Community Contributor

Training for Faculty/Adjuncts

I am the Canvas Admin/Online Learning Director/Instructional Designer at a small, private college. We have just adopted Canvas and faculty/adjuncts love it! What I need now is training over the summer for my faculty/staff. We don't necessarily want to pay big bucks for the pre-packaged solutions, and I can do the training on my own. What I would like to know is what kinds of ideas/strategies have you implemented to train your instructors?

149 Replies
Community Champion

It is a bit confusing. It took me a while to figure it out. Just click the arrow at the top of the page.


Thanks, I did that 4 times and no luck.  The 5th time it worked.    Thanks for the help.

Hi MG458913​​ - Sorry about that - see snugent​'s helpful screenshot below!

Coach Emeritus


We have created a self-paced, self-directed 20-hour Canvas training course in Canvas. While this course does include minimal branding, I am willing to post it to the Canvas Commons for public use if you are interested. You could then download it into a shell, carve out the branding and make it your own.



I think many of us would be interested! Thanks for sharing.

Community Contributor

 @kmeeusen ​ that sounds like a great resource.

Have you managed to monitor its use?

This is Great  @kmeeusen ​

And because not everyone has commons yet, will you please share it here and allow us to share it on Canvas Training Courses​ at Canvas Resources

Coach Emeritus

When we first migrated to Canvas, we created a hybrid, 20-hour training course in Canvas, that used Canvas' own guides embedded on content pages. We have since made our training course fully online with an optional  F2F orientation for those who want it.

I can put our training course into the Canvas Commons if you woul like. In fact I will do that anyways for anyone who migh want it.


Community Contributor

I can't answer fully as I'm one of the Admins and I don't interface often with faculty, but our Online Support Office offered "working with your migrated content" sessions. As well as other sessions on just the differences between the tools (even so far as name changes on tools) from the old LMS to the new.

Part of our Migration site (http://online.ucf.edu/about/history-of-cdl/lms-migration/ ) is still viewable and I'm sure I could point you in the direction of person who does most of our faculty training ( @egreenwo  ).

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

CU Denver does all it's own training for faculty and we found the most successful model was to do workshops structured like so:

- Open discussion of an objective (ie course organization)

- Show example (ie build a few modules, explain benefits of that structure)

- Have faculty try it

- Lather, rinse, repeat for other topics

The benefit of this approach is it ensures faculty think about what they're trying to accomplish, not just which buttons to push. Button pushing is best left to the amazing Canvas Guides, my job when I'm training faculty is to make sure they are clear on the goal of their course/materials then we can direct them to best practices and how to implement.

gasellc​ or Deactivated user​ may have an outline for one of the basic workshops they could share.

Community Participant

Hi  @kate_hill ​!

Here are links to two resources we have been using to train new faculty on Canvas, but not overwhelm them. As  @dlyons ​ mentioned, we use a "I do, We do, you do" approach and try to limit their first exposure to the basics they need to get going. Feel free to use/modify as needed.


Semester Start Checklist

New Member

My only suggestion as a faculty member is to get that one awesome faculty member to be involved with it to help sell it. I would had for you to get "not ANOTHER online training". ​

Good Point!

Coach Emeritus

I think I've sent the link the downloadable Teacher Training and Student Orientation to everyone who asked for it. In doing this I also updated the courses and the links to the public version of the courses - see below:

Here are the links to the public version of the courses:

Two caveats:
1. Because of the new UI we are no longer updating these versions and are going to start over and completely redesign both trainings. Once we do that I’m planning on sharing them in Canvas Commons.
2. I removed all prerequisites in the public version of the courses so that people can view everything without needing to complete things in the different modules before moving on.

Hope this helps!

Community Champion

I shared this earlier when training TAs or GTAs.  This is just a basic outline to use when offering a TA or faculty training.  The basics...

august2013facultytraining.pdf - Google Drive

New Member

Well, you have probably received more feedback than you can handle, but here is how we have handled things at the University of Bridgeport.

After switching from Blackboard to Canvas some 3 years ago, some admins and faculty went through 3 2-hour sessions with Canvas. That helped with the transition, though most if not all of the things we learned this way are available in the Canvas guides.

To train our faculty, I have developed a Certificate Course in Online teaching with Canvas. This took lots of time and work, but it was well worth it. It consists of Modules containing needed info / instructions on performing every possible task, starting with setting up one's profile, etc. In addition to the purely "how to do it in Canvas" instructions, I have added a number of sections on why do it this way rather than that way, what choices mean, and even basic explanations on the nature of online learning (interactivity of online discussions - if done right; how to successfully use online quizzes, etc.). This way, we could both show our existing online faculty how to transition to Canvas and help new faculty understand the concept of online teaching. The certificate (received by dozens of faculty) is an additional incentive to some, while other don't care.

Once our university created a new division called Global Learning Initiatives (GLI) where subject Matter Expert work with Instructional Designers to create high quality courses that can then be taught with minimal changes by any instructor, we created a new certificate where instructors merely learned what was needed for successful course delivery, rather than creating a course by themselves. Finally, once classroom instructors started using Canvas more and more, turning classroom courses into hybrid courses, we created a third certificate course to help campus instructors supplement their classroom instruction with Canvas.

Obviously, there is quite a bit of overlap between these 3 certificate courses, but also many differences, hence it took a significant additional amount of work. But again, it was worth it. Now that we have it, we only need to update it whenever needed - and of course, I need to evaluate new instructors' performance, give feedback, etc. what this takes is a full-time position and someone who know how to do this.

Oh my, way to go!  Yes, tons of work, hours and hours of work. But it appears to have paid off. Well done, I'm sure.

Community Contributor

There are so many great ideas here!  I'd like to add a way to use a variety of the ideas already presented.  We did the following when we moved to Canvas last summer.  We too are a small, private college with about 700 students.

We provided many ways for faculty to learn, and faculty chose the manner for themselves.

  • Large group all day training for one day
  • Online self-training modules
  • Individual exploration
  • Small group hands on training of specific topics such as quizzes

We required a "Basic Canvas" check sheet upon which they verified they could perform key tasks,  and super-users verified the most essential of these tasks.

Faculty who taught distance courses had an additional "Intermediate Canvas" check sheet to similar to the "Basic Canvas" and I verified tasks.

This allowed maximum flexibility, and required nothing other than the check sheets. It worked well and was well accepted.

Community Contributor

 @kate_hill ​ one thing that we just recently started using is Skype for Business to hold faculty forums in the evening. We are able to use this tool since it comes with our Office 365 package so all faculty, staff and students have access to download this free software. We had our first forum this week and it was very successful. We held it in the evening at 6 pm so if anyone had to work earlier in the day they could still attend. We kept it very short (30 minutes) and had a Q&A afterwards. I don't know if you have access to this tool but if not, maybe something similar. We were really glad to see that we could reach our faculty and it worked great virtually.

Community Champion


When we started up, we had  different workshops on different topics.  For example, one workshop focused solely on Quizzes.  While others focused on SpeedGrader/Assignments, Inbox/Discussions, etc.  I think it helped by breaking the training into different pieces.  I think faculty were less overwhelmed that way!  After everyone got acclimated, I now send out emails when major updates take place in Canvas.  Once the faculty were initially trained, they are not prone to attend additional workshops.  Therefore, I send out the emails for the ones who want to be updated!

Community Contributor


You have all been fantastic, and I'm so thankful for all of the great resources and links!!!

Community Contributor

We started Canvas last fall.  We are a small (700+ students) health sciences college with a tight budget also. I had created our own training modules in Canvas for faculty to complete - but you could do the following plan with the materials that others have directed you to already. 

What worked well for us was to get a small group of six faculty who had decent computer skills and were excited about the new LMS, and trained them as super-users. Then we had a roll-out in the fall before classes began, after 10 month faculty where back.  Faculty could attend group training sessions that I and/or the super-users did on specific topics, the one day all day training Canvas provided, they could do the independent modules in Canvas I created, or they could just explore and figure it out themselves. 

The end result was to be the completion of a basic skills checklist.  Faculty checked themselves off to document that they had learned these skills and then the super-users or ed tech staff (all 2 of us!) checked that they had indeed performed the mandatory functions in their course (uploaded a syllabus, put contact information on the front page, created assignments/gradebook, and made a welcome announcement.)  This checklist was to be turned in to their supervisor and they kept a copy for their portfolio.

Canvas useage is mandatory for all for our college, but with individual deans/directors tracking completions of the training I was a little worried about how well enforced the training would be.  I have to say that this worked very well and we had many fewer questions or requests for help than we had in a typical semester start up in our old system (ANGEL).  It really helped to have the super-users as faculty scattered around the building both for convenience and for modeling effective use purposes.  Faculty saw themselves as owning the learning experience which is exactly what I had hoped for.

I like that the Deans are tracking completion.

Community Contributor

The University of Central Florida's Center for Distributed Learning offers several levels of faculty training/professional development for teaching online. During the migration from our previous LMS we also offered specialized labs and open labs that faculty could attend. These labs allowed us to let faculty know about the changes in tool names and functionality.

And okay, for faculty training/professional development courses we offer on a regular (or semesterly) basis, and as I'm one of the Admins and not an Instructional Designer, I'm just going to copy and paste from our website.

  • IDL6543 - non-credit course for faculty provided by UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning (CDL). IDL6543 models how to teach online using a combination of seminars, labs, consultations, and web-based instruction and is delivered in an M (mixed) mode. The time commitment for this course is not inconsequential, in that it will require a minimum of 80 clock hours. The purpose of this faculty development course is to help you succeed as you develop and deliver your fully online (W) or mixed mode (M) courses.
  • ADL5000 - ADL5000 is a non-credit, online course for faculty who want to teach an existing online course. The purpose of ADL5000 is to help familiarize you with the design elements of the course you are inheriting and succeed in the delivery of your course! ADL5000 addresses many (but certainly not all) of the important pedagogical, logistical, and technological issues involved in delivering effective online courses. The time commitment for ADL5000 is approximately 35 clock hours.  Faculty with teaching and learning management system experience have completed this course in one to two days. The course is self-paced and you may begin at any time.
  • TLC (Teaching with Lecture Capture) - is a set of self paced tutorials for faculty who wish to teach in a video streaming modality and who wish to present course content appropriate for video lecture capture. The program is a UCF prerequisite for delivery of an exclusively video streamed course, or a video streamed course with classroom attendance options.
  • Essentials – Basic -This track contains interactive tutorials designed to teach faculty some of the basic features and tools in Canvas. This track is ideal for faculty teaching a face-to-face course.
  • Essentials – Extreme - This track contains the same interactive tutorials as Essentials – Basic, with additional tutorials covering some of the more advanced features of Canvas. This track is ideal for faculty teaching a fully-online course or Mixed-mode course.
  • Open Support Labs - Open labs provide an opportunity to work on your online courses and ask questions of support staff if needed. Come any time during lab hours (we recommend arriving no later than 30 minutes before the end of the lab).

Do you have an LMS minimum use policy for your faculty? If so, can you share it with me? Is it different for full and part time faculty?

New Member

Kate, at Fresno City College, we adapted a three-day training session provided by @One to train our faculty re teaching online.  This training covered the first three sections on @One's online training. We modified the three days and turned it into the following schedule:

  1. a 6-hour on-campus session on a Saturday
  2. two weeks of work online
  3. a second 6-hour on-campus session (Saturday also)
  4. two more weeks of work online
  5. a final 4-5 hour session on campus (Saturday) to bring it all together

We strongly felt that having the bulk of the training online would give the FACULTY member a chance to see what the students will encounter in an online course.  And our feedback has been that the training faculty member now has a new appreciation for student involvement. We also have an arrangement with our Salary Advancement Committee that provides credit for this training toward moving up a column on the salary schedule. (I do want to emphasize that this training allows the faculty member to teach online within OUR three-college system and we highly recommend they finish the remaining @One training courses to qualify them to teach anywhere in California.)

So far we have trained 90 faculty.  We have yet another session starting this April to train 35 more.  Fresno City College has set a goal of doubling our online offerings within the next six years.

Sheila Martin

Community Contributor

This sounds very similar to where we were two years ago.  What we did is trained about 8 of our 60 some faculty (including adjuncts) as super users.  We made magnetic stars that they stuck to the frame of their doors to make it obvious where others could go for help.  Next we offered training in multiple ways but left it up to the faculty to chose the best way for them. Ultimately, faculty had to sign-off that they knew some basic tasks and either I or the superusers had to sign off that we observed some skills in Canvas (set up gradebook, customized their home page, created modules, posted an announcement, etc.).  The options were to come to the one day, all day training that was done on site, complete a self-training module I created (better ones can be found in the Commons now!), work on it themselves in a sandbox type course, or come to several small group, hands on sessions that the 8 super-users and I put on over the month before classes began.  We also had an orientation module for students to complete and student helpers ( like super users) around to answer questions the first week.  The student resources were barely used - the students had no problems adopting the system.  And faculty did well with having the options to train how they chose.  Everyone had a due date for their documentation and that meant they were ready to do the most basic tasks before the semester began.

New Member

You might be interested in checking out the resources that have been made available through TOPkit (Teaching Online Preparation Toolkit).  This is a web resource and community to support faculty development for teaching online.  TOPkit - Teaching Online Preparation Toolkit   While it was created by Florida, anyone can join and use and contribute resources and ideas.  The University of Central Florida has made their faculty development training available.  I'm about to upload UF's shorter workshop.  (Sorry for the duplicate post, if someone has already posted about this!)

Thank you.  I will definitely check out the site.  

Community Contributor

I'm young...and at the same time I'm a little old-school. I love today's technology and seeing how other folks are using it. You may have noticed that getting fully registered into the Canvas Community, signing up for trainings, and then getting the credentials login is a little step-intensive. It's not a deterrent to everyone, but I've heard some fuss. Eventually, I want my faculty to get involved in the community, it'll save me a LOT of work...lol

What I have seen as a good introduction to new faculty, especially, is by simply linking to the video guides: https://community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/guides/video-guide#jive_content_id_Instructors

You could also recommend that they browse the "All Users" as well, if not first, but then watch those short guides for whichever modules they're planning on using. This is a soft way of showing them Canvas without requiring the signups and hour-long trainings. Once they're interested and are getting the hang of it, they should naturally drift toward the community...although a gentle nudge never hurts Smiley Wink