Using Nexus To Do More

PACE makes use of Nexus as our learning management system.  It provides the ideal way to share information with and communicate with students.  Nexus is in use in all our full time programs, and can easily be set up on request for part time courses.

Beyond the basics of posting course materials and receiving assignments, Nexus offers some other features that can benefit instructors:

Help Files: Nexus has been updated to include a series of tutorials for instructors.  They can be accessed from any page in Nexus by looking for “Help” on the right side of the ribbon bar.  Clicking on Help opens a list of resources, with specific files for instructors under the heading “Instructor – Nexus Tutorials”

Mass communication: Nexus has the ability to create a mass email to your course using the Nexus built in email feature.  When in the pages for any course or program, click on “Classlist” along the ribbon bar.  That will bring you to a list of all students, instructors, and administration staff assigned to the course /program.  To filter to the students, click on the tab marked “Students” just below the heading Classlist, then select all of the students by checking the button that selects all, just above all the first student’s name.  Then click on the word “email”, a new window will open with an email addressed to all the students.  Change the subject line from the default program name to your message title.  Remember that the Nexus email system is self-contained and sends / receives only within the Nexus system.

Audio recording for feedback: Besides tracking student submissions and being able to post files as feedback, Nexus allows instructors to record and add an audio file as feedback (provided your computer is equipped with a microphone).  When in the assignment submission folder, click on the student submission, and when the file opens, scroll down along the right side, under “Evaluation”, to find a button that reads “Record Audio”.  A window will open allowing you to record and add an audio file as feedback.

Calendar to add events: besides automatically filling in a course or program calendar from the assignment folders, events can be added to the calendar for student information.  When inside a course or program, click on “Communication” on the ribbon bar.  Then select “Calendar”, this will open the calendar view and by selecting “Create Event” (in blue, a little down from the ribbon bar), an item can be added to the calendar, which then shows on the course / program main page.

Discussion boards: Nexus has the ability to have an online discussion forum within any course /program.  Once inside any course /program, select “Communication” along the ribbon bar, then “Discussion”.  Like the assignments folder, instructors can then create a discussion by clicking “New”.  Besides giving the board a title, properties can be set to have the discussion board allow anonymous posts, or to have all posts approved before being visible.

Using Nexus is a great benefit to instructors, making use of additional features can enhance instructor / student interactions, improving course delivery.

Using Student Experience to Your Advantage

Teaching in continuing education has the advantage of classes of students with work experience; that experience varies from student to student, but as a whole, the class represents a pool of knowledge that an instructor can draw on.  Using that experience offers many advantages for an instructor.

Getting students to share their personal stories, previous education, or experiences can be as simple as posing an open ended question.  It can be more direct, by asking if anyone has experience with the topic of the moment.  Sharing experiences can be accomplished as part of a peer work session, having the students collaborate together to build a response to a question and then share that answer with the class.

Using students’ previous experience is a valuable way to build connections between the lesson of the day and old knowledge.  It lets students see how their previous experience and knowledge fits with the new information.  Particularly with adult learners, this is ideal by validating their previous experiences.

Drawing out students experience and stories helps build a connection between instructors and the class.  Getting personal information, remembering it, and calling on students with experience or knowledge of an area, even just asking for experience on a topic, engages the students and creates a bond between the instructor and the student.  Even as simple as comparing the Canadian work experience to another area of the globe helps open up that connection.

With the breadth of experience that is in our classes, asking for the input of students can be help in taking the ‘pressure’ off an instructor to know every answer.  It’s not possible to know every nuance of a topic, or to have had every opportunity to try a concept out in the real world.  Soliciting student ideas can broaden a discussion, bring in an alternative viewpoint, and provide a different voice on a topic.

Acknowledging that our students have previous knowledge and experiences helps to build a connection with the instructor, showing the instructor values different input and ideas.  It allows students to more easily connect current ideas with their past experiences, ultimately aiming to improve learning of the new material.  Instructors should work to extract that experience and knowledge from students on a daily basis in our classes.

Copyright & Instructor Materials

Compliance with Canada’s copyright laws is a requirement for all instructor material posted to Nexus, and in addition, instructors should be mindful of ownership rules around lesson plans and other instructor created materials.

With a few exceptions, PACE does not own course materials, they are the property of our individual instructors.  For that reason, PACE can not share access without the permission of the instructor who owns the material.  This extends from slides, through to assignments, rubrics, and other supporting materials.

Instructors looking to use materials created by other instructors should contact the author.  Ensure that you have permission to use that material, and be clear about what you are going to do with it: refer to it, link to it, post a copy, etc..  And, of course, provide credit to the author.

We aim for a collegial and cooperative teaching group, and courtesy over the ownership and use of instructor materials is a part of that.

Academic Integrity Inter-Institutional Meeting

Registration is now open for the Academic Integrity Inter-Institutional Meeting (AIIIM) 2018 coming up on May 23 at Assiniboine College in Brandon.  All academic staff, including faculty members, instructors, administrators, students with teaching responsibilities, etc. with an interest in the issue of academic integrity are invited to attend.

Please register for your free ticket at the following link:

Registration to attend and participate in the event is free. Refreshments and lunch will be served.

Registration opens on March 5, and will close on April 2, 2018.

Registration will be capped at 60 participants.

Presented by Assiniboine Community College, University of Manitoba, Campus Manitoba, Manitoba’s Flexible Learning HUB, and U of M’s Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

AIIIM 2018 is a teaching and learning event for post-secondary teaching staff from across the province. The goal of the event is to share strategies and resources that provide students with the best possible learning experience — one that is centred on integrity.

Cell Phone Use in the Classroom

Interested in how other universities and colleges handle cell phones in the classroom? Faculty Focus magazine did a poll and gathered some information on different approaches, you can read about it here: