CTL Blog

Canvas LMS

Canvas LMS – Discussions Redesign

Faculty who use Discussions in Canvas, be aware that a new enhancement is coming in Summer 2024.

Here is a video that explains the update:

Since Canvas Announcements share some design functionality with Discussions you will also see this new experience in Announcements.

Also, see this Canvas Discussions Redesign Overview Brochure

If you are teaching Summer Session be aware that this change will be enforced on July 20, 2024. You may want to opt in to the change using the feature options area of your course prior to the session starting that encompasses this date so the change isn’t abrupt.

Here is the specific feature you will want to enable if you want to opt in prior to Summer Session:

If you have questions please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning – ctl@mesacc.edu or 480-461-7331

If you are not teaching Summer Session for 2024, but are assigned a course load for Fall 2024 you will see that the change will have already been turned on after you come back to campus. You may also wish to engage the feature if you are setting up your Fall 2024 Canvas shells prior to leaving for the summer break.

travel orange suitcase

Faculty Travel @ MCC

Faculty at Mesa Community College are eligible to use travel funds each year to explore professional development opportunites for their own professional growth. The funds, which are determined each year and board approved, are available for travel from July 1 to June 30 to attend professional meetings, conferences, and events. Year round MCC faculty are traveling the US experiencing different conferences and programs. We hope to share faculty travel stories so you can discover what some of your peers choose to do, possibly discover a new conference or event you may consider in the future, or seek inspiration for your own travel this year. We are highlighting a few faculty who have willingly shared their travel stories from this summer with you. Enjoy!

2023 September Faculty Travel

AI generated art using DallE 2

Let’s Talk About AI in Our Work in the Community College

It has really only been 3 months since ChatGPT was released and there has been an explosion of articles, conversations, policies, discussions, rules, and more that are emerging and multiplying exponentially. I think that this is reflective of the impact that AI is having on Higher Education. On the one hand, there are arguments and policies being drafted for how we “stop the cheating” and “ensure academic integrity;” and on the other side there are arguments for “embrace the technology” and “rethink the way you teach.” This reminds me, as I date myself and my career here, when we entered the era of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is when the internet went from static pages (users consumed information); to generative web pages – (users created content).

AI generated art using DallE 2
AI generated art using DallE 2 prompt: teaching and learning in space digital art

Bryan Alexander wrote an article published in Educause back in 2006, “Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning” and while it was very much about the innovation emerging in 2006 such as social bookmarking and RSS much of what he said about their impact on higher education is applicable to now with the emergence of generative AI. One quote he wrote, “Web 2.0’s lowered barrier to entry may influence a variety of cultural forms with powerful implications for education.” Replace Web 2.0 with Generative AI and we are considering the same implications for education. I think with most innovation there will emerge two opposing opinions and AI is no different. This document, started by an individual at College Unbound, has quickly generated a list of institutional policies that are quickly being created in response to ChatGPT and more are added daily. This document alone demonstrates through language the wide range of expectations when it comes to AI and teaching and learning. From strict “zero tolerance” policies to “this is important to learn how to use” policies, this document demonstrates the wide range of believes that come with generative AI. The Chronicle of Higher Education already has some 15 articles about ChatGPT also offering varying thoughts and ideas about how AI should be used in higher education.

In Maricopa we have departments discussing it at meetings, conversations (digital and in person) back and forth about the amazing things and the “horrifying” things it can do, and what it means to our traditional methods of teaching. We have communities of practice where faculty come together and share thoughts, ideas, resources, explore topics such as content policies, what does generative AI mean for Intellectual Property, copyright, what does it mean for the writing process, what does it mean to create art, and more. I find it all exciting. While the conversations vary from cheating, plagiarism, academic integrity, to emerging technology, leveraging innovation, new ways of thinking about writing, etc…it all, fundamentally, is a conversation about how we teach, why we teach, what our goals are for teaching, what is important to student learning, what is important for critical thinking, writing, communicating, expressing ones self, and so much more. Higher Education, especially in the Community College‘s, is about teaching and learning and should always be transformative. For students and for faculty. Our practice should always change, our students change, our culture changes, our communities change, our understanding of our discipline changes, new things are discovered in our disciplines, new ways of using innovation in our disciplines change…teaching should always change if we are to stay current in our fields and help students succeed.

In Maricopa one of our Excellence in Teaching and Learning Guiding Principles is: Creativity and Innovation. This principle says Maricopa faculty, “evoke a spirit of curiosity, wonder, and imagination in our students. Holding creativity and innovation in high regard, we stretch beyond what is established into what is possible.” I think now is such a time for considering “what is possible.”

I know there are many in the district already using AI in their courses. I want to share some of the creative ways faculty have shared with us in how they are using ChatGPT, Dall-E, MuseNet, Dall-E 2, Whisper, etc. While I am not saying there isn’t a time and place for the academic integrity and plagiarism conversation, because there definitely is, however, our work in in this space is to “lead and inspire innovative teaching” and one of the best ways is to learn from each other.

Here are a few examples, shared by faculty in the district, on ways they are using AI in their courses:

  • Asking students to use ChatGPT to write potential test questions, revise/correct as needed, and submit the original and the revised versions.
  • Use ChatGPT to do a case study and have the students evaluate if it is correct or incorrect
  • Use ChatGPT to research specific topics then have the students evaluate/correct the results. As an example, “explain what a torn ACL is and what the common treatment is” then have the students research to assess if it is correct, fix what is wrong, and add to it to include certain aspects of a case study like that.
  • Use ChatGPT to generate an essay, ask for its resources, then have the students research the resources used and have them find better ones and write up a summary about their opinion on the resources that ChatGPT used and why they choose to add the ones they did, etc.
  • Have students use ChatGPT to fact check something- then have the students fact check ChatGPT’s fact checking
  • Use ChatGPT to generate an initial writing prompt and then have the students write the next portion
  • Redesign essays that are intended to serve as a “summary” and instead have students write reflection essays on the content where they write about example of the concept in their own lives. Example: Instead of “summarizing Plato’s Republic” have students write about a concept in that book based on an experience in their own lives and how the book influenced their perception of that experience.
  • Use in-class experiences for assignment ideas…a speaker, a recorded video, an in class/lab experience, a discussion, etc. that they then complete an assignment about that experience. (because AI can’t be in class with them)
  • Provide students with a “conclusion” to an essay, argument, etc. and have them to build a reference list/citations for that conclusion. Have them reverse research the paper.

Here are additional, innovative ideas for using ChatGPT in the classroom presented by ASCD, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in a blog entitled, Leveraging ChatGPT: Practical Ideas for Educators. Other creative ideas can be heard from Maricopa’s own, Dr. Steven Crawford in a webinar he did recently with PackBack called “ChatGPT and AI’s Effect on Community Colleges.”

We look forward to continued conversations, sharing innovative ideas and practices, and exploring this dynamic, changing landscape that is teaching in higher ed.

Photo of MCC Faculty

Maricopa’s Adjunct Faculty Resources

Maricopa Community College District has, historically, provided professional development opportunities for adjunct faculty in a variety of ways. Recently new, incredible opportunities are available such as the new TIER program and the TEAM Fellowship. These expanding opportunities are designed to improve student outcomes and to empower our faculty to continue to grow in their professional practice that has profoundly impact on helping our students succeed in Maricopa. Please explore the newly revised website that provides you with information for the many programs and opportunities available. Be certain to explore the Tier tab, as well as, other useful tabs for resources, manuals, and more. Feel free to reach out to the CTL’s or MCLI for support with these new and exciting programs.

Simple Syllabus is Coming Spring 2023

Simple Syllabus is Coming Spring 2023

A new syllabus generator is coming to MCC for Spring 2023. The old syllabus generator is being retired, but you will love the new syllabus generator:

  • SIS data is automatically added
  • Completely customizable
  • Branded, accessible, includes ALL required and recommended statements that are always current for you ( you don’t have to update them anymore) and you can turn them on or off as you see fit OR you can edit them as you see fit
  • Reads your course location and automatically brands it Red Mountain or Southern & Dobson
  • Embedded in Canvas already
  • Provides student “read” reports

CTL is hosting open labs every Thursday from 2pm-3pm starting on Nov 3, 2022 in the pod area for faculty to come work on setting up their Spring 2023 syllabi. These open labs will run every Thursday through the end of Fall 2022 semester.

See our Promo Video on the MCC Intranet

Green Zone Training Flyer Image

Faculty Development Opportunity-Green Zone Training

On behalf of MCC Veterans Services Office we are pleased to announce an opportunity to engage in the community of students who are veterans and the staff/faculty that interact with them. Refer to this Intranet Post.

Complete this online; self-paced course and, if eligible, earn 1.5 hours of FPGSearch for Green Zone on the ELC search page: https://maricopa.learn.taleo.net/Page/3/

MCC is currently recognized as an Arizona Veteran Supportive Campus by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Service. However, in order to accomplish this, we must commit to bi-annual recertification that includes staff and faculty training in military cultural awareness. Military Cultural Awareness training provides staff and faculty with a deeper understanding of the strengths that military-affiliated students bring to the classroom, as well as awareness of related issues, such as Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical and mental disabilities, Military Sexual Trauma and specific social challenges, like hyper-vigilance and isolation.

The term Green Zone comes from the safe zone area in Iraq during wartime and that name was adopted as the title of the training so military/veteran students feel safe with the person who attended the training as they should understand the issues that the student faces.

This course will:

  • Provide an overview of key elements of the Military-to-Student, Military-to-Employee, or Employee-to-Military experience
  • Enhance the participant’s understanding of the military culture, common challenges Veteran students/employees face, and existing resources to support Veteran success
  • Help participants understand and appreciate the importance of fostering an environment of trust, safety, and inclusivity
  • Identify how Green Zone “Basic Training” aligns with and supports Maricopa diversity and inclusion efforts

Help us better serve those who have so selflessly served by taking some time to complete the “Green Zone” training found in the Employee Learn Center.

Complete this online; self-paced course and, if eligible, earn 1.5 hours of FPGSearch for Green Zone on the ELC search page: https://maricopa.learn.taleo.net/Page/3/

NOTE: This course will earn 1.5 hrs of faculty professional growth.

Inspire Learning

High Impact Practice Spotlight Sessions

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, January 13 from 8:00AM-10:40AM colleagues will share High Impact Practices that are making a difference in their work with students. In these brief, 30-minute sessions, MCC employees will share what they are doing, describe the impact to teaching and learning, and invite feedback from peers. Virtual and in-person sessions will be available.

High Impact Practice Spotlight Sessions Schedule

There is a body of research published by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) that offers a roadmap to evidence-based high impact practices that elevate academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and a supportive campus environment. These practices include:

  • First-Year Seminars and Experiences
  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Learning Communities
  • Writing and Inquiry-Intensive Courses
  • Collaborative Assignemnts and Projects
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
  • Internships
  • Capstone Courses and Projects
  • ePortfolios
  • Accelerated Developmental Education
  • Tutoring
  • Orientation

And, according to the AACU (2017):

  •  Student participation in one or more of the 10 original HIPs is associated with a range of positive outcomes, especially for those historically underrepresented in postsecondary education.
  •  HIPs are developmentally powerful because they require applied, hands-on, integrative, and often collaborative learning experiences.
  •  Sadly, HIPs participation is inequitable, with first generation, transfer students, and African-American and Latino students least likely to have such experiences.
  • Among the challenges to institutionalizing HIPs are demonstrating the fiscal benefit of increased graduation rates, changing academic reward systems to support faculty and staff involvement in HIPs, and acknowledging HIPs in the institutional data system.

However, “simply offering and labeling an activity an HIP does not necessarily guarantee that students who participate in it will benefit in the ways much of the extant literature claims” (Inside Higher Ed, 2018). The quality, scale, and intensity by which we enact high impact practices at will have a significant impact on the student expreience and student outcomes which are quantified by our wildly important college goals.

Chromebook on a desk next to some books

Respondus Lockdown Browser for Chromebooks

To our teaching and learning community who have stuck with the online assessment process:

You may have had students in the past who purchased their own Chromebook in lieu of a traditional Windows PC Laptop or macOS laptop simply because of the cost savings when being told that online learning at MCC was a requirement due to the campus being shut down in March 2020. When it came time for them to take a high-stakes exam, you may have elected to use Respondus Lockdown Browser + Monitor in Canvas.

In the past, personally owned Chromebooks were not supported, so your students would have had to borrow a device that Respondus Lockdown Browser officially supported or come to campus to use a computer that was supported.

We are pleased to announce that after a relatively short beta testing period, that personally-owned Chromebooks are now natively supported for Respondus Lockdown Browser + Monitor. There is nothing you need to do to specifically enter the Chromebook setting in the Lockdown Browser Canvas interface. Chromebooks just work now. Hooray!

Featured Image: Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash


WebEx@MCC to WebEX@Maricopa

The MCC instance of WebEx is being consolidated to the District instance. What that means is the @MCC version will no longer be available after this semester. Most everyone is already in the Maricopa instance but if you are not, you will need to convert your log in to the @Maricopa log in and reschedule future (winter intersession or spring semester) so they are on the Maricopa instance. ALSO, its important to note, that if you have recordings on the @MCC instance you will need to download those to your computer. Beginning December 18 at 5:00 pm you will not be able to access them any longer.

Uncertain which one you are on? Open up your gmail or google calendar, click the WebEx icon on the right side of the screen and check the “Webex site” location – it should read: maricopa.webex.com and your account should be meid@maricopa.edu. If it does not say maricopa.webex.com and instead it says mesacc.webex.com you will need to change the site. To do that follow these instructions.