Leading up to next month’s Canvas Showcase, we are highlighting great uses of Canvas by Penn faculty. Our second installment in this series is an interview with Mitch Fraas, Acting Director of the Penn Digital Humanities Forum and Scholar in Residence at the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Special Collections Center. Mitch is using Canvas this semester for his Digital Humanities graduate seminar. We are particularly impressed by Mitch’s use of Canvas collaborations in this course to facilitate information-sharing, so we asked him for his thoughts on this tool. Please read on to see what Mitch had to say about Canvas collaborations.
Can you tell us about Collaborations in your Canvas site?
I use collaborative Google docs for every class meeting. These take the form of in-class notes taken by students as well as links, insights, and instructions from me.
Why did you do this?
I wanted a way for students to actively participate during class and share material that might not otherwise enter the conversation. Also, given the high technical content of the class it was important to have a place where helpful links, instructions, or notes could go to be retrieved later by both my students and I.
How did you go about setting this up? How difficult was it to use this tool in Canvas?
Setting up collaborative Google docs in Canvas is incredibly easy. All I had to do was enter student emails and names and for each new collaboration click on a simple Create button.
How has Canvas enhanced your teaching?
I’ve been very pleased with the ways in which discussions, files, collaborative documents, and assignments all fit together on Canvas. The open wiki-like layout of the site allowed me to customize the front page of the site and add links pretty much wherever I wanted.
How many students are in your class?
There are 10 graduate students in the class.
Visit Mapping Books to see some examples of Mitch’s work in the digital humanities. To learn more about the work being done by Mitch and other DH scholars at Penn, go to the Penn Digital Humanities Forum website. Click here to follow Mitch on Twitter, and here to read some of Mitch’s publications.
Last Updated: 28 Mar 2014