Ellen Rhudy

Content block templates

Discussion created by Ellen Rhudy on Jun 26, 2017
Latest reply on Dec 11, 2017 by Penny Christensen

Hi all, I'm currently playing around with the idea of course site templates. One thing I've been thinking about is how to create templates that give faculty the flexibility to continue doing their courses their way, rather than being proscriptive about what belongs on a particular page. (With the possible exception of the homepage, where I think we can offer a clearer outline of what content belongs there.) I'd like to explore offering clear style guidelines for Canvas course sites that enable faculty to present their content in a professional manner, consistent across the school, simply by grabbing code for content block templates I've created.

 

I've found great resources here about creating templates, and particularly about styling the homepage. (IE, Page Banners - HTML or PNG file?Creating an inviting course home pageHome Sweet Homepages without Tables)

 

What I haven't found is mention of templated content blocks. What I'm wondering, basically, is whether anyone out there has created templates for blocks of content (such as assignment instructions, a video embed, or simply headers to break up content on pages) for their faculty to use as-needed in their course sites. If so, I'd be curious to know a few things:

  • What content block styles have you created, and which do you see faculty using most often?
  • What is the comfort level of your faculty using these styled content blocks -- ie, are the instructional designers just managing all the styling, or are faculty actually doing this themselves?
  • How have you organized your content block templates? (I'm thinking unpublished pages that faculty and designers can access...but this does add extra steps for faculty creating content, and feels a little too hidden for easy use. It could also get unwieldy fast, depending on how many content block styles I've got on offer.)
  • Have you seen this type of styling have any impact (positive or negative) on the student experience? Or on the faculty experience of working with Canvas?

 

Even if you haven't done exactly what I'm asking about here, I'd love to hear from folks who have successfully gotten faculty on board with templates or style guides, on how you presented this to faculty, what's gone well (and hasn't gone so well), etc. This styling question is something I'm just beginning to think about, so it's possible that what I may need to be thinking about isn't content block templates so much as page templates, each intended for a slightly different purpose. Any thoughts/advice/insight/further questions/ideas on other approaches I might take, are welcome!

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