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Discussions, group work and announcements in Canvas

Discussions in Canvas

The discussions feature in Canvas can be used to support active participation in your course. Canvas discussions are principally designed to encourage written discussion, but they also have a feature that enables students to record audio or video comments. By clicking on the record button in the discussion toolbar, students can start their webcams and microphones and record audio/video comments that will automatically be saved as media files in the discussion. Even you as a teacher can use this feature to record instructions or comments.

Click here for more information about discussions in Canvas

Try searching for “discussions” in the Canvas global Community. This should give you access to a large body of information about this feature.

Organizing group work through Canvas

If you want your students to engage in collaboration online, you can create group sets in Canvas. Once they are assigned to these groups, students will be able to share files, create their own content pages, have discussions, or initiate video calls. You can also create Assignments that each group will work on and submit collectively. This is how you create groups in Canvas:

  1. Go to your course in Canvas: click on People in the navigation menu
  2. Add a new group set and name it according to your requirements (for instance “project groups”)
  3. Decide if you want to assign your students to their respective groups manually, or if you want to let Canvas do this work for you
  4. For manual assigning of students: add as many groups as necessary by clicking on the +groups button in the upper right corner
  5. Drag and drop students to their respective groups

Students access their groups via the course’s navigation menu > people. They will also be able to see their assigned group on the course home page and via their global navigation menu > groups.

Click here for more information on Canvas groups

Click here for more information on group assignments

Announcements in Canvas

It is a good idea to decide in advance how you and your colleagues will inform students about the current situation and also to let students know where and how they will find such information in the future. Be consistent in your modes of communication – this will also help students to feel secure in the knowledge that they will not miss any important information.

The canvas feature Announcements is one way of broadcasting information to all students in a course. Make sure your students know that they need to set their notification preferences to allow Canvas to send email copies of announcements. That way, they will receive an email notification as soon as you add a new announcement to the course. Notification preferences can be changed by going to the global Canvas menu > account > notifications.

You can also chose to show the latest announcements on the course home page. For that, you need to go to the course > settings > course details > more options (scroll down to bottom of page) > and tick show recent announcements on course home page.

Page Manager: Olof Siverbo|Last update: 8/18/2020

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