Brown DLD Faculty Guides

Designing and Building Your Course in Canvas

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In designing your course, you’ll create a number of modules—the exact number will vary depending on what term you're teaching in. Each module has learning outcomes that set a path for students’ learning throughout it, and assignments within the module assess these outcomes. Typically, each module represents a week of course time in which students can complete work within that time frame. 

Please note that the following guidelines are best practices. You can adapt your design however you see fit, but the guidelines are intended to create a structure that supports clear organization and student learning.

Begin by writing a general Course Welcome page in the orientation module. This page should consist of a general overview of the course topics, course outcomes, any pertinent course resources, and a syllabus. 

Modules should consist of the following items:

  • Overview/Welcome: The overview should give students a good idea about what they will learn by the end of the module. It can consist of a paragraph-length explanation, or a series of bullet points listing outcomes and objectives.
  • Asynchronous short lectures (fewer than 10 minutes): You can use Zoom or Panopto to record short lectures that can be embedded within each module. These lectures can be used to offer an overview of module content or explain a difficult concept. This approach is optimal if you have not arranged with our digital media team to create lectures.
  • Readings: For fall/spring courses and winter session courses, each module should contain between 75-100 pages of reading (articles, case studies, etc.). For pre-college, readings, assessments, and other activities should add up to 15 hours of work a week. The amount of reading assigned will depend on the difficulty of the readings. Feel free to also consider using videos, podcasts, or other materials.
  • One substantial assignment: This can be a case study, short paper, group project, exam or some other assessment. Or the assignment can be a component of a larger final project. Assignments should be due at the end of the module week.
  • 1-2 Discussions: Each module should contain one to two discussions that connect to the assignments and readings. One discussion should be a place where students share experiences, ask questions, or respond to questions posed by the professor. This discussion should be due toward the end of the week. The other discussion should be tied to the content and/or the major assignments and should be due mid-week.

To create these items within a module, please see: Creating Items from Modules.

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