Upcoming Canvas Workshops (Feb. 1 – 16 )

Lesya Hassal facilitating a Canvas workshop to instructors in a classroom with laptops and monitors
The CELT staff is offering four 90-minute Canvas workshops multiple times to highlight the pedagogy and mechanics behind Canvas functions. Read the workshop descriptions on CELT’s Event and Registration  website, determine which day/time you would like to attend, and register via the  Learn@ISU website:
  • The Pedagogy of Canvas Quizzes, Feb. 8 (10-11:30 a.m.) OR Feb. 13 (2-3:30 p.m.)
  • Assignments and Grading in Canvas, Feb. 6 OR 14 (10-11:30 a.m.)
  • Groups and Collaborative Work in Canvas, Feb. 1, 7 OR 15 (2-3:30 p.m.)
  • Course Design in Canvas, Feb. 2 (10-11:30 a.m.), Feb. 5 (2-3:30 p.m.) OR Feb. 16 (10-11:30 a.m.)

CELT programs in February

To learn more about our comprehensive array of events visit CELT’s Event and Registration website and register via the Learn@ISU website. Many of these workshops are available in-person or via Zoom.

Advancing student learning while providing valuable teaching feedback

The terms assessment and evaluation are often used interchangeably. However, they are different in their purpose, focus of measurement, and use. Assessment is typically formative, ongoing, and used to identify areas for improvement. Evaluation is summative, product oriented, and used to arrive at an overall grade or score.

Classroom assessment techniques are relatively quick and easy methods that help you check student understanding in “real time.” They can provide information that can be used to modify and improve course content, adjust teaching methods, and, ultimately improve student learning. Formative assessments are most effective when the information is used to effect immediate adjustments in the day-to-day operations of the course.

From the fourth to the eighth week of the semester, the Plus Delta Classroom Assessment Technique can provide extremely useful information. The beauty of this tool is that it asks students to focus on what is working to advance their learning in the course and what could be improved by the teacher and by the student. It helps students to think about their responsibility to the course and what they should continue doing to learn (PLUS) and what they need to change for the course to improve for them (DELTA) (Helminski & Koberna, 1995). The plus delta can also be completed on paper or online using Canvas, Qualtrics, or another software system asking these four questions:


  • What is helping me to learn in this class?
  • What changes are needed in this course to improve learning?


  • What am I doing to improve my learning in the course?
  • What do I need to do to improve my learning in this course?

Once the students complete the plus delta, collect these forms and then summarize them to report the themes in each category back to the class in the next session. The feedback loop is incredibly important as it creates the opportunity to discuss the shared responsibility for teaching and learning in a course. Instructors can also describe what changes will (or will not) be implement as a result of their feedback. To learn more, visit CELT’s Using a PLUS/DELTA Assessment Technique website.

Kind regards,

Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Advancing student learning while providing valuable teaching feedback (February 1, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for February 1, 2018 (PDF)

Promoting Student Engagement: Building community in the classroom

Learning is a dynamic process in which we make meaning out of new information as connected to what we already know. Learning is also often a social process, as students feel more engaged in classrooms in which they know they are welcomed and contributing member of the community. But how do we build community? Researchers have provided us with some building blocks to do so:

  • Pronounce names correctly: Names are often one of the first words we recognize as children. They are given by our caretakers in remembrance of revered family members and in hopes that the meanings or qualities of the name will be imbued in the children. As such, names are personal! One strategy for learning students’ correct pronunciations is asking them to phonetically spell their name. Once you do so, ask the student to say it, and then practice it in front of the student. If you make a mistake, apologize, and try again. If you use Canvas, you can ask students to provide a video introduction. Read more strategies for learning how to pronounce names via the Getting Names Right: It’s Personal web post.
  • Promote civility: How can one feel welcome and learn in an environment if there are disruptions that stem from a lack of consideration and respect? It is not too late to add a statement to your syllabus that clarifies expectations for behavior. The Mindful and Learner Centered Syllabus Checklist includes examples of inclusive, professional and mutual respect statements, including links to resources for instructors, staff, and students. All of this may be found on CELT’s Creating an Inclusive Classroom website . Remember, if you do update your syllabus, be sure to inform your students in a timely fashion.
  • Be consciously inclusive: We know from decades of research that the frequency of faculty-student contact inside and outside of the classroom promotes student motivation, perseverance, and success. When you enter the class, do you welcome the students? As possible, arrive to class a few minutes early and plan to remain in class until the last student leaves. Ask students if they are encountering any difficulties with the assignments or the technology. Let them know something about yourself and how you entered the field. Consciously decide to be inclusive and speak with as many students as you can, not just the ones that consistently raise their hands.

Many of us spend considerable time considering the design of our courses, determining the knowledge and outcomes we want students to leave our classes with so that they are prepared for their next steps in their academic and professional careers. We spend time designing effective activities and assignments that students can show evidence of their learning. But how many of us spend time in properly getting to know and learning who the students in our classes are?

You can gain more ways to ensure your learning environment is designed to support and include all students by participating in CELT’s Conversation on Teaching Inclusively or the Inclusive Classroom Faculty Development Workshop via CELT’s Inclusive Classroom Programs webpage.

All the best!

Sara Marcketti, Interim Director

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Promoting Student Engagement: Building community in the classroom (January 18, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Print Version

Prefer a Print version? If you would prefer to view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip January 18, 2018 (PDF)

Update: Canvas Open labs

Open Labs are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Rotunda of Parks Library (near 281 Parks Library). Bring your Canvas questions, and your laptop (this is a must) – no need to make an appointment during the regular days/hours.

Upcoming CELT-led Webinars on How-to Build a Simple Course in Canvas

In this 60-minute webinar, CELT staff will walk participants through the process of building a simple course in Canvas; as well as, direct participants to the extensive Canvas online resources, webinars, self-paced tutorials and 24/7 Canvas Support available. In addition, participants will become familiar with the CELT resources available to plan, develop, and implement Canvas courses in ways that reduce barriers to learning and facilitate meaningful participation by all students.

For a video recording, downloadable notes, and rich web guide are available on the How-to Build a Simple Course in Canvas page found on the MyCanvas Teacher at ISU website

How to Register via Zoom

Register to view one of the following CELT-led webinars via Zoom by clicking on one of the Zoom meeting web links below:

  • Jan. 8 (3:30-4:30 p.m., register online)
  • Jan. 12 (1:00-2:00 p.m., register online)

(Note: Each webinar is limited to 100 people).

Zoom Support?

If you need assistance connecting via Zoom visit Zoom’s Support website OR contact ISU’s Solution Center at 515-294-4000.


CELT’s Award-Winning Faculty Series, innovative programs, and more!

Welcome back to campus!
In our first Teaching Tip of 2018, we wanted to highlight a few of the professional development opportunities CELT has planned for you. We are hosting the following outstanding faculty to present in our Award-Winning Faculty Series:
CELT is featuring three innovative multi-session programs:
  • The research-based flipped classroom – Team-Based Learning, meets for five consecutive Wednesdays: Jan. 24, 31, Feb. 7, 14 and 21 (3:30 – 5:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall) will be presented by Holly Bender, Associate Director, CELT; Director, Preparing Future Faculty Program; and Professor, Veterinary Pathology
  • Sketchnoting for Visual Note Taking and more, meets for three consecutive Fridays: Jan 26, Feb 2 and 9 (12:10-1:30 pm, 89-90 Armory) will be presented by Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design
  • Sketchnoting – Planning a research poster, meets for two consecutive Thursdays: Apr. 12 and 19 (12:10-1:30 pm, 89-90 Armory) will be presented by Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design
To learn more about these programs and our comprehensive array of events visit CELT’s Event and Registration website, determine which event you would like to attend and register via the Learn@ISU website.
We hope to see you there!
Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

“A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step”

The great Chinese thinker Laozi’s words could apply perfectly to the transition from teaching in Blackboard to Canvas. As I shared last week, in Confessions of a Procrastinator, I have not yet built my course in Canvas, but this week I started and here are some tips to help you take that first step.

Start with the end in mind

It is my great honor and pleasure to teach Everyday Creativity developed by my colleague and friend, Dr. Elena Karpova. As I started to build my Canvas course, I realized that first I needed to keep the learning outcome goal in mind. For us, that is students learning and then applying creative thinking strategies to generate multiple unique ideas. To accomplish this the students complete pre-class readings and quizzes, in class individual and group activities, and out of class work that demonstrates their use of the strategies.
As you are bidding farewell to Blackboard, filter and sort through your collection of instructional materials and make decisions whether they need to be updated and/or replaced in your new course. Then as you (re)build your course in Canvas, there are three actions you can take to begin the journey of teaching in spring semester.
  1. Build your modules: Modules organize your content by weeks, units, chapters, concepts or a different organizational structure. Modules give your course a consistent look and feel and make it easy for your students to navigate it. Modules also accommodate your delivery style: use them to re-create the folder set up from your course in the previous learning management system or, better yet, use them to chunk up your instruction into smaller, independent “digestible” units to empower student cognitive processes.** A module can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials. Learn more using the Create a Module web guide.
  2. Choose your homepage: Your homepage sets the mood for learning in your course. Canvas has different options for choosing your course’s homepage. The syllabus is a great way to introduce your course, make your expectations transparent, and keep students abreast of all course happenings. Learn more via the Setting the Course Home Page web guide.
  3. Clean up your course’s menu: Your students should only see the course-specific menu options that allow to quickly and easily navigate all course information and keep distraction to a minimum. Learn how using the Customize the Course Navigation web guide.
  4. Check your quizzes: While most of your previous quizzes will import from previous Blackboard content, some, such as such as hot spot and quiz bowl do not transfer, and matching questions that have images in the answers must be fixed. Additionally, you will want to double-check multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks, essay, matching, numerical, and formula question types before publishing your migrated quiz or survey. If a question format is not supported by Canvas, the question will become a simple text (students will not have the option to answer). The Quizzes tool in Canvas can be used for graded or practice quizzes, as well as graded and ungraded surveys and automatically creates a column in the grade book.
CELT developed this Canvas Course Building Basics YouTube video (below) and a Course Building Basics web guide on these actions that you can take to (re)build your course in Canvas.

If you have made it this far in the teaching tip, Congrats!

You probably realize this is going to be a multi-step journey. Don’t fear! CELT’s open labs will be closed Dec. 8-Jan. 2, 2018, but consultations with our instructional designers may be scheduled during that time via the appointment scheduling website. There are multiple ways to learn the Canvas learning management system, including workshops (below), recorded resources, self-paced tutorials and webinars on the ISU Canvas training and resources website.
Additionally, Canvas offers 24/7 support, listed in the “? Help” icon on the global navigation (far left of your Canvas website) or via the Canvas support line, 515-294-4000 (press 2, then 1).
Best wishes for your winter break and spring semester canvas course building,
Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: “A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step” (December 14, 2017 – Constant Contact) website.

Print Version?

Prefer a Print version? If you would prefer to view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip December 14, 2017 (PDF)

Marcketti receives awards

Sara Marcketti is the Interim Director for the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and Professor in Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management Department will be receiving two awards this upcoming spring:

Marcketti named Fellow of Costume Society of America

Sara Marcketti, a professor in apparel, merchandising, and design and interim director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, will receive the Fellow Award from the Costume Society of America. Deemed CSA’s highest honor, the award recognizes Marcketti for providing outstanding leadership and contributions to the field of costume. As a Fellow, she also is considered an exemplary mentor for other members. Marcketti will be recognized for the honor annually, beginning in March at the CSA National Symposium in Williamsburg, Virginia. She also serves the organization as president-elect. CSA members are people involved in the study, education, collection, preservation, presentation, and interpretation of dress and appearance in past, present, and future societies. For more information, contact Eulanda Sanders in apparel, events, and hospitality management at 515-294-7474 or sanderse@iastate.edu. View the Costume Society of America Fellow Award website.

Laura Jolly, Sara Marcketti, Wanda Grogan to be recognized at University of Georgia’s Family and Consumer Sciences 100 Gala

The College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia has named two Iowa State faculty among the Family and Consumer Sciences 100 Centennial Honorees, and one Iowa State alumna as a member of the Honor Hall. Laura Jolly, dean and Dean’s Chair of the College of Human Sciences; Sara Marcketti, professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management and interim director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching; and Wanda Grogan, a 1978 alumna of Iowa State’s home economics education doctoral program, will be recognized at the FACS 100 Gala: A Centennial Celebration on Feb. 24, 2018. Honorees embody conviction and commitment to the ideals of the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and through vision and hard work have been instrumental in advancing the ability of the University of Georgia to serve students and enrich lives through their mission. For more information, contact Sara Marcketti at 515-294-4887 or sbb@iastate.edu.View the University of Georgia’s College unveils FACS 100 Centennial Honorees list website.

Fight the Fear: Confessions of a Procrastinator

As Interim Director of CELT, I have participated in CELT-led workshops, sat in on implementation team meetings, and spoken all over campus about the transition from Blackboard to Canvas. However, I still have not built my spring 2018 course in Canvas.

Sure, I thought about the wonderful features that Canvas would let me do, such as the media rich editor that will let

me and my students post video and audio comments and how the speed grader will let me grade student work side by side course rubrics. But, it is still not built!

Do you relate to my confessions of a procrastinator?

If so, here are a few tips that might help:

1. Log into Canvas

Go to the Iowa State University website. Then, locate the “Sign Ons” link found on the upper right corner (above the search box), and then select “Canvas” from the menu (Figure 1).

Use the sign-ons link to access Canvas
Figure 1. Use the Sign-ons link found on the Iowa State University website

2. Check for your Spring 2018 courses

To see what courses you have in Canvas, view the How do I view my Canvas courses as an instructor? web guide. If your spring 2018 course shell(s) do not appear on the Canvas dashboard or in your course list (Figure 2), contact your departmental representative using the Registrar’s Course Offering Department Contacts website.

Canvas course list with an arrow pointing to the Courses icon, and another arrow pointing towards the All Courses link
Figure 2. Courses list on Canvas

3. Build your course

On June 7, 2017 course materials were exported from Blackboard and imported to Canvas (Figure 3). Since Canvas is a different system, you’ll want to spend time learning which course materials you keep and where you put them. Many instructors have decided to re-use aspects of their Blackboard courses. Other instructors have decided to start new within Canvas.

Blackboard course materials are found under the Past Enrollments header
Figure 3. Locate Blackboard course materials under the Past Enrollments heading in the Courses list

Additionally, this article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2017) article “Fight the Fear/ Procrastination Cycle With Small Tasks ” fits perfectly: the notion that by delegating small tasks you could move forward on a high priority project. To help you (and I) get over the fear of starting in Canvas, CELT has created the following How-to Build a Simple Course in Canvas YouTube video.

To accompany this brief video CELT has developed a How-to Build a Simple Canvas Course web guide on the MyCanvas Teacher at ISU site. For face-to-face help, CELT will be hosting Open Labs until December 8 and CELT-led Workshops until December 22.

As the Blackboard countdown clock informs us, Blackboard access ends soon (January 5). However, those with the instructor role will be able to view their previous courses in a Blackboard Archive (More information to come soon).

In closing, Early Adopter Rose Martin’s advice for those new to Canvas is: “Keep the big picture in mind [which is] providing students access to your course content quickly and easily. Keep an open mind about how you can reorganize course content and steps or tricks used so your course flows as intended. Also, keep Canvas help desk number handy, 515-294-4000, then press 2, then 1.”

And if you are not a procrastinator, thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge with fellow instructors!

Let’s get going!

Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Fight the Fear: Confessions of a Procrastinator (November 30, 2017 – Constant Contact) website.

Print Version?

Prefer a Print version? If you would prefer to view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip December 1, 2017 (PDF)