Sep 02, 2022 - Atlanta, GA
A new site aggregating information about campus resources ranging from mental health and well-being to academic support and career development is now available in Canvas, the Institute’s course management system. The site brings these important resources to the forefront of where students are interacting with their coursework online.
The College of Engineering’s (CoE) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council began building out the site about two years ago. The site amplifies work that was initiated by Student Engagement and Well-Being in 2020. A link to the new site, named GT Student Resources, is located on the left side course navigation menu in all Georgia Tech courses.
“We wanted to compile this information and make it available where students are online frequently — in Canvas,” said Mark Losego, associate professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Dean’s Education Innovation Professor in the College of Engineering, and initiative lead for the effort. “Compiling it in Canvas also makes it easier to continuously update and distribute new information.”
The Canvas site also includes resources and information related to emergency financial support, the Office of Minority Educational Development, the LGBTQIA Resource Center, the Veterans Resource Center, support for transfer students, undergraduate research, and much more.
The developers of the Canvas site, including Alivia Rukmana, an undergraduate student assistant in industrial design, leveraged best practices being implemented by several units, faculty, and student groups across campus who were sharing these resources through syllabuses and other methods.
“We first interviewed students, faculty, and staff to identify the most important resources to include,” Rukmana explained. “We then had the content reviewed by all the appropriate service units on campus.”
A beta version rolled out last year, mostly in the College of Engineering and the College of Sciences where faculty imported the resource into their own courses through Canvas Commons. While successful, this approach still required an extra step from the faculty and in some instances disrupted course content.
“Over the summer we worked with the Digital Learning team in the Office of Information Technology to install a link to this site on the course navigation menu in all Georgia Tech courses,” Losego said. “This way the site is automatically added to all courses and no longer interferes with course content.”
The team worked with Student Engagement and Well-Being to put mental health information front and center in the new site.
“We believe students are willing to utilize available programs and services if they know they are available and what they will provide," said Luoluo Hong, vice president for Student Engagement and Well-Being. “Linking available resources to an academic tool that we know students already regularly access will hopefully facilitate a more effective exchange of information with Yellow Jackets.”
The site was also vetted by the OIT Quality Assurance team to improve accessibility for all students.
“We are excited to have this roll out to the campus after two years of hard work,” said Iris Tien, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and chair of the CoE DEI Council. “Our hope is that this Canvas site will help students more easily find the resources they need and that the faculty will encourage their classes to explore this site to discover all of the incredible resources available to our students.”