Canvas Convos - Online Teaching and Learning

A Faculty-wide event to celebrate the many online teaching tactics that had emerged over the past year.

In September 2021, BEL+T hosted Canvas Convos, a Faculty-wide event to celebrate the many online teaching tactics that had emerged over the past year. The event was organised around a set of conversations between staff and students covering a range of topics, including coordination, interaction, delivery, supportive learning environments and assessment. Canvas was approached as a "portal", both for understanding the broad range of learning design elements and as the mechanism through which students experience each subject.

The following is a set of tactics implemented by ABP academics in 2020-2021 as identified by BEL+T’s review of Canvas sites. These were discussed at the 9th September 2021 ‘Canvas Convos’ Event hosted by BEL+T. The recording of the event is available for ABP staff (staff-login required). The tactics are organised by various dimensions of the BEL+T’s DIAgram, each of which contribute to support learner engagement and belonging.

Learning and Teaching TacticDefinition or Details

Clear and consistent navigational strategy

  • Content is organised across the site in a way that is intuitive and allows for straightforward access, including ability to relocate content later

Well-organised homepage design

  • Homepage tiles include subject-relevant imagery
  • Number and organisation of tiles is appropriate to the subject’s structure of learning activities

Structured weekly workflow

  • Weekly pages are organised to make explicit connections between asynchronous and synchronous activities, as well as delivered content, interactive opportunities and relevant assessment tasks

Structure for asynchronous interactionv

  • Strategic use of Canvas discussion board to encourage engagement (tying to assessment, requiring replies, etc.)

Virtual platform for informal synchronous meet-ups

  • Use of Zoom, Spatial Chat or other platforms with links and instructions accessible through Canvas

Virtual collaborative work and exhibition spaces

  • Use of 2D (e.g. Miro, Mural) or 3D (e.g. Mozilla Hubs) platforms that facilitate interaction around student work
  • Variety of interaction modes (brainstorming, collaboration, presentations, feedback, etc.)

Relevant resources to support independent learning

  • Development of Canvas page(s) dedicated to clarifying subject-related concepts
  • Accessible via homepage for semester-long access

Inspiring produced or curated content to encourage engagement

  • Production of virtual site tours (e.g. narrated video or photography/mapping platform)
  • Selection and inclusion of relevant videos, texts, etc. to support interactive opportunities and assessment tasks
Supportive Learning Environment

Use of voice to convey teacher presence

  • Welcome video
  • Blog-style entries to contextualise delivered content
  • Opportunities for synchronous ‘small talk’

Production of a ‘survival tips’ video

  • Interviews with past students to suggest multiple paths to survival/success in subject

Structured plan of daily learning activities

  • Particularly relevant to intensive subjects, in which each day is organised around a sequence of synchronous sessions and asynchronous tasks
  • Clarity of structure allows students to prepare, thus reducing potential stress of uncertainty

Accessible and clear assessment-related information

  • Examples of past student work and other assessment-related content organised in an accessible manner

Explicitly communicated constructive alignment between delivered content, interactive opportunities and assessment tasks

  • Use of headings within weekly content pages to indicate how students are intended to engage (e.g. read, watch, answer)

Appropriate and supportive feedback strategies

  • Clear instructions and support for synchronous or asynchronous peer-to-peer and/or teacher-to-student feedback mechanisms