Utilising Terms in Vocational Education


You may or may not have heard about Terms in Canvas.

This feature allows for managing course access in bulk, so you can set specific parameters (can be unique for Trainers vs Learners etc) that can be applied to whole groupings of courses. More info on how they work here!

Terms may immediately resonate to you as being more applicable to K12 or Universities, as these institutions have very structured academic calendars i.e. Term 1/2/3/4 (K12) or Semester/Trimester 1 & 2 (University). You may be wondering how these would be relevant to a sector which more often than not has rolling enrolments or intakes which are not bound by these parameters... 

However, Terms have a wide range of applications and can be REALLY useful for your organisation to manage your courses and user access. Below are some options which you could consider:

Option 1 - Terms which reflect your Validation Cycle or Versions

Managing your courses based on your validation cycle or versions allows you to align how this is reflected in Canvas with your internal mapping and business processes. It also provides visibility of version control across courses.

How might this look? Here's an example!

Say an organisation is delivering their first version of Cert III in X and Cert IV in X. The first delivery of those courses may be at different times, but they can still belong to the same Term - let's call it Version One Term by setting the Term runs FROM date to 'whenever'. The Term runs TO information can also be left as 'whenever' at this point as we don't know when new versions of the courses will be created yet.

Down the track, if the organisation decides to update content/resources/assessment tasks in line with their validation schedule, a change to the training package or simply self-motivated improvements/facelift for a Unit which is delivered in both courses, it would be important to differentiate what the courses looked like before this point, and from that point moving forwards. The courses could then be copied to create the updated versions and the original courses may then be referred to as 'Cert III in X - version 1' and 'Cert IV in X - version 1', while the new courses may become 'Cert III in X - version 2' and 'Cert IV in X - version 2'

Based on this, they would then decide on a decommission date for the original courses (in line with whenever the last intake completes the course), and would update the Version One Term with this end date to automatically end the courses at the specified time. The new courses would then be assigned to a new Term, Version Two Term which would manage the access for those courses moving forward, until the time the cycle repeats itself. 

Option 2 - Annual

If the above sounds a bit complicated, another more simplified option would be to have all courses delivered in each calendar year belong to an annual Term i.e. all courses delivered in 2019 would belong to 2019 Term. When the new year comes around, duplicated version of the courses which may or may not have any content changes are then assigned to the next annual Term. It is always best practice to decommission and relaunch courses each year / defined period to ensure you don't end up with a never ending list of students and sections inside the one course. This is especially important if changing content, so that you are able to demonstrate how these deliverables have progressed and who completed which version of the course. 

Why else are they useful?

Specific and Comparative Reporting

You are able to specify which Term you would like to review when pulling Account Reports inside your instance, which allows for more directed data insights and the option to compare data between Terms!

Account Analytics

This tool allows you to view a range of insights regarding your account, and can be filtered by Terms which makes reviewing targeted information a breeze.


Something to keep in mind...

If you don't choose to create your own Term structure, all courses will automatically belong to a Default TermThis has no defined access dates, and doesn't provide any structure or organisation in the way you manage your courses, nor the ability to filter reporting or analytics.

Whatever you decide, let us know how YOU use Terms! Smiley Happy