cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Unique Uniformity

jayoder
Community Advocate
Community Advocate
3 8 303

After almost a quarter of the school year under way, we are starting to see trends. The ability in Canvas to really do whatever you heart desires with your course is a blessing and a curse. With so much autonomy how do we develop best practices so that the students aren't confused and know what to expect while surfing our virtual classrooms. Well, one thing we teachers have in common is a syllabus; a course outline.

My suggestion has been to think about using the 'Syllabus' page as the course landing page rather than 'Modules'. It allows the teacher the ability to better control the environment by providing space to explain how he or she is using Canvas. One can provide links to important modules, pages, discussions or assignments. You can even embed videos for enrichment as well as to show off your personality just like how you might decorate you physical classroom with engaging photos and posters. You can also provide your contact info, a photo and even attach a file of your class expectations. Then along the bottom of the page will be running list of all assignments and events for the course that Canvas will auto-populate as the year goes on.

Pro Tip: If you have certain class expectations you can list them as well, but I think a useful alternative might be to divide up your class expectations into pages in a module and then make a syllabus quiz to end the module requiring that the students score 100% before they can move on to other course modules/content. 

There are so many options and each teacher should have the autonomy to do with their Canvas pages as they please, but we do need to have a little bit of order and uniformity so that our students know what to expect just like they know each classroom will have desks, chairs and whiteboard. They should be able to count on each virtual class having a syllabus page, modules and assignments. And although it is true that we don't teach the parents it might go a long way toward transparency if the parents,learning support teachers and guidance counselors, when they sign on to observe, also had a sense of how each teacher is using their page so they could better support their students.

293319_3912468102_1fe93f1f6b_m.jpgSo take a second to think about your Canvas courses and if a casual observer or new student were to sign onto your course, would they feel confident on how to navigate the course? It might save you time from having to write clarifying emails or have 1 on 1 discussions with confused students and parents. And the beauty of Canvas is that once you have a good template set; then it will be ready for each new year with the ability for any necessary tweaks you may need to make from year to year!

8 Comments
laurakgibbs
Surveyor

I'm definitely a believer in clarify and consistency... but I also really like having fresh, new content for students, especially if they are using Canvas multiple times each week, maybe even every day as is the case for my classes. So I far prefer to use my Announcements as the homepage (it's a blog embedded in a Canvas Page). That way, students see new things instead of the same old same old, and it's got information relevant to that day at the top:

Myth.MythFolklore.net

screenshot of announcements blog page

On my Syllabus page, which I do use (although I'm not sure the students ever consult it), I have a randomizing widget so that if students do come to the Syllabus page they will see a random image... the actual content is the same, but at least there are different images each time. So, if you go to my Indian Epics Syllabus page, you will probably see an image different from this one.

screenshot of Indian Epics Syllabus page

klundstrum
Community Coach
Community Coach

I am also becoming more and more of a fan of using the Syllabus page as the Home Page rather than creating another page and inserting content. (...the latter seems a little redundant, depending on your school/district's approach.) I also love that families using Canvas Parent have access to the syllabus page! That's a bonus in the value of this approach, for sure.

isobel_williams
Community Member

Hi  @jayoder 

We have been developing templates for teachers to use and agree a consistent look is good for students.  The syllabus page is worth investigating for older grades but i wonder if it would have as much traction for K-6?    Most teachers i work with think the modules look is very boring for students and really want their home pages to look inviting.   

laurakgibbs
Surveyor

I agree about how boring the Modules page is... and I teach mostly college seniors. Boredom is a danger at any age IMO. 🙂

jayoder
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I like the Syllabus page because it has all the functionality of a page in terms of jazzing it up, but with that running list which houses events and assignments; I'm sure parents of K-6 students might enjoy having a 1 stop shop for events and information!

jayoder
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

How did you embed Blogger onto a Canvas page?

laurakgibbs
Surveyor

There are two ways, I use both:

One is with iframe, and that is so the Page can be the "homepage" for the course, and also so I can alert people in case they have accidentally shown up at the wrong section (I teach two sections of the same course for one of my courses). So, that's this version:

Myth-Folklore section 995 - Fall 2018 

I also use the Redirect Tool; that is the nav item I call "Daily News" and I like the layout better this way; the Redirect Tool is super-clean, but you can make a Redirect Tool page the homepage for the course:

Daily News 

Especially since my students all have blogs also, I really like them seeing that I have a blog, how I use it, etc. And I love (LOVE LOVE LOVE) having cool stuff in the sidebar widgets.

Blogger is very platform-aware, and so it switches to mobile view when someone is using Canvas on their phone; you can simulate the mobile view in Blogger by adding: ?m=1 to any Blogger URL, like this:

https://ouclassannouncements.blogspot.com/?m=1 

You lose the sidebar, but on a phone that makes sense!

I really love having the blog as the homepage; I've been doing that since Day One of the Canvas adventure at my school! 

Bobby2
Community Coach
Community Coach

Liking this idea Jonathan Yoder!

Worth exploring.