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The following are some questions that our Office is frequently asked. Please email if you have any questions about Canvas, your Canvas course sites, or the technology platforms supported by Canvas.

The following best practices are a few recommendations that were adapted from Judith V. Boettcher’s Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online: A Quick Guide for New Online Faculty: 

  • Be present in the course site by using the available tools (e.g., announcements, discussion forums, creating customized Kaltura videos) to communicate with students 
  • Create a supportive online course community 
  • Communicate a set of clear expectations for your students and for yourself 
  • Ask for informal feedback from students early in the semester (e.g., “How is the course going for you?”, “Do you have any suggestions?”) 
  • Provide timely, substantial, and meaningful feedback on assignments and discussions 

We recommend the following resources to help new instructors prepare to teach online:

Once an instructor self-enrolls in these resources, they can access them from their Canvas dashboard at any time should they need a refresher. Instructors can also email to set up an individual consultation or to ask any questions that may arise about Canvas or their Canvas course site throughout the semester.

The online courses developed by the Office of e-Social Work Education & Practice focus on five key concepts that have proven successful in the following areas: 

  • Learner-centered design: Improved user experience due to consistent look and feel of courses throughout the curriculum 
  • Content alignment: Improved user experience and educational outcomes due to alignment among course learning outcomes, content, supplemental materials, and assessment measures 
  • Modular content delivery: A best practice in distance education; improved user experience and engagement due to streamlined, “chunked out” content delivery 
  • Accessibility/Universal design:Adherence to  Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG); improved user experience for students with visual impairments and different modes/methods of learning 
  • Distance education regulations: Adherence to governmental regulations for educational funding eligibility; improved user experience due to increased interactivity with instructors and peers 

Prior to the start of a new semester, the Office of e-Social Work Education & Practice imports content from our Master Course sites into the “live” online semester-based Canvas sites. Instructors are encouraged to customize their course sites and enhance their instructor presence by using the tools and technologies available in Canvas (e.g., Canvas Announcements, Chat, and Discussion feedback and participation; Kaltura, Zoom).

Adding content:

Instructors may want to incorporate additional relevant, complementary materials into their course sites, such as:

  • Readings
  • Short videos
  • Information about current events

Although this is encouraged, instructors are responsible for ensuring the accessibility of any materials that they add to their semester-based Canvas course sites.

Removing content:

Instructors should not remove content from a course site, as this can result in:

  • Misalignment among the learning outcomes, content, supplemental materials, and assessment measures
  • Ensuing confusion, frustration, and reduced educational outcomes for students
  • Compromised online teaching and learning experiences for instructors and students

Each semester, the Office of e-Social Work Education & Practice imports content from our Master Course sites into the “live” online semester-based Canvas sites. Instructors should use the imported content from the Master Course sites, not from their old Canvas course sites, to ensure that they:

  • Have the most current version of the course
  • Avoid duplication of course content
  • Help our team to best support and troubleshoot any Canvas issues, questions, or concerns

However, instructors can import specific content from their old Canvas course sites (e.g., a customized Home or Welcome page, a page with a short video lecture)—rather than having to recreate them—without compromising the current Master Course site content. Instructors can also email for help with this process.