Once you have designed your online or hybrid course, you can move on to building it in Canvas using the LMS’s many functions as well as other tools that are compatible with Canvas, if you choose. Your go-to resource should be the Canvas Instructor Guide. You’ll find various resources below, many are pages from this guide, while others are quick tips, resources from various sites, or videos created by Lindenwood Online.
You can schedule a consultation with an instructional designer from Lindenwood Online (Lindenwoodonline@lindenwood.edu) if you need assistance or ideas along the way. Canvas also offers support 24/7: Chat Support Hotline 1-833-808-5687.
Topics in Building Courses
Course Organization Tools
In this video, you will learn how to Create a Home Page for Your Course, and this tutorial walks you through Creating Canvas Pages Using the Rich Content Editor.
In this video you will learn How to Create and Manage Modules in Your Course, and here you will find guides for everything you’d need to do to or within a module.
When you create a module, you will have the option of inputting a future publication date if you don’t want students to see all of the content or to work ahead. If you publish your modules gradually, it’s best to do so on a consistent schedule; for example, you might publish the module for an upcoming week on the Saturday before.
Course Navigation Links
It’s a great idea to declutter your course navigation for your and your students’ stake! Only keep the links you need.
Use these checklists to make sure your course is ready to go for students at the start of a new course term and closes out effectively at the end of the term.
Canvas has a Conferences function that allows for instructors or students in a course to host a video conference. Three very important things to note when you’re setting up a Canvas Conference:
- You must invite participants to the conference before you start it, so usually this means you’ll want to check the “Invite all course members” box in the conference set-up process (or make sure to invite only those members who should attend). You cannot add participants to the conference once you’ve started it.
- If you wish to record your conference, which is a best practice if you’re holding synchronous sessions for your class, you must check “Enable recording” during the set-up process. If you don’t, there is no way to record the conference once you have started it.
- It’s best to check “No time limit” just in case your conference runs longer than expected.
You can see a demonstration of how to set up, run, and end a conference here: Using Canvas Conferences/Big Blue Button to host Video Conferences. See the next section on Video Recording for how to record and post videos of your video conferences.
For fully online synchronous video conferencing, you might decide to use Microsoft Teams in place of Canvas Conferences/Big Blue Button.
OWL and Canvas Conferences for On-ground/Online Sessions
When you’re hosting and recording synchronous sessions from an on-ground classroom, you will need to use the OWL unit, which you will launch through Canvas Conferences, to conference with students attending virtually.
Video demonstration of how the OWL unit works
Making online courses and course materials accessible is important for students with disabilities, but it can also be helpful for students who are simply unfamiliar with online learning. When students are learning at a distance, anything an instructor can do to make materials easy to navigate is helpful. For example, adding alt text to the images or graphics on your PowerPoint (or other Office) document is a great way to assist those with visual impairments, but aids processing of a video or understanding of an image or graphic for every student.
There are simple ways to make materials more accessible, from adding captions to a video to using the Headings function in Word, to embedding hyperlinks in the text (like you see below) rather than pasting in the URL as text. For a quick read on how to increase accessibility, see the National Center for Disability and Access in Education’s page on Creating Accessible Electronic Content.
As you build your course, read this guidance on making your course format accessible in Canvas and review the links below to learn how to make the most commonly used file formats more accessible.
In order for students who have visual impairments to use e-readers to access online documents, you must use file types and features that are compatible with using a reader. Most file types can be made accessible – HTML, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF files, to name a few.
Microsoft Office has an Accessibility Checker that reviews documents for accessibility issues and helps you to fix them.
- How to make a Word doc accessible
- How to make a PowerPoint accessible
- How to make an Excel file accessible
- How to ensure tables in your documents are accessible
- How to make a PDF accessible when you have the source document and when you don’t.
- How to Add Captions to a Video in Canvas
*Note: If you upload a video to YouTube, it will be automatically captioned.
Using Files in Canvas
Creating Outcomes, Assignments, Assessments, and Discussions
We suggest building as many of the course elements, like activities and assignments, as possible before it begins. While this can be a time-consuming process, it will allow you to spend your time during the semester on things like facilitation and feedback.
- Creating a Learning Outcome in Canvas
- Aligning an Outcome with a Rubric
- Creating an Assignment in Canvas
- Adding a Rubric to an Assignment
- Creating a Discussion in Canvas
- Adding a Rubric to a Graded Discussion
- Creating a Quiz or Exam in Canvas
- Adding a Rubric to a Quiz
- Plus, everything you ever wanted to know about Canvas quizzes
- Using the Gradebook in Canvas
Video messages, overview, and lectures can personalize your course and engage your students.
Recording a Conference
If you host a Canvas Conference, chances are you’ll need to record it for students who were not in attendance. How to save and share a video recorded with the Canvas Conferences tool.
Recording Other Videos in Canvas
To record and upload videos via Canvas, use the Rich Text Content Editor.
Using an External Tool for Longer Recordings
When you’re recording longer videos, perhaps lectures, it can be faster to record via your smart phone, your computer’s webcam, or free software like Screen-Cast-O-Matic (if you need screen capture) and upload files to a YouTube account rather than recording directly in Canvas. You can link to your video from Canvas and, like Canvas, YouTube has a captions feature to help with accessibility. For a quick demo, watch Using Screen-Cast-O-Matic to Create Instructional Videos.
Tips for Recording Videos
- Research shows that it is best to keep recordings short in order to improve students’ ability to pay attention and comprehend the information, so find natural breaks in your typical lecture where you can segment content into multiple mini- or micro- lectures. Doing so also helps you to avoid recording fatigue or getting off track during a recording.
- Do not strive for perfection! We make and correct mistakes in the on-ground classroom and we should feel comfortable doing so online.
- Prepare at least at outline if not a script before you record. This improves your ability to record efficiently and, if you prepare a script it can be used to assist students with accessibility issues (for more information on how to make materials accessible, see the Deliver section of this site).
- For larger video files, it can be faster to record videos via your smart phone, your computer’s webcam, or free software like Screen-Cast-O-Matic (if you need screen capture) and upload files to a YouTube account. You can link to your video from Canvas and, like Canvas, YouTube has a captions feature YouTube to help with accessibility.
If you use a script for your recordings, consider using a teleprompter app like this one.
Academic Integrity Online Policy and Tools
The Building Your Online / Hybrid Course section contains helpful information about how to design assessments in ways that discourage academic dishonesty. Here, find information on the Student Authentication policy and tools you can use to guard against integrity issues.
External Tools for Creating Engaging Content, Learning Activities, or Community
Please contribute to this document if you have experience with a tool you like for an online course or, if you want to talk to someone about one of the tools listed, use the contact information provided.