Teaching with Canvas – Dr. Cassidy Puckett Brings Seminar Facilitation Online with Wiki Pages

Dr. Cassidy Puckett teaches “SOC 585: Qualitative Methods,” a graduate level seminar for around ten students in the Laney Graduate School. Dr. Puckett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Her research focuses on the relationship between technological change and inequality. (Click here for Dr. Puckett’s full bio.) In her seminar, Dr. Puckett prepares graduate students to propose their own research using qualitative or mixed methods.

Dr. Puckett’s Teaching with Canvas Goals

Dr. Puckett used Canvas to teach “Qualitative Methods” in Spring 2017 and Spring 2018. She posted course materials for students in the Files area organized into weekly folders, sent announcements, and accepted assignment submissions online. She also assigned peer reviews of grant proposal drafts in Google Docs. Her goals in joining the Teaching with Canvas cohort were to add interactive online components to complement class meetings, get ideas for planning a new course based on her research, and share her extensive experience in course design and interdisciplinary teaching with the cohort.

Outcomes from the Program

Dr. Puckett’s course was firmly rooted in instructional design methodology before Teaching with Canvas. Her existing objectives and assessments for course units worked well in past semesters and did not need changes. She built Canvas Modules for course units for the first time during Teaching with Canvas. Using class plans already developed in her syllabus, we also added Canvas pages with overviews for each week of the seminar.

Dr. Puckett added some elements associated with digital presence to her Canvas course for the first time in Teaching with Canvas. On the course homepage and weekly overview pages, she added images for visual interest and humor. She favors using comics about research.

Dr. Puckett wanted to add a new online activity to her Spring 2019 course. We drafted and compared several ways for seminar facilitators – students take turns playing this role – to post reading questions before class and notes from the discussion after class. We considered Wiki Pages, normal Canvas pages that students are allowed to edit, and Collaborations, which lets instructors create a file in Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, or Google Docs and assign collaborators. She decided to go ahead with Wiki Pages because simplicity matters more for this work than simultaneous editing.

Qualitative Methods (SOC 585) Showcase

Dr. Puckett’s course homepage is the Syllabus. The syllabus description opens with a comic about research methods, links to the key course tools and ways to contact her, describes the course, then links to the full syllabus in DOCX format. The Course Summary field (not shown in this image) is automatically filled with weekly assignments.


Dr. Puckett’s course objectives, weekly overviews, assignments, and wikis are organized in course units in chronological order in the Canvas Modules index.


In this example week overview, Dr. Puckett links to the wiki with the due date for facilitators to post reading questions, describes what seminar work will consist in, and lists required readings (readings not shown in image).


This is the wiki page template Dr. Puckett and I developed for seminar participants responsible for facilitating in-class discussion to post questions before class and notes after class. The wiki page is editable by any student in the class.


Now Accepting Applications for Teaching with Canvas

Applications for the second Teaching with Canvas cohort are now open! Teaching with Canvas aims to provide Emory faculty with a supportive and shared experience while they explore how thoughtful Canvas course design supports instructional strategies such as student interaction, communication, collaboration, and field work. Applications are due April 3. Click here to learn more, including how to apply.

Header image by Steve Johnson on Unsplash