Are you looking for new ways to support your students? Canvas can help!
Equity means making sure all students have the support they need to be successful in your course. Follow these tips to promote equity with Canvas.
- Create a Canvas assignment with a due date for each course deliverable (assignments, readings, pre-work, etc.). Adding due dates makes every course deliverable appear on students’ Canvas calendars. This helps students keep track of upcoming coursework and plan their time.
- Upload course materials to your Canvas Files. This makes it easier for students to review course materials before and after class. It also helps students catch up on anything they miss while taking notes or if they’re out sick. (You can prevent students from accessing files early by setting a window of time when students can view files.)
- Create short instructional videos using Panopto or the MIT Sloan Teaching Studio. Then share the videos in Canvas. Once it’s created, you can add your video directly to a Canvas module or embed the video in a Canvas announcement, assignment, discussion board, or page. Presenting concepts using multiple modalities can help students better understand course material. Also, if you use the video to “flip” your class, it can make your class time even more engaging. Just make sure to add captions to your videos so they’re fully accessible.
- Help students make sure they “get it” by assigning low-stakes Canvas quizzes. This might be a Practice Quiz or a Graded Quiz worth 0 points. Write quiz questions that check students’ understanding of challenging concepts. Then provide immediate feedback so they can see how they did. This will help students get a sense of their progress so they can ask questions and, if needed, make a plan to improve.
- Organize your Canvas site in a simple, intuitive way. We recommend the following:
- Add course content, instructions, and important links as Module items.
- Label modules with the class date and topic.
- Label files with the class date and subject.
- Hide unnecessary items in the Course Navigation Bar.
- Solicit informal feedback about your Canvas site from students throughout the semester.
What’s the Research?
We’ve developed a set of “gold standards” for Canvas course sites based on Sloan student feedback and educational research. Most of these recommendations are rooted in those standards. For a detailed guide to setting up a Gold Standard Canvas site, see How to Build a Gold Standard Canvas Course.
These recommendations for how to promote equity with Canvas also align with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. UDL is a framework for designing learning experiences that meet learners’ diverse needs. The UDL framework is based on research in the learning sciences. It’s premised on the idea that learner variability is the norm, not the exception. These are the UDL checkpoints behind these recommendations:
Checkpoint 6.3 Facilitate managing information and resources: This checkpoint suggests that you help learners stay organized by providing checklists and other “organizational aids.” Learn about the research for Checkpoint 6.3
Checkpoint 6.4 Enhance capacity for monitoring progress: This checkpoint suggests that you provide regular formative feedback so students can track their progress. Learn about the research for Checkpoint 6.4.
Checkpoint 2.5 Illustrate through multiple media: This checkpoint suggests that you communicate information through multiple media to improve accessibility and engagement. Learn about the research for Checkpoint 2.5.