Evidence-based Teaching Strategies in Canvas

Community Participant

UPDATE: Here are the slides from a webinar on this topic.  I and my colleagues will also be presenting about this at OLC Accelerate 2019. 


I've shared a resource in Canvas Commons with some examples of brief, research-based teaching strategies implement..., such as: transparent assignments, minute papers, values affirmation, social belonging, goal setting, student testimonials, nudges, discussion protocols, wrappers, and midterm student feedback. 

You can preview this resource here.  You can also download an export of the Canvas resource in the attachment section below if you do not have access to Canvas Commons.

Evidence-based teaching refers to teaching strategies and principles for which there have been research studies indicating their effectiveness at improving student learning, engagement, attitudes, or other factors related to academic success.

This resource is not meant to be comprehensive.  As detailed in the table below, there are many different types and scopes of evidence-based pedagogical strategies and principles, and this resource only begins to tackle just one small part of this space.

And this is not to suggest that only evidence-based teaching strategies are useful or valid.  Just as in medicine, science, and other disciplines, we must constantly experiment with strategies when teaching, even when there is not, or especially when there is not, a solid research base to help inform decisions.

Some Categories of Evidence-Based Teaching Strategies & Principles

  Briefer, Targeted Strategies Broader or More Comprehensive Techniques
More Concrete Strategies

These are some of the strategies covered in this Canvas resource:

  • Minute Paper
  • Student Testimonials
  • Transparent Assignments
  • Value Affirmation
  • Discussion Protocols
  • Nudges
  • Wrappers
  • Midterm Student Feedback

Examples of some face-to-face in-class strategies (which are not addressed in this Canvas resource):

Many of these broader teaching techniques derive from discipline-based educational research and development.

More General Principles/Techniques

These are some strategies that primarily derive from cognitive psychology and mainly apply to practice and memory.

  • Retrieval Practice / Testing Effect
  • Spacing
  • Interleaving

These are links to more comprehensive Canvas-related resources on effective teaching practices.



More Online Resources about Evidence-based Teaching Practices


Books for Further Reading on Evidence-based Teaching Practices


Some Other Potential Canvas Activities that Could be Included in the Future


Your Suggestions, Comments are Welcome

Feel free to comment below with suggestions for other activities to include or improvements to make to these samples.  Or share your own examples on Canvas Commons, like the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory survey Kyle Heatherly shared and that I copied in this Canvas resource.

Community Champion

Wow,  @dholton ‌, I just noticed this pop up before signing off: bookmarked to read through tomorrow. THANK YOU!

Community Participant

Thanks, I was going to try to do a presentation or workshop about this, but didn't see any opportunities to do so in the near future, so I I thought I'd go ahead and share what I have so far here, if it's of use to anyone.

Community Champion

I am very glad you did! 🙂

Community Champion

Impressive  @holtond1 . This is a brilliant resource. 

I will be digging into this a lot.

Community Contributor

This is a great post. I need to get this information passed on to others.

Community Contributor

Hi Doug,

Would you be interested in doing a Zoom with the California Canvas Common Interest Group (CIG) to share this work (some time in the fall 2019)?  This would be a great opportunity to talk/share more in-depth about how we use Canvas to most effectively meet the needs of all our students.

The CIG is made up of many folks from across the three CA public higher ed institutions and participation at the monthly Zooms vary by nature of the topic. I really like to diversify across topics but personally in my work it always comes back to the 'how'. 🙂

If you are interested/willing, we can talk more! Thank you for considering, Kim

Community Participant

Sure, I'd be happy to.  Feel free to message me or email me at doug.holton@gmail.com

Community Contributor

Thanks Doug!

I will contact you via email, Kim