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Self-Paced Online Courses

adaptive learning‌ u-pace‌ self-paced courses

I have some instructors who have developed prototypes for self-paced courses. I want to help them elevate the student experience and am looking at the U-Pace model. Does anyone have experience designing with this model in Canvas, or knowledge or experience about U-Pace in any other capacity? My research is only just beginning, but I'd love to hear what y'all have to say.

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Here's what I'm thinking in particular. I'm considering using Mastery Paths as a way to implement a U-Pace model. Thoughts? 

Hi  @david_christia1 

I checked out the U-Pace Model, and am intrigued. No new ePedagogy there, but a nice practical application that appears workable, and has produced some nice results.  I will be following this thread to see what I can learn about implementing in Canvas.  Nobody is using Mastery Paths at our school, but some are beginning to explore CBE models for some of our technical/professional programs, and this might be quite helpful in sparking adoption.  Our school is also now a College Spark Guided Pathways school and very concerned with equity; the improvement in "disadvantaged" student performance noted on the U-Pace site is also very promising.  We are also promoting T.I.L.T. both on our campus and in our state CTC system. I see these as very complimentary process models.

Lurking for sure now,


A bit of research later, here's what I'm currently thinking. U-Pace seems supported by research for course success and long-term information retention, and works well to help disadvantaged students succeed at higher rates. So the big question is, when using this design model in Canvas, would use of Outcomes or Mastery Paths work better? As I understand it, they don't work together. Thoughts?

Howdy David Christianson,

I just stumbled into this thread, but from my brief look at the UPace's model is that they have the 2 components: Mastery-based Learning and Amplified Assistance.

From what I can see, the Mastery Component can be accomplished in Canvas by using the Module requirements and prerequisites.

How do I add requirements to a module? 

How do I add prerequisites to a module?  

The Amplified Assistance Component in UPace's implementation is done with emails. So I guess in Canvas using Mastery Paths to provide remediation or Nudge to alert students would be a way to go.

Canvas Release: MasteryPaths 

Hacking Mastery Paths 

Mastery Paths with Badgr 

Canvas X: Nudge, August 2018 

In the past, I have worked on at-your-own pace courses in Canvas where students just need to complete within the 3 months of the quarter but are otherwise not held to any weekly due dates. I've employed different techniques to this format:

  • A beginning survey where the student lists their potential due dates
  • Module preqs, requirements, and badges for lessons that are sequential or have dependencies
  • Student choice in the assignment format and topics
  • Extra credit for doing extra work
  • Social-only discussion forums so that students know others have gone through or going through the course at the same time.

The key ingredient though in these self-paced courses is having an instructor who is able to stay in touch with students and assist them/grade their work when they are in varying places throughout the course. The prompt feedback/intervention is important so that the student does not feel they are completely abandoned.

I also found this discussion today: https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/28499-help-with-course-design-for-self-paced-asynchronous-lea... 

Cheers - Shar

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Hi David!  While doing some research on self-paced courses I came across your entry from January and was wondering if you have gotten additional information or moved in a specific direction?  My focus is primarily using self-paced courses for our Faculty to develop their online teaching skills as well as learning features of Canvas.  I'd be interested in your progress over the last few months?