Back to School with Canvas LMS: Top 5 Tips & Tricks

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Ready or not, back to school is here yet again! Canvas LMS is a connector throughout the school year, especially in the first few weeks of getting back into the swing of things. To put your school on the path to success this year, we’ve rounded up five of our best tips and tricks for Canvas LMS.

1. Personalize Your Training

Every Canvas user at your school is unique. Admins, instructors, designers, leadership, support staff, and any member of your faculty or institutional staff can benefit from knowing how to use Canvas LMS. One-size-fits-all training serves no one well. As you facilitate your back-to-school training, consider offering specialized content for each user group. Source topics by polling your users. 

  • What features do they want to understand better? 
  • How do they currently use Canvas LMS? 
  • Are there any areas where you can improve usage? 

Include this content in the trainings and record them so your team can refer back to it throughout the year. The beginning of the year's to-do list can be overwhelming for everyone. By providing focused learning opportunities tailored to your users' needs, you can maximize the impact of your training and ensure everyone is Canvas-confident. 

Creating meaningful, personalized trainings can be time-consuming. If you’d like more support, explore our Canvas Training Services.

2. Dig into Your Data

Data-driven decisions are informed decisions. Schools collect so much data, and Canvas LMS is yet another gold mine for sourcing the insights you need to drive learning forward. There are a handful of places you can view usage data in your Canvas instance. It’s a good idea to be familiar with these as you are creating and tracking your Canvas related goals for each school year. 

Data can be accessed by Canvas Admin in the following ways:

The breadth of data and analytics Canvas LMS has makes it easier for educators to take action and establish better practices.

3. Consolidate Your Content 

Canvas LMS provides greater flexibility for supporting your innovative course content. It can serve many different purposes for many classrooms. That said, there’s so much that teachers can learn from accessing each other’s content. This is where Canvas Commons comes in. It’s a repository where teachers can create and share the resources they make in Canvas LMS with each other. Teachers can also copy previous course content to their new courses by using the Course Import Tool and Direct Share.

Blueprints and Templates can also be used to give teachers a starting point for their new Canvas courses. Explore a more detailed comparison of Canvas Templates v. Blueprints v. Canvas Commons to determine which makes the most sense for your school.

4. Organize Your Modules

Planning and getting organized early sets the groundwork for success the rest of the year. Modules are another excellent way to manage all the materials for all the courses.

Canvas Modules are a tool that help instructors organize course content. The great thing about Modules is that they’re flexible so teachers can choose if they structure by day, week, unit, topic, or outcome. Educators can also hide content from students, allowing them to focus only on the tasks at hand. 

Not only do Modules help teachers keep track of everything, but they simplify the student experience by showing the sequential flow of course content. Within modules, instructors can require interaction with content before completing assignments. Each Module can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials, and they're a great way to start building your course.

5. Remember Your Why

Whether it’s your first, fifth, or tenth year with Canvas LMS, it’s important to remember why you’re using the technology so it doesn’t turn into just ‘one more thing’. The best technology is human-powered. Our mission is to elevate student success, amplify the power of teaching, and inspire everyone to learn together–Canvas LMS is a testament to that.

As you check all your to-dos off your back-to-school checklist and plan for the year ahead, keep these questions in mind:

  • Why did you choose Canvas LMS? 
  • What do you want your classrooms to look like? 
  • How do you want your students to learn and prove mastery? 
  • How does Canvas fit this vision and connect to the district strategic plan?
  • What narratives surrounding technology that teachers, admin, or support staff building? Are these narratives accurate? Are there opportunities to distinguish fact from fiction regarding what can be done in Canvas LMS?

Yes, You Can with Canvas

As you gear up for the new school year, remember to personalize training, harness data insights, consolidate your content, stay organized using Modules, and remember how technology–like Canvas LMS–fuels your educational vision. 

To connect with a thriving community of educators, visit the Instructure Community. Together, let's make this school year one of success, growth, and endless possibilities!

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