Updated: Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

If you’re a Subject Coordinator, these 6 steps are designed to help guide you as you start to plan and build in Canvas. The steps are sequential, but if you’re looking for help, inspiration or resources at a particular stage, just skip ahead and jump in.

Each step links to resources and workshops available on the LX website, created to support the Learning Experience Transformation (LXT) as we continue to move subjects from UTSOnline (Blackboard) to Canvas.

1. Plan first
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1. Plan first

Time spent mapping, planning and sequencing lays solid foundations for your building process in Canvas. Creating a clear structure allows you to see the subject holistically, review the sequencing and identify where resources and learning activities should be.

Take a look at some examples of Canvas sites and chat with others in your teaching team, and you’ll see that Canvas organises and presents content differently from Blackboard (UTS Online). Canvas uses modules to organise different components of the subject, effectively sequencing students through their learning activities and providing a narrative to the session. This is an opportunity to provide your students with a conceptual map of the subject, helping students to engage with the materials and understand how the subject will be delivered.

If you are incorporating other teaching technologies such as Teams or Zoom, now is a great time to think through how these will interact with the Canvas site too.

These resources provide an overview of subject expectations, guiding principles for building in Canvas, and some example Canvas structures.
Useful workshops for this stage:
  • Showcasing Canvas
  • Planning your subject for Canvas

View upcoming workshop dates for Canvas.

2. Building in Canvas
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2. Building in Canvas

With a clear structure, sequential flow and a bunch of ideas about what you want to include, you’re ready to start building!

Now you can create the module structure and pages within Canvas and begin to add activities and resources. As you’re building, don’t forget to provide context to students explaining what you would like them to do and how it relates to their subject, assessment, or in-class activities. No one loves a long list of PDFs with no explanation!

This is a great time to get your ducks in a row for sharing readings with students using Reading Lists in Canvas. Reading Lists replaces the old UTS Digital Resources Register (DRR) and provides students with one place to access their required and recommended readings. 

It might feel like extra work, but the extra effort now saves precious time spent answering questions from students who don’t get what they’re being asked to do.

These collections and resources offer advice on building your subject in Canvas and how to sequence in opportunities for students to communicate with you and their peers.
A useful workshop for this stage:
  • Modules and pages in Canvas
View upcoming workshop dates for Canvas.
3. Accessibility
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3. Accessibility

Help students succeed in your subject by making your content clear and accessible. This benefits all students, especially those with access requirements and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

This resource collection shares easy-to-follow practices to make your content accessible and clear for all students:
A useful workshop for this stage:
  • Make your subject site accessible

View upcoming workshop dates for Canvas.

4. Optional interactives and enhancements
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4. Optional interactives and enhancements

Once you’re into the process of building in Canvas, have a think about some interactive and video elements you can use to engage students in active learning.

Instead of trying to use every tool available, think about where interactive elements make the most sense in each context. Examples might include helping students to check their understanding and receive automatic feedback using H5P, using a formative assessment quiz, creating discussion forums or using a short Kaltura video to explain a key point with opportunities to reflect.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel either! You may like to consider utilising some Open Educational Resources (OER). There’s plenty of great resources and content available for you to reuse and adapt to your subject. 

These collections provide an overview of different approaches to enhancing your Canvas site and building student interaction:
Some useful workshops for this stage:
  • Share videos in Canvas
  • Introduction to H5P

View upcoming workshop dates for Canvas.

5. Assessments and feedback
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5. Assessments and feedback

Setting up assessments correctly (and early) helps you prepare for a smooth session of teaching. The assessment tools in Canvas can also be used for formative tasks, such as the quiz function for knowledge checks at the start or end of your module.

In a blended environment, the assignment function can be used for students to submit evidence of work from an asynchronous tutorial.

Work through the collection below for building assessments and providing feedback through your Canvas site:
A useful workshop for this stage:
  • Assessment tasks in Canvas

View upcoming workshop dates for Canvas.

6. Ready to teach
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6. Ready to teach

Subjects are automatically made available to students the week before teaching starts.

At this stage we recommend sending a friendly welcome email to students, orienting them to the session and reminding them about where to find their subject, and how to ask questions. It is also a good time to think about how you want students to interact (and telling them!), any last reminders they may need, or get straight into it by kicking off an icebreaker activity!

The following collections include a range of resources focused on engaging students through Canvas and other remote learning tools you can use with Canvas:

Ask for help

If you get stuck, help is close at hand:

  • Get in touch with the LX lab staff for assistance online or face to face.
  • 24/7 live Canvas technical support via the ‘Help’ button at the bottom of the left-hand side Canvas main menu.
  • Check the guides and resources provided on the LX website.

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