Call for resources: Better teaching with Canvas

Community Champion

Canvas is a great tool to host learning resources and activities, but how can we also use Canvas to structure more engaging and inclusive learning ?

  • activities that are purpose-driven and personally-relevant, that connect to learners' values, skills, and passions; 
  • social learning that fosters empathy & humility, that is collaboratively interactive and consciously antiracist;
  • experiences that inspires relentless curiosity and the intellectual confidence in students to dig deeper and risk mistakes (aka learning).

I facilitate professional development sessions at UW-Madison called Active Teaching Labs where we push beyond basics of "content transfer" teaching and advocate teaching practices that develop students as independent and compassionate lifelong learners. We have been working on turning good teaching into concrete practices for a variety of teaching levels and contexts.

I need your help finding resources in translating the following good teaching themes into Canvas course design practices. An editable Google doc is here: 2021 Spring Active Teaching Lab development (external)  

  1. 10 ways to improve synchronous student engagement: Feel like you’re speaking into a void? Activate students during this precious time together. 
  2. 10 ways to improve asynchronous student engagement: Provide engaging and equitable opportunities that extend synchronous conversations with active asynchronous learning.
  3. 10 ways to teach more inclusively: Research-supported practices to promote the success of more students.
  4. 10 ways to support struggling students: It’s hard to keep track of the mental and emotional health of remote students, but they’ll be better learners if you do.
  5. 10 ways to improve your assessments: Replace ineffective high-stakes timed exams with assessments that let students better express what they know (and are still easy to grade).
  6. 10 ways to teach better with mediaPresent content in ways that are more effective, digestible, and easier for learners (and you) to assess.
  7. 10 ways to engage students with the internet: Engage students more actively during remote instruction by integrating student research and critical thinking into lessons and activities.
  8. 10 ways to develop independent learners: Create a culture of self-motivated students who don’t need to depend on you to direct their learning.
  9. 10 ways to be flexible w/o being inequitable: Ways to design a rigorous, high-expectations course for uncertain times and changing circumstances.
  10. 10 things students want you to know: Insights into the experiences and expectations of remote students.
  11. 10 ways to avoid “Course-and-a-half” Syndrome”: Even if you haven’t added more to your remote course, the format might make it feel like more. We can help.
  12. 10 ways to improve student participation: Foster confident and supportive student interactions that increase multiperspective problem-solving and critical thinking.
  13. 10 ways to make remote group projects easier: Small-group learning that fosters students’ interaction without forcing students’ dependence on other students’ skills, availability, contributions, and punctuality.
  14. 10 ways to build ‘getting student feedback’ into your course: Instead of guessing or trying to interpret assessments, hear directly from students what’s working and what’s not. (Bonus: it increases their learning too!) 
  15. 10 ways to support international and non-traditional students: How can your course activities be better designed for returning students, or ESL speakers eight time zones away?
  16. 10 ways to make your Canvas course easier to navigate: Strategies and examples for clearer communication of expectations, simpler access to activities, and more welcoming design.
  17. 10 ways to build antiracism into your Canvas course: Structural practices you can implement to promote a welcoming and antiracist learning environment.

Happy for any help you can provide! Thanks!