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kerry_day
Community Participant

Help with course design for self-paced, asynchronous learning and looking for others who deliver courses like this.

I have been searching through the community, without success, for information on this topic.  We are a company that provides 100% asynchronous, self-paced courses where individuals individuals can complete to prepare to sit for national certification exams.  I am looking for others who are using Canvas in a similar way so we can share ideas and strategies for how to manage the unique requirements teaching this way presents.

  

A couple of quick examples:

1) What is a best practice for updating courses?  Unlike a traditional college or secondary school course, we do not have defined start and end dates.  This format gives an instructor the opportunity to make updates to their course to be rolled out when the next course begins, usually the start of a new term.  For us, the course is continuous, with new students being added to the course daily.  Because we are continuously updating our courses, not only to keep subject matter current (we provide medical training and so the are constant changes) but to improve the course experience,  this presents a significant challenge.  

2) How do you track student's progress?  Canvas seems to work best with all students moving through the course material at a similar rate and with defined due dates for assignments. For us, since students are being added each day, are allowed to move at their own pace, and I have not found a way to create individualized due dates, I am finding it hard to accurately track the progress of our students.

Any help, and especially finding others who are using Canvas to deliver asynchronous, self-paced learning, would be greatly appreciated!

14 Replies
awilliams
Community Champion

laurakgibbs‌, though your courses aren't entirely asynchronous, I wonder if aspects of your approach would lend itself to this situation or if you have other ideas for Kerry.

debra_mansperge
Community Contributor

Do students start any day or maybe just once a week?  If only once a week or so, you can have a separate section for each group.  Then assigning assignment dates can be done for each section.  
The asynchronous classes that I have taken have not had due dates for any assignments.  They were split up into modules and I was expected to finish all of the modules within an eight week period.  Do your assignments really need due dates?
You can track student's progress through the modules and require them to finish one module before they move on to the next.  This would allow you to update content in the modules that would only affect students who haven't completed them.   @jstrickland  might have more advice for you.

Debra,

Thanks for your insights. We actually have students enrolling daily. We do have our content broken into modules but there is not a required date for when each module, or even all of the modules, must be completed. The course truly is self-paced. While the course does have an expiration date, students do have the option to pay to extend the expiration date.

We currently do have a way we are tracking progress but we are having to do it outside of Canvas. The reason is that not all of our modules are of equal effort and we want to give the learner a more accurate view of how much of the course has been completed. For example, the first 25% of the modules are relatively easy to complete and so it would seem they are 25% of the way through the course. While that is true from a module perspective, the time it takes the average learner to complete those first 25% of the modules only represents about 10% of the time the average learner takes to complete the whole course. We feel the second indicator is a more accurate measure of progress for the student.

--

Kerry Day

VP of Content Development

Mobile: 801-589-6118

Email: kerry.day@careerstep.com<mailto:kerry.day@careerstep.com>

2901 N. Ashton Blvd, Lehi, UT 84043

We educate people so they can change their lives!

caryn
Community Participant

Hi Kerry,

This sounds like an interesting course! Have you explored the use of badging in Canvas? You can connect badges to specific accomplishments in the Canvas course, then monitor the badges to see how folks have moved through the material. 

I know Badgr integrates nicely (they provided a webinar a while ago), and it provides a nice dashboard for the instructional team. 

Here's more info directly from Badgr: Badgr for Canvas and Badgr Pro for Canvas  

scho0410
Community Participant

Hi Kerry, 

I am working with a group where we are about to launch an asynchronous self-paced course similar to what you described. We do not have due dates throughout the course but do have a 'deadline' in which everything needs to be done (but have not put any due dates on anything they are expected to do in Canvas).  We have set up modules with 'requirements' and 'pre-requisites' student so that students have to work through the material in order from one module to the next. We end every module with a quiz. They have to complete the quiz with 100% to be able to move on (and have multiple chances to take the quiz). There are no due dates on the quizzes.  We do this because we are using the gradebook export as our tracking mechanism of who has completed the course (when we treat all ungraded quizzes as 0).  Whoever has 100% has completed the course.  

As for updating content, what I noticed during our testing is that you can update content (by adding something to a module and then adding it to the 'requirements') and Canvas gives you a warning on whether you want to require students who have completed that module to go back to that one page (Re-lock Modules), or you can let those that have already finished essentially be 'grandfathered' in (Continue).  Here's the warning screen-shot. Pop-up Warning from Canvas when adding requirements to modules that have already been completed by students

Selecting 'Continue' would allow those who are done with that module to still be done but require any new student to go through the old and new content. 

My question to you is if you want the people who have completed the information that you are changing to go back and re-visit the new content?  If so you will want to 're-lock modules' every time you make changes (but be sure to warn your students about this process somewhere at the beginning as I could see that being really frustrating to students). 

Hope this helps. 

kerry_day
Community Participant

Sara,

Thank you for letting me know how you have used requirements/pre-requisites and quizzes to guide students through your courses. I hadn’t encountered that functionality yet and especially the advice on re-locking modules. There may be times where we do want learners who have passed that point in the course to complete the new information but in the majority of cases, we will probably not. The heads up to warn students in advance that this is a possible scenario is wise counsel.

--

Kerry Day

VP of Content Development

Mobile: 801-589-6118

Email: kerry.day@careerstep.com<mailto:kerry.day@careerstep.com>

2901 N. Ashton Blvd, Lehi, UT 84043

We educate people so they can change their lives!

rachelbert
Community Participant

Hi Kerry,

The program I support is much like yours in that we offer content and activities to learners without the formula of which ones to do first or which ones to even do (we have requirements on the number to complete, fewer than what is offered). It's a blended course with in-person synchronous activities and distance-based synchronous (live webinars) and asynchronous (recorded, static presentations and journaling activities) activities. To make Canvas work for us, I used the landing page to list out the assignments available to them in a table with either clickable text or pictures to take the learner to the assignment itself from the landing page. I put in tabs on the page to group together the various types of activities, for a little bit of organization and navigation. Modules didn't really fit how we wanted to display the offerings to the learners, or how we wanted them to access them. One caveat, I'm really a novice with coding and was facing a tight deadline for creating the course instance, so used the simple, straight-forward path.

-Rachel

kerry_day
Community Participant

Rachel,

Thank you, this is very interesting. Would it be possible to see a screenshot of your landing page that shows the assignments and you have the navigation set up? I am really interested. You can send me a personal email at Kerry.day@careerstep.com<mailto:Kerry.day@careerstep.com> if you don’t want to post for the whole community.

--

Kerry Day

VP of Content Development

Mobile: 801-589-6118

Email: kerry.day@careerstep.com<mailto:kerry.day@careerstep.com>

2901 N. Ashton Blvd, Lehi, UT 84043

We educate people so they can change their lives!

jlugo1
Community Participant

Hi Kerry,

I joined this conversation because my organization is working towards an async extension of our hybrid and F2F courses. Like your model, these are totally async with no due dates and minimal if any external feedback from the instructor. 

Currently, we are in the development phase and working to create a template and workflow that will support our instructors in providing content that fits the project goals: professional development for educators that is consumable in a 3-10 hour sitting. Low to minimal cost for our members to access and is easily maintained. 

Can you provide an update on your project that would include steps in the process you recommend and would avoid if you had to do this again? 

The badging idea that @Caryn Neiswender mentioned seems interesting, did your organization add this as a means of tracking?

Thanks!

José