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Tips for Using Canvas During a School Closure

Canvas is built to support online education, allowing teachers to connect with their students to promote learning anytime, anywhere.  In the face of recent urgency, educators can leverage Canvas with easy-to-use, effective, and customizable solutions to support students remotely. To help  you prepare, we’ve curated a list of recommendations and resources to get the most from Canvas during this time.

Use course discussion and messaging to continue the conversation.

Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions, allowing both teachers 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 teachers can use the native  Canvas  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 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.

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 over 13 years of age. 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 so students can easily view them.

Encourage parents to use Canvas Parent App.

Parents can view assignment descriptions and due dates, set reminders for assignments, view grades, set grade alerts, and view course announcements.

Encourage students to use To-Do lists in the List View Dashboard.

To-do lists contain graded as well as any non-graded To-do items teachers designate for a course to-do list.  Students can also add and view their own To-Do items in the Dashboard. The To-Do list gives students an easy-to-follow list to help them weigh priorities and ensure they don’t miss anything.

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.