Why did Santa Monica College adopt Canvas?

Colleges commonly review their Course Management Systems (CMS) on a regular basis. The Distance Education Committee last reviewed eCollege/Pearson Learning Studio in the 2009/ 2010 academic school year. Because Santa Monica College has been with eCollege/Pearson Learning Studio since 1999 and our last review had been 5 years ago, we were overdue for another review. Furthermore, the selection of Canvas, by the California Community College Online Education Initiative (OEI) as its CMS for use by colleges at no cost meant that we had an affordable alternative to eCollege/Pearson Learning Studio. Based on the lengthy and extensive review by the OEI’s Common Course Management System Committee, Canvas can be considered as a high quality alternative to eCollege/Pearson Learning Studio.

On June 6, 2015, the SMC Distance Education Committee unanimously approved a recommendation to adopt Canvas as the CMS for Santa Monica College. Then, on October 20, 2015, the full Academic Senate unanimously endorsed and approved the College’s adoption of Canvas as our CMS.

What does a course site in Canvas look like? How do I get a Canvas shell (aka sandbox)?

You can access a free Canvas account, view videos to see a sample course shell, etc. Click https://canvas.instructure.com/register_from_website and sign up for a free Teacher Account.

Once you fill in your contact details make sure to choose the “Build It” option and NOT the “Try IT” option. If you click the “Try IT” option, you will only be given a 14 day trial period instead of unlimited.

Can this sandbox shell be duped into the SMC Canvas shell once that is established?

Faculty are responsible for exporting and importing their own content as this is will not be handled by the DE Department.  It is easy for faculty to dupe their content from their Canvas sandbox over to the SMC campus shells. For more information on how to do this, refer to the Canvas Central course, located in All Courses, or your Dashboard.

How do I get trained to use the tools in Canvas? What sort of training will be provided about how to use Canvas?

Supplemental training opportunities listed under ‘Canvas Training Opportunities’.

Will Canvas training be mandatory before I can use it? Will there be any sort of Certification process that I have to go through before I can proceed with the conversion of my courses to Canvas?

At this time Canvas training is not mandatory however it is strongly recommended that any faculty teaching online should take a Canvas training in order to learn how to teach on this platform. The platform is highly flexible but very different from the eCollege/Pearson Learning platform. Teaching online without prior experience working in the Canvas platform would be very difficult.

Supplemental training opportunities listed under ‘Canvas Training Opportunities’.

If I’m already using Canvas at another institution will I need to do training through SMC?

No, you do not need additional training thorough SMC. Notify your department chair and the DE department.

Are there any other training resources that might assist in the move to Canvas as our new CMS? (@One, Respondus)

In most cases, simple tests migrated completely from eCollege to Canvas. However, for more complex tests containing images and multimedia, SMC has a site license for a software package called Respondus. This software can be used to export more complex tests and/or test banks from eCollege and into Canvas.

For additional details on using Respondus, go to see the Respondus information located in Canvas Central on your Dashboard within your Canvas page.

What about media storage? How will that work on Canvas?

Moving forward, we encourage all faculty to set up an account with 3CMedia Solutions for all of their video/multimedia needs. 3C Media is like a YouTube for educators. Canvas has limited media storage and so courses that utilize an exceptional amount of multimedia resources will definitely want to store their files at 3C Media.

Once you set up an account at 3C Media with your smc.edu email, contact miller_christine@smc.edu to get added to the 3C Media Santa Monica College Group account. Once that step is completed, you will be able to upload your videos directly to 3C Media and request free captioning for those videos. The turnaround time for getting videos captioned is generally about 1 week, depending on how long it is, the time of the week you requested the captioning, and whether or not you were able to provide a transcript. In order to upload your content to 3CMedia Solutions, it must be in a digital format. If you need assistance getting your content digitized, ​contact miller_christine@smc.edu.

For more information on 3C Media, you can go to Canvas Central or link to the topic by clicking the following link:  https://online.smc.edu/courses/3333/files/406225?module_item_id=73676​

Will there be additional training opportunities for faculty who may be on sabbatical or on leave during the timelines outlined?

Supplemental training opportunities listed under ‘Canvas Training Opportunities’.​​​