Whether you teach an on-site, online, or blended course, organizing your materials and activities in Canvas will help the class go more smoothly for both you and your students. Below are some recommendations and templates you can adapt.
These templates are only recommendations; you should feel free to adapt them in whatever form works best for you course. Using a template as a starting point does have some advantages, though. Not only do templates make it easier and quicker for you to add your own course content, using a regular pattern such as a template provides makes it easier for students to navigate through the course material and activities. This is especially important in an online environment. Structuring your material consistently provides some of the same grounding and sense of reliability that a physical classroom does.
Essentials to keep consistent across courses include:
Each module, which may be a week or a chapter or other conceptual division of a course, should also be kept as structurally similar as possible. It helps students orient themselves to use a similar pattern for each module, adding or removing items as appropriate but keeping items in a generally consistent order.
The most basic pattern for an effective course provides an overview or description of what will be done, materials, practice or engagement activities, and any assessment you wish to include. In Canvas, that looks something like this:
|Week X: [this week’s topic]|
|What we are doing this week (text page)|
|Readings and Materials (links, page ranges, videos, etc.)|
|Lecture and demo videos|
|Zoom links, for online or blended class meetings|
|Activities (discussions, reflections, practice quizzes, etc.)|
|Assessment (graded assignments, if any)|
Quick tips that apply to any course format:
Remember also that synchronous face-to-face meeting time is a precious resource in any course. This is the only time that instructors and students get for direct, high-quality interaction. For this reason, it’s important to rotate out as much presentation-of-new-material to video form as possible, and save the synchronous sessions (whether by videoconference or in person) for the highest-impact activities and interactions.
The type of course you are teaching will modify this basic pattern, of course. For type-specific recommendations, links to examples, and template modules you can copy into your courses, select the course type below that is most like what you will teach.