Language Teaching Fair Spring Coffee Hour: Extending Class Time with Canvas

Language instructors at WashU gathered on Wednesday for an informal roundtable discussion on teaching and using Canvas in the classroom. Iva Youkilis, Senior Lecturer and Placement Coordinator in Italian; Erik Nesse, PhD, Lecturer in French; and Taewoong Kim, PhD, Lecturer in Korean, led the discussion.

The event started with instructors taking a poll about what they wish they had more time for in the classroom. Conversation moved to reflecting on “ideal” frameworks, how teaching touches on different areas of them, specific practices that come to mind, how to make out-of-class work relevant, and challenges that instructors face.

In the latter area, instructors mentioned difficulties including varying levels of students (i.e., advanced or beginners), trying to keep students busy for an entire class period, connecting content to heritage speakers, giving students individual attention, and facilitating “real” versus “stiff” discussions.

The session ended with discussion leaders presenting examples of how they’ve used Canvas in their teaching. Quizzes, discussions, and assignments can all be facilitated through Canvas.

Canvas can also be integrated with other software. For example, VoiceThread allows students to record their voice and create an audiovisual presentation that they can upload to Canvas.

The coffee hour event was an offshoot of the Fall 2019 Language Teaching Fair special interest group session on Canvas in the Language Classroom. Iva Youkilis, Mimi Kim, Teaching Professor of Korean Language and
Korean Language Coordinator, and Meg Gregory, Assistant Director of Educational Development at The Center for Teaching and Learning, organized the event. The event was co-sponsored by The Center for Teaching and Learning and a number of WashU language departments including: Classics; East Asian Language & Cultures; Germanic Languages and Literatures; Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies; and Romance Languages and Literatures.