Rafter 360 and Canvas: A new way to adopt and access course material

Maryville has chosen Rafter to provide a comprehensive solution for course materials. Going forward, faculty and students will access Rafter via Canvas. In order to accommodate Rafter, we’ve made a slight change to the global navigation menu in Canvas.

We added a new icon to the global navigation menu titled Resources.

When Resources is clicked, links to Rafter appear. These links are titled Course Materials, University Library, Writing Studio, Lynda.com, Grammarly, and Lockdown Browser.

When Course Materials is clicked, the appropriate links should be clicked.

  • Faculty will use Rafter to adopt course materials.
  • Students will use Rafter to access eBooks and update their shipping address for physical books.

For questions about Rafter, please contact the Maryville University Bookstore. For questions about Canvas, contact LDT.

Apps for Use in and out of the Classroom

During a recent professional development activity, faculty members shared different iPad apps they’re using in and out of the classroom. Here is a list of some of the apps discussed and where you can go to find more information about each.


Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is an app that allows you to create digital designs, or visual stories.

BiblioBoard Library

BiblioBoard Library is an app that allows you to access digital books, images, articles, documents, audio, and video.


Flipboard is an app that acts as a pocket-sized magazine. It allows you to access stories, photos, and videos of interest to you.


MathBot is an app that allows you to use a math keyboard to easily create equations.


Mendeley is an app that allows you to organize and annotate PDFs. It syncs across all your devices and content is accessible offline.


Pocket is an app that allows you to save articles, videos, or links to access later. It syncs across all your devices and content is accessible offline.


Slack is an app that allows you to message and share files with individuals or groups. It syncs across all your devices.


TeamViewer is an app that allows you to remotely control Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It also allows you to remotely access unattended computers, such as servers.

TouchCast Studio

TouchCast Studio is an app that allows you to present anything, including webpages, files, images, and videos. It also allows you to record presentations to share.

Ulysses Mobile

Ulysses Mobile is an app that allows you to work on every phase of the writing process, including editing. Writings can be exported into PDFs, webpages, eBooks, and Word documents. It also syncs across all your devices.


Wunderlist is an app that allows you to create and share to-do lists and tasks. It syncs across all your devices.


Here are some iPad accessories that may interest you. When purchasing accessories, make sure you purchase ones that are compatible with your specific device.

Origami keyboard stand

Adonit jot stylus

Do you have any apps or accessories you currently use that you’d like to share with other faculty members? Email us, and we’ll add your ideas to the list!

Canvas Collaborations

Canvas uses Google Docs to allow multiple users (up to 50!) to work together on the same document, at the same time. Collaborative documents are saved in real-time, so any changes made by its users will be immediately visible to everyone. Collaborations using Google Docs require all participants to create and link a Google account to their Canvas account.

Linking a Google Account

1. Log in to Canvas.
2. Click Account.
3. Click Settings.
4. Click Google Drive from the Other Services list.

5. Click Authorize Google Drive Access.
6. Sign in with your Google account.
7. Click Allow.
8. A confirmation message appears.
9. Google Drive appears in your Web Services list.

Setting up a Collaboration

1. Log in to Canvas, and then click a course.
2. Click Collaborations from the left-hand navigation menu.
3. Type a Document name, Description.
4. Choose the people or groups to Collaborate With, and then click Start Collaborating.
5. The new document appears. If you want to create a document for a specific group, create it within the group.

Collaborating Ideas

Here are a few ideas for incorporating Canvas Collaborations into your course.

  • Share lists or agendas for upcoming class meetings.
  • Create a text-based whiteboard discussion that everyone can add to at their own pace.
  • Assign student groups a collaborative assignment. Ask them to submit the URL to the document for a grade.

Contact LDT with questions about Canvas.

The Digital Age of Reading – by Geriann Brandt Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, College of Arts and Sciences

How do educators impress upon their students the importance of reading? This appears to be such a rudimentary question, but it can be more of an arduous task than most may believe.  I’ve come to the realization that it’s not the students who should change their understanding regarding the importance of reading; it’s me.  Well, I should say the importance of ‘how’ the students read, not what they are reading. The student of the 21st century is not like my cohort age group when it comes to reading. These students are embedded in the Digital Age.

A recent December article featured in CNN News purported that most individuals in the U.S. do not turn off their hand held devices at night, and it is the first thing they look at in the morning. The same could be said for the college student. So why would I possibly entertain the idea that college students would place their devises on ‘sleep’ mode and pick up a book-a real book during their free time? It has come to my attention that I may be fighting a losing battle in regards to the promotion of a hand-held book. I honestly believe that only a true bibliophile can understand the cosmic joy of holding the tome, the smell of magic the pages retain, and eventually allowing yourself to (maybe) pass it onto another true reader. As I immerse myself more affectingly in my personal goals of academics, and of course, encouraging students to explore the pure joy of immersing themselves into a work of any genre of literature, I feel like I’m fighting against one word..the word is Digital!

Apparently, a new study generated by PlayCollective and digitalbookworld.com argue that children from the age of two to thirteen are reading more eBooks. Along with the 64 % surge in reading from the company’s 2012 survey, children who are engrossed in their eBook can easily place a finger on a word with which they are not familiar and a definition appears. Poor Webster. I’m assuming that I will be seeing many an edition placed haphazardly on tables at community garage sales.

Just this past week, the brilliant students at MIT felt so strongly about the power of words, they created a ‘wearable book.’  A book that allows the reader experience a sensory of the word… well, some of the words. As the reader continues through the journey of events found in the book, they will be able to feel what the characters are feeling. This is accomplished through actuators and sensors that connect to the wearable vest. Whatever the protagonist or antagonist experience, the reader will also experience the same physiological sensation. After reading the article I realized I felt the exact same sensations when reading Herman Melville’s Moby Dick for the first time, but without wearing a sensor vest.

Joining the Technology Treadmill (a post by Mascheal Schappe, Assistant Professor of Math Education)

Hello, my name is Mascheal Schappe and I am an assistant professor for math education and educational leadership. I joined the technology treadmill about a year and a half ago when I became a full-time faculty member. After returning to the field of education full-time, one of the things I was most looking forward to was professional development. I was very excited and couldn’t wait to catch up, especially in technology.

Well, I jumped in with both feet and was learning right alongside my students during my first semester. By the second semester, I was asked to provide a bit of a workshop for my colleagues on the uses of iPads. By the end of my second semester, I was asked to give iPad training to two different school districts. While I am far from an expert, I do have the willingness to try and don’t get too embarrassed when I make mistakes or have to ask a question that everyone else in the room seems to already know.

In using the iPads for my own teaching, I have discovered some outstanding tools to use in my own classroom, such as the ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard App. This app allows you to quickly and easily create mini lessons that you can email them to students, as well as incorporate pictures into your lesson. For example, I answered a student’s question about why a test answer was incorrect by taking a picture of her answer and recording my voice to explain the correct answer while marking my points right on the picture of her answer. The student received the answer about an hour after she sent me the note as opposed to having to wait until class the following week. ShowMe is very simple and very powerful!

I have also discovered several apps that help my students with understanding math, as well as great apps for them to use in future classrooms with their own students.

My passion for this topic was fueled as our School of Education worked to get our students up to speed with current technology. We now have an iPad cart with 25 iPads that can be checked out and used in our classes, a portable SmartBoard to give our students more opportunities to get their “hands on” the technology, and in order to provide “hands-on” learning, one of our classrooms is blocked out for 14 hours each week, allowing our students time to practice using the SmartBoard, the document camera, and 12 computers with smart notebook installed. We also have 6 more iPads on the way!

Every time I visit a school, teachers are using some type of technology and quite often it is different than the last time I visited. In an effort to make our future teachers even more marketable, we have pushed technology into our math methods courses and each education faculty member is using more assignments requiring students to demonstrate their ability to use technology as a classroom tool.

So, here is where the treadmill comes in. Despite the fact that I have done quite a bit of learning, teaching and learning some more, I don’t feel like I have mastered anything! The possibilities with each piece of technology are endless, and every time I almost get a handle on something, the next, better version is upon us. Even though I know so much more than I did a year and a half ago I still feel like a novice. I am quickly discovering that in order to survive on this treadmill I need to pace myself, share with others, seek out what others have discovered and concentrate really hard on doing a few things really well!

– Mascheal Schappe is an Assistant Professor of Math Education and Education Leadership at Maryville University in St. Louis