Skip to body

Online Learning

Multimodal Learning Update (Spring 2013)

Dear Faculty,
Happy Spring! I want to take this opportunity to update you on a number of changes, upgrades, and initiatives that the Office of Multimodal Learning has been working on since Fall.

Office of Multimodal Learning – The Multimodal Learning team has undergone a few changes, adding a new part-time academic advising/retention counselor for online degree programs (Amber Darting), increasing to full-time our second instructional technologist (Delayna Breckon), and welcoming a new office assistant (Katie Ritzinger):

Orientation for New Online Students – A series of orientation videos for new students in online degree programs developed by Diane Fishel-Hall in the Office of Enrollment Management is now available through the online academic advising website. These videos cover such topics as how to access Wildcat Connection, CWU Catalog, Class Registration, Blackboard, Library Services, and Financial Aid:

Online Learning Quality Assurance – Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL) will be administered over Spring quarter to students in online courses and online degree programs to assess students’ priorities and satisfaction with a variety of institutional, academic, and support services for online learning. This survey is administered annually at CWU by Noel-Levitz, allowing us to track our progress on key measures of quality assurance in online learning. Results from the survey and other quality assurance measures will be shared with faculty through a report to the Faculty Senate.

Enterprise Upgrades – Blackboard was successfully updated over Winter and Spring breaks to provide enhancements and new functionality, including enhanced content editor, assessment analysis for statistics on student performance, global navigation with access to personal dashboard of notifications, redesigned calendar and discussions, and video everywhere functionality to record and embed video from a webcam.

Canvas LMS Pilot – Following the evaluation and recommendation of the Academic Technology Advisory Council (ATAC), we have begun a pilot of the Canvas learning management system (LMS) this Spring with 21 faculty members across all four colleges teaching courses  using a range of modalities (face-to-face, hybrid, and online). We will continue the pilot through Summer and Fall. Based on feedback and surveys of faculty and students using Canvas, we will present results of the pilot to a variety of faculty groups in the Fall and report back to ATAC for a decision on whether to adopt Canvas as our enterprise LMS and migrate all courses from Blackboard by the end of Spring 2014. Faculty interested in exploring and/or piloting courses in Canvas can request access by filling out the online form:

Turnitin Plagiarism Detection – As part of our Canvas evaluation, we will also be piloting the Turnitin plagiarism detection service during Spring quarter. This service is integrated into Canvas for faculty testing or piloting the new LMS. Blackboard faculty can request direct access to the Turnitin site for testing by contacting Jane Chinn (

GoCentral Network – CWU has been piloting this online communication and collaboration network since Fall. We currently have hundreds of active users and groups created in the system (with the highest usage for administrative committees, faculty workgroups, and professional development). A majority of the groups created have been Channels for targeted communication and Communities for sharing resources and files. We have not seen a great deal of use of the social networking features in the system. Because we now have identified specific institutional requirements for such a tool and because the GoingOn platform that runs GoCentral has ceased development, we will be completing our pilot by the end of the academic year and investigating alternative enterprise collaboration tools to better meet our needs.

Professional Development – Training Workshops on Blackboard, Canvas, and other instructional technology tools continue to be offered each quarter, both face-to-face and via online Collaborate webinars for faculty at the University Centers and those who prefer training from the comfort of their office. Register for workshops from the Online Learning website or directly at

Multimodal Learning Communities – Led by Dr. Schedler, these faculty communities of practice meet four times per quarter. Two groups are available for faculty participation, based on relative experience and expertise in teaching online.  Both groups (Vanguard for the more experienced; Explorers for beginners) provide a chance to share best practices and receive tools and resources to improve your online and hybrid classes. Faculty at remote locations can also participate in the meetings via Collaborate. Please contact Dr. Schedler to join one of the communities.

Your suggestions and comments regarding these or other multimodal learning initiatives are welcomed.  


Christopher Schedler
Professor / English
Director / Multimodal Learning

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.