Intermediate Canvas Training (IDD)

About This Project:
This project design evolved out of a collaboratively-designed just-in-time training on teaching during Covid. This restructure of my piece of that training now focuses on developing skills for navigating and utilizing Canvas effectively.

Project Details:
Type: Instructional Design Document
Client: professional development
Articulate Storyline

Original: Teaching During Covid (ILT)

Target Learners

The teachers in this school have strong relationships with each other and generally see themselves as being interdependent. There is a strong sense of teamwork, which allows for grade-level teams to work collaboratively in breakout rooms and on projects that they could use in their own classrooms.

excerpt: learner profile
Instructional Method & Delivery System

A four-module, online course has been designed to address these four learning goals. The overall design reflects an elaboration model, whereby orienting experiences are offered to anchor teachers’ grasp of key ideas and introduce a common problem-solving frame” and creation of a Survival Toolkit.

Within each of the four modules, supplantive strategies gradually transition to more generative learning experiences as teachers gain confidence and meet initial learning goals in each module.

Each module features interactive and applied exercises, discussion prompts, and opportunities for group work to promote teachers’ capacity to engage and build understanding and skill that can be easily transferred to real-life contexts.

Right-click images below to open large version in a new tab.

excerpt: curriculum map
screenshot: Star Wars Canvas Demo
screenshot: Troubleshooting
Design Choices
  • The instructional plan is grounded in learners’ pragmatic need to have content created quickly for the start of school; the projects for each session involve producing structure and frameworks for their own online classrooms.
  • The directional focus of the workshop follows a gradual-release model; while the instructors may not have the experience navigating Canvas up to this point, they are highly motivated and expert learners. Given just enough information and asked the right questions, they have incentive to do quite a bit independently – especially with the structural support of an instructional coach for follow up assistance.
  • Microlessons involve a combination of information sharing, discussions, inquiry-directed learning, and application of new knowledge. Most instructors are invested in a blend of different pedagogies, including constructivism and inquiry-based learning. They would be most comfortable with these models, and since the learning of an LMS is a challenge in other regards, it makes the most sense to incorporate teaching strategies with which they are most comfortable.
excerpt: detailed instruction plan from original case study

Redesign Updates

Target Learners

For the Canvas redesign, I shifted audiences. Originally, this was designed for K-12 teachers who were new to Canvas and shifting their classes online during the Covid pandemic. Two years later, most instructors are comfortable with Canvas basics, and K-12 schools are (mostly) face-to-face.

However, I noticed that there was still a gap with many instructors in higher education. Many instructors are now comfortable with Canvas basics and using it as a supplementary system for face-to-face and hybrid courses. However, both instructors and students report dissatisfaction with the current state of online courses, and the university technology team would like to offer training on Canvas in conjunction with Quality Matters training to boost the quality of Canvas courses, overall.

Broadly speaking, the goal of this training is for instructors to be able to customize their classes in ways that improve the user experience and make the course more accessible to learners, with the focus on achieving the following:

  • Reduce the number of student complaints and grade appeals by 25% each for online/blended courses during the upcoming school year, and
  • Improve student-submitted course review average scores by 15% for online/blended courses during the upcoming school year as structure and communication in Canvas courses improve.

Instructional Method & Delivery System

This course consists of an eLearning module developed in Articulate Storyline that is responsive on tablets/mobile devices and an instructor-led training (ILT) that will be presented as a workshop. The eLearning module is asynchronous within a set time period and the ILT is synchronous. Digital components of the course will be housed in a Canvas shell. There will be five cohorts who participate in this summer training.


  • eLearning: 3 module SCORM-compliant eLearning course created in Storyline
  • eLearning: original media files (audio, video, graphics)
  • eLearning: evaluation write-up
  • ILT: lessons
  • ILT: 3 job aids
  • ILT: evaluation
  • Curated list of training resources

Instructors will also produce at least one course that they have developed and refined through this process. This course will be assessed with the Course Evaluation Checklist (Appendix A in Instructional Design Document), which is strongly aligned with the Quality Matters rubric.

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