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Community Member

Enhancing your teaching with Canvas

If you were sharing at a faculty meeting and had to pick three Canvas tools that anyone could use to enhance their teaching  - whether online, blended or face to face - what would you choose? I am considering speedgrader, conferences and Peer Review. Note I only have 20 minutes so it will just be a "this is it, what you can do, here it is in Canvas" quick thing.

What tools would you show?

13 Replies

Interesting that this popped up again today. If I were respond to this today, I would not be nearly so much a fan with DocViewer as I was with Speedgrader. Modules would be my first choice for the same reasons. Groups second, for the same reason.Rubrics would be my third choice -- what a time saver. What a way to ensure transparency and objectivity when grading student work. I love the fact that we can score by value, comments, or now by rating (it still bugs me that the vertical lines don't line though 🙂 )

Community Coach
Community Coach,

We are giving the Instructional Designers area a little bit of love and just want to check in with you.  This will also bring this question new attention. 


Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.



Community Coach
Community Coach

There is some great discussion on this post. I definitely think you can't go wrong with anything suggested here. When I meet with faculty they always seem to like the following:

  1. Speedgrader: It's just something completely different than what they are used to. Speed aside, they really like the ability to add video and audio comments, annotate, mute grades, etc
  2. Pages: Showing them that creating content is like "writing an email" is really exciting. Especially when you include tools like the media comments for creating and uploading their own media
  3. External Tools: Linking external tools to the menu bar and especially the pages tool is something that makes adding quality content, much easier.  Also, if your school has custom or purchased services that use LTIs, these are always a winner.
Adventurer II

I agree with most of the others. Speedgrader would be my first choice. And like stefaniesanders​ said -- save it for last. It has great wow potential!

Modules was also mentioned and would be on my list -- the ability to target students' navigation through course activities and content is absolutely awesome.

I think that Groups would be my third choice. My faculty use it in "traditional groups" fashion with a small number of students to work through issues, but I have also found it that a great use is to create a group of 1 so that each student has a workspace accessible by the teacher. It's an easy way for students and faculty to pass documents back and forth, communicate, and even collaborate in some instances.

I like quizzes but am far more enamored of the new quiz tool that's coming (soon, I hope!).



Rubrics - How they show up on assignments, can include Outcomes

Speedgrader - with rubrics, with crocodoc

Modules - Next/Prev button wonderful!!

Cheers - Shar

I am a fan of Pages also! We have a Domain of One's Own project at my school, which gives every faculty member access to https webspace, so I can host javascripts and other dynamic content that can appear in Canvas Pages, too, which I really enjoy. I've got a demo course up with dynamic content like that in Canvas Pages:

Growth Mindset Playground: Growth Mindset Playground

Adventurer II

My top three picks would be SpeedGrader, Pages, and Discussions. I agree with everything that's been said already about SpeedGrader, and I LOVE showing faculty how easy it is to begin doing online grading using SpeedGrader. But regarding other Canvas features that can help to enhance teaching across a range of course types, Pages and Discussions can add a lot of flexibility to courses.

Pages: Canvas's wiki pages can be used in a wide range of ways, from curating current course information on the home page (links to readings, assignments, additional resources) to providing special purposes pages with supplemental resources, embedded videos, images, you name it. Pages can also be configured to allow students to edit them, which opens up the possibility for crowd-sourcing assignments (a favorite strategy of mine for both face-to-face and online classes). And BONUS: familiarity with the Rich Content Editor and Content Selector in Pages helps with other features in Canvas.

Discussions: Discussions can provide a mechanism for many different types of interactions that can enhance teaching and learning. This might be a semester-long FAQ discussion where students post questions, or a graded class-wide or group discussion assignment. Discussions are a common feature of online courses, but they can also be useful in face-to-face and hybrid courses. Plus, it's one of the few mechanisms available in Canvas where students can easily share work with others in the class. And Discussions can also be configured for use as an individual semester-long journal (group discussion, where each student is in their own group).

Collectively, these tools provide a wide range of options for enhancing teaching!

Using Modules is something my students REALLY like, and it's another big difference from D2L which we used until this year. A tip I'm sharing with other faculty: keep the modules list fresh by moving old modules down to the bottom of the page. 🙂

Advice: Keep Canvas Modules Current – Teaching with Canvas

Community Member

Not a tool, but a Canvas feature that I really like is the due date versus available until for soft/hard deadlines in Canvas. We used D2L for 10 years at my school, and it did not have that option, so I've been mentioning it to all the faculty I know. Why? Because it really helps students who need some flexibility! From my blog:

Advice: Use the Canvas “Grace Period” – Teaching with Canvas

Adventurer III




Great idea, by the way!  I think I'll try it with my staff! Thanks!