Hello, I am the Learning Management System Specialist in our K12 district and I provide support and instruction to our teachers and staff in the use of Canvas, promoting consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness.
When I offer Canvas instruction, or when I evaluate a teacher’s Canvas course, the first things I look for are:
The value of taking a few moments to do this goes a VERY long way. These features are interrelated, as are most Canvas features, making them more powerful when used in combination.
Often teachers are pressed for time, eager to dive into developing content and assignments/quizzes; managing the Course Navigation, organizing content in Modules, and creating a Home Page can seem unimportant, but these steps help to setup the course for easier and clearer navigation and other efficiencies -- both for the teacher and the students (and anyone else needing to look at the course).
In the #canvascasters podcast episode, Magnifying MasteryPaths w/ Van & Ryne, at 22:55, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com talk about the importance of consistency in course design across courses and starting by cleaning up the course navigation, and organizing content with Modules.
So let’s get started with the why and how of cleaning up the Course Navigation...
You’ve heard the saying, “Less is more.” When talking about design, the cleaner, neater, less busy a course menu is, the easier and quicker it is to find what you need, which translates into less frustration and more efficiency.
Some people may argue, “Why not give students more ways to find the content?” The answer: because it actually creates confusion, and takes longer for students to find. firstname.lastname@example.org shared her real life experience as a student in a course with too many access points, including too many course menu items:
I was a student in a course where, at the end of week 3, over 1/3 of the class hadn't found the actual course content in Modules but they thought they had. 1/3 of the class had clicked on Assignments and Quizzes…. ...and attempted them without even knowing there was anything else to see! …..[students felt] angry and betrayed by the experience.”
Design your course so students navigate to one place instead of five or six places. Avoid sending students to:
To help direct students to the content, and so they don’t get confused and miss important information, clean up the course navigation menu and remove the links to the index pages for Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, and Files -- these features, which are native to Canvas, can still be used when hidden from students in the Course Navigation, and they remain visible in the menu for the instructor to continue accessing. Add all the Unit 1 items to the Unit 1 Module, so they are all together, in context. Make sure you do not hide Modules from the menu. Once you Publish a Module, your Modules menu link becomes active for students.
What about all the other items in the menu? Probably many can be hidden. The list below may help you decide what to hide from your course menu:
So, how do you hide/disable those items from your course menu? Enter your Course => click on Settings => click the Navigation tab. You’ll see a list of features/tools. There is a top half and a bottom half. Of the items in the top half, notice that the Top of the top half are tools native to Canvas, and the bottom of the Top half are Integrations. Keep at the top the tools you want to be visible/enabled; drag and drop items below the line to the lower half to hide/disable. Last step: SAVE!! Then go to Student View to see how much clearer it is for students to navigate your course!
Instructor Guide: How do I manage Course Navigation links?
Next let's look at how you can...
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