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Enhancing your teaching with Canvas

If you were sharing at a faculty meeting and had to pick three Canvas tools that anyone could use to enhance their teaching  - whether online, blended or face to face - what would you choose? I am considering speedgrader, conferences and Peer Review. Note I only have 20 minutes so it will just be a "this is it, what you can do, here it is in Canvas" quick thing.

What tools would you show?

13 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

 @robin_bartolett , without question, SpeedGrader has to be one of the three tools demonstrated. I've had great success in "wow-ing" teachers of all types--higher ed, K12, F2F, fully-online, blended, what have you--with such a demonstration. I suggest you create a mock assignment that allows for annotation and have at least five mock submissions to it to show how easy it is to scroll through SpeedGrader, and I would even go so far as to create a separate assignment that displays a scanned handwritten PDF in the SpeedGrader, so F2F teachers--especially math--can see how easily they can grade their students' worksheets in SpeedGrader, Then show them how the grade entered in SpeedGrader automatically populates the Gradebook, as this is something teachers who are accustomed to working in other LMSs really appreciate.

My personal preference for the next item would be Modules--how to design them to control the release of content and how to leverage them to create Mastery Paths. Again, given the time limitation just showing a sample set of modules with prerequisites and requirements would probably do the trick.

Conferences would be a great third option.

But I would save SpeedGrader for last. They usually go away smiling. Smiley Happy

Community Champion

My Top 3:

  1. SpeedGrader (totally agree with stefaniesanders​)
  2. Organize course content using Modules
  3. Announcements/Notification (so important if the teacher plans to inform students thru Canvas)

My top tool outside of Canvas: Turnitin's new Feedback Studio- it's such a game changer!

Community Participant

1: SpeedGrader

2: Conferences

3: Discussion Forums done right--Video responses combined with students asking the questions instead of given a question by a teacher.

Community Champion




Great idea, by the way!  I think I'll try it with my staff! Thanks!

Community Champion

Not a tool, but a Canvas feature that I really like is the due date versus available until for soft/hard deadlines in Canvas. We used D2L for 10 years at my school, and it did not have that option, so I've been mentioning it to all the faculty I know. Why? Because it really helps students who need some flexibility! From my blog:

Advice: Use the Canvas “Grace Period” – Teaching with Canvas

Using Modules is something my students REALLY like, and it's another big difference from D2L which we used until this year. A tip I'm sharing with other faculty: keep the modules list fresh by moving old modules down to the bottom of the page. 🙂

Advice: Keep Canvas Modules Current – Teaching with Canvas

Community Champion

My top three picks would be SpeedGrader, Pages, and Discussions. I agree with everything that's been said already about SpeedGrader, and I LOVE showing faculty how easy it is to begin doing online grading using SpeedGrader. But regarding other Canvas features that can help to enhance teaching across a range of course types, Pages and Discussions can add a lot of flexibility to courses.

Pages: Canvas's wiki pages can be used in a wide range of ways, from curating current course information on the home page (links to readings, assignments, additional resources) to providing special purposes pages with supplemental resources, embedded videos, images, you name it. Pages can also be configured to allow students to edit them, which opens up the possibility for crowd-sourcing assignments (a favorite strategy of mine for both face-to-face and online classes). And BONUS: familiarity with the Rich Content Editor and Content Selector in Pages helps with other features in Canvas.

Discussions: Discussions can provide a mechanism for many different types of interactions that can enhance teaching and learning. This might be a semester-long FAQ discussion where students post questions, or a graded class-wide or group discussion assignment. Discussions are a common feature of online courses, but they can also be useful in face-to-face and hybrid courses. Plus, it's one of the few mechanisms available in Canvas where students can easily share work with others in the class. And Discussions can also be configured for use as an individual semester-long journal (group discussion, where each student is in their own group).

Collectively, these tools provide a wide range of options for enhancing teaching!

I am a fan of Pages also! We have a Domain of One's Own project at my school, which gives every faculty member access to https webspace, so I can host javascripts and other dynamic content that can appear in Canvas Pages, too, which I really enjoy. I've got a demo course up with dynamic content like that in Canvas Pages:

Growth Mindset Playground: Growth Mindset Playground

Community Champion

Rubrics - How they show up on assignments, can include Outcomes

Speedgrader - with rubrics, with crocodoc

Modules - Next/Prev button wonderful!!

Cheers - Shar