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Tips for Using Canvas During a School Closure

Canvas is built to support online learning, and the platform is designed to automatically scale to support a large number of concurrent users. In preparations for potential school closures, we’ve pulled together a list of recommendations for educators that may help along with step-by-step guidance for maintaining connection in the classroom.

If your institution is preparing to close or has closed, here are some tips to help transition to an online learning environment

Use course discussion and messaging to continue the conversation.

Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions, allowing both instructors and students to start, and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired. Discussions can be graded or ungraded, and participants can post text, video, and audio, as well as files depending on how the instructor sets up each topic. Graded discussions seamlessly integrate with the Canvas Gradebook. Discussions allow for interactive communication between an entire class or group, allowing for a level of engagement that closely aligns with the in-class experience.

Use the mobile apps for push notifications and anytime anywhere access.

Canvas mobile apps are designed to support learning in and beyond the physical classroom. Students and instructors can use Canvas’s native iOS and Android apps to accomplish many of the actions available on the full web version. Instructors can: email students, view student progress, post announcements, create and participate in discussions, and easily grade assignments. Students can use the app to view their courses and grades, submit assignments and take quizzes, engage in course discussions, send and receive messages, watch videos and other content, and stay on top of their To-Do List and calendars.

Use Canvas Commons to quickly create and share course content.

Canvas Commons is a learning object repository with over 120,000 learning objects, from quizzes and assignments to full courses. A digital library full of educational content, Commons allows Canvas users to share learning resources with other users as well as import learning resources into a Canvas course. To enable Commons in your Canvas instance, contact your Customer Success Manager. Canvas is built to support online learning, and the platform is designed to automatically scale to support a large number of concurrent users. In preparations for potential school closures, we’ve pulled together a list of recommendations for educators that may help. Step-by-step guidance for maintaining connection in the classroom is provided here.

Leverage our partners for live video and other conferencing capabilities.

We have a full list of Canvas partners that have built tools specifically geared to support distance learning and video conferencing. Just a few examples:

  • In partnership with Microsoft, we now have a Microsoft Teams Conferencing integration.

  • G Suite for Education customers can use advanced Hangouts Meet features, like larger meetings (up to 250 participants), live streaming, and recording.

  • Zoom is temporarily lifting the 40-minute time limit on Free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus.

  • BigBlueButton enables you to share your audio, slides, chat, video, and desktop with students, helping you create a fully online experience.

We invite you to check out all the partner offerings to find the right conferencing and video solution.

Help students take advantage of the free Folio within Canvas to store and showcase their work.

Canvas recently made the student folio within Portfolium free to all of our end-users. This provides an easy-to-use online folio where students can upload their assignments and projects in order to showcase them to their instructors, peers, and even potential employers.

Use Canvas Studio and its embedded video quizzing.

Canvas Studio is the next-generation video learning platform that transforms one-way, passive video into inclusive, engaging, productive classroom discussions. If your institution licenses Studio, creating and curating video, while embedding quizzes directly into the videos themselves creates a seamless video learning experience designed specifically for remote students. Instructors can use Studio’s integrated screen capture to record and embed course lessons within Canvas online so students can easily view them and not fall behind.

Canvas was built to help improve teaching and learning in all kinds of situations - the classroom, blended learning environments and for fully online courses all around the world. If you have questions about how to transition to an online learning environment reach out to your Customer Success Manager (CSM) or reference some of the additional Canvas tips and ideas from our community.