Time-Saving Tips for Teaching Online in Canvas

Adventurer
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Before the course begins:

  • Draft a welcome message to send to students as a (Canvas Inbox) Conversation Message at the beginning of the first week. Select the option to send an individual message to each student. Conversations Overview: https://vimeo.com/103432881
  • Draft announcements for each week and delay posting. You can edit them before they are posted as needed. Announcements Overview: https://community.canvaslms.com/videos/1090
  • Identify supplemental resources including current events, real-world scenarios, and case studies that will extend student learning in your discussions and assignments (you’ll then have them handy to include as needed by students in discussions or when you post announcements).
  • Convert low-stakes assignments into auto-graded assignments using the Canvas Quiz feature. That will allow you to focus on facilitating student learning in the discussions and high-stakes assignments instead of spending time grading low-stakes assignments. Quizzes Overview: https://community.canvaslms.com/videos/1118
  • Include within the rubric criteria where students can locate the requirements within the instructional materials. When grading, you will be able to quickly point to the instructional materials for student reference (when they do not meet specific criteria). Instructional material references will also support students when they are working on the assignment. Rubrics Overview: https://community.canvaslms.com/videos/1518

 

During the course:

  • Use Notifications in Canvas to receive inbox messages and submission comments through emails, text messages, Twitter, or the Canvas Teacher app: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-26294-how-do-i-set-my-canvas-notification-preferences-as-an...
  • Message Students from the Gradebook if they are missing or score low on assignments: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-26341-how-do-i-send-a-message-to-students-from-the-gradeboo...
  • Use the audio or video feedback capabilities of SpeedGrader. Use screencapture software if it’s quicker to show something than describe it through text. Use the audio feedback if it’s quicker to describe it through audio than through text. It also humanizes your course when students hear your voice. SpeedGrader Overview: https://community.canvaslms.com/videos/1119
  • Focus mostly on the content (course outcomes) when grading rather than spending a great deal of time pointing out spelling, formatting errors, etc. Point common formatting issues out, but focus on the course outcomes in the majority of the feedback.
  • If using discussions and you have a day with a great deal of time: rather than responding in the discussions all in one day, save draft responses and post half of them the next day. That avoids bombarding students with discussion responses and helps ensure you are visible in the online classroom to students throughout the week.
  • Grade the discussions and assignments as they are submitted throughout the week even if you do not post grades/feedback to students until after the discussion and assignment deadlines.
    - Canvas allows draft discussion and assignment comments to be saved (just by navigating away from one student and moving on to the next a draft comment is saved).
    - Assignments may be graded manually so that students do not see the grades as you work: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-26246-how-do-i-select-a-grade-posting-policy-for-an-assignm...

 

If anyone has other time saving ideas to add, just let me know!

4 Comments
Surveyor II

This is an awesome list. I use every one of these strategies. I also do these three things:

1. Keep the course design simple and avoid needless complexity.
2. Establish a regular and predictable pattern for assigning work and responding to students.
3. Maintain a positive, encouraging, and reassuring tone. 

There really is no magic to being an awesome online teacher beyond doing what you suggested and having a positive and organized approach. 

Thanks for sharing!

Nate

 

Surveyor II

Hey Again,

Your list inspired me to make a video with similar tips but for students!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MXpHy0BUY0

Best,

Nate

Surveyor II

@nategarrelts 

Es maravilloso tu video, gracias por compartir! 

Ya soy fan del Professor Frazzled! 

Surveyor II

Gracias! Hablo un poco de español. Pero, tengo compañeros que hablan español con fluidez. Me diste una gran idea!  

About the Author
As an Instructional Designer at Macomb Community College, I design, develop and facilitate online and on-ground workshops including online faculty certification and Canvas certification. I also support faculty in repurposing courses from an on-ground to an online learning environment, recommend course improvement ideas, and support faculty in using technology to facilitate learning. I obtained an Ed.S. and M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a B.A. in Education from the University of Michigan in Dearborn, Michigan.