Whether you teach a fully online course or some form of hybrid course, organizing your materials and activities in Canvas will help the class go more smoothly for both you and your students.
To help you get started placing your materials and activities in Canvas, here are some recommendations and templates you can adapt. Not only do templates make it easier for you to add your content, using them 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 online 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.)|
|Lectures (videos embedded in a Discussion)|
|Activities (videoconference meeting, reflections, practice quizzes, etc.)|
|Assessment (graded assignments, if any)|
One of the things to remember is that synchronous face-to-face meeting time is a precious resource in an online or hybrid course, but also one of the most precarious. Slow or spotty network connections can result in lag and in people dropping in and out of the meeting. The requirements of quarantine may take instructors or students out of physical contact for weeks at a time. For this reason, it’s important to rotate out as much presentation-of-material to video form as possible, save the synchronous sessions (whether by videoconference or in person) for the highest-impact interactions, and make sure extra time is left for those in case of technical issues.
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.