Canvas is SSU's Learning Management System (LMS). Faculty can use Canvas to easily share instructional materials, collect homework assignments, and share urgent announcements and up-to-date grade information with their students.
In order to get the most value from Canvas, we encourage you to think about your course website as if you are your students:
- Organize your course into weekly modules, and then hide all of the other content links (Assignments, Discussions, Files, Quizzes, etc.) in your navigation menu. Students are accustomed to thinking about their courses in weekly increments, so this format makes it easier for them to find everything they need for the coming week in one place. Additionally, by using a common navigation structure, you reduce the cognitive load that your students experience switching between different courses, making it easier for them to learn.
- Replace PDFs with Canvas pages. Over half of all Canvas use at SSU is from mobile devices, i.e. cell phones. If you give all of your content to your students as PDFs, it is very hard to read on a cell phone screen. If you instead copy and paste that same content into a native Canvas page, your content will automatically resize for the device screen. Additionally, Canvas pages are far more accessible than PDFs. Every time you replace a PDF with a Canvas page, you are making it easier for your students to learn!
- Make sure that you assign a due date to every assignment, and that your Gradebook automatically assigns a 0 to assignments that are late. Most importantly, this ensures that your Gradebook is accurate: Canvas counts ungraded assignments as "Excused," not zero. Unless you give every single unsubmitted assignment a grade of 0, your lowest performing students' grades will be inflated, sometimes significantly. Also, these changes help your students succeed! First, they allow Canvas to remind students before assignments are due, which can make a difference for struggling students. Second, they give your students accurate and up-to-date info on their grades, which can help them make better decisions about how to spend their time (e.g. study more!).
- SSU Canvas Self-Paced Course for Instructors. Created by CTET's instructional designers, this course will introduce you to the fundamentals of using Canvas effectively and equitably.
- Official Canvas Documentation for Instructors. This documentation is very good, with lots of images, and is updated regularly.
- Canvas Course Setup Checklist. This checklist will help you ensure that your course is designed with student success in mind and is ready for the coming term.
If your question isn’t answered by the above resources, we encourage you to visit CTET either in person or via Zoom, submit a help request, or just email us. We are happy to do a 1-on-1 training or support session with you. You can find our current business hours and contact information, including our Zoom link, on our Contact Us page.
CTET is only able to support campus faculty with teaching needs. If a student reports any issues to you, we would encourage you to look at the issue with them to try and resolve it independently as most issues encountered by students can be addressed by the course instructor. If you are unable to resolve it, please document the issue, and report it to us at CTET on your student's behalf.