GoogleDocs…in Canvas!

If you haven’t met GoogleDocs yet and the amazing things it can do for you, allow me to introduce you.

This is Google:

Google - Hand waving hi

The company was founded by Ph.D. students at Stanford University in 1998. It became a public offering in 2004 with a mission statement “”to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

It has grown rapidly, which has produced an ever-growing list of products, aquisitions and partnerships beyond its main search engine.

It has Web Tools.

Google - Web tools

Specialized Mobile Tools

Google - Mobile tools

Business Tools

Google - Business tools

Media Tools

Google - Media tools

“Geo” Tools

Google - Geo tools

Specialized Search Tools

Google - Specialized Search tools

Home & Office Tools

Google - Home and Office tools

Social Tools

Google - Social tools

And “Innovation” Tools

Google - Innovation tools

Well, awesome…so, what? Right?

Well, beside the fact that there are billions of things with these tools all on there own or separately, it’s when you start to use them in conjunction with each other and with other programs (Like Canvas!) where your life starts to get a whole lot bigger and easier.

First off, if you and your students have a google account (gmail address), you can link it to your Canvas account in your personal settings. Then, you and your students can easily use the Google Collaborations tool already built in to all your Canvas courses. This tool is great for students to work on group projects or papers or take shared notes. Teachers or students can set up group collaborations if you have this navigation tool visible in your left hand navigation.

Next, you could link a document or folder right into the left hand navigation bar using the “Redirect” App Tool. That way if you had documents you wanted everyone to have access to and collaborate on, it’s right there. The beauty of using it this way is that only the person who set up the document needs to have a Google account. If you don’t want to track who does what (Google account needed for that), then you can adjust the settings on your document and anyone that can access the document or folder in your Canvas class. Think about the possibilities of this for your class or if you’re using Canvas as a work space for your department or advising.

Next, have you tried Google Forms yet?

If not, you’re missing a whole world of genius.

Google Forms allows you to create forms (duh!). Lets say you wanted to give a survey, or you wanted students (or others) to fill out a request for more information with their contact info, or you want to do an evaluation on your course, Google Forms can do that. Even better is, when people fill out the form, it autopopulates in a spreadsheet with a date and time stamp, which arranges your data all nice and neat. It even allows you to easily see analytics (depending on the type of question you asked).

Here, in eLearning, we track our support tickets.

So, our form looks like this:

Google form - Ticket Tracking

Then our autopopulated sheet looks like this:

Google form - Ticket Tracking Sheet

And our analytics look like this:

Google form - Ticket Tracking Analytics

And, you could easily embed or link one of these surveys right into Canvas, so it would look like this:

Google form - Ticket Tracking in Canvas

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.

So, basically what I’m trying to say…is Google is pretty awesome by itself.

But Google and Canvas together can be simply AMAZING!

It definitely gets my

seal-of-approval gif

Have You Heard of Screencast-o-matic Yet?


Have you heard of Screencast-o-matic yet?

It is a free screen recorder for instant screen capture and sharing. You can use it right in your browser without installing anything. Or you could download the program and run anytime you want to on your mac or pc.

Watch this video created by YouTube user MsMagic Submitter on how simple it is to use.

In case you were wondering how this compares to things like Panopto and Tegrity, here’s a comparison chart.


My big take-away is that both programs have their merits and really about which works best for you and what you want to use it for.

Tiki-Toki – What Could You Do With an Awesome Timeline Tool?

It’s the age-old problem.

You need to tell a story line or create a time line and you’re limited to the old standard of drawing a line on a piece of paper as neatly as possible, only to go back and redo it several times because you kept having to make more room for another time slot.

Crying gif

Or maybe you’re even new school enough to do an electronic version.

But wait. Now, there’s an even better, more engaging and dynamic way. And it’s called…

According to the website at, “Tiki-Toki is a web-based software for creating beautiful interactive timelines that you can share on the internet.” The web based program makes it easy for people to create interactive multimedia timelines in their browsers. Images, text and even videos from YouTube and Vimeo can be embedded. The timelines can be easily shared and there are a variety of account options (of course you have to create an account to use it). There is a free account with full functionality, but with some limitations. You’re only allowed to make one timeline at a time (which you can then edit or delete to make a different one), you can’t embed timelines on your own website, you can’t activate Group Edit that allows friends and colleagues to add to the timeline, and you are limited to a maximum of 200 events on your timeline. Tiki-Toki says its free account is primarily for giving people a chance to try out the program and its features, with the hope they become “so thrilled by it that they want to upgrade to one of [the] premium accounts.”

The 3 premium accounts are Teacher, Bronze and Silver. The teacher account is hugely discounted and includes 50 free Bronze pupil accounts for and 1 Silver account for the instructor.

It comes with four different viewing types, including a 3d option. The Category Band view allows you to create multiple timelines within one timeline. Each category you add to the timeline creates a colored horizontal band. The bands are then populated with stories or events of the corresponding category.

Here is an example of the ‘standard’ viewing where a woman has used it to tell the events of her life.

Tiki-Toki Timeline: The Life of Mary Kearns

Tiki-Toki Timeline: The Life of Mary Kearns

And here is an example of the 3D viewing of the timeline of the Tower of London. Note the 3 different categories coded in colors of Architecture & Works, Events and Reign.

Tower of London 3D Tiki-Toki timeline

Tower of London 3D Tiki-Toki timeline


So, whether you’re doing a storyline, giving an estimate on the length of a project, writing a paper in English or giving a lesson on the history of diesel technology, try Tiki-Toki.

It’s pretty darn cool.

Ryan Gosling Approves gif

Doodle a Survey


If you haven’t heard about Doodle, then you might be doing your scheduling wrong.

Doodle is a scheduling tool that simplifies coordinating a meeting, call, conference, training, or whatever.

It allows you to schedule an event.

Doodle - Create an Event

Next, plug in options.

Doodle - Pick a dateDoodle - Times

Doodle - Settings

Then, send the link to anyone.

Doodle - Send the Link

The participants use the link to click on their availability.

Then, at a glance, you can see what times work for everyone and schedule your meeting.

You don’t even have to create an account, but you can if you’d like.

Check out for more info. – A Dynamic Tool for Your Classroom, Facebook, Presentation, Ad or Anything Else

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what happens when we make that picture interactive and clickable? Now it’s gotta be worth at least 2,000, right?

Well, that’s exactly what ThinkLink does.

According to the ThinkLink website, “ThinkLink is the leading platform for creating interactive images for web, social and advertising channels.” It says you can “make images come alive with video, text, images, shops, music and more.”

What that really means is that you can take a picture (any picture) and add links to it without cluttering it with words. You simply add clickable spots on your image that make it infinitely more informative.

Examples from the website are using it for storefront images, with purchase links layered directly onto the image, using an image of a map to “unlock narrative elements,” and using a personal photo enriched with video, audio and other online media.

You can use this as a way to flip your classroom. Rather than having your students simply read a text, you could provide an image (a real one or one you created, like a mind map or drawing, etc.) and have the students click on points on the image to learn more about the topic. The links could be other images, videos, audio, text, websites, or anything you can link to.

And good news, it works on all modern web browsers, the iPad, the iPhone and Android!

You do have to create yet another account, but you could always just create one by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts to make it easier.

You can “follow” people just like any other social media, but you don’t have to. The images you use can come from your Facebook, Flickr, anywhere on the web or even your computer.

Here’s an example of one using the college’s map and linking videos, news articles, photos and websites. Welcome to Centralia College!

The possibilities are endless!

Cool Tool Review – Trello Will Change Your Life

Trello Logo from Website

Let it first be said that I cannot express how unbelievably awesome and amazing this tool is! It’s a total game-changer.

Are you ready for a project management miracle?

The miracle is Trello – a ToDo list app on steroids!

First, Trello is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows 8 Tablet and your web browser (so, whatever computer operating system you use).

Next, what the heck is Trello? It is a free web-based project management application.  It is an organizational tool that can help you with to-do lists, project planning and management, daily tasks, lesson planning, etc. But on top of that, Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, it tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. You can share boards with your whole office, department, organization, club, class, family, etc. You can all work on it at the same time and it’s so easy and intuitive, ANYONE can use it.

Not only could you create a to-do list, but you can manage projects, create lesson plans, plan the school play, and basically organize your whole life.

In your own account, you can create boards and organizations. Examples of Trello BoardsOn each board, you can create lists.

Trello Lists on Boards

Within the lists, you create cards.

Trello Cards on Lists

Then, on the cards, you can add members (who can have different permissions, whether they can just see or even edit), add labels, add checklists, add due dates, add attachments and pictures and then move, copy, subscribe or archive.

Trello Cards Possibilities

Here are some examples of how other people are using it.

Here’s a great image tutorial from the Heart of Wisdom blog post on how to Get Organized with Trello Lists.

Basically, the is the coolest tool I’ve seen since sliced bread and it has literally REVOLUTIONIZED the way we do business and track projects in our eLearning office. Give it a try and, as always, if you need any assistance, we’d love to help!

I Just Used Canvas to Coordinate a Hiring Committee

Do you ever have that problem where you’re on a committee or a group of some kind and you just can’t coordinate a live, in person meeting? All the time, right? I just had that issue with a hiring committee I’m on. We met for our first meeting and then decided to send out a supplemental questionnaire. Now we can’t find a time that fits into everyone’s schedules.

Answer: Create a Canvas course with all the participants of the committee. I created a simple landing/home page that tells members where to go and what to do right away. Since we have to discuss different candidates, I created a discussion forum for each candidate with their answers embedded and instructed committee members to read, comment with their thoughts and feedback, and respond to others’ comments. We can even keep from affecting each others’ initial responses by setting the discussion forum so that members have to post first before they can see others’ posts.

Think about this for a department, a committee, a team, advising, a group, a club, an organization…

So, now my question is…What can’t we use Canvas for?