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Canvas has several tools for adding content to your course:

Here’s how to organize that content in ways students will find consistent and predictable.

Introducing Modules

Modules can organize course content by weeks, topics, or other parameters. They create a one-directional, linear flow of what students should do in a course.

Each module can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials such as Pages. You create content using those Canvas tools, then organize it in modules.

OAI recommends using modules to develop course organization and simplify navigation. They can reduce the need to tell students to “go there and do this” and then “go somewhere else and do that.” This can be frustrating — as you may have experienced yourself in poorly designed online training.

A specific benefit of using modules: You can hide the Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, and Files links from the Course Navigation menu in the student view. This gives students one central location to find everything. That means fewer “where is” questions for you and less frustration for your students.

Structuring a Module

Once you have all your content in a module, you can order items to help students move through it in a logical way. You can manually drag and drop each item or use the Move To option, which is also accessible from the keyboard.

Also consider using text headers and indenting to create visible sections in your modules.

You can make your module function as a checklist by adding requirements that help both you and your students track their progress.

Pages are used to present content that doesn’t exist in a separate file or other Canvas assignment. Since pages can also include links to other Canvas items, you can use them to organize content into weekly outlines. This helps you share course materials with more context and different organizational structures than are possible in modules alone.

Consistency is key: Once you choose an organization strategy, the best thing you can do for students is to implement it as consistently as possible.

Example Modules

Condensed Module: Each module begins with an overview Content Page that lists books or chapters as well as links to other items for students to read, watch, and explore.

A module that begins with an Overview page, which would contain links to readings, videos, activities, and other items or resources.

Detailed Module: Each item in the module has its own link. This includes readings as well as activities and assignments.

A module in which each item or resource (including readings, videos, and activities) has its own link.

Content Samples

Use this example from the Commons to get started organizing your own modules. (For help using Commons, review Meet Canvas Commons.)

Note: Samples will import into their respective tool. If you import the Weekly Overview Page, it will show up in the “Pages” section of the selected course.

Adapted from “Using Canvas Modules” in Start Here 102: Best Practices in Online instruction, licensed CC BY 4.0 by Grace Seo, University of Missouri.