6 Ways Canvas Can Be Used To Increase Teacher Collaboration

Community Participant

Looking for ways to increase teacher collaboration in your school?

Lucky for us Canvas is a perfect tool to increase teacher collaboration within and across disciplines! Here are a few ideas!


1. Develop a teacher course housing Professional Development Modules  with ample discussion and collaboration pages for staff to use. Model the use of these pages within the PD itself whether delivered solely online or in person. This is relevant as well for department heads sharing information in weekly meetings or PLC time.

2. Add teachers as collaborators in your course. This is a great tool for CWC courses or co-taught classes, as well as departments that want to share ideas and strategies. In this way great minds work together instead of struggling to design innovative lessons on singularly.

3. Add a co-teacher to your course to work across disciplines in specific modules. For instance, perhaps Greek Mythology and Astronomy want to collaborate and share a module in their courses on finding Greek stories in the stars and the science behind the stars. Materials can be added to the Commons and shared easily with one another.

4. Add special education instructors and paras as observers of the students' they serve in your courses. This easily helps them perform tutoring tasks and other needed support like printing of material for visually impaired students into appropriate formats.

5. Share material within a department. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. (whew!) If you have a stellar module in your course, upload it to share with others in the department.

6. Use Canvas for faculty meetings; encourage the reading of relevant material and interactions through discussions or creation of staff wiki pages before F2F meetings.

These tips have worked well at my high school this year, our first year using Canvas. Not only are staff jumping on board to share and create materials together, but they have become more easily sold on the idea of using Canvas when they see all of the ways it benefits them as teachers. The biggest benefit these ideas offer is the efficient use of time.  And let's face it, time is one of the greatest gifts we can give back to our overworked teachers. Smiley Happy

"The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives." Robert John Meehan

Community Novice

Thank you for the ideas!  I will be sharing these ides with my school! 

Community Participant

Howdy Amber,

(New to K12 group, first post.)

I have imagined small groups of teachers using Canvas to collaborate in a particular fashion. If they worked together to identify Internet content that supports curriculum standards (articles, simulations, videos, etc.), a small group could provide a valuable resource for many others.

Do you think that a school or district like yours would support (or lead) this kind of effort? Have you seen anything like this already?

Community Participant

Correction to previous comment. I should have written:

"Do you think that a district or a state like yours..."

...because one list—a single, standards-aligned resource—could be useful to many educators.

Community Participant

You are so welcome!

Community Participant

 @azwaldo ​,

I think a course like this would be interesting. I'm trying to wrap my head around it, and how it might differ from simply heading to the Commons. I think many of our teachers would be interested in this idea, especially as content became more topic focused.

Community Champion

Hi Amber, I love this post!  We're using Canvas for teacher collaboration, too.  We've created a full training course that merges the tutorial set created by Instructure with homegrown content into four areas: Content, Assessments, Course Management and Communication and have created three levels of these areas we affectionately call "Canvas Capable", "Canvas Clever" and "Canvas Accomplished." At the end of each level we've used CanvaBadges to cultivate our new-to-us micro-credential culture shift.  We've also created alternate professional learning paths through these modules that allow the learner to learn, let's say everything they want to know about "Assessments" w/o having to complete the other three topics in each level.  So the teacher can complete Canvas Capable: Assessments then move on to Canvas Clever: Assessments and Canvas Accomplished Assessments, too.  Capable starts with usage of Assignment and Quiz tools. Clever introduces gradable rubrics and Accomplished would introduce grading schemes and Outcomes.  Thank you for writing this post!

Community Participant


Thank you! We also utilize a training course for our staff with three levels and badges. It certainly makes adoption of Canvas easier. My esteemed colleague JGarton​ created them. The first course ​is a very basic intro for those just wanting a bit more info about what Canvas can do. The second course walks teachers through building their course and is packed with video and pdf tutorials. The third, which is undergoing construction at the moment, focuses on high-impact teaching to engage students in Canvas. We offer professional growth hours for these courses, and the staff has been receptive.

Additionally, I created a course called "The Vault" which houses links on the home page to all resources our staff might need (within and outside of Canvas), like Professional Development Courses, Curriculum, Staff Notes, etc .   A screenshot is below.


This has been helpful for our staff because they have easy access to places they visit often, and I can send out announcements to staff quickly this way.

It sounds like you have a very similar set up. Great minds surely think alike! Smiley Happy

Community Champion

I love these ideas.

Thank you

Community Participant

We are trying to engage more admins and staff to use Canvas.  I am the librarian at the high school and we are hoping to utilize Canvas for a staff meeting in February.  It will be a meeting that is full of information.  Any tips or suggestions as we work through this?