Activating Student Curiosity

The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a weekly newsletter focusing on effective teaching in Higher Education, entitled “Welcome to Teaching”.

Here is an example of one article that may be of interest to you, which focuses on Activating Students’ Curiosity:

Comments or questions?

Jim O’Connor

Blackboard to Canvas Transition

As has been communicated in previous announcements, TUC and TUN will begin to transition from Blackboard to Canvas as the TCUS Learning Management System (LMS).  Blackboard will still be available for instructors to access courses and necessary content information until June 30, 2019.  To help facilitate the transition to Canvas at TUC and TUN, a TWD Transition Task Force (TTF) has been established with Drs. Michael Barbour and Jim O’Connor as co-chairs.

Over the course of the next year, the co-chairs will be responsible for the following general tasks at both TUC and TUN:

  • Dr. Barbour has had significant experience in converting courses from Blackboard to Canvas, as well as in developing the instructional design of courses using both of these LMS’s. He will provide coordination, training support, and general assistance with instructional design. He will also coordinate TWD activities with those of the TCUS transition team.
  • In his dual roles as co-chair of TTF and as TWD Director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Dr. O’Connor will work with faculty of TUC and TUN to introduce new pedagogical approaches and the preparation of enhanced learning materials using Canvas as a LMS.
  • The co-chairs and the TTF members will also plan and coordinate training and create timelines for transition activities with college and school Canvas champions on both campuses.

In addition to the TTF, there will be a group of Canvas champions that will be designated in various colleges, schools, and programs at TUC and TUN.  The champions will act as points of contact for their respective units, and will also be responsible for the following:

  • Attending regular Champion meetings via Zoom;
  • Attending a one to two day Canvas training in May/June (dates and times TBD);
  • Assisting faculty with the use of Canvas in their respective programs;
  • Sharing pertinent Canvas related information with faculty, students, and staff in their respective programs; and
  • Reporting any issues and/or challenges regarding Canvas to the transition task force.

The deans will identify individuals to serve as college Canvas champions. During the Summer and Fall semesters, Canvas workshops offered will target outreach to TUC and TUN faculty and students. The transition task force and the local champions will work collaboratively with the TCUS Instructional Technology Canvas team to design, and conduct trainings for both students and faculty.  Workshops/trainings will be offered in the following formats:

  • Synchronous sessions via Zoom and in-person;
  • Self-paced orientation and training courses available in Canvas;
  • Asynchronous exploration of the Canvas community (guides, Live!, and discussions); and
  • Self-paced Touro-created student and faculty guides.

These training opportunities will be announced shortly.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact Jim O’Connor ( or Michael Barbour ( directly.

Sarah M. Sweitzer, PhD
Provost, CAO
Touro University California

Canvas Training Videos

We have added two new videos to the CILT Canvas Library:

Hiding Courses From Your Dashboard

In this video we describe the process for hiding courses from your dashboard in Canvas.

Using Kaltura To Add Videos

In this video we outline how to upload videos to Kaltura and then embed those videos into a “page” in Canvas.

These two videos are added to the original videos (many of which were made for the CEHS during the Canvas pilot and the CILT branding has been recently added):

Transferring Content From Blackboard to Canvas

In this video we describe the process for exporting content from an existing Blackboard course and importing that content into Canvas.

Exporting Content and Importing it into Another Shell

In this video we describe the process for exporting course content from one Canvas shell and then importing it into another Canvas shell.

How Students Can Update Their Profiles

In this video we provide an overview of how students can update the settings of their profile, add ways for Canvas to contact them, and then update their notification settings.

Change The Course Time Zone

In this video we demonstrate how to change the time zone of each of your courses in Canvas from Eastern to Pacific.

Many of these tasks are also described described in the “How to Use Canvas: A Guide for Instructors” that you should have access to in Canvas. Additionally, these tasks – and many others – are also included in the Canvas Community Guides at

If you have any questions please contact me at

Michael K. Barbour

Initial Canvas Training Schedule for Touro University California

Please bring your laptop to any of these sessions that you plan to attend.

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Tuesday, 12 June 201 at 10:00am-11:00am (Library Annex 112)

Open Session
Thursday, 14 June 2018 at 10:00am-11:00am (Library Annex 118)

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Tuesday, 19 June 2018 at noon-1:00pm (Library Annex 112)

Open Session
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 at 9:30am-10:30am (Library Annex 118)

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Monday, 25 June 2018 at 10:00am-11:00am (Library Annex 118)

Open Session
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 at 10:00am-11:00am (Library Annex 112)

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 at 11:00am-noon (Library Annex 112)

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Wednesday, 11 July 2018 at 10:00am-11:00am (Library Annex 112)

Open Session
Thursday, 12 July 2018 at 1:00pm-2:00pm (Library Annex 118)

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Monday, 16 July 2018 at 10:30am-11:30am (Library Annex 118)

Open Session
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 at 2:00pm-3:00pm (Library Annex 112)

Introduction to Designing Course Content
Tueday, 31 July 201810:00am-11:00am (Library Annex 118)

Open Session
Wednesday, 01 August 2018 at 1:00pm-2:00pm (Library Annex 118)

Introduction to Designing Course Content – An overview of the main functions needed to be able to design course content in Canvas. Functions include creating pages, uploading files, adding links, embedding Kaltura videos, creating assignments, adding quizzes, posting discussions, etc.. Sessions will generally have approximately 45 minutes of guided demonstration and approximately 15 minutes for questions and answers.

Open Session – A session without a formal agenda. This is an open 60-minute session designed to allow faculty to come and have their specific queries related to Canvas answered. Stay for as long or as little as you need.

Please note that the Canvas functions included in these sessions are the same functions described in the “How to Use Canvas: A Guide for Instructors” and the Zoom training sessions provided by the Canvas Project team in New York (see for a complete calendar and to sign up for one of these Zoom sessions).

If you have any questions please contact me at

Michael K. Barbour

Gaining Students’ Attention

One of the important aspects of cognitive processing is attention. Obviously, if we do not initially attend to a stimulus (such as a lecture, powerpoint or other course information) that information will not even make it into short-term memory, let alone move into longterm memory for future retrieval.

Here is a link to an article from UC Berkeley’s Center for Teaching written by Dr. Rita-Marie Conrad.

Feel free to send comments or questions.

Jim O’Connor

Another Canvas Resource

The attached document compares the Blackboard and Canvas features.   In addition to the descriptions, there are links to either documents or videos from the Canvas Community website on how to use each of the features.

Questions or comments, please contact me, or Michael Barbour:

Jim O’Connor

Attachment: Canvas-vs-Blackboard-Comparison.pdf

Video: Transferring Blackboard to Canvas

Below is a video link by Dr. Michael Barbour, which is an overview of transferring a course from BlackBoard to Canvas.

Jim O’Connor

Canvas Training Resources

A variety of training and support resources are available for all instructors and students.

1. Canvas Help:  24/7 chat, email and phone support from Canvas is available for all students and instructors. Canvas helpdesk agents can assist instructors and students with their live courses, answer how-to questions, and troubleshoot any problems. To access Canvas help, click on the Help button on the bottom left of the dark blue navigation bar in Canvas. Note: you must be in your Canvas account to contact Canvas help.

2. General Live Training via Zoom:  Starting in June, Touro Training Team will be offering regularly scheduled general training sessions via Zoom. These sessions will be open to all faculty. You can see all currently schedule training sessions on the Touro Canvas website. Each session will be 1.5 hours – about 45 minutes of presentation and 45 minutes of questions and answers. The following topics will be covered during these training sessions: 

  • accessing and navigating Canvas
  • viewing rosters
  • adding course files,
  • using the Canvas Syllabus
  • adding an Assignment
  • previewing the course as a student
  • making the course available to students
  • messaging students
  • using the course calendar
  • grading assignments with SpeedGrader
  • viewing the Gradebook and student mastery
  • using different course layouts.

These training sessions will be offered multiple times throughout Touro’s transition to Canvas.  To see a schedule of these sessions:

  • go to the TouroOne Portal and under Canvas click on Touro Canvas Website then select Training Calendar, or

3. Self-paced Training Courses in Canvas: All new students and instructors are automatically enrolled in Canvas training courses. These courses will help you get oriented and learn about some of the most commonly used Canvas features.

4. School-specific Training:  The Project Team is working with Touro schools to schedule school-specific live training, either in person or via Zoom. To find out the live training schedule for your school, watch for Canvas training announcements from your school or contact your Dean or Director.

We will be announcing our own local training sessions in the next week or so.

Please note that all of these methods of learning Canvas (i.e., the Zoom sessions from TCUS, the online course in your Canvas dashboard, and the local training sessions that we will be scheduling) will cover roughly the same material, so we encourage you to take advantage of whichever method or methods best suit your own schedule and manner for learning a new tool.

If you have any questions please contact me at

Michael K. Barbour

A Great Resource: Suggestions For Better Pedagogy

The University of Central Florida provides a fantastic resource for those interested in building blended courses called the Blended Learning Toolkit.

This Blended Learning Toolkit is a free, open resource for educational institutions interested in developing or expanding their blended learning initiatives.

The website includes: a blog where people share ideas, a detailed section focusing on the process of building a blended course, model courses, a section on effective practices, evaluation resources, and a section on current research.

Take the time to visit this website for some great ideas as you build-out your courses on Canvas.

Questions or comments are welcome.

Jim O’Connor

Suggestions For Better Pedagogy

Provost Alden forwarded this timely article to me this morning, which I found to contain numerous evidence-based suggestions for improving pedagogy.

As we move from BlackBoard to Canvas, rather than just transferring materials from one student learning platform to another, consider trying out some new practices, such as
those included in this article.

Questions or comments? Feel free to contact me.

Thanks for taking the 10 minutes to read this important document.

Jim O’Connor