Smeal Academy Sessions

Anthology Ally

The University has enabled a Canvas feature called Ally in all Fall courses. The tool helps support our goals of equity and inclusion, improving course accessibility and usability. With Ally, students are able to download alternative accessible file formats such as HTML, Audio, and Electronic Braille. Providing students with more accessible content allows students to choose the format that works best for them, improving student success. Ally also provides faculty with detailed feedback and resources. Through Ally, instructors can learn more about accessibility issues, why accessibility matters, and how to manage issues as they arise. In addition, Ally provides guidance and tips for continual improvements to course accessibility.

This session provides an overview of the features available with Anthology Ally, exploring:

  • on-demand student alternative format download options,
  • faculty accessibility tools, and
  • course accessibility scores.

As you begin to review your courses, the eLDIG team is available for consultations to help remediate existing course content and improve accessibility. This session is designed for instructors and staff who support Canvas courses.



Session slides:


Reports and Alternative Formats

Remediate Content

Everything I Know About Instructional Design I Learned from the Far Side

With a career at Penn State dating back to 1984, Dr. Brett Bixler brings almost four decades of instructional design experience to his role as an instructional designer on the eLDIG team. Come hear how teaching and learning with technology has evolved during his career as he discusses whether or not our brains work like snow globes (to paraphrase the Far Side): You know those little snow globes that you shake up? I always thought my brain was sort of like that. You know, where you just give it a shake and watch what comes out and shake it again. It’s like that.

Session Resources:

Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Learning

In this session we discuss the brave, new world of Artificial Intelligence and Academic Integrity. If ChatGPT passed a Wharton MBA exam, could ChatGPT pass Smeal classes? ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools make it much easier to cheat on assessments. The eLDIG team has been experimenting with AI tools and evaluating their impact for Smeal.

Session Resources:

Leveraging Media for Student Engagement

In this session we explore strategies and tools to increase student engagement and take your content creation to the next level. We discuss faculty- and student-created content as well as tools and tips to enhance your course media game while maximizing the accessibility of your course content.

Session Resources:

Let’s Talk: Online Discussion Tools

In this session we discuss tools, best practices, and strategies for online course discussions. We will give an overview of Canvas, Packback, Piazza, and Yellowdig discussion tools. Come with your questions and input for our discussion discussion!

Session Resources:

Canvas New Quizzes: Importing and Quiz-Building Basics

This session will help you get started with new quizzes and includes a basic overview of how to enable, import, and create new quizzes in Canvas. We also discuss some comparisons between Canvas classic/current quizzes and new quizzes.

Link to Session Slides

Inclusive Tricks & Treats

In this session we give out an array of inclusive classroom treats that can be shared with your students to help everyone feel a greater sense of belonging. You will leave the session with a variety of tools you can implement right away!

Helpful Resources

New Quizzes Benefits


Canvas is transitioning to a new quiz platform and all of our courses will be migrating to New Quizzes in the next year. This session provided a very basic introduction to Canvas’s New Quiz engine. We also demonstrated some tips, strategies, and considerations for quiz setup using New Quizzes.

Link to Session Slides

Accessibility Tips for Everyday Instructors

In this session especially designed for instructors and staff who support courses, the eLDIG team shared some strategies to improve the accessibility of your course(s).
Link to Session Slides

Accessible Smeal-Branded PowerPoint Templates

Smeal Community Shield
This template includes both 4:3 and 16:9 versions.
Download PowerPoint: Smeal Community Shield Template
Smeal Corner Shield
This template includes both 4:3 and 16:9 versions.
Download PowerPoint: Smeal Corner Shield Template
Smeal Lion Shrine
This template includes both 4:3 and 16:9 versions.
Download PowerPoint: Smeal Lion Shrine Template

Final Touches for Fall

This session was designed to help faculty and staff who support faculty to put the finishing touches on Canvas for the upcoming semester. We cover some Canvas basics, a checklist of items that you don’t want to forget before publishing your course(s), and some best tips and practices to get the semester off to a great start.

Link to Session Slides