Ramp Up Faster: Growing with Canvas Lite

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Growing with Canvas is the teacher training course provided free in the Canvas Commons by the Learning Services Team at Instructure. Institutions can download or import it into their instance, customize it to fit their needs, and use it to help train their teachers how to use Canvas. To date, it’s been downloaded or imported over 5,500 times. 


We think it’s a great starting point. But, if you are trying to shift to remote learning rapidly due to school closures, it might be a little too much information for you right now. So here are some tips for how to slim it down - what I’m affectionately calling Growing with Canvas Lite. (There is an accompanying Google Sheet that lists every piece of the course and whether or not you should publish it - keep reading). 


Ready? Here we go!


Tip 1: Set the Home Page to Modules. We’re going for fewer clicks here! 

Tip 2: Remove the requirements from the Modules. Currently the course is optimized for asynchronous individual learning, meaning it forces a path for the learner. Take off the requirements and let the teachers pick from the list of the topics they need or want to learn in the order they want or need to learn it.


Tip 3: Don’t worry about the Introduction Module. It’s some stage-setting that’s nice to have in a full course, but we’re not focused on that right now, so let’s not publish it.


Tip 4: Consider not publishing the pieces the teachers have to submit. Throughout the course there are chances for teachers to apply what they are learning - a variety of Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. It’s a nice-to-have when you have more time. For now? Consider skipping them.


Tip 5: Don’t worry about Module 5: Harvesting or Module 6: Completed Growing with Canvas. Module 5 has some of the higher-level Canvas concepts that your teachers probably don’t need right now, things like Groups, Commons, and importing/copying, while Module 6 is the course wrap-up. If you’re looking for quickest and most important, save these Modules for later. It’s possible you might need the concepts in Module 5...but unpublish for now.


Tip 6: Don’t worry about the Badges. This course is built to award them, but you don’t have to use any of that for now.


Tip 7: Don’t delete anything from the course. Just unpublish it, in case you want to use it later!


Tip 8: There’s no wrong way to customize this course. Publish the pieces that are important to you and your teachers. 


For an easy sheet that details what is Essential/Important/Optional in the course, check this out - Growing with Canvas Lite. Using this info you can take the course from 53 items to 20, and not lose any critical content. 


If you have any questions or concerns, we’re here to help. Just reply below!

About the Author
Canvas Consultant. Eighteen years in public school education - brick and mortar, online, and school administration. I love adopting animals, vacationing by the water, and college basketball. ______ At my heart - I am a teacher. When I was hired for my first English teaching job, in an inner city school district, the secretary gave me a set of keys and a map for how to get to my new classroom. When I unlocked the door I was met with an abundance of light from a large bank of windows highlighting the freshly waxed floors, rows of tables and chairs, and empty bookshelves. No textbooks, no supplies, no nothing. Surely this had to be a mistake? I quickly found out it was not. I also quickly found out that I can handle just about anything. Cutting my teeth in that room, in that district, with those students was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am resilient. I solve problems. I think on my feet. I am not afraid of challenges. And, at my heart, I am a teacher. This has served me well throughout my many transitions in my career. I found myself interviewing for a teaching position at cyber charter school in December 2004. I had, up to that point, made exactly one PowerPoint. Just like that, I was the only English teacher for this brand new cyber charter school. Everything was online, I taught every grade from 7 through 12, and I was in love with what technology could do for these students. I have seen it tear down walls between students and teachers, build students up who previously had no hope, and provide tremendous opportunities for children, teachers, and parents. That position allowed me to stretch in ways that I never imagined. In addition to teaching students I had the opportunity to also I design professional development for teachers who were on the cutting edge of education. I also project managed a change to a new learning management system. I know the power of educational technology, the importance of a teacher, the ability to reach through a computer screen and grab a student’s heart for learning - no matter his or her age.