Conquering Canvas: New Beginnings

As the end of this semester quickly approaches, and a new semester approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your course content for next semester. Here at VC, we still have several instructors who have not started teaching in Canvas. Most of these instructors have requested content to be moved over from Blackboard. Upon seeing the imported content, around 50% of the instructors decided they rather, for lack of better phrasing, “rebuild” their course in Canvas.

I think this is an awesome idea. Not only does one learn Canvas while building the course, but it also gives one an opportunity to redesign the course. Canvas has some capabilities that Blackboard doesn’t have. Take advantage of these features to enhance your course. Did you know Canvas will render previews of certain file types? Therefore, content will be viewable within the course without having to be downloaded. Explore the abilities of the Rich Content Editor. Add videos to your content to make it more engaging.  Add course links on a page and make it your course home page. This has been one of our instructors’ favorites things to do in Canvas!

When building your course, keep the student experience in mind. Structure your course navigation so that students can easily find course activities and materials. Once you’ve set the course up to your liking, click through your course as student. While the course may make sense to you as an instructor, the student experience may be different. Understanding your course from the student perspective will help you better assist students who may be struggling.

I hope you consider some of the things I’ve written here and start thinking about your future classes. Our faculty have found Canvas very user-friendly and easy to use, so let that be an encouragement when working in Canvas.


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