It’s Tuesday! In our Canvas blog-a-thon, so far we have looked at:

So let’s consider some best practice and provide a few feedback loops within Canvas. This is as much to help you as an academic and Canvas user as it is to help students.

From time to time, students may have problems or queries at the start of or during their studies. At the start of courses, academics may receive an avalanche of emails from different students all asking the same or similar questions and of course, there may be issues or problems highlighted. These things are good to know.

Instead of having your inbox filled up and replying to everyone individually, why not create a couple of MS Forms which can be inserted into your Canvas course?

What are MS Forms?

It’s a Microsoft product. In short, it’s an information capture tool. It can be used to create surveys, evaluations, quizzes and in this instance, we’re suggesting it could be used to compile FAQs, highlighting issues or problems and saving academics time reading and replying in the traditional way. Email.

There is opportunity for MS Forms to allow us to identify the themes of questions/queries posed and we can answer the students once. Not only does this save time, it could feel more personal to students and opens channels of communications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Think of the information you want to capture. Is it those start of term questions? Could the repeated questions be compiled into an FAQ which benefits this years and future years learners? Are other students on different modules asking the same or similar questions? Could one FAQ be used in several places?

There are a few considerations. MS Forms allows for anonymity of whoever is completing the form. The form can be restricted to those within QUB, i.e., staff and students. You may have one single form or separate forms for separate modules but the question capture could be similar. It’s up to you.

Saying that, if you use a single form and ask for Canvas module codes and the academic year, students can still be anonymous and you can drill down into a particular modules frequently asked questions whilst keeping the dataset whole. Over time, some questions might drop off as it’s been asked and answered in the FAQs (which you will create and provide).

Systems issues

This could similarly be set up as an MS Form. You could grab information around the issue. Here, we’re thinking systems issues and potential conflicts. For example, you may be using 3rd party apps within a module which are not necessarily QUB supported. These could conflict on particular computing systems and devices. It’s important to gather information to understand the issues and then find solutions to reduce the issues.

Here, think of the questions you want to pose. Give students opportunity to upload screen shots to help describe the issue. In this example you will need the student name/email and MS Forms allows for this to be gathered. However, make it known to students this is happening and it’s so you can contact them directly to assist and support.

Where should these Forms sit in Canvas?

As these two examples are to help students, you may have a pre-teaching section where you encourage students to engage. This isn’t teaching but helps improve the teaching and learning experience for all. The FAQ section may already be well populated from previous years. Consider this organic and growing as technology and processes change. It makes sense for the FAQ MS Form to sit underneath the main FAQ section.

The Systems Issue MS Form could sit in a pre-teaching ‘What if I have a Problem?’ section.

Can I use MS Forms for evaluations?

Yes. Before you go rushing in, do seek guidance on this from your department and/or teaching and learning committee. There are many evaluations done throughout the university. Some are done at the end of teaching, the end of term or the end of an academic year / course. It may be there are standard questions and evaluation formats in use, do check this out.

Can MS Forms be co-created and results shared?

Yes. This can be of benefit so more staff in the teaching team can see results. If someone leaves the teaching team, the MS Form can still be used. Results can be viewed visually, i.e., pie charts, scales, etc., or in excel format. Trends can emerge and all information in terms of planning and organising throughout the year is good.

Where do I find MS Forms?

In Queen’s, go to Queen’s Online and click the Office quick link. In the Office page, look for the MS Forms icon.

Disclaimer: this is set to quiz by default. If you’re not actually creating a quiz, click the down arrow and choose form. Quizzes have points attached, forms for information gathering don’t need the points feature. Other than that, the format and question options are the same.

Whilst we could elaborate on MS Forms further, our intention is to highlight where best practices could be used within Canvas and some of the tools which could be considered to help you. Do come back to the DigiKnow blogs and look for future MS Forms blog posts.

Next time

Tomorrow, we investigate the Accessibility Statement which needs to be included in every Canvas module.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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