Instructors at WCU will be teaching in Canvas beginning in summer 2021 and beyond.
WCU faculty will be teaching in Canvas beginning in summer 2021 and beyond. One of the major differences between Blackboard and Canvas, as far as courses go, is a feature in Canvas called Publishing.
Faculty will need to publish their course in order for students to access the content, and it’s a simple as clicking a button in their course. This is equivalent to making the course Available in Blackboard. When you look at your Canvas Dashboard, if the course tile has a button in the upper left corner that says Publish, then is not available to your students. Click on that button and you’ll be prompted to set a Home Page – the place your students will see first when they enter the course (equivalent to Blackboard Entry Point). Click on Choose and Publish and your students will be able to see your course. How do I publish a course?
Each item within your course will need to be Published as well. If there is circle with slash through it in the upper right corner of an item, it isn’t visible to your students. A green circle with a check means the item is available (visible to students). You can click on the button to toggle between Published and Unpublished (useful if you find discover you need to make an edit). How do I publish a module?
The course menu (all items, top to bottom, in the left navigation menu) should only show a few links/options. This improves student navigation and what is often called ”findability.” Course resources can be Disabled (the Blackboard equivalent of made unavailable to students) in the Navigation tab under Settings. You can drag them to the bottom window on the Navigation tab or click on the three-dot menu and select Disable. Disabled items will be designated by the eye with a slash through it.
It is a best practice to be as consistent as possible in the layout of your modules. That way, as your students move through your course they know where to expect to find resources, assignments, and other activities. In fact, according to one study about online students, “findability is paramount – if they cannot find important course components, they cannot ‘use’ them; having to search for assignment instructions or a course introduction may likely result in frustration, lowered motivation, and decreased self-efficacy — all of which could impact both student learning and course attrition” (Simunich, Robins, & Kelly 2015). Take a look at the SUNY OSCQR rubric where it addresses usability in Standard 13.
When you are in a Canvas course you will see the spectacles button in the upper right corner. Clicking on it will take you to a student’s view of your course. It is highly recommended that you check your course in the student view to make sure that the course is being presented in the way you intended. How do I view a course as a student?
Review the article “The Impact of Findability on Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality” for more information about course readiness on day one.
This course will walk you through the process of creating a Canvas LMS course so that you can be first day ready. This course will cover how to create a Home Page, utilize Modules, and access Student View to ensure your course is “first day ready” (To access, Login to Canvas: Select “Help” from the Global menu in Canvas click “Training Services Portal”)
How does this align to Canvas training materials?
Priming the Canvas: Module 5: Content: How can I make, find, and use online resources?, Module 6: Structuring the Course: How do I put it all together and explain it to my students?, Module 7: Universal Design for Learning and Module 8: Accessibility: How can I help my students who use assistive technology?
- Visit canvas.wcu.edu
- Contact the 24/7 Canvas Help if you need help with issues as you are working in Canvas. (NOTE: 24/7 Canvas Help goes away on June 30 and Help will be taken over by the WCU Helpdesk which is not manned 24/7).
- Canvas Migration FAQ
- Register for one of the Zoom sessions which will be held on Thursdays and Fridays at 11:00 A.M. after reviewing the Priming the Canvas Course. This week’s sessions will cover Discussions in Canvas as well as How to release content conditionally in Canvas.
Our next article will highlight Course Analytics and Statistics in Canvas; visit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles.