Quick Start Guide (Instructors)

Quick Start Guide

Table of Contents
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To help you prioritize and communicate use the strategies in this Quick Start Guide. Additionally, download and use this Rule of 2’s: Quick Start Guide Plan (PDF) to focus on what most matters.

Review Planning Resources (2021)

To be well-prepared and informed, we encourage you to review and bookmark the Academic Affairs Division-Wide Communications page on the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost website. These communications provide essential information (e.g., syllabus statements, protocols, policy updates, etc.) for you, your students, and colleagues

Iowa State has adopted a new required syllabus statement (PDF) to affirm the university’s commitment to free expression

These syllabus statements communicate a consistent message to all students.

1. Plan Your Course

Take time to consider the various issues that could impact your teaching approach and a course’s learning activities. Preparations of course content development, ensuring content is organized in a manageable way, and creating an inclusive and learner-centered syllabus are all featured content that can help you prepare to teach a course.

A basic background and starting point for course design using the constructive alignment framework

Plan your first interaction carefully as research shows that students form their opinions of class in the first 15 minutes

Reduce barriers to learning and facilitate meaningful participation by all students

2. Canvas Set Up

Canvas is the primary learning management system (LMS) used at Iowa State University. Using it gives you the ability to share course materials and provides you with tools for communication and collaboration.

Review this checklist to see exactly what should be done in your course.

Suggestions and resources to help teach in ways that are equitable and inclusive in an online environment.

Share this resource with your students – link it in your Canvas course.

3. Conduct Your Class

As you conduct your class, remember that there are a number of resources available to you. In addition, make sure you are mindful of University classroom policies as you move through the semester.

Review the strategies and resources for student engagement in their learning regardless of course delivery

Review the pedagogical choices about the effects of using particular tools for student learning

Explore approaches and methods which emphasize prevention and education.

4. Assessment & Evaluation

Assessment and evaluation contain all reviews from an institution-level to individual student outcomes within a course. These resources can help guide you through the various review processes. 

Take a broader view and consider the purpose and significance of what you hope to accomplish

Assessment helps instructors and students monitor progress towards achieving learning objectives.

A range of activities in which students evaluate and provide feedback in the work of their peers.

Explore the following approaches and methods which emphasize prevention and education.

5. End of Semester

You have many options for online activities, assignments, and assessments (quizzes).

Design and facilitate activities for all learning environments

Review this checklist to see exactly what should be done at the end of the semester in Canvas

6. Course Conclusion in Canvas

Canvas is designed to conclude courses following the end of an academic term. These are sorted and managed by the terms’ pre-determined duration of times and dates. There are specific behaviors that occur when an instructor uses the default settings in Canvas. Review the page below for more information and how to un-conclude a course when needed.

Canvas will automatically conclude courses following the end of an academic term. Review different ways to navigate Canvas if your course has been marked as concluded.

Additional Resources

ISU Library Digital Content

The ISU Library makes it possible for faculty teaching remote classes to connect seamlessly through direct engagement with library staff, access to digital content, and collaboration across the University.

  • Discipline-Specific Resources: Populate your course with discipline-specific resources and databases, enable a chat with subject librarians and use discipline-specific FAQs.
  • Streaming Media: Explore ISU’s streaming media collections of documentaries, news programs and news clips, instructional material, and selected feature films on many subjects.
  • To determine the best options for your course, use the Ask a Librarian page.

For assistance with digital course material needs, conversion from print to digital, or additional support with the RedShelf platform or publisher content during the Spring 2020 online instruction period, contact Iowa State University Book Store team via:

Read the most up-to-date information about publishers, access, and more on the Digital Course Materials ISU Book Store webpage.

Find out how you can best advise your students remotely; as well as, additional resources on the SVPP’s Academic Advising COVID-19 page.