Want to Engage Your Members? Try Canvas

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Dr. Theresa Ramos, Chi Gamma advisor, for writing this guest post.

The Chi Gamma chapter at Tacoma Community College has been using Canvas to engage students since February 2017. We decided to meet students where they are. Students log in to their Canvas portal daily for their classes and this is where we post information about PTK.

We worked with Information Technology on campus to establish our space. In order for the content to stay live each quarter, IT sets it up as a “default term” rather than specifying a cycle. Every week, we download the new members who have joined and send the list to IT to be uploaded to the course. Currently, we have 490 students who have accepted the course invitation with 16 who have not.

We utilize Canvas’ course analytics to further engage students. By viewing the number of page views, we can find students who have not yet engaged who might be interested in becoming more active. A personal email from an adviser can be the impetus to motivate a student to attend meetings or work on a project. One of the biggest impacts we have seen is a 50% increase in attendance at our weekly member meetings.

The tabs we use most often are Announcements, Discussion, and Assignments. We post all meeting information, including meeting agenda, minutes, recordings of Zoom broadcasts of meetings, in Announcements. The Discussion link is used to gain feedback from members on events and projects. We utilize the Assignments tab to post scholarships with the deadline set as the due date the way it would be for a class assignment. With this set up, students receive a pop up reminder when the deadline is approaching.

Zoom meetings are recorded and posted to Canvas to engage more students.

Overall, the addition of Canvas for outreach and engagement has been an overwhelming success. I would encourage other advisors to try it for another method to contact their members. By adding our President and Vice President of Public Relations as TA’s for the course, they can also post and encourage student interaction. The use of Canvas is just another way to enhance the Phi Theta Kappa experience for students who otherwise would not be engaged.

Is your chapter using Canvas, Blackboard, Zoom or other platforms to enhance membership and involvement? Let us know at news@ptk.org.

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