Holly Nerone

Managing Large Online Courses

Discussion created by Holly Nerone on Oct 31, 2018
Latest reply on Oct 31, 2018 by Stefanie Sanders

Hi all!

I have been asked to present to faculty on tips/tricks for managing large online courses. 

I have done some research and assembled many recommendations, beginning with the essentials of good course design (standardized/user-friendly navigation, clear communication about expectations, strategic assignment structure and timing, units/modules with clear overviews, etc.) but the need now is to help them leverage Canvas functionality to reduce the burden on faculty created by large-sized classes.

Some thoughts I have had so far:

- use detailed grading rubrics in conjunction with SpeedGrader (reduces number of specific comments that have to be manually entered/repeated, if the details are pre-set in a high-quality rubric that is clickable)

- use self-grading assignments for low-stakes items (such as auto-graded surveys to manage weekly reflections, where points can be automatically awarded)

- use group assignments where appropriate (issuing grades for 10 groups of 10 rather than for 100 individual students)

- allow students to attach documents to discussions, and in group discussions, have the group submit their own grading rubric along with a brief paragraph advocating for the grade they suggest for themselves (this would not eliminate the grading function for faculty, but might help faculty more quickly hone in on where the group met the rubric requirements - as well as helping students take responsibility for their learning, know the requirements, etc.)

- establish a student-led "I've Got Questions" discussion zone where students can help respond to each others' questions

- use complete/incomplete assignments to track non-weighted activities (things like students submitting a topic for a future presentation - this reduces the need to track those students that have submitted their topics, or not, and also gives students an item on their to-do list with a due date, which may reduce questions about what's due)

- add instant feedback to quiz responses (using the function in Canvas where comments can be keyed in if specific responses are selected)

- use only embedded/compatible technology, to minimize technical issues and time spent troubleshooting


I am newer to Canvas, so I'm quite sure there are some functions that I do not yet know. 

What are YOUR methods for helping faculty manage large online courses, within Canvas?


Thank you for discussing this with me!