When Work and School Efforts Help Each Other

If you've attended a college or university in the past ten years, your school uses a Learning Management System (LMS) to house all the course materials, whether your class meets face to face or you take courses completely online. Since returning to school four years ago, I've actually encountered three systems, because the state college used one (PAL), and USF used another (Blackboard), and this semester, one course is in the new LMS, Canvas.

My group project in that class is to create tutorials for the instructors within Canvas, to explain how the new LMS will make their lives easier. Truly, it is a much more user friendly product that what we've used-even we tech savvy students have complained about Blackboard for years. So, since January, we've been learning how to use Canvas and doing tons of research in it to go beyond the traditional 'this is how you do this' experience. Our client wants instructors to know not just how, but WHY this product is a good thing.

For the most part, we jumped on board, my five group mates and me. There are little quirks to Canvas, but we've learned to adapt. For instance, when you're creating a content page, the table tool is very finicky. As a result, we had trouble embedding my videos. Prior to creating the tables, the videos could be resized by the user. Afterwards, the resize button was disabled. This was an issue that several testers had and commented on. We needed to fix this-not only for our project, but to share a work around for the instructors down the road.

This is where work comes in. For the past three weeks, I've been migrating content into Canvas, and getting quite familiar with the navigation. Our professor was rather insistent that this was a big problem and it needed to be fixed. One of my group mates had the answer "just put a statement that it's optimized for Safari in there." Um, no-that is not learner focused. We needed another solution. I suggested creating different content pages for each video, then linking via a hot button. Maybe even a hidden YouTube page, also using a hot button. I knew we could do that, we launch the different modules using that action now.

We had a conference call tonight to figure it out. While in there, I decided to try the one solution. I created a content page, embedded the video, then had each person go launch it.

It worked like a charm.

A month ago, I wouldn't have known this was an option. In less than 5 minutes, I was able to suggest a solution, then jump in and get it to work. Which feels pretty darn awesome.

And that is why I am sitting here now, adding thumbnail images that link to content pages that will later have the videos embedded into them...


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