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*Editor's note: This blog post is from the University of Technology Sydney. It is republished with permission.

CanvasCon Sydney photo

This year’s CanvasCon Sydney, held on 13 August at the International Convention Centre, offered up a variety of presentations that aimed to expand knowledge on the Canvas LMS, improve teaching efficiency and increase innovation by effectively using technology. We asked our staff to provide some highlights and contemplations on which session they found most useful and how key messages resonated with the challenges and opportunities UTS is facing with its Canvas roll-out and the broader LX Transformation project. 

Key session: When Canvas is no longer the bright shiny new tool, how to enhance the content authoring experience in Canvas (RMIT)

“Two presentations by RMIT struck me as very relevant to our situation. Their teams demonstrated that a proactive approach to extending a Canvas integration can achieve significant advances. They developed a very intuitive content-building tool and, having ensured that their foundational integrations were robust, considered how to extend the functionality via a roadmap approach. Here at UTS, we face a similar challenge with successfully integrating existing systems and external tools with Canvas, alongside the proposed alignment with whole-of-course approaches and future developments in the learning analytics space. Canvas offers a lot, but must also be adapted to our context.” Leslie McInnes, Senior Educational Designer

Key session: Quality assurance and publishing in Canvas (University of Canberra)

“I enjoyed hearing how other universities are using frameworks to support their transitions to Canvas. At University of Canberra, a quality assurance framework is being used to identify support services for teaching staff so they can maintain great student experiences in their Canvas subjects. Frameworks might not be everyone’s jam, but for me, these talks reinforced the importance of planning and communication as part of the LX Transformation work we’re doing at UTS.” Elizabeth Smith, Learning Design & Technology Specialist

Key Session: Building a Culture of Agile Learning Design (Haileybury)

“Haileybury, a private school in Melbourne, embedded the principles of agile software development into their learning design process. Peter Thomas and Anna Sever discussed the principles that underlie the agile methodology, and its challenges and benefits. The team utilised four key elements in the learning design process to develop engaging and effective learning experiences for their students in order to create a new and responsive educator culture and exploit the best features of Canvas.” Mais Fatayer, Learning Design & Technology Specialist

Key session: Using Analytics in supporting your staff (St Dominic’s College)

“There was a bigger presence from K-12 this year, and it was interesting to hear about how Canvas is being used in different settings outside of universities – particularly when it comes to using analytics to track student progress and shaping student behaviour around engagement.” Michael Maja, Systems Analyst

Key session: Utilising Canvas sections for multi-cohort delivery (Postgraduate.Futures, UTS)

“By using sections in a multi-cohort Canvas subject, Postgraduate.futures’ Kat Fardian and Lecturer Jacqueline Berry were able to deliver tailored content to students studying face-to-face as well as others entirely online in the same site. It was great to hear how well this has worked and how it can be implemented in similar multi-cohort situations as part of LX Transformation. They were fantastic representatives for the problem-solving and hard work going into delivering on Canvas that is already happening here at UTS.” Anna Stack, Learning Design & Technology Specialist