Update (May 21, 2020) - This post has been updated to include a new video on awarding digital badges in Canvas.
Some of the most fun instructional design courses that I have facilitated have been ones where participants actually design, develop, and pilot test their own online learning course modules. I like to use the Canvas Free for Teachers platform for these types of projects because it is a robust and easy-to-use LMS. I frequently use the platform to run some of my instructional design and educational technology-themed courses.
I recently held a tutorial session for one such course, where I walked students through the steps of getting started with the building phase for their pilot projects using the Canvas learning management system. While running the live tutorial session (via the Adobe Connect web conferencing platform), I recorded my demonstrations. I then used Screencast-O-Matic to edit the footage, add closed captions, and produce a series of videos focusing on how to get up and running with your own courses in Canvas. This series of videos covers:
The Creating Courses in Canvas Playlist
Access the full Creating Courses in Canvas playlist on YouTube.
Measure Twice, Cut Once...
Architects prepare blueprints before contractors set about building houses or office towers. Engineers prepare schematics before technicians construct complex machinery. The same process holds in eLearning development. As Adeboye (2014) explains, without preparing a map of what an online module should look like, it’s easy to suffer from scope creep (the scope of the project continuously growing, because there are now criteria to indicate what needs to be done, and when it is done). It’s also possible for you, as a developer, to get lost and start feeling over your head. Adeboye also describes some of the key components that you should be including in a storyboard for an online teaching module.
Gutierrez (2014) provides some more useful tips on how to get started in her article A Simple Guide to Creating Your First eLearning Storyboard. In the following video, I demonstrate how I use an Excel spreadsheet-based blueprint when I build online courses. In this example, I am using the storyboard for a course that I developed for Athabasca University using the Moodle learning management system.
Penn State (2016) provides downloadable blueprint templates that you can use to design your own online course modules. Or, you could download my Sample Blueprint Template or Sample Excel Blueprint. Alternatively, you could create your own template, or use one from your own institution.
The following blog posts provide some additional resources that are helpful as you design and build your online learning resources. Some of these provide tips and tricks to maximize Digital Accessibility. Others focus on humanizing the online learning experience, helping students to optimize their time with course readings and discussions, and how to use YouTube effectively in your online courses.
Adeboye, D. (2014, Oct 21). Principles of Storyboarding for e-Learning design. [YouTube Video]. https://youtu.be/l9PZ2bEuKFA
Gutierrez, K. (2014, September 25). A Simple Guide to Creating Your First eLearning Storyboard [Web log post]. http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/a-simple-guide-to-creating-your-first-elearning-storyboard
Instructure (n.d.). Canvas: Free for Teacher. [Web page]. https://canvas.instructure.com/login/canvas
Penn State. (2016). Course Blueprint and Audit Template. [Web page]. http://facdev.e-education.psu.edu/plan/audit
Power, R. (2018, June 12). Accessibility in Online Teaching and Learning. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/accessibility-in-online-teaching-and-learning
Power, R. (2019, January 13). Optimizing Your Time with Online Courses. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/optimizing-your-time-with-online-courses
Power, R. (2019, January 14). Using YouTube to Share Video in an Online Course. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/using-youtube-to-share-video-in-an-online-course
Power, R. (2019, January 22). Adding a Human Touch to Online Learning, Right From the Start! [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/adding-a-human-touch-to-online-learning-right-from-the-start
Power, R. (2019, February 17). Using Storyboards to Develop eLearning Courses. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/Ua4bWufBRgo
Power, R. (2020, February 13). Helping Everyone Access Your Online Learning Resources. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/helping-everyone-access-your-online-learning-resources
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Adding and Managing Canvas Course Participants. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/qXDQpPCRHzQ
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Backing Up and Importing Canvas Course Content. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/dowQ5-0FB74
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Configuring Basic Canvas Course Settings. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/cCd-mjp0lmg
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Creating a New Course in Canvas. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/CM9OeqID0Zs
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Creating and Organizing Canvas Content Modules. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/2ljQ2AXCG7M
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Creating Assignments in Canvas. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/CeRZ_9KO7uI
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Creating Canvas Content Pages. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/UISNpTFSoDs
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Embedding Web Content in Canvas. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/1arVnjuxta4
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Setting a Canvas Course Home Page. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/OZWOQY22p5k
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Testing and Publishing Your Canvas Course. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/2jlZyfVmw0k
Power, R. (2020, February 26). Working With Images in Canvas. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/26l4Dyj5jLU
Power, R. (2020, March 12). Using a Quiz for Adaptive Release in Canvas. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/8zPsh2Jwwlo
Power, R. (2020, May 21). Adding Digital Badges in Canvas Using Badgr. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/9FonuygaP60
Power, R. (2020, May 27). Differentiated Pathways with Badges in Canvas Courses. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/TWjLWKsJEPc
Power, R. (2022, June 22). Using Quizzes to Create Differentiated Pathways in Canvas. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/zQqkNZ2v-Cg
Publicdomainvectors.org (2020). Under construction road sign. [Image file]. https://publicdomainvectors.org/en/free-clipart/Under-construction-road-sign/80023.html
Screencast-O-Matic (2019). Video Creation for Everyone. [Web page]. https://screencast-o-matic.com/
Slade, Tim (2017, February 26). 250+ Free Stock Photos for eLearning. [Web log post]. Timslade.com. https://timslade.com/blog/stock-photos-for-elearning/
Rob Power, EdD, is an Assistant Professor of Education, an instructional developer, and educational technology, mLearning, and open, blended, and distributed learning specialist.
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