Canvas is the new learning management system

Canvas has been chosen as Iowa State’s new learning management system (LMS).

The selection comes after an extensive review process that included multiple rounds of input from campus stakeholders, vendor demonstrations, and the migration of several existing Iowa State courses to let faculty see how finalists’ systems work in real time.

“The transition to Canvas is a great opportunity for faculty to reimagine courses and content,

make sure materials are accessible for all learners, and to ‘bake in’ continuous course improvement through real-time learner analytics” said Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert.

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and Information Technology will be working over the summer to prepare for the transition to Canvas. Initial plans are for 100-150 instructors to use a limited version of the new system for their Fall 2017 courses.

All instructors teaching courses in Spring 2018 will use the full version of Canvas, with extensive user support and integration of student data. Workshops and resources will be available during the fall semester to help instructors prepare their spring courses.

CELT Director Ann Marie VanDerZanden noted that Canvas is well positioned to evolve alongside new computer applications and technology platforms, ensuring faculty can take advantage of the latest instructional tools. The transition is also an opportunity for faculty who did not use BlackBoard Learn to take advantage of the capabilities of an LMS to support their teaching.

Visit the LMS review website for more information on the transition to Canvas.

Read the original announcement Canvas is the new learning management system article (June 9, 2017) on Inside Iowa State website.

Canvas by Instructure Logo

Faculty receive NACTA E.B. Knight Journal Award for their Team-Based Learning article

 Originally posted on Iowa State’s Department of Economics website:

Dr. Georgeanne Artz, Dr. Keri Jacobs, Dr. Christian Boessen

Artz, Jacobs, Boessen publication receives award

Georgeanne Artz, assistant professor, Keri Jacobs, assistant professor, and Christian Boessen, senior lecturer, received notification from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) that their recent publication in the NACTA Journal is being awarded the E.B. Knight Journal Award, which is chosen annually for the top article published in the journal.

The award was established by the NACTA Executive Committee after E.B. Knight’s death in 1965, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to NACTA. Knight received his graduate degrees from the University of Missouri. He taught 1939-1949 at the University of Tennessee and 1949-1964 at the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute. Knight was a charter member of NACTA, served as its first president 1955-56, was editor of the journal from 1958-1960, and author of numerous articles published in it.

The award will be made at the June 2017 Annual Conference at Purdue University.

The paper: Artz, G., K. Jacobs, and C. Boessen. 2016. “The Whole is Greater than the Sum: An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Team Based Learning on Student Achievement.” NACTA Journal 60(4): 405-411.

Visit Iowa State’s Department of Economics web post.

The Team-Based Learning award-winning article is available for download from Iowa State’s Digital Repository, The Whole is Greater than the Sum: An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Team Based Learning on Student Achievement (PDF)

‘Imaginative’ proposals receive diversity course development grants (Inside Iowa State)

The office of the senior vice president and provost, Faculty Senate and Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) identified the first seven grant recipients in the university’s Diversity Course Development Initiative.

The initiative, part of a broader effort to strengthen the U.S. diversity curriculum requirement, supports faculty who wish to create new courses or make significant modifications to courses that currently meet the requirement.

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said that reimagining the diversity curriculum has long been a goal of both students and faculty.

“Iowa State students have been telling us they want a deeper understanding of contemporary issues related to diversity and inclusion,” Wickert said. “The faculty responded to this challenge with excellent and imaginative proposals that offer new perspectives in areas such as racial and gender justice, leadership strategies, fashion and the media.”

Wickert also noted that the initiative addresses goal four of Iowa State’s strategic plan, as the university community works together to cultivate an experience “where faculty, staff, students and visitors are safe and feel welcomed, supported, included and valued.”

Faculty proposals selected for funding are:

  • Larissa Begley, African and African American studies
    New course: The Revolution Will not be Televised – Resistance from Slavery to Hip-Hop and Black Lives Matter
  • Michael Goebel, women’s and gender studies
    Modified course: Gender Justice
  • Amber Manning-Ouellette, leadership studies
    Modified course: Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society
  • Loreto Prieto, psychology
    New course: Psychology of Sexual Orientation
  • Marcia Purdy, School of Education
    Modified course: Intergroup Dialogues
  • Kelly Reddy-Best, apparel, events and hospitality management
    New course: Queer Fashion
  • Brenda Witherspoon, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
    New course: Identity, Diversity and the Media

Grant recipients share $50,000 in funding. They also will receive initial and followup consultation for instructional design planning, and faculty development opportunities through ongoing CELT programs, including the Inclusive Classroom initiative. The goal is to offer each course for the first time in either fall 2017 or spring 2018.

Selection process

Proposals submitted this winter through an RFP process were reviewed by a committee of students, faculty and staff who ranked each proposal according to a rubric designed to assess the desired learning outcomes.

The committee chairs were Sara Marcketti, associate director of CELT and professor of apparel, events and hospitality management; and Mark Looney, senior lecturer in world languages and cultures, and chair of the Faculty Senate’s equity, diversity and inclusion committee. Other members were Liz Mendez-Shannon, office of diversity and inclusion; Gordie Miller, Faculty Senate curriculum committee; Brad Skaar, Faculty Senate academic affairs council; and students Emily Tosoni, political science; Natalie Weathers, communication studies; and Laura Wiederholt, biology.

Related story

Initiative intended to enhance diversity curriculum, Nov. 3, 2016


Re-posted from Inside Iowa State (2017, May 4)

Summer Professional Development Opportunities

Back by popular demand, we are offering a number of professional development opportunities this summer. Many attendees in last summer’s programs noted that the summer programs allowed them an opportunity to participate during a time when their schedules were less full and the pace on campus was a bit slower. Below is a sampling of what we have in store for the summer.

The ever popular Research-Based Flipped Classroom: Team-Based Learning workshop, lead by Holly Bender, CELT Associate Director, will be offered as a 3-part series on June 27-29 from 1:10 – 4:00 p.m.

New this summer is the Best Practices in Online Course Design lead by Darrin Jones, CELT Program Coordinator and Quality Matters leader. This 3-day workshop meets on consecutive days and will be offered three separate times this summer, May 17-19, June 20-22, and July 25-27. The workshop will explore best practices in online course design through the use of the Quality Matters (QM) rubric.

Also new this summer is the Inclusive Classroom workshop for faculty and staff (with a teaching role) will be offered May 11, June 13, July 12, and August 9. This workshop includes pre-workshop online learning modules and an interactive face-to-face 3-hour workshop focused on creating an inclusive classroom environment.

Check out our CELT Events and Registration site for the full list.

We hope you will be able to join us for these sessions as you take some extra time to reflect on your teaching goals and aspirations this summer.

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Inclusive Classroom Faculty Development Workshops (Summer 2017)

Today’s university classrooms are more diverse than in the past. With this diversity of students comes the need to ensure the learning environments associated with courses are inclusive and designed to support all students. This faculty workshop includes pre-workshop online learning modules and an interactive face-to-face workshop focused on creating an inclusive classroom environment. To learn more about inclusive classrooms visit CELT’s Creating an Inclusive Classroom website.

Overall Workshop Objectives

After participating in the pre-workshop learning modules and the face-to-face program, faculty and staff will:

  1. Identify discipline-based and course specific improvements to foster inclusive excellence in the classroom.
  2. Develop an individual action plan for promoting inclusion in the classroom.
  3. Become familiar with the campus resources and programs that support diversity and inclusion.

Pre-workshop Learning Modules

By engaging in the pre-workshop learning modules, participants will:

  1. Learn about teaching inclusively and why it is important at Iowa State University.
  2. Identify their own attitudes towards inclusion, acknowledge how it impacts teaching, and develop strategies to be more inclusive.
  3. Enhance self-awareness and instructional skills that may contribute to our inclusive campus environment.

Modules will be available at least one week prior to the workshop and will be instrumental to our face-to-face program; therefore, we ask that you complete the modules prior to the event.

Summer 2017 Inclusive Classroom Offerings

Faculty and staff (who have a teaching role) may choose to attend one of the following program offerings this summer:

Register for one of the summer Inclusive Classroom workshops via the Learn@ISU website ( or call CELT 515-294-5357

Summer Workshop Series: Best Practices in Online Course Design

This 3-part series will be offered on the following days this summer:

  • May 17 – 19 (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., in-person in 2030 Morrill Hall, or view on your own via Zoom)
  • June 20 – 22 (11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., in-person in 0013 Curtiss Hall, or view on your own via Zoom)
  • Jul. 25 – 27 (2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., in-person in 1304 Howe Hall or view on your own via Zoom)
  • Aug. 8 – 10 (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., in-person in 2200 Marston Hall or view on your own via Zoom)
  • 3 consecutive Fridays: September 15, 22 and 29 (11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., in-person in 2030 Morrill Hall or TBA Zoom)

This series will explore best practices in online course design through the use of the Quality Matters (QM) rubric. Upon completion participants will be able to:

  • Locate CELT’s Quality Matters and online course design resources
  • Describe the Quality Matters standards and how QM can serve as a framework for course design
  • Develop an action plan that includes incremental steps for implementing Quality Matters rubric standards into their online course design

Series Facilitator: Darrin Jones, Program Coordinator, CELT and QM Coordinator

Session Descriptions

Part 1: Preparing Your Students to Learn

What do your students experience when they first interact with your course? This session will focus on developing your course introduction and aligning course and learning objectives with student assessment. Session objectives: recognize tools for introducing your course, create measurable learning objectives to guide your students’ learning, and evaluate different forms of course assessments.

Part 2: Delivering Content and Learning Activities Effectively

How do you know your students are learning? This session will help align your learning objectives with your course’s instructional content, activities and technologies as well as assess student learning and progress. Session objectives: list best practices for presenting instructional materials, apply learning activities that promote various types of interaction, and plan appropriate use of technology in your course.

Part 3: Providing Essential Learner-Centered Support

Is your course learner-centered when students access it? This session focuses on the need for clear support, accessibility and usability for all learners. Session objectives: implement essential learner support modules into your course, apply techniques to promote accessibility, and locate additional universal design for learning tools and resources to make your course accessible.

Register for one of the 3-part series offered this summer via the Learn@ISU website ( or call CELT 515-294-5357

Rethinking Exams

A few weeks ago I read an interesting article titled Rethinking My Exams by Kevin Gannon, Professor of History and Director of the teaching center at Grand View University. One paragraph in particular stood out to me. Gannon wrote “Exams should challenge students and push them to demonstrate their learning. But assessment shouldn’t be weaponized (though, sadly, in some corners of academia, it is). Exams are just one tool in our assessment toolbox. And like a hammer, exams can build what we want when used well, but break things when used for the wrong purposes.”
He went on to describe how he designs exams now that map to student learning outcomes for the course, which in turn then determine the exam format as well as the specific questions he includes. As we move toward the end of the semester and start writing final exams, I hope this article provides a framework to rethink the exam structure and questions included on your final exam. And ultimately that it helps you design an assessment tool that provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning in your course.
Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Call For Proposals: Conference on Teaching Large Classes

2017 Conference on Teaching Large Classes

Thursday, July 20, 2017, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Do you already teach or are you new to teaching large classes? Do you have wisdom to share or are you in search of wisdom related to teaching large classes? If so, this conference is for you! The Conference on Teaching Large Classes is designed to be informative, empirical, social, and practical.

The Conference on Teaching Large Classes focuses on teaching and learning practices and research related to large classes – both face-to-face and online. The conference is a showcase for best practices in teaching and learning in large classes, as well as the research that provides evidence for the best practices. Ultimately, the conference provides knowledge and skills related to the teaching of large classes that participants will find immediately useful.

Proposals are sought for sessions focused on effective instructional practices and research aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning in large classes. Four types of conference sessions are offered: practice sessions, research sessions, conversation sessions, and poster sessions. Proposals must be submitted online by Monday, May 1, 2017.

For additional information, potential topics, and submission guidelines visit the Call For Proposals: Conference on Teaching Large Classes website


You’re invited: Demos for next learning management system (Inside Iowa State)

Education technology companies Instructure and Desire2Learn (D2L) have been selected to give on-campus presentations for Iowa State’s next learning management system (LMS) for would-be users. The visits are scheduled for next week. They include demonstrations by the vendors and shorter, scenario-based overviews presented by university staff. Registration is not needed for any of the sessions.

A review of Iowa State’s LMS, co-led by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and information technology, has been ongoing since October. The Instructure and D2L proposals were among three received in response to a March request for proposals.

Vendor demonstrations, 206 Durham Center

At least 45 minutes of each session will be devoted to questions from participants.

Instructure’s Canvas

  • April 17, 8-10 a.m., for instructional designers
  • April 17, 10 a.m.-noon, for faculty and students

Desire2Learn’s Brightspace

  • April 18, 8-10 a.m., for instructional designers
  • April 18, 10 a.m.-noon, for faculty and students

Product overviews

CELT and IT staff will present a scenario-based, 50-minute overview of the two LMS products. This session is for faculty, staff and students, and will be presented seven times in four locations:

April 19, 3558 Memorial Union

  • 10-11 a.m.
  • 11 a.m.-noon

April 19, 198 Parks Library

  • 2-3 p.m.
  • 3-4 p.m.

April 20, 198 Parks Library

  • 8:45-9:45 a.m.
  • 9:45-10:45 a.m.

April 20, 2403-04 Vet Med

  • Noon-1 p.m.

Re-posted from Inside Iowa State (2017, April 13)

April 17-18: On-Campus LMS Product Vendor Demonstrations & Product Overviews

Below is an excerpt from a April 6, 2017 Inside Iowa State article by Rob Schweers that updates the learning management system (LMS) process. The full Inside Iowa State web article is available at Vendors selected for learning management system demonstrations.

Education technology companies Canvas and Desire2Learn (D2L) have been selected to give on-campus presentations for Iowa State’s next learning management system (LMS).

A review of Iowa State’s LMS, co-led by CELT and IT, has been ongoing since October. The Canvas and D2L proposals were among three received in response to a March request for proposals.

The proposals were reviewed by staff in the Center of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), information technology and procurement. Finalists were selected using a comprehensive rubric developed from input given to the LMS review committee from students, faculty and staff.

CELT and IT developed a comprehensive product evaluation process that includes product overviews and on-campus vendor presentations. In the coming weeks, these events will provide faculty, staff and students another opportunity to provide input on the future of Iowa State’s LMS and to compare the two.

Dates, times and locations of the on-campus vendor demonstrations and LMS product overview are available (see below). For information about the process, visit the LMS Review website.

On-Campus Vendor Demonstrations

Instructure Canvas

Desire 2 Learn

LMS Product Overviews

CELT and ITS staff will provide scenario-based overviews of the two LMS product vendors selected to give on-campus presentations: Desire 2 Learn and Instructure Canvas. Each overview presentation will feature both products. These overviews are for faculty, staff and students at Iowa State University.

Questions? If you have any questions about the LMS review process contact LMS Review Co-Leads via email