5 things for a healthy start to the school year

Community Contributor
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I love this Canvas Community mission!

I am a full-time instructional designer with the occasional opportunity to teach a class or series. A large part of my job is to ensure that IU instructors are prepared and successful in the online courses they teach. Here are 5 things I do or facilitate to ensure instructors get a healthy start:

1. Test - Canvas makes it easy to view a course as a student. As a further measure to experience what a student might, the instructor or I log into a course with a guest account who has the role of student. We also test for accessibility through our campus accessibility and disability services.

2. Review - I put the instructor's course through a proofread and device compatibility review with the assistance of someone who has not seen the course. Canvas looks different from PC to mobile device (great video illustrating this in the CanvasLive archives). While it is generally not an issue, a quick check across devices means fewer student questions that the instructor needs to field.

3. Communicate - Remind instructors of the various methods (e.g. announcements, rss feeds, email, etc) they have to reach their students at the beginning of class and test them if the instructor is new to Canvas.

4. Troubleshoot - In addition to giving a big plug to the Canvas Community (instructors, sign up! response time is amazing), I schedule few meetings at the beginning of classes so that I can assist with any week 1 needs that arise.

5. Revisit - after a successful first week or two, meet with the instructor to talk about enhancements and ideas they have for the next semester