New Year, New Ways to Create a Welcoming Course

Thu January 13, 2022

As students regularly engage with digital course materials, it is important to foster a welcoming learning environment online. This includes making courses accessible to all users and providing ways to affirm a learner’s identity. Last November, UDOIT course accessibility checker was introduced and this month NameCoach was integrated into Canvas. 

Below are updates about these and other Learn@UW tools, details on this month’s trainings, reminders for the semester, and resources. Contact the DoIT Help Desk for technical assistance or to schedule a consultation with the Learn@UW–Madison team.

Trainings this Month

Once again, Learn@UW–Madison is delivering a two-week blitz of online training sessions to help instructors prepare for the new semester. Now until 1/21, virtual trainings cover a number of the different centrally supported learning technologies and everyone is welcome to attend. These sessions will be delivered via Zoom and the link to the Zoom room will be included in the confirmation email sent after registration.

Tool Updates

NameCoach in Canvas: Now Integrated with Canvas

NameCoach, which allows people to record their name, is now available through an integration within Canvas. Instructors and students within their course can listen to the recording to learn the correct pronunciation.

In addition to NameCoach, the pronoun feature introduced last year in Canvas helps instructors foster inclusivity. Those who opt to use the pronoun feature are able to display their chosen names and pronouns in Canvas anywhere their legal name appears, such as “Jane Doe (she/her).” Learn more about these new features and the university’s support for such features in this article

Learn@UW–Madison manages the NameCoach integration in Canvas with the DoIT Help Desk providing technical support. Other university partners may consider integrating it with systems they support in the future.

UDOIT: New Tool to Check a Course’s Accessibility 

Introduced in November, the UDOIT course accessibility checker is integrated in Canvas and displayed on the sidebar for most non-student roles. Instructors and course designers can scan an entire Canvas course for accessibility barriers and correct some directly through the tool. UDOIT is short for Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool and pronounced “You do it.”

Technology is an intricate part of most courses and learners using it have a wide variety of characteristics and contexts. Accessibility focuses on making course materials easier for all students to access and understand. 

Zoom in Canvas: Client Update Required 

All UW–Madison Zoom accounts must use a Zoom desktop and mobile application version of 5.6.3 or later. This does not apply to the Zoom web application. Users should check their version and upgrade if needed. For more information please refer to this KnowledgeBase news item.

Pressbooks: User Group Meets on 2/8

The Pressbooks User Group will meet February 8, 2-4pm in Microsoft Teams. During this meeting, Learn@UW–Madison team members will share the latest on Pressbooks and discuss using the tool with Canvas. These user group meetings happen once during the spring, summer, and fall semesters and offer the opportunity to connect with other Pressbooks users on campus. Those interested can join the Pressbooks User Group MS Team. For more information, or help joining, contact learnuwsupport@wisc.edu.

LEAD: Accessing Learning Analytics Made Easy

The Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) is available to auxiliary and supervisory instructors, in addition to principal instructors teaching for-credit courses in Canvas. LEAD is a course-level dashboard that displays roster, grade, and click-stream data from Canvas, Kaltura Mediaspace, and Engage eText. For easiest access to the current dashboard (available at start of the semester) and dashboards from prior semesters, add the Learning Analytics for Instructors Widget to your MyUW page. 

In addition, you can reference the Learn@UW–Madison’s library of learning analytics knowledgebase documents that explain how to use the features of individual tools such as Kaltura MediaSpace, Zoom, Canvas, and Pressbooks to obtain learning analytics.

More information about learning analytics at UW–Madison is available from the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and DoIT Academic Technology.

Syllabus Reminders

Create Digital Syllabus in Canvas

Instructors can easily create a digital syllabus within Canvas using the Course Syllabus (AEFIS) navigation link. The tool provides an editable syllabus template that automatically populates information for a number of required syllabi components, such as course name, credit hours, and formally approved course learning outcomes, while also accommodating section- and instructor-specific details and expectations.

If the Course Syllabus (AEFIS) is not displaying on your Canvas course navigation, go to Settings > Navigation to add it. See this Canvas help document “How do I manage Course Navigation links?” for further guidance.

The university also provides an editable syllabus template in Microsoft Word. Find more information about these syllabus templates, along with more details about course syllabi.

Note Usage of Honolorlock in Syllabus

Honorlock, an automated proctoring service, is available for all UW–Madison credit-based courses and the university provides resources and use case scenarios

For example, the university recommends that an instructor should state explicitly in the syllabus if the tool is used. The use of Honorlock for proctoring is considered a condition of enrollment for all students that register for the course. Because of this, the following should be included in the course syllabus regarding proctoring:

  • A statement that proctoring (remotely or in-person) will be required, and what proctoring service will be used.
  • Clearly stated consequences for failing to use the required proctoring service (e.g., zero on exams, quizzes, etc.).

It is possible that unforeseen circumstances may result in an exam or other testing moving from in-class to online or other virtual option during the course of the semester. To ensure that an instructor can engage the use of Honorlock without a previously established proctoring agreement with students via the syllabus, instructors should insert a statement in the syllabus indicating that it is within the instructor’s discretion to engage the use of Honorlock during the semester if circumstances require it. The recommended spring course syllabus template, which includes this language, can be found on this website

Include Engage eText Information in Syllabi 

It is recommended that instructors using Engage should provide information around the following:

  • How students will be automatically charged through the tuition billing process.
  • How and when to opt-out. 
  • How the tool is intended to be used in the course.
  • Whataccessibility barriers exist with the Engage eReader and how accommodations can be used to mitigate them.

Please review these preparation guides for Engage eTexts and publisher DLTs, including the sample syllabi language. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Resources & Support

Student Tech Modules

Learn@UW–Madison can help students understand how to use supported learning technologies in Canvas with the Student Tech Modules. An instructor can choose which ones to download from Canvas Commons and add to their course as a starting point for communicating with their students. There are Tech Modules available for Kaltura, Honorlock and more.

Consultations & Support

Learn@UW–Madison manages the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies. Our team is available via the DoIT Help Desk to consult on selecting and using the right learning technology to improve student success. The DoIT Help Desk also provides technical support and troubleshooting help for Canvas, Kaltura MediaSpace, AEFIS, UDOIT, Engage, Pressbooks, Atomic Assessments, Turnitin and LEAD. For Honorlock, contact the vendor via email at support@honorlock.com, phone at 844-243-2500, or Honorlock’s chat feature within Canvas. For Top Hat, contact the vendor at support@tophat.com. For Piazza, contact the vendor at team@piazza.com or visit support.piazza.com.