When we piloted Canvas about a year ago, one of the comments that surfaced repeatedly from students is that things were much easier to find in Canvas. In working with students throughout this semester, many have commented that they wish all of their professors were using Canvas. As you design your courses, keep in mind that a learning management system can be a “trick” or a “treat” for students to access course content. This Halloween, and always, let’s make sure our courses treat students to a high-quality, easy-to-use course. Here are some tips to make your Canvas courses a “treat” for students:
- Link to your course syllabus on the home page of the course and fill in your contact information on the home page. This gives students the critical information they need right away.
- Organize course content in modules by the WEEK or CLASS PERIOD rather than by content type. The allows students a one-stop shop for everything they need for one week or one class without having to scroll/click to different areas of a course. Less confusion = more time for learning content.
- Add due dates to assignments so that students get reminders in their “To Do” list on Canvas.
- Copy/paste details about assignments right in the textbox description for the assignment instructions so that students don’t have to go anywhere else to see what they need to do. Engage students in real learning and project completion rather than a scavenger hunt or guessing game about what they need to do.
Remember, when we as the instructor design the course, we know the content, we know how we organized it, and we know what we expect. The students weren’t looking over our shoulder as we did this work, so we need to be explicit in our organization and presentation of content and course materials and requirements so they can focus on learning. Want help accomplishing this? Call Linda Macaulay or email her (email@example.com) to schedule a time to work on course design together.