One way to build classroom community and keep everything organized is to set up a digital home space. We recommend using Canvas for this; it's a place where students can go for course content, but also for keeping track of deadlines, engaging socially with their classmates, and finding help.
New to Canvas? Visit the Teaching with Canvas Resource Center.
A well-structured Canvas course helps students easily find what they need. Some general guidelines:
- Start with general information. Your Zoom link, office hours, the syllabus, and the best way to reach you should all be prominently placed in your course.
- Build in community space. Consider recording a short, casual welcome video for students (they'll be able to watch this and start getting to know you even before the class starts), and including a discussion board just for social chat.
- Indicate deadlines. Entering all due dates as assignments and keeping a consistent structure of meeting times and deadlines week-to-week will help students stay organized. Whatever organization you established
- Keep it structured. Whatever organization you established in the syllabus can be repeated in the structure of your Canvas course. You might want to organize your Canvas course by week, or topic, etc. Organizations like this can be set up using the Modules tool in Canvas.
Canvas allows you to import Course Templates, which get the work started for you in designing a course with best practices built in. To access the Canvas Online Course Shell templates, log in to canvas.stanford.edu and find Canvas Commons on the left red menu.
In the Canvas Commons, you'll find resources from across the university. Use the "Search" feature to find the ones you want to import into your course. To import, select the blue "Import/Download" button on the right and select the course/s you wish to import the resource into. Some of our picks:
Search for: "Online Teaching Technology Accessibility Survey." Survey your students at the beginning of the quarter. Note that this imports into your "Quizzes" section. Feel free to edit for the specific needs of your course!
Search for: "Online Teaching Module Week 1: Launching Your Class." This module will import into your "Modules," section at the beginning or the end.
Search for: "GSE Canvas Whole Course Module Shell." This GSE resource offers a clean, structured approach to course planning. Imports will go into your Modules--if you've already set up your course, it will import above or below your existing modules, so just be aware. Once in your course, delete unneeded modules.
Search for: "Midquarter Feedback Survey: Remote Learning Version." Getting feedback from students is especially important in online instruction; this version is tailored to the remote situation. It will import into your course Quizzes.