Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester! This post is a compilation of resources and links that will help you prepare for the semester. The Fall 2021 term dates set by VCU are August 10, 2021 at 12 am to January 5. 2022 at 12 am.

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  • The Canvas Training Services Department has created a Beginning of Course Practices checklist that OLTS has modified to be specific to VCU. On the list is everything from how to publish and unpublish content to posting final grades to Banner. Each item has a link to the corresponding Canvas Guide for more information.
  • Faculty Training Schedule: VCU Learning Systems has a full schedule of synchronous Zoom training covering a variety of Canvas topics and more. For the schedule, registration links, and Zoom joining information, please refer to the Faculty Training Schedule page. Recordings of previous trainings can be found in the Learning Systems Canvas Channel in Kaltura.
  • VCU Online’s Open Office Hours are held every Tuesday – Friday from 12 pm – 1pm. You can “drop in” to get help or ask questions about anything related to online learning.
  • Panda Pro Sessions are virtual one-on-one 25 minute consultations for any interested faculty member who has questions about using Canvas features. These sessions are free of charge now through September 30th, 2021. During these sessions you will be paired with a Canvas professional who can assist you with Canvas topics of your choice.
  • The Canvas Training Services Portal: available from your Help Menu within Canvas. Once you access the portal you will need to authorize the app to have access to your account. Click the Training Calendar link to see a list of live sessions that are available to you to attend. There are multiple sessions each day from early in the morning to later in the evening.
  • Asynchronous Canvas options include: LinkedIn Learning’s Learning Canvas course by Oliver Schinkten, your own Growing with Canvas course that is available on your dashboard, and the Passport to Canvas course that is available to students. The Passport to Canvas link https://virginiacommonwealth.instructure.com/enroll/4ALERG will automatically enroll students into the course.


VoiceThread has a new interface that was launched June 30, 2021. VoiceThread is providing several workshops to introduce instructors to the new interface and features.

Top Hat

Top Hat is an active learning platform that promotes audience engagement. It allows an instructor to conduct polls, track attendance and present slides and assessments for interactive learning. Students can submit their responses using their mobile device, table or laptop.


All courses should use the Zoom – HIPAA link in their Canvas course menu. This makes it easy for faculty and students to access any synchronous sessions without having to figure out which link should be used for which meeting. See this blog post on Adding Zoom to Canvas for information about adding Zoom to your Canvas course menu or recording a class and posting the recording to Canvas.

Other Notes and Items

Categories Beginning of semester, Canvas, Teaching Tips, VoiceThread