About David Christianson

My name is David Christianson. I've long felt that teaching was my calling, and have spent my career teaching both children and adults. Many of the most important lessons for teaching adults, I learned from teaching children (thankfully behavior management is much less of a concern with adults!). I have a B.S. in Communication from Oklahoma Christian University, an M.A. in Communication from ACU, and an M.Ed. in Education, also from ACU. My work with teaching children soon grew into training adults to do the same. As I did this for the Region 14 Education Service Center, I utilized online training, face-to-face training, and distance learning (video chat) to spread the message far and wide. I value technology as a great tool to enhance learning and to address the core of how we learn. I can help with online learning, I have lots of great tricks to use in the physical classroom as well! I feel absolutely blessed to now serve as an Instructional Designer for the Adams Center. If I have learned one thing in my educational service, it is that I love helping others to learn!

Using the New Turnitin Feedback Studio iPad App

Turnitin released its new Turnitin Feedback Studio app (download here).

For ACU Faculty to sign in, open the app and select “Log in with Access Code.”

Log in with Access Code

Next, open a Canvas course in Safari on your iPad (not on a laptop, and not in the Canvas app). Navigate to an assignment that is using the Turnitin LTI and open the Turnitin viewer by clicking on a submitted paper.

view of Turnitin from canvas


In the Feedback Studio view, tap the i in the circle on the lower right of the screen.  If you do not see the “i” icon, it may be covered by a gear icon. Tap on it and you will be able to see the “i”icon.

Tap the i


Tap the “Generate Code” button.

A view of the information from the assignment

It may take a moment or two before the code actually generates.


Next, copy the generated code and paste it in the appropriate place in the Turnitin app.

a unique code will be generated.


Remove the spaces before hitting Return.

Remove the spaces


Once the code is accepted, you will be able to use the Turnitin Feedback Studio app on your iPad.

An image of a paper in Turnitin Feedback Studio

Tap anywhere in the paper to make comments and suggestions. This app is new and is a little buggy, but has potential to be a great markup tool as improvements are made.

Summer Faculty Institute 2016

foodforthought copy

Given the centrality of food in Christian practice and imagination, what might it mean to “eat well” in our teaching, learning, and scholarship? How might eating as a metaphor enlarge our thoughts and shape the ways we organize our classrooms, plan our syllabi, prepare our lessons, write our articles, and live in our academic communities?

We invite you to join us for a 3- day Faculty Institute, May 16-18!  We’ll kick off with a keynote from Dr. Susan Felch, Director of the Center for Christian Scholarship at Calvin College —  “Food for Thought”  — on Monday at 11:30, and then host two concurrent workshops with four sessions each:
Monday (1:30-3:30)
Tuesday (9:00-11:00; 1:00-3:00)

No cost for ACU faculty/adjuncts.

Cost for faculty outside the ACU system:
Keynote only $25 per person
Full Summer Faculty Institute $100 per person [Click here to register]
Group of 20 or more from one institution $75 per person (call for details)

The workshop descriptions are below.

Finding your Scholarly Vocation with Dr. Susan Felch
The purpose of this workshop is to develop your self-understanding as a scholar, to understand habits and practices that support continuing scholarly work, and to explore the breadth and benefits of Christian scholarship.  Each of the three workshop sessions will include a presentation, discussions, and the opportunity to share ongoing scholarly work. Short articles and other readings will be distributed in advance.

Creating Flipped Classrooms
Scores of studies have demonstrated that the flipped classroom structure is beneficial for student learning, especially for first generation and underrepresented students. This hands-on series of workshops will prepare you to deliver one of your classes using the flipped model and try it for yourself.

Please RSVP by April 29.


Lockdown Browser – Pilot

If you have opened your Canvas since 3:00 p.m. on September 3, you likely noticed the new link “Lockdown Browser.” Educational Technology and the Adams Center are conducting a pilot of Lockdown Browser as a secure testing environment. By opening the integration between Lockdown Browser’s LTI and Canvas, the link was automatically populated to all existing courses. The link appears in all courses, but is only operable for pilot professors.

The link does not appear to students. If you would like to hide it from your view as well you can follow these instructions.

First Day of Class: A Once-a-Semester Opportunity


College students gathered in a tiered lecture hall.












The first day of class, known by some as syllabus day, is a tremendous opportunity for faculty and students to connect, for students to be inspired, and for a solid foundation to be set. Read this encouraging article from Faculty Focus and think about how you will start this semester!

Changing Start and End Dates for a Canvas Course

Each Canvas course is created with the default beginning and end date for a semester. Sometimes, however, faculty will want to allow students to access and interact in the course before or after the official start and end times of the semester. In order to do this, an instructor should enter the course, then select Settings in Course Navigation.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.40.21 AM

Under the Course Details tab, you can change the Start and End Dates by using the calendar tools. Be sure that “Users can only participate in the course between these dates” is checked.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.43.34 AM

Once you have set the dates the way you want them, click on “Update Course Details” at the bottom of the page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 10.48.15 AM

My Best Lecture: Paul Morris

Whether we have free will and what exactly free will requires of us have long been problematic and unresolved issues. To most people moral responsibility seems to rest on our having some form of free will. The lecture will critically survey the contemporary status of the problem and explore why these are extremely important questions.

Canvas Roll Call Attendance

One of the many tools Canvas offers is a tool to record attendance in a face-to-face class. Roll Call Attendance, labeled “Attendance” in the side menu, is visible to instructors but not to students. A simple click can record an ongoing grade in the Gradebook for each student. You can find the simple instructions for using it here, and here are a couple of tips if you decide to use this tool.

The attendance will be tracked in the Gradebook as a percentage. Instructors can add attendance as a part of the overall grade by adding an Assignment Group for Attendance, then weighting it by clicking Set Group Weights in the Gradebook gear tool. Or, if you prefer to figure the ongoing Attendance percentage into a Participation grade later, you can leave Attendance out of the grade weights as is the default.

There are four default options to mark when in the Attendance tool: Present, Absent, Late, and Unmarked. Unmarked is the default status. When you click the icon by a student’s name the first time, the status changes to Present. Click it again and the status changes to Absent. When that missing student finally arrives, click the icon again for Late. One more click changes the status to unmarked, restarting the cycle.

In order to add easy notes to a student’s attendance record, you can also use badges in Roll Call. You can customize these badges in a number of ways – Excused Absence, Disruptive Behavior, Good Participation, Sleeping in Class – you can set these parameters. Selecting a badge will not affect the grade that is automatically recorded through Roll Call, but you can use it if you are determining a Participation grade.

Roll Call can also be used to create a seating chart, which can be useful in large classes if you have all students sit in the same seat in order to assist with recording attendance. Using drag and drop functionality, easily create the chart in Roll Call and make modifications when necessary. This chart will display each student’s Canvas profile photo and name. To record attendance, click on the appropriate space in the chart and cycle through just like you would in the alphabetic list.

If you would like assistance learning to use Roll Call Attendance or any other tool in Canvas, please contact Berlin Fang or David Christianson in the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning.

ACU Chooses Canvas

Canvas by Instructure

It’s official – Canvas is now the enterprise learning management system for Abilene Christian University. Canvas is built in such a way that it can effectively be used for both fully-online and face-to-face courses. Tools such as SpeedGrader make grading and grading with a rubric simple. The gradebook itself is fully functional, enabling faculty to drop grades, weight grades, and a host of other sought-after features.

Canvas will not only make life easier for faculty, but also for students. Students will experience a consistent online platform for course delivery and interaction. No longer will students lament that they are using 3 or 4 learning management systems. Using Canvas as a campus-wide solution will remove many of the undesirable difficulties encountered by students who have to determine what system to use for what class, and will enable faculty to focus them on desirable difficulties inherent to learning.

This process will be gradual. A pilot group is formed and will use Canvas this Spring semester, with campus-wide implementation set for Fall 2015. Canvas offers a wealth of learning guides online. Go to https://guides.instructure.com to get started. Local training on using Canvas will be offered at various times in the upcoming months, so be sure to watch the Adams Center calendar for a time that works for you.