The course is in full swing now and I am learning something that I think is pretty cool. Instant alerts like text messaging, email, and other alerts through Canvas are changing the dynamics of Teacher to student interaction. This from my own experience. Let me explain.
I communicate with students in a number of ways in my canvas course.
Announcements – I use this to get key information out to students, and let them know of any changes or issues I see.
Conversations (email like) – To communicate directly to one student.
Discussions – to answer questions students might have or to provide clarification on things I am seeing or hearing from students pertaining to this particular unit we are working on
Assignments – To provide feedback to students about their assignments, even if I do not grade it, I can tell them something, or ask them to resubmit.
Now the power of Canvas. Built into the system is a notification system that can connect to users facebook, text messaging, twitter, and email systems. Users can choose from a set of notifications and choose how and how often they want to receive alerts. And the beginning of the semester I encouraged students to sign up for text messaging or email alerts for announcements. This way they can get instant alerts of important things I post in the class.
I also ask them to consider getting alerts for assignment posts and even conversations. I did a simple demonstration in class and created a video for the online students, on how to set their alerts.
It is working. I know some of my students have signed up for alerts, because I hear from them within a few minutes after posting something or sending them a communication. I know longer have to wait for them to log into the LMS to find any communications. The communications are going to them, to the services they choose.
As the instructor, I have signed up to receive some alerts. I get text and email messages if students send me communications or comment on an assignment.
The outcome is a more timely response by students and instructors to communications. Things get taken care of quickly, and students are able to keep going on their assignments and classwork.
The type of alerts and frequency of them is key, and sometimes depends on the teachers teaching and communication style. You can overdo it with alerts. I have found that I have tweaked my preferences over time, to find the right balance between keeping up to date and message overload.
All in all, I would say the notification system in Canvas is a big bonus. It is changing the Student – Teacher interaction in my course in a good way.
Of course I can hear some instructors in the background mumbling, I do not want to be bothered………