Canvas Rollout, Training, and Adoption Strategies (Collaboration)

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

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Index of Categories:

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First Steps


    1. Learn how faculty currently teach their courses.
    2. First train the faculty heads and empower them to train the teachers in their faculties.
    3. Pick the right faculty members for special attention. Not someone who will poison everyone else on the experience.
    4. Obtain faculty buy-in through other faculty educators 
    5. Work with leadership to send initial messages introducing who will help roll out and support.
    6. Provide all faculty with a sandbox course to practice and play with.
    7. Splash page in retiring LMS announcing/redirecting to Canvas
    8. Make presentations at faculty association/senate meetings
    9. Be prepared to have a workaround for instructors who are accustomed to doing certain things in the previous LMS
    10. Put a positive spin on the migration process that so many dread; Promote the idea of an “upgrading” your course, not just moving it!
    11. Focus on using students to promote Canvas; First get strong student buy-in and the faculty will be “forced” to come along
    12. Give faculty specific timelines - be honest and transparent on how long it will take
    13. Create videos depicting the change between old LMS and Canvas; Emphasize why it is a GOOD change
    14. Start with a Pilot semester of ~30 teachers in various departments. The following semester hire these now ‘expert’ Canvas teachers to serve as “faculty mentors”
    15. K12 institutions - Try starting with 8th - 12th grade implementation and letting others follow.
    16. Have sign-up sheets to gauge attendance and ensure seating
    17. Let faculty know well in advance if they are going to be required to switch from an old LMS to Canvas. Offer more hand-holding for early adopters!
    18. Always emphasize the power of Canvas resources whenever offering training (empower them to find answers to all their questions)

      1. The Canvas Guides - Guides (learn how to do anything in Canvas)

      2. Canvas Video Tutorials - Video Guide - Table of Contents  (learn how to use Canvas by watching short videos)

      3. Canvas Community - Canvas LMS Community (ask questions to community)

      4. Release Notes - Release Notes (keep up with new features)

      5. CanvasLIVE webinars - CanvasLIVE (free webinars to learn more about Canvas)

    19. You may be interested in having Canvas trainers offer F2F training; Contact your Instructure CSM to discuss this option.
      1. Synchronous online webinar training
      2. Asynchronous instructor-led training
      3. Face to Face, on-site workshop trainings


Marketing & Advertising


    1. Market and Advertise upcoming training sessions in various methods (flyers, posters)  and to all parties - teachers, students, other users. Incorporate quotes/stories/case studies from people who are using the product about how they are using is and what they love about it, and how much their students like it!
    2. Create an infographic for students and teachers for classrooms, advert boards, and computer labs. Include the essential elements for getting started.
    3. Website countdown clock (Days:Hours:Minutes:Seconds to Canvas launch; retiring LMS cut-off, etc.) on the login portal
    4. Captive target audience (Canvas users - students and teachers) - Posters in restroom stalls.
    5. Canvas Booth at student/faculty events and fairs on campus that the college sponsors
    6. Create candy bar wrappers with canvas logo and links to handout for faculty. Wrap candy bars and give out to faculty. K.I.S.S. Make links obvious and enticing!
    7. Set up the Canvas "Login page" with announcements, links to training dates/times, links to help and support resources (From Instructure, homegrown, or both!)

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Traditional Classroom Setting


    1. Have a sign in sheet for all training sessions. Keep detailed records on all trainings, hours, topics discussed, people trained, etc. (Not just for traditional classroom training for everything!)
    2. Offer frequent, optional classroom F2F training - Let instructors follow along in their own sandbox course.
    3. Create a sample course that you can use when training. Ensure it is expertly designed and filled with exemplary sample content so you can effectively show off the features you want to highlight.
    4. Chunk 1-day training in modules (basic - intermediate - advanced) and give faculty option to sign up for full day or individual modules so they can stretch out training if choose
    5. Go to them! Regularly visit the faculty/adjunct areas - guerrilla training sessions! Don't expect them to show up for generic training sessions. Some might, but your personalized attention will go a long way and help with faculty adoption!
    6. Offer a “whiz-bang” show and tell session. Have this followed by hands-on, well-supported sessions.
    7. Before training sessions, showcase a few exemplary courses to help instructors see what's possible (Inspire them!)
    8. Offer some focused attention on how to migrate content from prior LMS into Canvas.  Keep in mind the option of starting from scratch. Many institutions have found the "clean slate" approach to be the best instead of migrating content.
    9. Train teacher while in the classroom with the students as a shared experience-- “now your teacher is going to click ‘publish’” and you as students will see the quiz is published. Students, now click on quiz and take it. “Now your teacher is going to go to Speed grader and give you some feedback. See how they can click on the rubric and give you a rubric score, as well as give you comments. Your teacher can also click on the media comment tool and record some audio/video feedback.
    10. Present a paper copy outline that follows training curriculum for traditional versus 21st century learners
    11. Hold targeted training sessions and present clear expectations of participants so they can know if they are ready for the content presented. Offer some kind of basic assessment to "place" instructors into the right training
    12. "Technology Boot Camp" (combined training and work sessions - 3 hour event broken into 10 minute introductions to course tools followed by hands-on work sessions with Canvas ‘mentors’)
    13. Course Design F2F training where you allow faculty to “work on their own” and ask questions as they go!
    14. Train all on basic capabilities and then add intermediate and advanced skills
    15. Create and provide an all day boot-camp/workshop for Canvas... with lots of interactive activities and hands-on time
    16. Host a “Preview session” - NOT A TRAINING SESSION.
      1. A quick f2f 20-30 minute preview of the best/coolest/most time-saving features in Canvas.
      2. Compare/contrast old LMS to new LMS (Canvas)
      3. Include a handout listing the main features in old LMS and what they were in Canvas and the features in Canvas that old LMS didn't have.
      4. Host many of these as a way to get faculty interested and excited to use Canvas.
    17. Host a Canvas Conference
      1. Have a raffle before training begins
      2. Serve a meal mid-day
      3. Give out lots of swag
      4. Lots of group work – not just lectures
      5. Play happy music before session begins


Creative Training Ideas


    1. “Go slow now, so you can go fast later!" Teach small bits now... the necessities and foundational topics so the teacher can excel and take off as time goes on. Don't overwhelm them with everything at once.
    2. Deliver short, sharp shock training. Don’t teach using lengthy PowerPoints. This way instructors will have something punchy to emulate. (Provide videos, as an example of what they could be doing)
    3. Host short training sessions on specific topics (Remember to let out early when possible 😉
    4. Focus training sessions on small bits of the tools. Don’t do training by fire hose.
    5. Use the ‘Teaching Channel’ ( for the Canvas roll-out and make comments as the "notes."
    6. Help instructors modify assessments so they use meaningful, guided/probing questions.
    7. Offer a Pedagogy Course (online/F2F) - talk about web accessibility and learning styles
    8. When training instructors on Canvas, focus on student-centric learning activities in course design
    9. Collaborate with other Canvas trainers and discuss challenges and successes.  Consult them for feedback on how to improve.
    10. Host a "Canvas Challenge" for your institution: (provided as a resource by Instructure but not currently supported)
    11. "Black Diamond Challenge" Look for the link to the Canvas Black Diamond Challenge.
    12. Offer Departmental Training / Grade Level Training
    13. UnConference on digital workflows in the classroom, led by students, faculty and Instructure reps -- Canvas is part of a bigger picture
    14. Train ambitious students to be Canvas experts that can train and answer questions from instructors
    15. Create a training menu so instructors can clearly see the different types of training and the associated curriculum. Clearly identify courses that have prerequisite knowledge/experience. Set these up as small, 1 hour sessions. Market that they can build their own custom training experience... a la carte!
    16. Create a regional consortium of school districts/colleges/universities that are sharing digital content - label content/courses so faculty know what they are getting into:  beginner, advanced, etc
    17. Let faculty learn to use Canvas on their own, and struggle through it (i.e. it seems they learn better when they are the ones clicking through the steps instead of us doing it for them) Offer support on the side.
    18. Plan a common time for instructors to work with other Canvas experts - be the bridge between your power users and the newbies
    19. ELearning faculty in residence (stipend and or course release)
    20. Create a group of early adopters/"Canvas coaches" to act as leaders in their areas. Give some kind of recognition/reward to these "Canvas Coach" Experts. (Gift Card/Swag)
    21. Establish super-user groups that focus on specific areas of interest or discipline. Provide a venue (like a course or a group) where users can share ideas/content.
    22. Host special, dedicated training for online instructors. Don't try to have them listen in via conference call to classroom based training
    23. Offer custom trainings based on accessibility needs,  and how to use accessibility tools in Canvas.
    24. Empower teacher leaders to do small training sessions to get the training out to the masses
    25. Offer "Lunch & Learn" opportunities for faculty to come learn how to use Canvas or other technologies
    26. Recruit faculty volunteers to train other faculty in their department
    27. Offer online training for faculty. They can join your webinar from anywhere.
      1. If faculty has questions or problems as they are going through the online training, provide follow-up help via email, phone, or f2f.
      2. Give 1-on-1 personal help, but NO GROUP SESSIONS where possible (one opinion)
        1. Group sessions can be difficult when everyone has different technical aptitude. Will be too slow for some and too fast for others.
        2. Faculty can work at their own pace and then ask for help as needed.

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Canvas Training Courses


    1. For new teachers, create an online Canvas course to provide self-paced training on using Canvas; Include inline links to "just in time" help on common question/problem areas
    2. Create a "badging course" that encourages instructors to become ‘experts’ in Canvas.
    3. Create an eLearning Academy dedicated to Canvas trainings; Show instructors ways to improve student engagement through gamification!
    4. Arrange a time for instructors to synchronously participate in a Canvas course; Offer real-time, in-line chat to support them
    5. Provide faculty a sandbox course to practice course design/creation. Enroll them as the teacher AND enroll a "dummy student" so they can experience both sides of course design and interaction.
    6. Create a “What is Canvas” course for instructors to experience as students
    7. Provide a Canvas training course built in Canvas.  You may want to search Canvas Commons for examples.  Learn more about Canvas Commons in the Canvas Commons‌ group.
    8. Bootcamp training course - self-paced, self-enroll sessions (basic, intermediate, advanced)
    9. Provide the instructors with a course on Effective Online Learning environments, make this course a requirement and have instructional designers review the course participation to identify gaps and reach out to instructors
    10. Create Canvas courses for “training” (the proof of the pudding is in the eating!)
      1. Leverage Canvas guides and tutorial videos with direct links so your course always stays updated when guides are updated.
      2. Add personalized videos
      3. Ensure Canvas training courses will achieve desired outcomes
    11. Require faculty to build a course in Canvas and get it approved before letting them use it to teach with students.
      1. You can go through their courses and make sure things were going to work
      2. Offer helpful instructional design and usability tips
      3. Make sure the actual Canvas features/tools are being used correctly
      4. This will take a lot of time, but can be a HUGE help because you’ll have fewer problems at the beginning of the semester - i.e., fewer requests for help from faculty and from students.
      5. Learn more about this approach


Student Orientation & Training


    1. Provide short orientation trainings for students to get them excited and encourage their instructors
    2. Offer a bunch of student orientation sessions at different campus locations. Have raffles to encourage attendance (get local businesses to sponsor raffles). Throw out swag (if it's in a big lecture hall or the like).
    3. Create a Canvas course to teach students about Canvas


Open Learning Labs


    1. Create "Mobile Labs" (go to the different buildings, on set schedules, to meet with faculty on their turf) A "faculty roadshow"
    2. Offer open-lab time for Q&A about all supported technology services... not JUST Canvas.
    3. Provide 1-1 assistance in open-labs
    4. High touch - Instructional Designer & Technologist open office hours, open to all faculty to attend for 1-1 help with ANY technology or teaching help
    5. Hold virtual training sessions on a consistent day each week for all instructors - record the sessions
    6. Speed-dating with Canvas! (Open-house with Canvas experts – faculty)
      1. Have a monitor facing two or three people at a table
      2. Faculty power-users on the other side of table
      3. Faculty power-user highlight one or two unique ways they are using Canvas
      4. Rotate after 10-15 minutes
    7. Offer walk-in office hours or a "Learning Lab" and be sure to properly publish/advertise all dates/times - advertise on training calendars "Build your Canvas Course"
      1. Have faculty work and learn Canvas together
      2. Have one or two experts on hand to answer questions (could be a teacher)


Reward & Incentive Ideas


    1. Offer enticing incentives - iPad, iPod, etc! (For completing a series of canvas training workshops, completing an online course by a given date, then mentoring "x" number of of other faculty to learn Canvas. etc.)
    2. Give participants food, candy, etc.
    3. Give them a certificate of accomplishment to those who complete any training.
    4. Issue certificates (and/or badges?!) for attaining different levels of mastery. Have a public listing of those who have earned different levels of achievement
    5. Badging - offer staff members badges for completing training or participating in training sessions.
    6. Have contests with who is using Canvas the most or the best. Give away some great prizes like an iPad or a Bluetooth speaker.
    7. Offer hot lunch, exclusive swag and badges
    8. Make Canvas training sessions count as PD hours for faculty that complete training
    9. Identify some local experts, compensate them (if possible) and direct others to them for help.
    10. Create an incentivized faculty mentoring program with mentors assigned to each campus. Usually a good idea to recruit early adopters and ambitious folks who could be great evangelists.
    11. Faculty Showcase Luncheon once a semester highlights 3 to 4 faculty and how they use Canvas. Offer awards and create a really exciting environment so others will strive for excellence.
    12. Showcase exemplar faculty and provide them a platform for sharing their work. Maybe showcase on the faculty Login page for Canvas.
    13. Present award to pilot participants
    14. Door prizes for all training participants, raffles and other prizes - be sure that you have advertised these enticing things you are doing!
    15. Host a Canvas course showcase and award Ceremony
    16. Hand out pens with handouts/notebook and encourage note-taking (encourage them to write down topics that you don't cover in depth during your training... later on they can search the Canvas Guides)
    17. Host Deeper Dives
      1. Help faculty become acquainted with more rich feature
      2. Prerequisites
      3. Conferences
      4. Model a training session where you leverage these tools in the session to help them see practical application
    18. Host a Canvas Smackdown
      1. Gamify learning how to use Canvas.
      2. Have awards for people who “finish first” or “best”

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Follow-Up Support Ideas


    1. Be sure to "train" teachers but don't forget to also REVIEW instructor courses after they are finished creating them, to ensure compliance with effective course design. This will also help you analyze what training topice need more emphasis in the future.
    2. Draw attention to instructors doing exemplary things in their course as a model for employing teaching methodologies and demonstrating new system capabilities.
    3. Have faculty write guest blog entries about what they are doing in Canvas (include screenshots, videos, etc.)
    4. "Friday Forums" - bring new technology to teachers and offer food - teach them a new technology. Encourage faculty to volunteer as presenters.
    5. Deliver "drop-in" sessions once a week after initial instructor training
    6. Recurring Faculty Meeting at the end of a semester, for turning in grades: provide food and overview of “new” Canvas features: Discuss prep tips for next semester
    7. Show faculty real data on the change that takes place for students as a result of using Canvas features
    8. Provide small group cohorts of faculty conferencing via Adobe Connect or BBB (build out content/activities)
    9. Send out detailed follow up emails to workshop participants: Address questions raised during the workshop along with links to where they can find more information
    10. "Tech Talk 21" - Teach Teachers how to use small pieces of Canvas in 21 minutes or less and provide a webinar using Big Blue Button- record and teachers can watch later.
    11. "2 Minute Canvas Tips" - Set up a YouTube Channel and post 2-min instructional video clips to help instructors learn basic canvas adoption tips and tricks incorporating functionality and pedagogy! Encourage all faculty to subscribe to the channel. If all instructors were in an account group or course you could subscribe all to a discussion board or push new videos out via Announcements.
    12. Encourage faculty to share courses among their departments, this motivates them to build better courses
    13. Department demos where they feature a course from one of the instructors
    14. "Learning Bytes" - Have a 3-4 min share out at staff meetings from those who you would not expect to share out.
    15. In addition to choosing your tech savy staff for early adapters, chose a staff member that people know is tech challenged and really partner with them to pick one feature that they can share with the staff. Make this very successful for this person and staff will feel that they can also use that feature.
    16. Create step by step videos focused on faculty needs and share them with staff via email, post them on a blog or on a Canvas course. (Save time and use the tutorial videos made by Instructure.
    17. Send important updates to faculty via email (stay in touch!)
      1. How to prepare for the end of the year
      2. Saving student data, grades, submissions
      3. How to export course content
      4. How to import content from last semester
    18. Host and facilitate a monthly faculty user-group meeting
      1. Showcase courses
      2. Discuss “best-practices” – what’s working and what’s not working
      3. If you have low attendance… go mobile! Use Google Hangouts On Air (Links to an external site.)
    19. Host a "Canvas Shoot-out” on Google Hangouts On Air (Links to an external site.)
      1. Spotlight some great uses of Canvas by your teachers;
      2. See how Pasco County Schools did this
    20. Leverage administrative groups as a faculty group
      1. Have a Q&A board and encourage all faculty to “Subscribe” to that board. And have them adjust their notification preferences.
      2. Host design elements in Files, to be used by all (images, icons, buttons)
      3. Host a consistent “virtual open office hours” where you are available for a 1-2 hr block every week where you make yourself available to answer questions… use the conferences tool in your course.


Tips & Tricks for Instructors


    1. Don’t copy 20+ pages in the syllabus area, instead have the instructor’s info on the syllabus page in Canvas and the full syllabus as a link
    2. Show the athletic dept. how they can use different options to keep student athletes current in courses
    3. Set the homepage for a course as a unique identifier - Retail Management course.
    4. Show how Canvas can work in concert with a 1:1 implementation of iPads and Chromebooks. Device usage will increase and teachers will become more literate with both (Proven fact!)