Digitizing the Classroom With Cisco Webex Teams Board and Canvas LMS

Here’s how Cisco Webex Teams and Cisco Webex services can seamlessly integrate with Canvas LMS for improved digital experiences before, during and after class.

Apr 18, 2017 5 minute read

An LMS allows students to check grades in real time, receive notifications about discussion topics and review the work of peers.

Every day more of the interactions between students and teachers are digital. Many of them occur via a learning management system (LMS).

Because an LMS is already a part of student and teacher workflows, we wanted to know what would happen if you layered an enterprise collaboration platform on top of one.

Right now we’re working on a proof of concept in which we are developing against the Cisco Webex Board and Cisco Webex Teams services for integration with the Canvas LMS. Our goal is to digitize the classroom, before, during and after instruction.

Before class

First, a teacher creates a course in Canvas. The course includes modules, each of which represent a short series of lectures with assignments and files attached to them. For example, if an instructor was teaching a calculus course, one module might be on limits, another on differential equations and so forth.

Course modules in Canvas.

After the instructor sets up a module, he or she clicks a Teams button embedded in the Canvas LMS interface. This action triggers a bot to attach Teams rooms to each module. The bot also creates a new team for the course from an enrollment list with students’ Teams IDs and makes the instructor the team admin.

A bot creates a Teams room for each module.

With Teams rooms for each module in place, the bot assigns students and the teacher to each of the module rooms and adds a video recording service user into the rooms for Webex Board instruction. Then, it links modules to associated Webex Teams rooms. With one click, they’re ready to teach.

The bot assigns an instructor and teachers to each modules and prepares the modules for launch.

During class

An instructor starts a live class by activating a Webex Board using their device of choice: a laptop, phone or tablet. The room for the day’s module appears on the Webex Board. The teacher then calls the room via the board, which calls everyone in the room, including the instructor, the video recording service user and any student joining the room conference manually. The teacher rejects the call on his or her own device and uses the board for the call. Remote participants can see and hear the instructor.

The in-room board receives the call to start the class.

To use the Webex Board as a white board, the instructor presses the Teams home button, whiteboard soft button and then the share live button. As they white board, remote students can see what they write or sketch in real time while hearing the teacher. When the teacher fills the space on the board, he or she taps the Post snapshot soft button and the board is automatically saved to the module’s Teams room. They can then start writing on a blank board. Taking our example of a calculus class, a saved off board may be one where the instructor solves an equation or series of equations.

Real-time notes appear in the module and on the board.

When the teacher isn’t white boarding, he or she can stop sharing live and remote participants can see the teacher talking to the class. Because of Team’s mobile functionality, remote participants receive an immersive classroom experience with audio, video and white boarding on their computer, phone or tablet.

When class is over, the teacher simply hangs up the call via the board.

After class

Once the instructor hangs up the call each white board is now saved into the module’s Teams room. Whiteboard files are identified by date to avoid duplicate files.

In addition to easy access to class files, an instructor can have virtual office hours where students can start a video call with a single click of a button within Teams. Ultimately the room becomes a complete timeline of all student-to-student and student-to-teacher interactions for the subject matter.

Streamlined and continuous digital learning

With this solution, the instructor no longer needs a projector, physical white board or conferencing system for immersive, remote instruction. Roll a Webex Board into the class, and that physical classroom gets an immediate and complete digital facelift without the need for investments in collaboration infrastructure.

Instructors and students have more ways to interact digitally and instructors get to work within a platform that’s already part of their daily workflow. The integration, we hope, gets instructors thinking about new and innovative ways to extend their use of the Webex Board and Teams services. With the open-source nature of Webex Teams, the possibilities are endless and the solutions as customizable as institutions desire.

If you’d like to learn more about our Webex Board and Canvas LMS proof of concept, receive a Webex Board demonstration or better understand Webex Board and Teams open API development, feel free to drop me a line. And stay tuned, because our team will continue to be rolling out new Webex Teams AppDev use cases.

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