Updating Preferred Names on Canvas

Last week, the UW responded to concerns about name representation on institutional interfaces. Both staff and students have long wanted the freedom to represent their preferred names on UW information systems and directories.

According to a recent email from Phillip J. Reid (Vice Provost, Academic and Student Affairs), students can update their preferred names by going to https://identity.uw.edu/. This website allows students to update their preferred name, which will then appear on select institutional systems. The following interfaces are available for the Autumn 2016 Quarter:

  • Class photos
  • Rosters
  • UW Directory
  • Grade Page

There will be additional interfaces made available in the Winter 2017 Quarter, which include:

  • Canvas
  • MyPlan
  • MyGradPlan
  • Electronic Academic Records (EARS)
  • Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)
  • Panopto

To get more information about these changes, see the Office of the University Registrar’s Preferred Names page.

Because Canvas is not an available selection until Winter Quarter, we wanted to take a moment to share how Canvas users can have their preferred name represented.

1. Go to Canvas.

2. Click on “Account.”

3. Click on “Profile.”

4. Click on “Edit Profile.”

5. Enter the name that you would like to appear on Canvas.

6. Click “Save Profile.”

As always, please let us know if you have any questions!




Digital Teaching Tools

Earlier this summer, the CIC staff (Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges, Jacki Fiscus, and Ann Shivers-McNair) attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, B.C. (thanks to the UW Simpson Center for sponsoring us!). We came back with lots of ideas and resources that we’re excited to share with you, including a bevy of digital teaching tools for you to consider as the summer winds down and we’re turning our thoughts to the fall. They’re categorized by what you could do with them, but many of these tools exceed their categories, so we encourage you to explore and invent new possibilities (and then share them with us!).

Digital Publishing: Curation and Storytelling

A screenshot from the Scalar trailer video that demonstrates non-linear composing process.

A demonstration of Scalar’s non-linear composing capabilities.

  • Scalar – Beloved of the digital humanities, Scalar is “a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required” (Overview).
  • Omeka – Like Scalar, Omeka is a publishing platform. Think of it as a virtual museum, where individual items belong to collections and can be placed within exhibits that tell stories around particular themes. Students can team up on collection and curation, but tell individual stories about the items in their own exhibits.
  • The Cookbook: How to Create Your Own Digital Story – As the name suggests, this is a set of detailed recipes for digital storytelling (rather than a platform for digital storytelling). Especially helpful is the recipe for digital storyboarding, which could be a great way to support students’ invention and drafting process.
  • Storify – You may be familiar with Storify as a tool for creating stories from Twitter hashtags, but its story-gathering and storytelling capabilities also include news and blogging. Storify is easy to use and doesn’t require much expertise.

Data Visualization

A screen shot from Carnegie Mellon's guide to information visualization tools. A man stands with his arms stretched out above his head, reaching toward a series of maps, charts, and other visualizations.

From Carnegie Mellon’s useful guide.

  • Palladio – This is a powerful tool for visualizing historical data in a variety ways: geographic maps, lists, and grids. While we tend to think of visualization tools in terms of representing our analyzed data sets (at the end of the process), visualization tools can also help students invent and analyze early in the process.
  • Poemage – This tool visualizes the sonic topology of poems: “We define sonic topology as the complex structures formed via the interaction of sonic patterns — words connected through some sonic or linguistic resemblance — across the space of the poem.” This could be great for modeling literary analysis.

For even more data visualization tools and a discussion of how to evaluate and use them, check out Carnegie Mellon’s helpful guide.

Text and Video Annotation

An annotation comment is being entered in a box on the Annotation Studio's interface; the annotation box is over a sample text that is being annotated.

An image from Annotation Studio’s site demonstrating the interface.

  • Annotation Studio – This digital text annotation tool has many potential uses not only for reading and annotating but also for composing. One of our colleagues at the DHSI used it to have her students collaboratively create a digital critical edition. Note: The tool is not in stasis, but the MIT team may not be as responsive as they may have been in past.
  • Hypo.the.is: Also a digital text annotation tool, Hypothesis was designed to “leverage annotation to enable sentence-level critique or note-taking on top of news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and more” (About). This could be an effective tool for teaching rhetorical analysis of public texts. Also: see below for a plug-in that allows students to aggregate their annotations.

Check out Teaching Media’s great list of video annotation tools, with detailed discussions of how to use them.

Facilitating Collaboration and Invention

A screenshot of SpiderScribe's mapping interface, with images, maps, and text items linked by lines and arrows.

SpiderScribe’s mapping interface.

  • SpiderScribe – This tool is for online mapping, brainstorming, and collaboration. It could support students’ in-process data visualizations and invention processes, as well as collaborative authoring.

See also Carnegie Mellon’s expertly curated list of collaboration tools, with discussions of affordances and applications.

Studying and Visualizing Twitter Activity

Archiving and Analyzing

A screenshot of a keyword search for

A sample keyword search and visualization from Tweetchup.

  • Tweetchup – offers analytics and visualizations
  • Hashtracking – offers analytics and reporting features
  • TAGS – archives tweets from a customizable search into a Google spreadsheet
  • Sentiment Viz – tracks the affect of a Twitter feed


Location-Based Mapping

An image of a map of the Pacific Northwest overlaid with trending hashtags based on location.

From Trendsmap

Also useful for any location-based mapping or visualizing: Geonames, a geographical names database.

Aggregation and Corpus Tools

A screenshot from Google Books Ngram Viewer, charting the occurrence of the phrases

Google Books Ngrams

  • Google Books Ngrams – Chart the occurrences of multiple phrases in the Google Books corpus, but also keep in mind that there are significant limitations to this tool that limit the kinds of questions we can answer and claims we can make.
  • Hypothesis Aggregator – “Hyopthes.is Aggregator makes it easy to assign a topic, rather than a reading, and ask students to find their own readings on the web, annotate them, and tag them with the course tag. Then Hypothes.is Aggregator can collect all the annotations with the class tag in one place, so students and instructors can see and follow-up on each other’s annotations. Similar activities can be done by a collaborative research group or in an unconference session.”

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Let us know what tools you’re using or interested in learning more about!


MLA Handbook 8th Edition: A Change in Focus of Teaching Citation

The 8th edition of the MLA handbook came out recently, and the edition is very different from the 7th edition that we know so well.  Although it appears that there is not a free online guide to the 8th edition just yet, you can order the new version and/or you can check out the Purdue OWL’s list of the major changes between the 7th edition and the 8th edition.  The Purdue OWL will be updating all of its resources by June 2016.

From looking at the Purdue OWL, along with this Pearson blog post, it seems like the biggest change between the 7th and 8th edition is the shift from a prescriptive approach for specific types of sources to providing a heuristic to use for any type of source.  According to MLA, the shift occurred because “Works are published today in a dizzying range of formats.”  The authors of MLA have stepped away from trying to name each type of source and providing a citation formula, and instead have suggested that authors use the information that they know about the source (author(s), title, version, publisher, publication date, location, etc.).  Upon gathering the necessary information, the 8th edition suggests that writers order source information consistently throughout the works cited/referenced page.

In fact, this shift away from prescriptive guidelines has been adopted by various text books before the 8th edition was released.  Writer/Designer: A Guide to Multimodal Projects (Arola et al, 2014), for instance, provides a comprehensive heuristic for students to make their citations rather than attempting to create a format for specific types of sources.

The Purdue OWL gives the following as an example of the difference between the 7th and 8th edition style guides:

Difference between 7th and 8th editions

In terms of pedagogy, (I think) it is supremely helpful that MLA has adopted this heuristic approach in its latest style guide. Many students see citation, particularly in the rigid forms we have traditionally mandated, as an arbitrary convention that must be done.  Given the nature of the 8th edition, and just to unpack this genre convention of citation, we can use this opportunity to ask students: Why do we cite our work?  For what purpose?  This can lead to a discussion about intellectual property, credibility of sources, and the audience of a text having access to its references.  Students can begin to consider: Who is my audience?  What does my audience need to know in this citation?  What genre am I writing in?  What are the affordances and expectations of that genre for citation representation? These types of questions could lead students to consider their citation practices with an attention to audience and genre considerations.  For example, a student might intend to write an academic blog and decide upon using hyperlinks within the text (just like I did here) rather than parenthetical citations. She might still put a works referenced note at the end of the blog entry if it was for an academic audience (just like Ann Shiver-McNair’s recent post for the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative).   This kind of attention to audience, genre, and the ideologies embedded within our citation systems will (I hope) be helpful for student learning.

If you have more information or would like to give your opinions about MLA’s most recent style guide, post to the comments.

By Jacki Fiscus

CoMotion Makerspace: How to Utilize UW’s Makerspace in Your Own Classes

On Monday, Kimberlee and I went to check out UW’s very own makerspace, which is called CoMotion Makerspace.  For those of you who are not aware, a makerspace is a collaborative space with a variety of creation tools that can be used for DIY projects.  Spaces like these have proliferated around the country, particularly in urban areas.  There are other makerspaces in Seattle like SODO Makerspace, Seattle ReCreative, or Metrix: CreateSpace.  And of course there are many shops on UW’s campus.  CoMotion Makerspace is different than the shops on campus because the goal of the space is to host as many fabrication tools as possible and to welcome users of all skill-level.  What I feel like makes CoMotion Makerspace such an intriguing space and pedagogical tool is its ability to foster cross-disciplinary project based learning here on campus.

CoMotion Makerspace opened its doors just last year, and it is located at Fluke Hall in Suite 215.  For those of in Padelford, that’s a 5 minute quick walk.  We encourage you to check out the space when you have time!  In case you decide to visit the space on your own, want to use the space for a project you’re working on, or you’d like your students to use the space on their own time this quarter, here are their Spring Quarter Drop-In Hours: Monday-Friday 12:30pm-8:30pm // Saturday 9-6pm // Sunday 12-6pm.  Closed for University Holidays (Memorial Day, May 30th).

Registered matriculated UW Seattle students, full-time UW faculty and staff (all campuses), part-time UW faculty and staff (all campuses) who work an average of at least 16h/week, and visiting scholars all have access to the space free of change (see their FAQ for more information on eligibility for other users).

To use the space, you must do a safety training, which almost ~1,100 people have done in the past year. The event calendar hosts information about the safety training.  Once you’re done with the training, you can then use the space during drop-in hours.  There will be someone on-hand to ask for help on various machines.

CoMotion Makerspace also has the potential of hosting events, like the think-a-thon that you see the aftermath of below:

But perhaps most exciting for us, CoMotion Makerspace can host your classes in future quarters, either weekly, bi-weekly, or for one/multi-time use.  Their availability is in the mornings (typically before 12.30), and there is a Catalyst request form for you to fill out.  There is a fee for classroom use, and if you plan to use fabrication equipment, CoMotion Makerspace staff must be present ($30/hr).  Email CoMotion Makerspace staff at mkspace0@uw.edu if you would like more information.

If you do decide to reserve this space as a classroom, you will have a teaching station with a computer, projector, and document camera.  Almost everything in the space is on wheels so you can configure and re-configure as appropriate for your classroom needs.  And of course, you will have access to all the equipment in the space. To list just a few things that might be of interest to you, they have laser cutters, industrial sewing machines, 3D printers, a circuit board mill.  It’s an adult playground.

Regardless of your experience or comfort level — or your students’ experience or comfort level — all are welcome to make and play in the space.  Perhaps what struck me most when we were touring the space is how much it inspired creativity and collaboration.  Some of us reading this blog (including me) sometimes struggle with stepping outside are comfort zone.  We’re experts in alphabetic writing projects, and it might be foreign to spend time in a space that incorporates so many other ways of meaning making.  I think this space welcomes us to interact with composing tools that we may or may not be familiar with, and (I hope) our experience in the space will broaden our understanding of what counts as composition, both in our classes and in our own work.

The equipment that CoMotion Makerspace has at its disposal is extensive, making the space valuable to various audiences: UW groups, classes, and individuals.

And to use the making equipment, you can bring your own materials or purchase from CoMotion Makerspace.

If you have any questions about the space, please feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me.  I have a lot of ideas for how EWP/IWP instructors might use the space for one-time use, sequence, or an entire class, so contact me if you’d like to talk more about that.  Feel free to leave your own comment with ideas of how you might use the space.  

By Jacki Fiscus

New CIC Assistant Director: Jacki Fiscus

Hello CIC instructors and teaching with technology fans!  My name is Jacki Fiscus, and I am the new CIC Assistant Director (AD).  I am very excited to be working with all of you!  I’ll use this first blog post as a way of introducing myself and reminding us (or telling newcomers for the first time) what my role is and how I can assist those interested.

For those of you that did not know, Ann completed her AD term last quarter and now is back to teaching (in the CIC — no surprise!), and my term will run for the next year.  (So yes, as many of you have already asked, I’m “the new Ann.”  I am honored to be following in her footsteps.)

To get in touch with me, feel free to email me (jfiscus@uw.edu) or find me on Twitter (@jackifiscus).

jacki.fiscus copy

A little about me: I’m a PhD student who focuses on english language studies and composition.  I am particularly interested in language ideologies, sociolinguistics, and multimodal composition.  In the last couple of years, I have taught English 108, 121, and 131, a lot of which were hosted in the CIC.  The CIC is my favorite place to teach on campus because I enjoy the way the space naturally decentralizes the classroom power dynamic, shifting the energy and focus of students onto one another.  The CIC is an excellent place to utilize technology productively while also playing with student-centered and activity-based pedagogy.  If you are at all interested in project-based learning, flipping the classroom, or group work more generally, I would love to brainstorm lesson plans or assignment sequences with you.  In particular, I have experience with guiding students through multimodal projects of their own choosing, so do contact me if you would like to give me insight into your best practices, swap stories, or brainstorm how to design a project that gives students a chance to respond to exigencies of their choosing.

For those of you who are regularly teaching in the CIC this quarter, know that I’m always on campus during your scheduled lab times.  Please call me or text me if you need my immediate assistance in your classroom.  Know that I can always come assist you with introducing new technology or trouble-shoot with you when technology malfunctions.  Most importantly, I am here to help you via doing observations, brainstorming ideas for your classes, working through any interesting classroom dynamics, or anything else you might need.  Email me if you would like to make an appointment to chat about all things CIC, teaching in general, or whatever you think I could help you with.

And for those of you that are not regularly scheduled in the CIC, remember that you can (and really should!) request a CIC lab for your class by emailing me.  Of course these labs are a great space to introduce portfolios, but I encourage everyone to try using a lab for another lesson as well, particularly one where you want students to interact in groups or with a certain technology.  I can also come to your classroom to help introduce a new technology to your students.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Like Ann, I will be using this blog space to post about teaching with technology tips and general information.  Please use the comment box below if you have any special topics you would like to see addressed.

Scheduling Conferences with Canvas

Tired of using a piece of paper to have students sign up for conferences? Then it’s time to try the Scheduler function on Canvas. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to Canvas and click “Calendar” in the purple menu bar.

2. On the Calendar page, click the Scheduler tab on the upper right, and then click Create an appointment group.

3. In the Edit Appointment Group, under the Calendar menu, select your course.

Canvas Workshop

As you turn your thoughts to spring 2016, please join us for a workshop on using Canvas as a teaching tool on Friday, March 4, at 10:30 a.m. in MGH 082. Whether you’ve never used Canvas before or are looking to take your Canvas use to the next level, you’ll get answers and help from two experienced Canvas users, Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges and Ann Shivers-McNair. To accommodate a range of experience and comfort levels, we’ve organized the workshop in two parts. You’re welcome to attend either or both parts.

10:30 – 11:30  Introduction to Canvas Basics

If you’re new to Canvas and considering using it for the first time, this is for you! We’ll be covering the following essentials:

  • Navigating the Canvas interface
  • Editing your syllabus and syllabus description
  • Uploading and managing files
  • Creating assignments

11:30 – 12:20  Small group and one-on-one consultations

If you have a specific question about or a feature you want to learn on Canvas, this is for you! Ann and Kimberlee will be available to work with you one-on-one or in small groups (if a few people have the same question). Also, if you joined us for the first hour, you can stick around to find out more about other commonly used features on Canvas, like pages, discussions, groups, and other settings options.

Let us know if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Resources on Teaching and Multimodality

“We must recognize that English Departments no longer sustain culture behind impenetrable walls of print. Culture, the product of our human relations, now produces texts in multiple, often overlapping forms. If it has become acceptable to recognize the work of scholars in English
Departments who use cultural studies approaches to texts in everything from film to clothing to museum exhibits, it should be part of an English Department’s mission to regard its students as capable of composing intellectual work in forms other than traditional print essays. And we should also recognize that other disciplines across campus are increasingly moving to multimodal texts in their courses and that our students need to know how to write to learn and write to inform and persuade in these forms as well as they do in print. We need to teach the forms of literacy that are producing the culture on our campuses and in our communities.” — Bronwyn Williams

Many of us in composition, literature, and creative writing classes are using new media and and ever-expanding array of digital tools to support our teaching and our students’ learning. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is meant to be a starting point for instructors interested in learning more about the logistics, ethics, pedagogical value, and theories of multimodal composition, digital rhetoric, and digital humanities pedagogy. (And if “multimodal” is a word you keep hearing people say but doesn’t seem to mean something specific, you’re not alone! The term is contested, but for a mainstream approach to its definition in composition studies, check out Claire Lauer’s [2012] piece on defining multimodality and new media, including the difference between “modes” and “media.”)

As always, if you have any questions, or if you have suggestions to add to the list, please let us know in the comments or by email (see contact info below).

UW Resources

English CIC


  • Ongoing free workshops on digital technologies for UW faculty, staff, and students
  • Free customized in-class workshops for UW instructors – also check out our blog post on English department lecturer Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill’s experience with a UW-IT custom workshop on presentation software
  • Online tutorials on web publishing, graphics and design, digital video, digital audio, and documents and spreadsheets
  • Digital Audio Workshops in the Odegaard Sound Studio
  • Contact UW-IT by phone (206-221-5000), email, or in person at the UW Tower, C-3000, for advice on technologies and teaching tools

Pedagogical materials

Online resources for vetting multimodal and new media teaching tools, technologies, and pedagogies

Overviews of the history and theory of multimodal composition, digital rhetoric, and digital humanities

Engaging critical issues in/with multimodality

by Ann Shivers-McNair

MLA multimodality keyword and MediaBreaker

screenshot of MLA keyword entry on multimodal

You may have heard by now that the MLA is publishing a keywords collection on digital pedagogies in the humanities (see the Chronicle article), and those keyword entries are out for open review until January 18, 2016. Many of the keywords will be of interest to English faculty and TAs–not least of which is the keyword on multimodality. Each keyword has a curatorial statement, including definitions and key scholarship on the term, and a collection of curated artifacts (many of which are digital teaching tools).

screenshot of MLA keyword artifact MediaBreaker

For example, the curated artifacts on the multimodal keyword includes an entry on MediaBreaker, a tool for making fair-use, critically-oriented video remixes–something we imagine would be of interest to those of you who assign remixes or work with video. (We also think MediaBreaker would pair nicely with VideoANT!) Check out MediaBreaker’s video below:

We encourage you to check out all the keywords and curated artifacts, and let us know if you use MediaBreaker or any other tools you find helpful!

By Ann Shivers-McNair

Workshop: Canvas Peer Review

peer review workshop

Join us for a hands-on workshop on using Canvas to facilitate electronic peer review! We’ll meet in MGH 082 from 10-11:30 a.m., and all are welcome. We’ll discuss approaches to peer review and options in the Canvas interface, and there will be plenty of time for practicing–both from an instructor’s perspective (setting up and viewing assignments) and students’ perspective (completing the electronic peer review).

Here is the agenda:


10:00 – 10:15 a.m. – Welcome and introductions

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Discussion of Peer Review Pedagogy, Questions and Concerns

11:00 – 11:05 p.m. – The CIC Faculty Guide:

11:05 – 11:25 p.m. – Canvas Peer Review as Instructor and Student

11:25 – 11:30 p.m. – Wrap-up

If you have any questions, let Ann or Kimberlee know. We look forward to seeing you there!