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Canvas Essentials: Creating and Maintaining Course Templates

In this scenario-based video you’ll follow administrator Geoff Simons and Course Coordinator Mia Park as they work through creating and maintaining course templates.

You'll learn how to apply templates and distribute content across courses. We know from feedback that a consistent user experience across courses is a top priority for students 

 

Video Transcript

Personas:

  1. Administrator: Geoff Simons
  2. Course Coordinator: Mia Park


Background:

Part A: Geoff is an administrator who is responsible for ensuring Canvas users benefit from a consistent user experience across the institution. As a baseline, Geoff wants to ensure that all new courses are built using the appropriate faculty template and include any standardised, course-specific content. Geoff also works with Course Coordinators to help them understand when to leverage a template or specific course content for their courses. He wants to demonstrate three useful tools: Copy this Course, Blueprint Templates, and Canvas Commons.


Part B: Geoff is also responsible for ensuring the look and feel of Canvas is consistent across the institution. He wants to use the existing Semester 2 template as the default template for all newly created Semester 2 courses. He also wants to make sure all links in a template are working, fix any broken links in one location, and push these updates out to all courses that leverage this template.

Scenario:

Part A

In this video, we’ll show you how easy it is to apply templates and distribute content across courses. We know from feedback that a consistent user experience across courses is a top priority for students. 

Geoff administers the institution's Canvas course templates. These templates range from a default template that improves the navigation experience to course-specific templates that lock down particular settings or content across multiple courses.

Geoff also helps academics share resources via Canvas’s Learning Object Repository, Canvas Commons.

Mia, an academic within the Engineering, Architecture & Information Technology faculty,  wants to template her first year engineering course. This course runs several times a year; in the past, it hasn’t been easy for Mia to make updates  to her concurrently running courses. 

Geoff runs through three concepts with Mia: Copy this Course, Blueprint Templates, and Canvas Commons.

Firstly, Geoff shows Mia the default template, and how she can copy content from a previous offering of her course into this template.

Geoff also shows Mia how Blueprint Templates work, as he thinks this might be a good option for her use case. A Blueprint  is a special type of Canvas course that’s used purely for managing course structure, resources and assessments for all associated courses. 

Geoff edits the template so that recent announcements appear on the course homepage. He also locks down some elements of the course. This means that these elements can’t be edited in the five Canvas courses associated with this template. 

Geoff then shows Mia the Blueprint summary, and how easy it is to push  these updates out to the associated courses.

Before starting the course synchronisation process, Geoff includes a message that notifies the course instructors of the changes. 

With Blueprint templates, Geoff can maintain and update content from one central place throughout the semester. For example,  if a link to a locked academic integrity policy changes, Geoff can update the link across all courses in one simple step.

Finally, Geoff shows Mia how she can find approved templates in Canvas Commons, the inbuilt Learning Object Repository. 

Geoff shows Mia the Featured Content within Commons and how any of this content can be imported into her course at the click of a button.

Part B

We’ll now look at how Geoff can standardise the look and feel of courses across the institution. 

To do this, Geoff uses the existing Semester 2 template as the default template for all newly created Semester 2 courses. This template includes a recommended course homepage structure and two different module structures. It also provides students with policy and course information.

Geoff reviews the content and runs the Link Validator to check that  all course links are working. The Link Validator highlights several broken images and dead links to external websites, which Geoff resolves. 

Geoff can make changes to the template as needed during the semester and push them out to all Semester 2 courses.