My Students Are Talking

to each other-about the course material!

Do you want your students to interact with each other about the course material? Are you looking to easily and quickly build on-line community? I have been experimenting with Course Feed on WizIQ and the Discussion Tab on Canvas. They are so remarkably easy. My not-particularly tech-savvy middle school students and their even less tech-savvy teacher were able to figure them out in moments.

Course Feed on WizIQ-You can do this

Course Feed is an on line discussion forum, where students and teachers can interact about ideas (or about anything) whenever it is convenient for them. It is a tool that can be used along side of the WizIQ online classroom and content library to create a place for learners to process ideas or share information. Today was my students’ first time using Course Feed, so my goal was modest: I wanted them to have a successful experience with the new tool.

Many of my students have weak internet connections and are taking classes on old desktops. There are some days that the technology is a bit daunting. Course Feed was wildly easy. All of the students were able to get on and use it successfully.

I enabled Course Feed as explained in this post. I started several conversations, so that my students would surely be able to respond to one of them. The lesson today was about how people in different cultures view sickness and  health. I wanted them to think about being sick and what that means in their culture and family, so I asked them to share stories about times when they were sick.

Share they did! They also commented on each other’s stories. Before class even began, their minds were in a place to learn and think. They had connected with each other and with the curriculum.

With Canvas, your students can easily record their voices

What an interesting way for your students to get to know each other!

Canvas, by Instructure, is a wonderful, free, learning tool for teachers. It is the same technology used by fancy universities, but they offer free accounts to classroom teachers. I explain the wonders of Canvas here and you can check it out for yourself here. Overnight, Canvas made organizing and keeping track of student work one hundred times easier. I will never again run a classroom without it.

My class is studying The Giver, by Lois Lowry. This book is about memories and how memories create the communities that we live in and the lives that we lead. As part of the pre-reading assignment, I asked my students to write about some of their memories.

Canvas has a mechanism through which students can record their actual voices. I asked the students to record their voices reading what they wrote. The kids loved it! They were able to listen to and comment on each others’ memories.

There was no uploading or downloading big audio files nor looking through my inbox for the students’ work. Their lovely voices were right there for all of us to listen to. The kids know each other better and are excited to participate.

WizIQ’s Course feed and Instructure’s Canvas are both worth checking out.


I am a teacher, hiker, mother, dancer and home-maker. I have taught pre-school through SAT prep. I am exploring ways to create on-line learning communities for home-schooled middle school and high school students. In particular, I am starting a low-residency on-line middle school. I would like to help young people explore important ideas while enjoying their lives! You can learn more about my programs at www.onlineclassesforgroovykids.org.

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