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I Use Canvas Some, But Want More

Online@UT (Canvas) supports academic learning across several core categories of class activities such as the ability to communicate with students, deliver course content, engage student participation, administer assignments and assessments, and track grades. In the event face-to-face classroom instruction is interrupted for an extended period of time, instructors can utilize Online@UT (Canvas) to continue their instruction. For both novice and experienced Online@UT (Canvas) users, the resources and strategies below will help you quickly switch to online course delivery.

Login to Online@UT (Canvas) with your NetID and Password.

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To get started using Online@UT (Canvas) we recommend the following training options:

Communicate with Students

Ask your students to keep communication channels open. In addition to receiving alerts from the university, inform your students to make sure that they do NOT turn off Notifications in Canvas for announcements and conversations (email), which you will use to communicate about your plan for the course.

  • Announcements are an ideal way to post time-sensitive information critical to course success. Add announcements for due dates for assignments and projects, changes to your syllabus, corrections/clarifications of materials, and exam schedules.
  • Conversations allow you to send email to students in your course without launching a separate email program, such as Outlook or Gmail. You can send email to individual students or to groups of students.
  • Chat with students who are online at the same time as you.
  • Schedule online office hours and notify students of your preferred mode of communication (UTK email, Canvas chat, Zoom conference, phone call).

Deliver Course Content

Canvas has several different components that allow you to create and organize content in your course.

Use the Canvas Syllabus tool to share your printable syllabus. The Syllabus makes it easy to communicate to your students exactly what will be required of them throughout the course in chronological order by displaying calendar events and assignments.

Modules are used to organize course content by weeks, units, or whatever organizational structure works for your course. Each module can contain files, pages, videos, discussions, assignments, quizzes, external websites, and other learning materials. You can easily add items to your module that you have already created in the course or create new content items within the modules.

Pages are similar to web pages and are referred to in Canvas as Wiki Pages or Content Pages. You can include text and video as well as links to your files. You can make links to the other pages that you create. Use pages when you want to include narrative with your content. You can use pages to link to content from other sources such as images, external websites, course files, or library resources.

Files are where you upload course files, syllabi, readings, images, or other documents. Files can be placed in Modules, Assignments, or Pages. In the Files area, you can rename, delete, and organize files.

Publishing Your Canvas Course

When you are ready to allow students access to the course just click on the Home Page and then click on Publish from the right sidebar.

Publishing Content

All pages, modules, assignments, etc., must be published before students can access the content. You can save a content item and continue working on it, but to make it available to students or to link to the content from another area, you must publish the content. Most content areas have a Save & Publish button that will save and publish in one step.

Determine how you will be running lab activities

One of the biggest challenges of teaching online from anywhere is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space.

Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:

  • Take part of the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work). Save the physical practice parts of the labs until access to campus is restored.
  • Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). Those vary widely by discipline, but check with your textbook publisher, or sites such as Merlot for materials that might help replace parts of your lab during an emergency. The PhET website provides simulations for online engagement in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics. 
  • Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure.
  • Increase interaction in other ways: Sometimes labs are about providing time for direct student interaction; consider other ways to replicate that type of interaction or create new online interaction opportunities, including using available collaboration tools, such as Zoom. 

Encourage Student Participation

Assign online individual, paired, or group work

Discussion Forums

  • Discussions are a good way to encourage students to think critically about your coursework and interact with each other’s ideas. Simply post a prompt(s) and invite the students to lend their input, and/or respectfully respond to other student’s posts.

Student Presentations

Assign and Assess

Canvas Teacher (Mobile Application)

Canvas Teacher allows you to facilitate your courses on the go, both inside and outside the classroom by providing quick access to grading, communicating, and updating content. Available for download free from the Apple® App Store or Google Play.