Panelist: Manjari Murali



Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; Physician Assistant Studies

Schmid College of Science and Technology; Biological Sciences

Research Area (or Specialization):

Learning and Memory, Synaptic Plasticity, Brain Reward Circuit, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Relevant course(s) name/number, approx. number of students, and short description

HSK 112: Human Physiology in Health and DIsease (Interterm). ~30 students. In this physiology course intended for non-science majors, students learn fundamental laws of science, science methodology, and use this knowledge to evaluate current issues related to human physiology in health and disease.

Teaching or learning problem/challenge that made you rethink your learning model or approach or try something new

Online quizzes: I wanted to test my students using low stakes quizzes daily in this fast-paced Interterm course so that they would be well prepared for the high stakes exams in the course. Therefore, I needed an LMS platform that provided a user-friendly interface for administering and auto-grading online quizzes.

Homepage Customization: I wanted to be able to customize my course home page with the course syllabus, schedule, and important deadlines.

Gradebook: I wanted a gradebook that would be easy to set up, with weightage and points assigned to each test/assignment.

Announcements: I was looking for an LMS in which it would be easy to post announcements, email students, and communicate quickly with either groups or individual students.

How you addressed that challenge (if applicable, what technology, learning strategy, etc. you integrated to do so)

Canvas provided user-friendly solutions for all of the challenges I discuss above. I was easily able to set up online multiple-choice quizzes. Canvas auto-graded the quizzes, and entered grades into the gradebook. This LMS also provided good question by question statistics for the online quizzes. Canvas allows you to customize your homepage anyway you want. It is easy to add text, and images to the homepage. I was also easily able to switch between instructor- and student-view. To set up the gradebook, I created assignment categories (Exams, Quizzes, Reports, etc) and individual assessments within each category under the Assignments tab in Canvas. I was also able to assign weightage to each category and points possible for each individual assignment. Canvas automatically emails students everytime you post an announcement. Additionally, you can type up an email and send it individually to particular students, or to all students at once. The only issue I had with Canvas, was the inability to make points earned for extra credit assignments count toward the total points for the course without changing the weightage of all assignments combined which should stay at 100%.

How students responded, any challenges, and lessons learned

Students found Canvas easy to use compared to Blackboard. Course materials were easy to locate. They were able to access their grades easily, and even simulate points they need to earn on future assignments in order to obtain the letter grade they were aiming for. They only encountered two minor issues: (1) for the first online quiz only, the time zone was set to an hour earlier on the student accounts compared to the instructor account, which meant that the quiz was not available at the time it was supposed to be; (2) although the extra credit points they earned showed up in the gradebook, it did not increase the total points they earned in the course. They had to manually add this to their total points to figure out their letter grade in the course.

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