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Learning Technologies Blog

  • For all of the great features that Cavas possesses for group collaboration, there are a few holes that need to be filled in terms of accessing, editing and searching groups of shared documents. Canvas does make it relatively painless to connect to cloud-based file sharing services, and thus utilizing their inherent positive collaboration features. Two such services, Google Docs and Box, play well with Critical Care Medicine’s instance of Canvas.

    In this blog entry, we’ll look at Box integration. Once the LTI for Box connects to Canvas, new collaboration tools became...


  • This post will examine a somewhat novel use of bookmarks to quickly navigate to desired locations within a Canvas course, saving clicks and time. This is especially true when using a mobile device. Like any bookmark, you must first visit the page location to add the bookmark. 

    If you have accessed a Canvas course location with your phone's browser, use the browser's menu to place a bookmark on your home screen (or within the browser list of bookmarks). The value added feature of this method is the browser will often remember that you have recently logged in, and may therefore skip the Canvas log in step - one click access from your home screen! 

    When using the Canvas app, the bookmark feature is available through the top left collapsing "hamburger" menu. A bookmark made within the app stays within the app, so you must first open the app to see the bookmarks. However, a collection of bookmarks at the top level will span courses,...


  • With the new learning management system (LMS) for the MCCTP, I was concerned about the user interface as a section director.  I’ve had experience using on-line modules with other software for my School of Medicine Critical Care and Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Electives.  I knew how well these others worked, as well as the challenges facing the creation of new topics, importing media (videos, pictures, pdfs), developing pre- & post-course quizzes as well as the general day-to-day (or year-to-year) maintenance of the content.  With how quickly medicine evolves, it is important to have a system that can easily be modified by the end-user (course author or director) for the most up-to-date materials for our learners.  It even appears to be easy to move around material to be available for other courses (ie remove my POCUS section from the CCM fellows’ core didactics to create a separate course on just POCUS for the CCM faculty and staff.)

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  • Audience polling (also known as audience response systems) provides powerful insights into instructional challenges. With a few taps on a mobile device, an instructor can quickly gauge an audience’s experience level, knowledge about a subject, or attitudes about controversial subjects. Presentations can be quickly customized, on the spot, to the needs of the audience. Because the audience can answer anonymously, participants can provide feedback free of the influence of peer pressure. Polling has been shown to be an effective instructional tool for increasing audience participation and promotes a deeper learning.

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  • Much of the educational content consumed in the Multidisciplinary Critical Care Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh comes in the form of self-paced mini-lectures delivered through our Canvas learning management system. What you may not have noticed is that the Canvas video player supports a range of playback speeds. By selecting the rate of playback, it is possible to listen to a 20 minute video in as little as 10 minutes.

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  • Fellows are using iPads 23/7, is it time to move them into the classroom?

    Critical Care Medicine Fellows are actively using their mobile devices in ways that suit their daily needs. iPads owners are reading journal articles, catching up on missed lectures, and listening to live webcasts when they cannot attend in person.

    But what about using iPads in the classroom?

    Overwhelming evidence suggests that deeper learning takes place when the learner is actively engaged in educational activities. Putting collaborative tools in the hands of the learner  in structured environments will enhance learning. Maybe another way to think about it, is that if we bring people together for an hour, what's the best thing they can be doing as a group?

    In a recent survey of Adult CCM Fellows, Fellows voiced their opinions about using collaborative techniques for classroom learning. The results show very little negative inclinations towards collaborative...


  • All CCM Fellows have a smartphone or an iPad, but may not know the options for wireless connectivity while at work.

    Both UPMC and Pitt provide wireless access points throughout the hospitals and Scaife Hall. Which one you choose depends on what services you are seeking. 

    UPMC network credentials will allow you secure wireless network [CWP-EAP and others] access  to patient information systems and other network services. However, you will need to install the gateway security app MobileIron and the collection of clinical apps folded into Citrix Receiver, and be on an approved access list. More information can be found here:

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  • Starting this year, CCM faculty will add mini lectures to an array of online course materials comprising the CCM Fellowship curriculum. The lectures will feature short and concise treatments of a topic. Fellows will view the grouped lectures in preparation for class discussion. The idea was developed by Jason Moore, MD, to make group learning experiences more interactive, and as a means for faculty to more efficiently focus their educational efforts. Max Glider provided the technical expertise, putting together all of the necessary recording materials into a portable recording kit. Now faculty can record their mini lectures at any time and place of their choosing. It's all part of continuing faculty effort to find new ways to deliver educational experiences for CCM Fellows.

    For more information...