A User-friendly Canvas Course gives every student equal access to content by providing checkpoints throughout the lesson. Is your Canvas Course providing equity?
In my last post, we talked about our canvas home page being like our classroom. So many teachers design their classrooms with the intention of making students feel safe, welcome and supported. We label, organize and list items to make sure no one gets lost. Shouldn’t we also do that with our Canvas course? Use the slider to compare these two Canvas home pages. Which one would inspire you to sign-in to do classwork? Why?
The Ease of Clicking
Before I start, I have to give credit where credit is due. A lot of this post was inspired by a Youtube video created by Suzy Lolley. She did a great job of teaching us how to make a button-based homepage for Littles. After following the steps and playing with this concept, I have realized that Canvas was designed to be as user-friendly as a website. Think of your favorite website to visit. Do they make you jump through hoops to view the content you desire? Sites like Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest etc. are so popular because they deliver a wealth of information with ease. Shouldn’t we use our tools to make our content just as easy for our students to access?
Someone recently told me that they didn’t see the point of having a designated home page in Canvas. Following this train of thought, we could also question the importance of classrooms and school buildings. Why can’t we just meet with students in the library, the gym or at a park? I am sure many would argue that there needs to be a safe and designated place where students can all meet together and navigate the challenges of the school year. In my opinion, a user-friendly home page is no different.
In this video, I give a demonstration of what a User-friendly Canvas page could look like. Disclaimer: I am still learning and growing like everyone else.
Here are 6 items I feel every user-friendly course should have:
- A button to enter Zoom or Google Meets (That opens in a new tab).
- A button to link students to the module for the week. (All other modules should be disabled to reduce confusion).
- A button to link students to extra resources or services.
- A banner to identify the day of the week
- Banners to differentiate between topics within the modules
- A banner to tell students they are done with the module.
This may seem like a lot of work, but there are a lot of easy hacks you can use to multiply your efforts. Here is a video I made to help you plan and prepare a user-friendly homepage. Keep an eye out for more strategies and short-cuts.
Canvas has given us some great tools to ensure that every student is following where we are leading. We don’t want students to feel overwhelmed before they ever get started with their day. We want them to save their mental energy for assignments, quizzes and activities. I believe that creating a user-friendly home page is a great place to start.
Thank you for reading today:)