Northwestern Information Technology is pleased to announce the launch of a new online app store which allows for the easy addition of Northwestern-created learning apps into any Canvas course. Developed by IT Services and Support Academic Software Development, the app store continues the work begun during the 2016 school year through partnerships among instructors, staff, and students across the University.
You can access the Northwestern Learning App store here.
Canvas supports a wide variety of third party tools and services to improve the student or instructor experience. Many of these “Extensions to Canvas” – Blue Jeans videoconferencing, Yellowdig discussion platform, etc. – are already in widespread use at Northwestern.
This opportunity for extension and innovation has resulted in a rich and growing marketplace of “learning apps,” available for use in any Canvas course. Hundreds of these are on display for review in the public EduApp Center and available for selection within each individual course’s "Settings > Apps" page.
Northwestern is also a rich source of innovation in teaching and learning which increasingly manifest as learning apps that can be shared broadly within Northwestern courses. Learning apps are also emerging from the insights, explorations, and collaborative projects of Northwestern instructors, staff, and students. However, the public app catalogs do not include locally developed extensions.
To support these local innovations, we have created the Northwestern Learning App store. This site (itself a learning app) hosts Northwestern-created apps make it easy for instructors to add these and other commonly used 3rd party applications into their Northwestern courses. Ideally, these apps will inspire the creation of new apps here at the University.
Northwestern Learning Apps
The inaugural set of Northwestern Learning Apps includes collaborative projects in learning analytics and alternative Canvas interfaces:
- Yellowdig Visualization Tool: This tool creates a visual representation of social and discussion networks that emerge on a course’s Yellowdig boards, allowing for a deeper understanding of which topics and discussions are the most valuable to the students.
- Discussion Analytics: This is a tool for analyzing your discussion forums using natural language processing. It provides several language metrics, include people, places, and organizations mentioned in the course’s Canvas discussion forums.
- Nebula: Nebula is an alternative interface to Canvas Discussion forums. It provides students a knowledge network for discussion forum participation and instructors an easy visual to see who the thought leaders in class are for any topic or thread.
Additional collaborative work in these and other areas will soon be added and be available to all Northwestern courses.
Add an App Today
One of the best things about the site is how easy it makes it to place the app in your course. Simply click on the app’s INSTALL NOW button on the site’s main page or the INSTALL button in the app’s description (such as in Nebula’s below).
You will be redirected to Canvas and provided a list of the courses you teach. Select a course and indicate if you want the app installed in the Canvas Navigation Bar or in a specific course module.
If you used the default, Navigation Bar setting, that’s it. You’re done. If you are adding the app to a module, after installing, you will need to add the app in the module of your choice. A message like the one below will provide a link to your course modules.
Visit the Northwestern Learning App store today!