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Getting Started with Canvas: SCC’s Online Learning Platform

This blog is for students who are getting started with online learning at Scottsdale Community College (SCC). Canvas is the name of the online learning platform at SCC and can be found across all colleges in the Maricopa Community College District. Your instructor uses Canvas to delivery online content as part of their classes.

Students will need an internet connection and, preferably, the Chrome web browser.

There are multiple ways to access Canvas:

However a student chooses to find Canvas, we recommend they bookmark the login page. This is because instructors frequently use Canvas as part of their course.

When you first open Canvas, click on your Settings (upper right corner). This is where you can add your avatar (picture), by clicking the dotted box next to your name. Also, check your Notifications; your instructor may want you to set certain preferences here, and can be forwarded to your email via notifications.

Instead of an email tool, Canvas uses a Conversations feature, which is accessible through the Inbox link (upper right corner). Your instructor may well send messages to you through this feature, so make sure you are comfortable with it. Conversations apply to all Canvas courses you are enrolled in.

When using the Grades link on the course menu, click the various icons next to grade items to check for possible comments, grade details or rubric results.

The Library Resources link on the course menu will take you to the Maricopa-wide library system. To go to SCC's Library home page, click the My College Library link.

"Change is good," is the motto for the Canvas learning management system. In other words, enhancements or changes to the system can come as quick as every two weeks. This allows Canvas to improve regularly and not wait for upgrades to add new features. Usually, these changes would be minor, but it's important to be aware of this.

An image of the Canvas dashboard. This is the page you land on after logging in to Canvas.

An image of the Canvas dashboard. This is the page you land on after logging in to Canvas.
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An image of a Canvas course Home page. After selecting any of the courses on your Dashboard, you will land on a page like this.

An image of a Canvas course Home page. After selecting any of the courses on your Dashboard, you will land on a page like this.
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Additional information

When starting to use any new program, it’s natural to have questions. Once you have logged into Canvas, you will find Student Guides and a substantial amount of information and resources to assist you.

If need additional information, please reach out directly to your instructor. It’s very likely they have just helped one of your fellow students with the same question.

For technical issues, please submit a request to the SCC Help Desk:

Phone: (480) 423-6274 x3
Website: SCC Help Desk

Here are some best practices for online learning

Time management

Have a good understanding of the amount of time that your online class will take. Online and hybrid classes replace the time that you would spend in class with online work. In addition to that work, you will have homework to complete as well. As a guideline, you should plan to spend at least 6 hours per week working on a 3-credit course that spans a traditional 16-week semester. For some students the time may be less while others may need more time, and some classes will require more time on task as well.

Develop a regular schedule for working on your class

You should establish a regular schedule for working on your online or hybrid course work. Studies have shown that students who have scheduled their time to work on these types of classes are more successful than those students who do not. In order to be able to focus on your work during this time, let your family/friends know that the time that you are working on your class should be interruption-free.

Don’t wait until right before an assignment is due to submit it

Many students wait until just before an assignment is due to submit it. This can be problematic if you encounter a problem with your computer or your internet service provider. It is recommended that you submit your work at a time that if you encounter difficulty you can find an alternate way to submit your assignment (like working from the library or a friend’s computer).

Ask questions

If you have a question, be sure to send a message to your instructor or post in a questions discussion board. If you have a question, it is likely that other students also have the same question, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Additionally, the longer you wait to have a question answered, the further you will get behind, so ask questions as soon as you have them so you can move forward. Remember your instructors are there to help you.

Working Technology and Tech Skills

If you are enrolling in an online or hybrid course, you should have basic technology skills, regular access to a computer with the required software for your class, and an active internet connection.

Technology skills you should have include the ability to send and receive emails with attachments, follow hyperlinks to a web page, bookmark web pages and create and save documents in a word processor. Specific classes may have additional required technology skills.

Back up your assignments

You should make sure that you have backups of your assignments. It is recommended that you save your assignments on the hard drive of your computer and to your hard disk space on mySCC. You can also save copies on a flash drive or Google Drive.

If your computer breaks, find an alternative

As a student enrolled in an online or hybrid course, you are responsible for finding an alternate computer with Internet access if your computer becomes unusable. You are welcome to use the computers on the SCC campus located in the Library and the Tech Center. Additionally, computers with Internet access are often available at public libraries. It is also allowable to use a friend or family member’s computer if available.

Using the discussion board

Discussion boards have been created to foster discussion among you, your classmates, and your instructor.

Discussion board postings are often graded and should be well-written. All postings should be answered completely with an answer written in your own words (not written word for word from your textbook or the Internet) and should include some commentary from you on what you think of the subject matter and any local perspective that you know of or have researched. If appropriate, you should include a citation of any sources that you are using.

Your response should always be respectful and can include additional questions that you have, additional resources in regard to the question, or additional information that you can add to the student's response. Be sure to adhere to proper Netiquette when posting to the discussion board and email.

It is recommended that you create your discussion board postings in a word processing program and then copy and paste the content into your posting. We encourage this because sometimes the Internet connection will timeout while you are writing your posting.

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