This is our school's first year using Canvas, and we're trying to get an idea as to what the best home page option for our courses might be. This year, I made a few home page templates for teachers to pick from. Next year, I'm thinking that since students go straight to modules anyway, it might be a good thing for every course to just use modules as the home page.
I read a post by @kona in the Most Effective Homepage discussion thread, where she explained that she encourages faculty to use modules as the home page. I just wanted to see if there existed more schools who also use modules as the home page. As our school's Canvas admin, I want to get as much feedback as possible about this before I present it to our teachers.
How many of you use modules as the home page? For those that do, what has the experience been like for teachers and students?
It's all in how you frame it. Everyone does lesson plans. You are just doing it in a different place. The pages start out very simple. They are a simple outline with links and directions. Since we are in our fourth year, some teachers are much more elaborate now than they were initially. Some create banners for each unit. Many use icons to differentiate activities. The teachers that organize in this manner spend less time explaining where everything is in Canvas and more time teaching. They quickly see the benefit.
Our teachers who do this embed a google doc on the front page. Then they just have to change the google doc and not create a new page.
I agree, christy_steffen--in the K12 world, everyone does lesson plans. But for higher ed, the design solution doesn't incorporate lesson plans, and fully-online courses don't usually promote daily activities. So I think this is a great solution for K12, but I wouldn't presume to ask our adjunct professors to change their home pages every day (and I doubt they would if I asked).
I open to a Welcome page where I provide a link to a tutorial on how to use Canvas as well as briefly explain how the course works / is structured
The next page is a series of videos I have made explaining different aspects of the course as well as links to how to upload assignments into Canvas
This leads to the Course Content pages which explains what is in each module - it is a road map to the course which students can print - this is helpful in the first weeks as they are getting used to the LMS and the design of the course
Knowing where everything is and how to access different parts of the course seems to lessen the number of questions and makes them feel more secure
I am also going to jump into the conversation late here too. I liked what @Christy Steffen said above. I teach three different courses through Canvas and each course has a different home page. My AP Calculus students have asked that I set our assignment calendar as the home page (It's just a content page made into my front page). However, my AP Stats course has a home page with our units listed with different buttons and allows them to chose which module they are heading into that day. My Algebra 2 students log in and see the modules page. It really depends on the needs of your students and the teacher preference, as you can see from all our different postings here.
I am interested in what you did you finally decide to use yourself and did you change your choice at any time?
Hi @kmberg ,
Our summer courses were our first courses using Canvas. I taught a freshman orientation course during the summer, and I used a simple page with icons (one of three templates I designed for faculty for our first year of Canvas).
While it was helpful to have the first week, I definitely noticed that students (and myself) were skipping right over it and clicking on Modules on the left side bar. If I were to teach another course, I would probably transition to a modules homepage after the first couple of weeks (as suggested by @jasonpauljohnst ).
I am in complete agreement with you in how you use different homepages for different courses. Every class is different and therefore teachers need freedom to design their course in a way that best serves their students. But I also agree with christy_steffen, where mandated organization helps students navigate their courses efficiently. My new goal is to find the balance between these two truths.
For our courses that are created by the Digital Learning Team and used for professional learning and development, we follow a standard--our Home Page is a content page with a banner and clickable icons that take the user to the respective module. We have encouraged this with our teachers as well, but it is not a requirement. We are not able to fully enforce or stand behind a required template per se, so we have offered up multiple design recommendations and examples. You can see an example from one of my courses below. I also read in some of the posts above about opting to not use modules at all, but we have STRONGLY recommended that teachers hide the assignments, discussions, pages, and quizzes, so students have to go through the modules instead.