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As educators from across Europe gathered in London’s iconic Barbican Centre, the mission of this world-class arts and learning institution to push boundaries perfectly echoed CanvasCon Europe 2018 and the innovative, inspiring, and difference-making attendees.

CanvasCon included a variety of sessions exploring journeys of digital transformation, use cases for EdTech and the impact of Canvas in a variety of educational contexts. From idea-sharing and networking to development of product knowledge and explorations of current trends, we were delighted to present our session: Course Design in Canvas.  Inviting attendees to re-engage with this fundamental process, we highlighted two key messages that should influence Course Design:

There is no right or wrong way to design a Course

Because context is key it must be included in Course Design decision making.  What is the purpose of the Course? Who are the learners: their level, and learning preferences? The subject taught can also lead to different Design tendencies, and so should the instructors' own intent, ability, and style. Just as they would influence teaching in the classroom, they should also be considered when using the tools within the LMS.

Function over form

The primary goal of any educational endeavour is to support the learner, and that remains true in EdTech. Simplicity in Course Design - ensuring the learner can easily access and engage with their learning - should be prioritised over how the Course looks (no matter how many flashy images we may want to include on the home page!).

Having established there is no ‘best’ way to design a course, we discussed 5 key considerations - navigation, consistency, variety, home pages, and help - and related Canvas functionality.  For practical takeaways, we shared 5 quick-ish tips for enhancing Course Design in Canvas: showing Announcements on the Home Page, using Student View, creating images as hyperlinks, and the impact of Module text headers in Mobile apps.

We always enjoy exploring the tools in Canvas that can facilitate effective Course Design, but technology can only amplify the input that it is given. So from the beginner Canvas teacher to the expert Canvas admin, it is all of our responsibility to develop and maintain effective Course Design practices, as we would all teaching practices, to ensure the success of our learners.


Keep learning,

Jessica Jones
Trainer EMEA, Instructure


*We were also delighted to be able to continue these explorations at CanvasLEARN Course Design, one of two workshops taking place either side of CanvasCon Europe. 

Presentation Resources: Slides and MentiMeter (Attendee Feedback)