Canvas,  Teaching & Learning

Course Objectives in Canvas

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Over the course of two years, Assessment and Accreditation Services worked with school deans, department chairs, and assessment coordinators to capture objectives for all of our programs and courses. Once a baseline was captured, reports were generated and sent to the appropriate dean or chair for verification. During the 2019-20 academic year these objectives were uploaded into the University’s new assessment software called AEFIS (Assessment, Evaluation, Feedback, and Intervention System). Going forward, it is the Academic Division’s intent to manage all program and course objectives within AEFIS.

Over the last month IT has developed a script that will load course objectives from AEFIS into Canvas. Once this script is run, course objectives will be pushed out to their corresponding Canvas course sections. Since these objectives represent the officially approved and verified course objectives for each course, faculty will not be able to make permanent changes to them within Canvas. If faculty make changes to their objectives in Canvas, the changes will be overwritten on a nightly basis. The objectives are locked down in Canvas to ensure that multi-section courses and single section courses taught by multiple instructors over time are using the official school/department objectives for a given course. Objectives will remain static unless they are changed through the appropriate curricular change process.

That being said, Assessment and Accreditation Services is not so naive as to think that everything captured to date is 100% spot on. There will be instances in which faculty will see course objectives that are different from what they have used in the past. This could be because either an instructor used unapproved or non-standard objectives or we missed a curricular change and a small number of the objectives in Blueprint are out-of-date. These issues are both easily remedied. 

For objectives that cannot be traced through the curriculum process or those that were not verified by a school or department when the Blueprint repository was established in 2017, Dr. Mach has agreed to provide a grace period during the Fall semester for a streamlined process for making changes to objectives for existing courses. Deans and chairs may approve course objective changes by completing and signing a COMPO form for each impacted course. This form will then be forwarded to Assessment and Accreditation Services, who will update AEFIS and forward a copy of the form to the Registrar’s office. 

So, in the coming days, if you spend some time updating your Objectives in Canvas and then notice that your “save didn’t take,” it isn’t Canvas’ fault. Just take your new objectives to your dean or chair for review and approval. We’ll take it from there. But please note that objectives have to be the same for all sections of a course. Be creative with your assignments and with your pedagogy all you want, but we need to be able to say with confidence that sections are equitable. And, we have to keep track of these objectives. AEFIS is a good way to do that, and Canvas is able to help.

Tom Betcher contributed to this post.

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