Tools and Resources
Bok Centre Resources
Class Observation: You may request Faculty, the Department TF, or Bok Centre staff to pay a visit to your section to offer feedback as to your teaching.
Video Consultation: The Bok Centre offers facilities and equipment for the recording of a section. The video can then be reviewed together with a faculty member or with Dept TF. for suggestions about your teaching means and methods. Check with Dept TF for resources and availability. Faculty may also make it mandatory for you to have at least one section recorded.
Dealing with CANVAS
by Sadie Weber
*it should be noted that Canvas changes formats periodically, so for any major issues, you should consult the canvas help website.
Setting up a site
Canvas sites are generated automatically by the registrar and are controlled by the instructor of the course. In order for you, the TF, to make any changes you must be added to the course as an administrator by the instructor. They can do so under the “Manage Course” tab on the left (see below).
"People" is a useful tool to add auditors, TFs, and research assistants to enable them view or edit the site.
This system is wonderful and very customizable. You can write the description of what you want done and can upload any relevant documents. From there, you can restrict submissions (in terms of what document type you’d), set the weight of the assignment, how the assignment will be graded, and due dates. This really removes a lot of the ambiguity that can surround assignments, especially when it comes to grading.
You can open assignments to be graded via Canvas’ proprietary grading software which allows you to mark and comment on documents. In general, the feature is quite useful in that everything is self-contained. You know exactly when a student uploaded their assignment, and the system highlights the time-stamp in bright red if the assignment is overdue. It is similar to editing in MicrosoftWord, but is a slightly less elegant in its execution.
In general, I suggest that TFs use SpeedGrader, as it takes any ambiguity out of the grading process. However, it should be noted that students receive an email when you start marking their assignments, and they can theoretically watch as you comment on their paper. If you are uncomfortable with this, simply mute the assignment and grade all assignments as you normally would. For the students to then see their grades, unmute the assignment. Muting and unmuting are global changes, which means you cannot mute only one person’s work. The only drawback to SpeedGrader is that it requires an internet connection to use. If you will be grading and will not have access to internet, you can download all the assignments, mark them in your software of choice, and then upload the commented version as an attachment in the comments field of SpeedGrader. Once you’ve finished grading the work, the grades appear automatically in the Canvas Gradebook.
After grading in SpeedGrader, the final assignment grade is automatically updated in the gradebook. However, if you’re grading something not in SpeedGrader (e.g. participation, in-class presentation, etc), you can enter grades manually in the grade book (you do need to create an “assignment” to do this). At the end of the semester when final grades are calculated, you can export the Canvas Gradebook results into an Excel spreadsheet if the professor you’re working with prefers to not use Canvas.
Canvas has a simple file upload system that can be linked to any other feature on your course’s Canvas page. I highly recommend uploading files to Canvas rather than simply emailing them. It is considerably more efficient than emailing files to students. The only thing that you need to be sure to do is “publish” the files, which makes them available to the students (see below).
Course Calendar/Course Summary
This feature is actually wonderful, as you can link elements of the course syllabus, files, and assignments to specific days. Basically, it is easiest to enter a version of the syllabus here with everything linked, so there is no confusion when it comes to assignments or readings.
This system works and is a great way to keep course related emails from cluttering your own inbox. The system does send you an email notifying you that you have a message via Canvas AND you can respond to said message via your own email or the Canvas emailer. However, you cannot send attachments via this system, which is extremely inconvenient.
Sectioning and Enrolments
Sectioning often begins in Week 2 or 3 once the final enrolments have been confirmed.
In larger classes with a Head TF, the sectioning tool can be used by the head TF to divide the cohort according to available timings. The fewer available options are provided, the easier sectioning becomes.
In smaller classes you might find it easier to simply use a doodle form and handover the section list to the faculty member, informing the TFs and students of the section time and venue. Use Roombook to reserve classrooms, see below.
Neither the Registrar nor the Canvas system require you to return the final list of sections, so the sectioning process is purely for the course instructor and TFs.
Choosing Classrooms through Roombook
If possible, check classroom availability before choosing your section timings, this can be done through Roombook or consulting with the Graduate Program Administrator.
Anthropology rooms for course section are available in Tozzer 102, Tozzer 203, Tozzer 416, Peabody 12, Peabody 560, and Peabody 561
For sections, contact Graduate Program Administrator to reserve these rooms once your section sizes and timings have been settled.
For requests outside the department, e.g. Gen Ed classes, login in to http://roombook.harvard.edu – FAS Academic Request
- Check out the venue before you select it, in terms of AV facilities, size, seating, layout, and location; discuss options with GPA if needed.
- Select date and time from the available options
- Select the ‘Recurrence’ option to repeat weekly timing until certain end date (End of semester)
Tozzer 302 is available for office hour bookings.