Continuing on in my online course design journey, I’ve been busy at work putting my course content in Canvas, the Learning Management System (LMS), that we are using to host our online courses. We are supposed to have about one-half of our course finished. I have been trying to work ahead as much as I can so that I can spend the majority of my time on any revisions needed and polishing my course. Because of the many hours I put in at the beginning of the semester, I have much of my course content already in place in Canvas. I estimate that about 75% of it is ready to go.
Before starting to work in Canvas, I did spend a few hours watching the instructor videos that Canvas provides. I found them to be very helpful in getting me started as well as orienting me to Canvas. My experience with Canvas has been very positive. It seems to be both user-friendly and intuitive in its design. I like working in Canvas much better than Blackboard, and so far, I haven’t really needed to make major revisions because of the Canvas structure.
One minor change that I did make pertains to my tutorials. I used an outside tool, LibWizard, to develop and create my online tutorials. Originally, I wanted to embed these in Canvas so that students would stay within Canvas to complete all of the course content. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as planned. When I tested the tutorials in Canvas, it was inconsistent and wouldn’t display all of the content. I think it is because Canvas requires secure links and not all of the content in my tutorial uses them. Because of this, I had to reassess how I wanted to share my tutorials with students. I decided to provide a link in Canvas to each of the online tutorials that opens in a new tab. I put notes in the assignment areas in Canvas indicating that the links would open in a new tab in order to mitigate student confusion, and by making this change, all the tutorial content will display as intended.
The design model is going smoothly for me. After I create content, I send it on to a work colleague for her feedback. She has really helped me to polish my course content before I place it in Canvas. I am hoping that the upfront revisions will make for more positive feedback from my peer reviewer and the instructor. I have found through previous design experiences with other UNT courses that revising more in the beginning tends pay off when it comes to end results, i.e., less revisions are needed later on. Although it is a lot of work, I am enjoying getting experience developing and creating an online course. I fully believe that this experience will make me a better instructional designer.