Preparing for Distance Learning in such a short time was quite the whirlwind! We had a lot of resources to curate and publish in very little time - that goes for teachers and DLCs! It also afforded us the opportunity to explore (and experience) a brand new tool in Canvas called Studio. After designing our Distance Learning PD Course in a matter of days, we came to rely on it. Now that we have some room to breathe and reflect, we think it can be your new best friend for distance learning. It’s a fantastic tool to bolster the accessibility of your videos, deliver seamless formative assessments, and can even be used as a powerful creation/collaboration tool by students.

Canvas Studio is a video platform built into Canvas. It allows teachers and students to upload videos they have created (or grab videos from YouTube) and create video-based discussions or quizzes. Elementary teachers might be thinking, “but my students aren’t using Canvas...” Well, you are in luck! You can still upload media to Canvas Studio, generate closed captions, and share the video link through Seesaw. (Note that captioning is the only tool available if students are not in Canvas.)

As instructors in the Distance Learning PD Course, we inserted Studio media into Announcements and Pages all over the course. One of the biggest reasons we used Studio was to automatically generate (and edit) closed captions for our videos to increase the accessibility of our tutorials. In addition, we can view analytics of who watched our videos and how long they watched. This can help us edit our media in the future if we determine there are portions of the videos that could be cut or are confusing. We also turned on Comments so that participants in our course could ask questions and respond to each other to increase collaboration and comprehension.

Here is a screenshot from one of our Announcements that included a Studio video.

Teachers can use Canvas Studio as a means to disseminate screencasts and instructional videos in their courses or to formatively assess student understanding by inserting multiple choice, true/false, or multiple answer questions. If set up correctly (see step 3 of this guide), you can even include these grades in the Canvas Gradebook. And because your videos are stored in Studio rather than YouTube or Google Drive, you know your students won’t run into Internet filters or privacy issues! Yes, there are other methods for formatively assessing students that offer more question types, but the seamless nature of Studio working with Canvas is a huge benefit for students and staff.

The true power of technology in classrooms is when it is in the hands of our students. That’s right, students can use Studio just like you!

Students can upload media to Studio and either submit it for assignments or embed it into Discussions. When submitted to an assignment, it does display the video in the SpeedGrader and allow teachers to comment on their video. This could be a great way for you to give feedback that is time stamped so students know exactly what they need to fix in their video. 

Studio videos show up in SpeedGrader, allowing teachers to give time-stamped comments and feedback.

Another application for student-created Studio videos is adding commentary on a YouTube video. How could students use comments to demonstrate learning?

  • Complete a film analysis commenting on different aspects of a scene from a movie.
  • Identify the narrative arc in short films.
  • Identify skills that are used by professional athletes in sports clips.
  • Translate a video that is in another language.

Let’s take this one step further, shall we? Students can create quizzes in Studio; just like teachers. What are some ways students can use this feature? Take any of the previous examples and have students create quizzes for their classmates. These can be inserted into a Discussion response so everyone in their class can attempt their quiz.

We hope that after looking at Studio, you find a way to incorporate it into your distance learning toolbox! 


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