With an unexpected opportunity to teach SFU CMPT 363 User Interface Design this summer, I’ve been feverishly working in the open on the accompanying Canvas LMS site (leveraging my Grav Open Course Hub project) so that potential students can better self-assess course fit before our first class meets in-person on May 9th. It’s also already proven to be a great way to start conversations with those students already registered.

The summer offering brings some changes, with the addition of a journey mapping individual assignment and using a single open source application for both individual and group assignments.

Here is the list of apps I am using to reach my pedagogical and student/facilitator experience goals this term (with lots of open source goodness):

Grav CMS
GitLab (hosted at sfu.ca)
GitHub Atom
Swipe
RocketChat
Sandstorm
Canvas LMS (well, no surprises there)

You can check out the in-progress Canvas site for the course at https://canvas.sfu.ca/courses/38847.

CMPT-363 Summer 2018 Canvas Site, with Embedded Grav Open Course Hub Pages Figure 1. CMPT-363 Summer 2018 Canvas Site, with Embedded Grav Open Course Hub Pages

I am excited to be part of SFU’s DEMOfest this year, where I will be presenting and discussing with my fellow educators the advantages of using the Canvas LMS with Grav:

Canvas Assessment Strengths

  • Assignment submissions and rubrics
  • Surveys, quizzes, and graded discussion forums
  • Multi-course calendar and gradebook
    A safe place for student assignments and data, and where most of our students are!

Grav Content Management System Strengths

  • Free open source software (FOSS) project
  • A modern flat-file (no database) CMS, which supports custom page types and modular content
  • The platform-independent format Markdown is supported, and pages remain as individual files
  • Fully extensible, with support for HTML, CSS, Twig, JavaScript, Google Fonts, YAML, etc.
    For tech-savvy educators a modern and flexible platform under their full control!

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I’ve been once again feverishly working in the open on the Fall 2017 Course Hub (built with my Grav Open Course Hub and using a flipped-LMS approach, naturally!) for SFU CMPT 363 so that potential students can better self-assess course fit before our first class meets in-person on Sept 6th.

The year brings some changes, with the addition of an individual component (reflective learning log) to the two group assignments and an expansion of the individual usability assessment assignment. Students will research and design potential user experience improvements for an open source project of their choice.

Here is the list of apps I am using to reach my pedagogical and student/facilitator experience goals this term (with lots of open source goodness):

Grav CMS
GitLab (hosted at sfu.ca)
GitHub Desktop
Swipe
RocketChat
Sandstorm
Canvas LMS

You can check out the nearly complete Open Course Hub at paulhibbitts.net/cmpt-363-173/.

CMPT-363 Fall 2017 Course Hub Figure 1. CMPT-363 Fall 2017 Course Hub

A collection of videos demonstrating how Grav with Git Sync can bring an efficient and flexible Markdown content workflow into Canvas LMS (or any other system supporting embeddable Web pages).

This post was inspired by the very informative July 14th BCcampus Canvas LMS session with Stan Wendt and moderated by Clint Lalonde.

If my reading of the tea leaves is correct, there could be a big uptake of the use of the Canvas LMS in Canada with news of a possible hosted in Canada cloud offering. As a sessional faculty member of the Computing Science Department at Simon Fraser University I’ve been using Canvas for the past several years and I thought it might be helpful for other potential users of Canvas to share my experiences so far.


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I’ve been feverishly working in the open on the Fall 2016 Course Hub (built with my Grav Course Hub and using a flipped-LMS approach, naturally!) for SFU CMPT 363 so that potential students can better self-assess course fit before online registration starts on July 4th.

A significant change to the course this year is that students will research and design potential user experience improvements for an open source project of their choice. Also, the entire course outline is a structured as a series of questions, which will be examined, discussed and experienced as the course proceeds.

You can check out the under construction Course Hub at paulhibbitts.net/cmpt-363-163/.

I am putting together a very brief presentation about flipping an LMS with an open + collaborative platform. Here is what I’ve got so far:

Flip it Good! Flipping the LMS with an Open + Collaborative Platform
Do you have unmet pedagogical goals due to the constraints of your current LMS? Do you want to have a better experience for your students and yourself? In preparing his Fall 2015 CMPT-363 (User Interface Design) course at Simon Fraser University, instructor and interaction designer Paul Hibbitts faced these same challenges. His solution was to ‘flip the LMS’ by designing and developing an alternative front-end to the institutional LMS Canvas (http://paulhibbitts.net/cmpt-363-153/). In this approach, the LMS was used only for elements it was best suited for (i.e. student records, grades, etc.) with all other elements handled by an open extensible platform completely under his control.

Based on the positive feedback of his students and his own experience, he decided to create an open source course hub built with the CMS (Content Management System) Grav to help other instructors get started in flipping their LMS with an open + collaborative platform.

In this presentation Paul will share his flipped-LMS approach and introduce his ready-to-run open source Grav Course Hub for use by other educators.

In-progress Slides

I am excited to be presenting my approach of a Flipped-LMS at Simon Fraser University’s DEMOFest 2015 on November 24th.

Here is the description of my session:

Flipping the LMS: Benefits and Lessons Learned of Using an Alternative Front-end to Canvas

Let’s be honest, as course facilitators we want to deliver the best possible online learner experience but at the same time make our own experience as convenient as possible. LMSs, such as Canvas, provide some great pedagogical elements but often fall short when it comes to such things as streamlined course updates, content reuse, easy customization, and providing a truly open platform. The solution? Flip the LMS!

A flipped-LMS is an approach where an open platform, chosen by an instructor, provides an alternative (and preferably collaborative) front-end to their institutional LMS. In this presentation Paul will demonstrate how this approach can produce significant improvements to both the student and instructor experience. Elements from Paul’s personal toolkit to be highlighted will include Canvas (naturally), the open source flat-file CMS Grav, and GitHub Desktop.

Presentation Slides