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Go Online (GO) Kit Canvas

COVID -19 is forcing rapid changes in educational delivery formats. Many colleges and universities have canceled classes for an unspecified period of time and asked professors to move instruction online as quickly as possible. Below are five steps to help you get started quickly. While there are many tools that can satisfy each task identified below, only one tool is suggested so that you can focus on building your course quickly instead of investigating the many tools available. 

Contact your students and let them know how instruction will continue.


Send an email through Canvas. After logging into Canvas, click the inbox icon located on the global navigation to the left of the dashboard page. On the upper right side of the webpage is the message icon. Click the message icon and then select your course from the pull-down menu.

Upload all learning resources to a hosting site for easy access.

Uploading your content directly to the learning management system may not be possible due to file size limits. Also, multimedia files may not download completely before timing out, making them inaccessible to students.

Inform students how to continue their work through Canvas.


With all the information available for using Canvas, one can easily become overwhelmed. The following course design skills will get you up and running quickly:

  • Select the module page as the home page for your course. This page will design itself as you create content. Time saved designing a homepage will give you more time to add content and communicate with students,

  • Add content such as a learning module (or unit of instruction) and instructional materials. Create pages to share information, assignments and quizzes when you want to assess students (there are several types of assignments), and a discussion to create opportunities to engage with peers and content.

  • Use the rich text editor to format assignment directions that include an objective, how to complete an activity, and the instructional materials needed to complete the activity.  Whenever possible, create links to documents so that students are not overwhelmed with large blocks of text.

Keep the course simple.

Create instructor videos to welcome students to your online course, introduce them to a unit of instruction, present a lesson, or explain how to complete an assignment.  Screencast-o-matic is a free easy tool for presenting information and narrating a PowerPoint.

Provide opportunities for students to communicate with each other about the lesson content. Voicethread is a simple tool, with limited free access (up to 5 Voicethreads), allowing everyone to be seen and heard in the online classroom through their webcam and microphone. Pose instructional questions and give students an opportunity to provide a verbal response. Short tutorials are provided.

Ensure students are viewing the videos you create for them by asking questions while they view a video. Playposit is a free tool that allows you to add questions to videos you host on Youtube and provides basic analytic data to help you monitor student access to the content you create. Short video tutorials and documents are provided. Contact the Faculty Center for Learning Technology to get an account.

Hold online office hours so that students can meet with you.


Students will need to know how to get help with the technology they are asked to use. They may have questions about assignments they are asked to complete. Using simple technologies like the ones shared here will allow you to provide the support students need if technical support from another source is not available. Consider holding office hours through a Zoom meeting or other conferencing tool to give students an opportunity to talk with you in real-time.

For questions or comments, let's connect through LinkedIn or Twitter

Adapted from UMBC's Go ONline Kit  


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