Administration adds new feature to Canvas

May 30, 2018 — by Daniel Bessonov and Patrick Li

A new, third-party a video platform that will allow more teachers and students to interact has been added to Canvas, the school’s learning management system and will take full effect next school year

The platform, called Arc, allows students to comment on and annotate certain videos, giving them the opportunity to engage more actively with the posted content. For instance, students will be able to add an observation to a specific point in the video, and other students will be able to reply or start a discussion.

Some teachers have already started experimenting with this new feature, including Biology teacher Kristofer Orre, who uses videos as a regular teaching tool in his flipped classroom. He said that the Arc tool will help teachers keep track of the number of students who watch videos and the duration for which they do so. He also noted that it is a valuable tool in determining the level of engagement the video creates and how valuable or educational it is based on the number of students who add comments.

“It’s very eye-opening because I can see some of my students are not watching the videos at all, or some are only watching halfway then stop,” Orre said.

He also said the tool will make it much easier for him to help students who do not complete their assigned work.

“If a student comes up to me and asks me what they can do to improve their grades, I can pull up the Arc tool and say, ‘You can start by watching the videos,’” Orre said.

Arc is still fairly new, so teachers are just beginning to learn how to use it. Right now, it is already fully functional, and Canvas administrator Julie Grenier said that it will be heavily used in the next school year.

Orre was one of the first adopters of Canvas, and he became one of the trainers for teaching other teachers how to use it as well.

“Everyone is using Canvas at different levels, so next year that is a feature that we’ll probably cover in our staff development sessions. Ms. Grenier or I can teach others who are interested in using it,” Orre said.

Junior Andrew Gao said he thinks that this new tool will be helpful to the classes that rely heavily on videos.

“I think the Media Arts classes will benefit a lot from this tool, and I’m excited to see it implemented next year,” Gao said.