Meaningful interactions among students and instructors are the hallmark of a successful online class. Most communications in this course are via the Canvas system. Canvas provides several kinds of interactive tools, as described below, which will be used during the semester.
Communications in Canvas
The Canvas course management system supports several modes of communication, which include:
- Discussion forums provide space for general and group discussion and information exchange. Everyone enrolled in the class can post messages of their own and can read and respond to everyone else's messages. A series of messages that make up a conversation is called a "thread." Discussion forums are used throughout the course for both required and optional communications.
- Discussions related to a particular lesson or topic are part of homework assignments and are included in each module of the course with specific instructions.
- Questions and comments about assignments and topics in the course can be shared with the entire class on the "Questions?" forum. That way, everyone can benefit from the discussion.
- There is a separate forum for student-initiated threads, which allows everyone start topics and share their findings.
- Course mail is private email - only the recipients you designate can read your messages. Course mail is also internal to Canvas (you cannot use it to send or receive messages outside your courses. Inbox link on the left side menu in Canvas provides access to the Conversations page, which contains all your messages from all your Penn State that are Canvas-based.
- Please use the Canvas email only for private messages to me (your instructor) or fellow students. I prefer to keep course mail within the course management system, except for emergencies.
- Announcements are occasional messages from me that contain some general important information. The current announcements can be accessed through Announcements tab in Canvas. Announcements may highlight assignment due dates (also published in the course Calendar), lesson recaps, and heads-up to next units.
- Conferences tool in Canvas can be used occasionally for online office hours or face-to-face discussions, however it is supplemental to this course.