Five things students wish happened in their Canvas courses (Teaching Tip)

The end of fall semester marks the one-year anniversary as Canvas as ISU’s learning management system. In a recent ISU Daily, the editorial board published the article “A year after switch to Canvas, professors need to use site more frequently” and noted,

“Canvas is a great tool. It’s easy to learn and its widespread use across campus will benefit everyone.”

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching spoke with undergrad and graduate students, instructional designers, and examined tickets submitted to the ISU Solution Center by students. Here are five ideas as you prepare your course for spring semester:

  1. Your Canvas front page is the entry way to your class experience. Every time a student logs into your course they see whatever you provide them via the front page (How do I set a Front Page in a course? web guide) or announcements (How do I add an announcement in a course? web guide). Take the opportunity to make it something worthwhile. Create an informational front page or post regular announcements in your course to keep students up to date on your class and valuable information.
  2. Organization helps students concentrate on the subject matter. Undergraduate students are often enrolled in up to six or seven different courses all with different Canvas course shells. Make your course easy to navigate so that they can concentrate on the subject matter at hand. For example, if you do not require discussions, hide this from the Navigation bar so that students do not get “lost” in the Menu Options. Learn how from the How do I manage Course Navigation links? web guide.
  3. Tell them what is required and when it is due. Canvas gives you the ability to create calendar events and have these events show up on the student’s to do list. In the calendar you can even create course events (How do I add an event to a course calendar? web guide) with links to readings that you want students to do in preparation for a class discussion.
  4. Save trees, ask students to submit via Canvas. There are certainly needs for printed assignments. However, if these do not exist, submitting assignments and homework via Canvas saves students the trouble of finding a printer, saves paper, and provides you the ability to use SpeedGrader within Canvas, providing an electronic record of the students’ work, your feedback, and the grade (How do I use SpeedGrader? web guide).
  5. Finally, publish your course/modules/quizzes/tests/assignments. One of the greatest complaints to the ISU Solution Center is that students cannot access the course, the modules, quizzes, tests or assignments. Be sure to publish your course, etc. It is helpful to use Student View to make sure that they see what you see (How do I view a course using a test student? web guide).

Best wishes for Dead Week and Finals Week,

Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Five things students wish happened in their Canvas courses (November 29, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for November 29, 2018 (PDF).