5 Tips to Optimize Canvas for the New Year
As 2012 and the fall term come to a close and you start preparing for next year, here are some quick tips to help you get the most from Canvas:
Wrap It Up Right
Make sure the course Gradebook is complete. When a course is concluded, the instructor will no longer have access to edit grades. Be sure each ungraded item is marked in a way that ensures the grade in the total column reflects student work. Also, don’t forget to unmute any muted Assignments.
Tip: Use either the “Treat ungraded Items as Zero” option or enter zeros in the Gradebook for missing work to ensure final grades are accurate.
Take Advantage of Analytics
Sometimes instructional design decisions work as intended and sometimes they don’t. With Canvas Analytics, it won’t be a guessing game anymore. Use Analytics to look for highs and lows in your course. If your institution has Analytics enabled, the View Analytics button is on your course homepage in the right sidebar.
Tip: Because some activities, such as discussions, may have more participation than others, use Analytics to narrow your focus and zero in on those that had more, or less, student engagement. Then, try to find out why.
Change can bring joy.
Reflect on Your Activities
What was the high point in your semester? This is a great time to take a step back and think about successes and not-so-successes. If you can, identify something you want to improve and do it.
Tip: If students were often emailing you for information about a lecture or lab, try sharing that content in Canvas by using Calendar Events, Pages or Modules.
Try Something New
Canvas has many great features that users migrating from other systems may not be familiar with. Challenge yourself to try something new this next semester. If you’re not sure where to start, try a new approach with an old assignment.
Tip: Select an assignment that may benefit from peer review, such as an essay or research paper. Have students submit a draft for peer review; give them guidelines for conducting a peer review; and then give them another week to review peer feedback and update their draft. They can submit the final version in a new assignment for your review and grading.
Canvas-ize Your Syllabus
Take advantage of Canvas tools to transform a traditional syllabus into dynamic course content.
Tip: Review your syllabus and identify elements or sections that can be translated to Canvas tools. Consider listing them as links using the Rich Content Editor at the top of the Canvas syllabus page.
- Instructor Information (including office hours) → Pages
- Course Overview → Pages
- Goals and Objectives → Outcomes
- Grading Information → Pages
- Reading List → Pages, with links to resources
- Assignments → Assignments
We hope you’ll find some value in these tips. If you have other ideas to share, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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Image Credit Jamilia Jean Photography