One great way to build social presence is through announcements. An original announcement (one created in the course and not copied over from a previous course) has the instructor’s profile picture; this reminds students that the instructor is active in the course. However, announcements copied from previous courses during the course copy process do not have a profile image. Unless the instructor signs their name, students may not know who posted the announcement, and social presence suffers.
Additionally, in 2021 the Department of Education released clarification of what constitutes “regular and substantive interaction,” which is required for an online course to be defined as distance education. The clarification is still somewhat vague, but in a peer-to-peer meeting of other AACSB schools, it was discussed that Announcements, if they have been wholesale recycled from one term to the next, do not fall under the regular and substantive definition. Announcements that have been edited and refreshed, do.
With these points in mind, instructional designers will not automatically include previous announcements in our course copy process.
If you would like to reuse announcements from a previous term, you have three options:
- Save announcements in a Word document
This works great if you have simply, text-based announcements without many links in them. This will enable you to better organize, edit, and curate your catalog of announcements. In addition, once you have your profile picture set up in your Canvas user account (this is a best practice), your image will appear next to each new announcement you create, thus bolstering your valuable social presence.
- Save announcements in an unpublished Page
This is the best option if you have announcements with embedded media or links to locations in your course. You won’t loose your embedded media, and the links will update when the course is copied to the next term. Create a new page, do not publish it, and copy and paste all of your announcements that you’d like to save in that page. Next term, you simply need to copy and paste them into new Announcements as needed. Be sure to let your instructional designer know if you are using this method so they know to watch out for this when they copy the course for the next term.
- Copy individual announcements as needed
Perhaps the simplest method is to simply copy and paste announcements from the previous course as you need them. Open the previous course in a tab, open the current course in another, and copy and paste.
With all these methods, you will need to edit the announcements for accuracy and currency to meet the Dept. of Ed’s guidelines.