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Revision as of 15:25, 22 July 2014
Since the big announcement that the main UF campus would be following UF Online into the new Canvas course management system, one of the most common requests we've gotten has been the ability to create non-Registrar course sites automatically the way that you've been able to do with the e-learning system in Sakai. Working hand-in-hand with our partners in Enterprise Systems, today we're pleased to report that you can now request your very own course sites in Canvas, 24 hours a day, every day of the week and have them ready to use in about an hour.
How is this different than sandboxes? Or development shells?
The big difference centers around the purpose of your site. Sandboxes, which you've been able to request for a few months now, are designed to give you a personal course site that you can use to play around with the system and try new things without worrying that you'll mess your course site up while you're learning. Development shells were implemented so that you could have a place to start developing your official University of Florida course sites even before you had an official section number through the University Registrar. These new shells are designed to host the kind of content that you're used to hosting in the e-Learning system in Sakai, like orientation programs or training seminars.
How do I request one of these course sites?
The process for requesting a course site is almost exactly what you've come to expect with the existing e-Learning system in Sakai. Simply point your browser over to the main Learning Support Services web site:
...and click on the Instructor e-Learning course request. This is the form where you would normally request your official University of Florida course site. In this case, we're interested in a non-Registrar course site, so go ahead and click on "Non-registrar Course Request Form" at the top of the page.
[image of button]
For the moment, Sakai is still the default system for course requests. This is because most of our faculty members are still in the process of learning the new system and prefer to stay in the existing e-Learning system in Sakai. To request a Canvas course site, click on the drop-down list and change it from "Sakai" to "Canvas". The form will change slightly and give you some new options.
[shot of Canvas non-reg form]
In the previous e-Learning system in Sakai, we didn't really categorize types of course sites. With Canvas, in order to create your course site and work with reporting/tracking processes we're setting up, we'll ask you to give us a bit of information about your course site. By default the form will present you with options for a Personal Sandbox, the most common type of Canvas shell that our users are requesting. If you open up the drop-down list for "Type of Shell", you should see some new options.
[screenshot of options]
To help you make sense of the options, here's a brief description of each one:
- Extension. Any external public-facing seminar or training session. If you're hosting a seminar or are teaching an IFAS extension course, this is the option that you're looking for.
- Project Site. An internal site used for project coordination and file exchange. In the past, many departments used e-Learning course sites for coordinating internships, thesis preparation, etc. If you're working on a project with others in your department or you need a work site for your lab group, you'll want to choose this option.
- Template Site. Used by colleges to host course or college-wide templates of course data that they want to copy into their courses. If you're working out a generic set of files or images that you'd like to include in all of your department's course sites, you could set up a template site. Then you can use Canvas's ability to import content from another course site to transfer your content into your course sites.
- Training/Seminar. Internal training sessions or seminars. If you're offering a training session that's internal to the University of Florida, this is the option that you'll want to choose.
When you select your type of course shell, the options on the form will change to match the type of course site you're creating. For example, when you create a Project site, the options will look like this.
[Screenshot of project site options]
Once you fill out the form and submit it, unless your request requires special processing (indicated by a comment you enter) or there's an error in the information you've submitted, you should have a new course site within an hour.
I don't understand some of these options.
You are always welcome to reach out to us by phone (352-392-4357, ext. 3) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you'd like help while you're filling out the form. However, here are some details if you'd prefer to work through the form on your own.
This title will be what shows under "Courses & Groups" within Canvas for you and your participants. The system will also use this to try to create a short name for your course that will show in the "breadcrumbs" at the top of your page. If you're unsatisfied with how either title is created, feel free to give us a call at 352-392-4357, ext. 3. We'll be happy to change the title to something that works better for you and your participants.
Course Title is limited to 100 characters. If you type something in excess of 100 characters, we'll have to trim what you've written. Again, if you're unsatisfied with the result, we're happy to work with you to correct the problem.
By default, the form will fill in your Gatorlink ID. If you're requesting this site on behalf of someone else, you can instead enter their Gatorlink ID here. (Their Gatorlink ID should be the first part of their ufl.edu email address. If you're creating a site for Dr. Albert Alligator with the email address email@example.com, then you'd enter al.gator in this blank.) The person you enter here will automatically be set up as a Teacher in the course site.
Unit Requesting Shell
Select your college or administrative department here. If you're part of an academic department, you'll select your college here. For other departments, you should select the appropriate department from the list. If you don't see a department that matches yours, go ahead send in the details of your department to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do everything we can to get your department approved and on the list as soon as possible.
Within the Canvas course managment system for UF, there are many "sub-accounts" that have different branding for their courses. From here, you can select a sub-account you'd like this course to be created under. If you're unsure what any of this means, go ahead and leave the default "University of Florida" selection.
This information will be used to set availability dates for your course site. These terms conform to the academic calendar for the main UF campus. If you'd like a course site that will remain available in perpetuity, simply select "Ongoing Courses".
I would like to add additional users to my site.
Many times, an entire team of people will be working on a course site. If you know the Gatorlink IDs of those people, you can enter them when you request your course site so that they can access the site as soon as it's created. You can add up to five additional people who will function in administrative roles (instructor, facilitator, and designer) at the time of course creation. If you don't need five people, you can safely leave the other fields blank.
If you have any form of special handling or instructions for your request, you can enter them here. Keep in mind, however, that comments will cause your form to be put on hold until Learning Support Services staff can review the request during our standard business hours (7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday). This is because the automated system can't read through your instructions to determine what special needs you may have for this request. If you want a fully automated course shell within an hour, you'll want to leave this field blank.
How can I add students/participants to my course site?
In order to add participants to your course site, you'll want to use the My Canvas Course Managment tool in myUFL. Once created, you course site can take up to 24 hours to appear withing the My Canvas Course Management tool.
The form isn't working the way I expected. Help!
You're always welcome to reach out to us either by phone (352.392.4357, ext. 3) or email (email@example.com). We'll be happy to help walk you through the process, and if there are any issues or errors, we will do everything we can to fix them and get you your course site as soon as possible.
I have a suggestion for how to make this form/process better.
We always welcome feedback. In fact, we rely on it. Suggestions from our users help us make tools that help you work better.
You can send suggestions and feed over to us either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (352-392-4357 ext. 3). And thank you for taking the time to help us make the system better!