Screen Capture. It will record a portion of your screen, in any program you wish to run. You can adjust the dotted box to the area you want to record.
4. Once the video is recorded, you'll want to insert it somewhere into the iLearn course. We recommend making a Page and putting the video there.
5. The standard editor has a small, blue V icon. Click that, and choose Studio to choose a video to include.
6. Go to the video's page and the Captions tag. Click the Request button. Return in 24 hours and edit/post the captions.
How do I make a "Video Quiz" with Studio?
Step 1: Make a video.
Accomodations, Accessibility & Section 508
Is there any way to quickly check accessibility compliance?
Yes, the "RICH TEXT EDITOR", the standard text editor used all over iLearn, has a button that will do a basic check on the page (or forum, or assignment) that you're editing.
This is the icon:
Clicking on this button will bring up any issues with accessibility:
In this example, the table requires a summary (caption) and detail of what are the headers (columns or rows, or both)
If you answer each question (and click APPLY at each step) then you should be assured that the page is accessible / 508 compliant.
How do I give a student extra time? Make another accommodation?
You'll want to go to the page of the quiz itself, and look for the "MODERATE THIS QUIZ" link on the right hand side of the quiz's page.
Please note that the quiz must be PUBLISHED in order to see this button.
Now you can find the person who you'd like to give extra time or attempts, and click the PENCIL ICON near their name:
At this point you can give someone extra time to complete the quiz.
Note that you are typing in EXTRA TIME -- not their new total time.
One other thing to notice is that you can use the checkboxes to adjust multiple students at once:
For further instructions, please see the Canvas documentation for "Moderate Quiz".
How do I make alternative formats of my files?
We now have software installed, Ally, which will automatically convert the files in your course to a variety of formats. This helps students who need a more accessible format, as well as any students who want a more convenient format.
This process is transparent to instructors. Any files will show this "Alternative Formats" menu:
You and your students can download the file in any one of the following formats:
HTML - as a basic web page.
PDF - as a PDF (portable document format) which is compatible with almost all computers and devices.
ePub - as an ebook, suitable for your kindle or other ebook reader.
Electronic Braille - as a BRF file, which will work on an electronic braille display.
Audio - as an mp3 audio file.
Beeline reader - in an app designed to be faster and simpler to read.
You can read more information about Ally, the software that provides these, at their website.
Course Management and Addons
How can I get an overview, or see who is missing / lagging / struggling, in my iLearn course?
Seeing an overview of your class: who is present, who is understanding, or who is lost, is a crucial part of teaching, and a difficult one when teaching online. Here are some ways to accomplish this in iLearn.
What iLearn provides to "Look out at the faces”
1 – This is the PEOPLE tab. You’ve probably used it to see the students in your course. Be aware of:
- Last Activity column: When was the student last seen? If anyone is gone for over a week, that’s a red flag.
- Total Activity: a rough estimate of how many hours/minutes/seconds the student has spent with the class’s website open. Note that due to the nature of the web, it is hard to rely on this number. You may want to distrust the larger numbers. The smaller numbers should be more accurate.
Clicking on a student name will show this:
An overview of their performance / activity. You can quickly see their score, missing or late assignments, and some other “relative ranking” of their activity in the online classs shell.
2 – This is the GRADES tab.
Depending on how much you use iLearn, you may already be familiar with this screen.
Something in particular to be aware of is:
- This option to MESSAGE STUDENTS WHO have a grade below a certain threshold. This is available for any of the columns in the gradebook. It is another way to check in or check up with students.
- Note that under the same menu is SORT BY … so that you can see another sort of “relative ranking” per assignment if you wish to.
3 – From the homepage, there is a VIEW COURSE ANALYTICS tab.
This screen shows an overview of the whole class’s performance. Activity, turn-ins, and grades are visible.
Note that you can click on the individual names of students, and see the same sort of visual overview of an individual student. This is easier to absorb than a long row in a gradebook, and shows you trends over time.
4 – And Finally... Remember that there is no substitute for communication. Ask your students how they are doing.
Ask them how you are doing.
Check in on a regular basis – weekly or semi-weekly – and ask these questions.
What about this situation is challenging you? Are you able to find time to do the work? Do you find you have more time? Or less time available for class? Is technology working out for you?
How do I change my iLearn course’s effective dates?
Go to the SETTINGS page for your course. One of the first options is a begin and ending date. Go ahead and adjust those.
One more thing: check this box below the dates:
How do I know when my course is visible? / Can I change the dates?
Two things need to happen for your course to be visible.
- You must publish the course for it to be visible.
Students can't see your course unless you publish it. Nobody else can do it for you, because we don't know whether or not you are using your iLearn shell.
- The semester must be in session.
On the first day of the semester, the published shells become visible to students. This means that you can publish your course before the semester starts, and it will become visible on the first day of the semester.
You can give students early access by going into your course's settings page and setting your own dates. These will override our default dates for the semester. Note that although you can let your students see material, they won't be allowed to turn in or participate until the official semester start date.
Can I request that [some LTI or App] be added to iLearn
Yes, absolutely. The school has a few guidelines about what’s allowed, and the different levels of privacy. Check out the firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
I’ve reached the File Storage Limit on my shell. Can you increase it?
Definitely. Please email email@example.com and let us know the section number.
Do be aware that if you’re uploading mp4 files, or videos to your files area, we’d really prefer if you used iLearn Studio to do that. It has unlimited storage space and is a better streaming experience for students.
I want to start working on next semester's shells / I want a new blank shell
Empty course shells are generated a month or two before a semester begins. They will appear automatically on your dashboard. At that point you can create content and/or copy material in from another course.
If you want to get started earlier than that, we’re happy to create a shell for you to practice in, develop a future class, maintain a club or group, or any other school-related reason. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us:
- What it should be called
- Who to put as “teachers” (including their G numbers)
I want to copy my old course content into my new course shell
Once you have requested your new shell or it appears on your dashboard, you can go ahead and copy any older content into that shell form a previous semester. Working from within the new course shell, follow along with these instructions.
Make a note to change, edit or delete dates, duplications of modules or activities and the publish/visibility status of the following:
- Assignments and quizzes (look under your assignments)
Make sure that you preview all changes BEFORE your class goes live. This is best done by using "student view".
You can also copy specific content only, instead of importing the whole class.
What do I need to know to begin the semester? / Checklist
Semester Start Checklist
- Check due dates and events on the Calendar.
- Add your syllabus. Hint: you can use the syllabus tool, or upload your pdf or doc version.
- Simplify course navigation. Hide any links that are unnecessary.
- Do any cross-listing (or ask us to do it)
- Verify students in the People link.
- Publish course and all content. Check visibility of individual items and Modules as a whole.
- Review course in student view - double-check that everything looks the way you intend.
- Review your notifications preferences, to make sure you're getting the email alerts you desire.
- Set up grades. Verify the gradebook is arranged according to your grading policy and syllabus.
- Set a profile Pic.
- Check your course start date. If you don't want to use the default semester start date, you can change it in the Settings.
I need access to a previous / old course shell
Go ahead and email us at email@example.com
Please let us know as much as you know about the shell:
- What semester or year you offered it
- What the class code was
- CRN if possible.
We generally have courses going back many, many years, but we need something to go on!
"Ohh… like 4 years ago, a math class…." -> makes it very hard to find.
How do I email my students before the semester starts?
Please email us! Coming soon.
How do I add my Faculty Evaluator to a course?
If it is your turn to get an instructor evaluation this semester, you'll need to add your Trained Faculty Observer (TFO) to your shell.
The steps are as follows, (or watch the video demonstration):
- Go to ilearn.gavilan.edu -- your ilearn dashboard, and click on the class that you'd like to add the Evaluator to.
- Click the People link
- Click the + People button (upper right)
- Enter the (official Gavilan) email address of the Faculty/Peer Evaluator (or Dean) that you'd like to grant access to this course.
- Under the Role pop-up menu, confirm that you're adding them as a Student. If you want to give them full access, choose Teacher here. But we typically use Student role.
- Click Next -- the system should find that person. If it didn't, double-check their email address, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask us to look into it.
- If there's multiple entries, choose the one with an "Institution" of "Gavilan College".
- Click Next. They should receive their invitation shortly.
Iniatiaves and Programs that can help us
What is CVC and POCR?
CVC, or California Virtual Campus, formerly known as (OEI, or Online Education Initiative) - is a State of California Consortium we are a part of. It aims to allow students to access a searchable website of all online courses at California Community Colleges and to "cross-enroll" into them at other schools, when their local options are full.
The ultimate goal is to be completely integrated into the registration system (Self Service Banner, for us) and will show online alternatives and allow them to register right then and there. However, the current state still requires the student to apply at the remote college in some cases. Gavilan is currently in phase one of two in becoming a college where students can seamlessly enroll. You can access the CVC website here.
When instructors successful complete Peer Online Course Review (POCR) and get awarded the “Quality Reviewed” badge for their course, that class will always float to the top of any search. Check out our local POCR process.
OER Upcoming webinars and other resources from statewide academic senate
Tags: senate, webinar, oer, flex, copyright, fairuse, creativecommons, equity, textbooks
I have a free / open source / OER textbook. How do I actually get it to students?
The answer can vary depending on the format of the book, but usually, you’ll have it as a PDF and you can just upload it to FILES and link to it in your MODULES list.
Resources, Events, Tips and other Goodies
What are some ways to accomplish substantive interaction or effective contact with students?
Tags: effective contact, substantive interaction, activities, tips
My top 5 would be:
- Discussion forum - biweekly - require participation (kinda played out)
- Pair 'n share - students form pairs or triples, collaborate on a google slides document, and prepare a presentation that either covers a recent chapter or dives deeper into a side topic of interest. Optional to record it (with canvas studio) or just turn in the slide deck. Stretch it out over a month to include partner picking, topic picking, outline, due date/presentation, comments and feedback.
- In General: Do prompt feedback that addresses students' misconceptions. This could be on assignments, in forums, or in messages, but just be present enough that you can catch and correct mistakes and misconceptions.
- Use canvas studio to record a course welcome for day 1, and intros to the units or chapters afterwards. Can just be a screencast. Use canvas studio to let them post questions on the video's timeline and answer them promptly.
- Host a debate: form groups of 4-5, one pro, one con for each topic. So the class might have 4 or 5 topics with 2 groups per topic. Host multiple "rounds" of back and forth, ... rebuttals due every friday. Afterwards hold a class vote on each topic.
- Bonus - concept mapping. In groups or solo, students summarize the topics into a visual map. Include feedback and discussion.
There's a lot of possibilities of course. But basically, the theme is to host and participate in real interaction.
Contact students based on their course grade or performance
Tags: messaging, effective contact, equity, tips, pedagogy
To open New Analytics, click the New Analytics link in Course Navigation  or click the New Analytics button in the Course Home Page .
Note: If you cannot view the New Analytics link, you may have to make the link visible via the Navigation tab in Course Settings.
Open Course Grade Analytics
To view course grade analytics, click the Analytics drop-down menu  and select the Course Grade option .
Message recipients are automatically populated based on selected criterion as well as any applied filters.
If you want to filter analytics for a specific assignment, section, or student, search for and select the intended filter in the Filter field . Then click the Message icon .
The Message Students Who window defaults to the Score Range criterion , which allows you to message students based on a specific current grade percentage range in the course.
The Range field determines the specified percentage range , and the BCC field displays the number of students who fall within the specified range . By default, the Range field displays 0 to 100%, so the BCC field includes all students in the course. Additionally, any filters in the analytics page automatically display as an intended recipient for the message. If no filters have been applied, the message displays as being sent to all sections.
To select a new range, enter the minimum and maximum current grade percentage in the percentage fields . The BCC field displays the updated number of students and/or sections who have grade percentages within the specified range .
The Missing and Late criteria options do not include any additional criterion. Selected students are based on submission status, and the number of affected students displays in the BCC field. Again, any filters included in the analytics page also display as intended recipients.
For any criterion, you can manage the users who will be sent the message, if needed. Click the link that includes the number of students , then view the expanded BCC field .
To remove a student from the message, click the student's Remove icon .
To reset student names back to the originally specified list, click the Reset Names link.
In the Subject field , enter a subject for your message.
In the Message field , enter the description of your message.
Click the Send button .
How can I increase the ‘Engagement’ or interaction of my online class?
Tags: substantive interaction, contact, interactive, tips, pedagogy
10 Proven Tips for Increasing Engagement in your Online Class
- Schedule at least one face to face meeting to help the group ‘gel’
Instructors consistently report that classes perform better when everyone has met each other and the teacher, even just once at the beginning of the semester.
It should be optional, since a class coded as ‘online’ can’t require a face to face meeting.
- Strike a balance when responding to discussion forums (a)
Participate too little, and students feel abandoned or ignored. Good discussions, just like in-person, can be delicate and might not ever get off the ground. There’s a balance between responding too much and making it feel like 20 different conversations between you and students, and responding too little and making it feel like nobody’s watching.
- Give prompt feedback. Respond within 24 hours. (b)
Research and student reports are very consistent with this. The quicker the feedback, the more involved the student feels, and the better chance for learning there is. This doesn’t mean that you have to be online 24 hours a day, but it does mean you need to check in at least every 24 hours. And preferably every 12 hours.
- Practice with the online environment before the semester starts, and decide which parts to use/focus on. And don’t let the rest distract you.
- Set a positive, enthusiastic tone, starting on day 1.
Just as your enthusiasm and tone will set the standard in a traditional class, your online tone (whether through writing, pictures, audio or video) will set the mood in the online class. It may be even more important, since we lack the face to face contact of a traditional class.
- Gateway assignments (c)
iLearn gives you a chance to say “Activity X isn’t available until you complete Activity Y…” There’s a few ways you can use this to your advantage:
- Require the lecture before the quiz/assignment
- Require a survey be taken before the lecture/assignment
- Require a pre-quiz -> lesson -> post-quiz
- Use multiple modes/media. Text. Audio. Graphics. And Video. (d)
Your students prefer a variety of presentation modes. Some prefer reading text, while some like the freedom of audio. Others are most at home with video. Everyone’s tastes and strengths will vary, and the topic will usually have an “ideal format” as well.
With this in mind, try to create a variety of material, with some overlap between them. This presents a more interesting class to the students and gives everyone a fair chance to be in their preferred mode. The majority of your lecture/presentation material will probably be dictated by the course’s topic and your own preferences. However, as your material grows, do try to push beyond your comfort levels with creating new and different materials.
- Use frequent quizzes as reinforcement learning rather than evaluation. (e) and (f)
With the simplicity of multiple-choice questions that are automatically graded, it is tempting to use them everywhere, especially if the textbook publisher is providing a question bank. However, you may want to look at shorter, weekly quizzes as another learning tool, rather than assessment. With a little more effort, you can give feedback for each correct and incorrect choice. This gives you a chance to give the student not just a score, but customized help based on their precise misconception.
Although it’s more labor intensive to begin with, these feedback quizzes are quite powerful tools to catch and correct student mistakes earlier rather than later.
- Look at your course and ask: When a student arrives, can they immediately answer the question “So what should I do now?”
Not every student will arrive at the class homepage and be able to get their bearings right away. Some will be in an online class for the first time, and won’t have the experience to determine what is important versus what is secondary. With these students in mind, look at your course homepage with an “innocent” eye (or ask someone with fresh eyes) and see what stands out as the most important thing, or the most attention-getting thing. Most importantly, can someone seeing your course for the first time answer the questions “Okay, what do I do now?”
- Evaluate your class using the OEI Rubric.
Help moving science lab courses online
by Heather R. Taft, Colorado State University Global (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
by Jennifer Herzog, Herkimer College, and Mary Mawn, SUNY Empire State College (American Society for Microbiology)