How to deliver learning materials and learning activities flexibly

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Last week we started offering support sessions to teachers in preparation for Semester 2 Course Uplift, providing tips, examples, a template, how-to videos, and drop-in question-and-answers sessions, with a focus on structuring course content in Canvas. The sessions continue this weekhighlighting set-up, presentation, and student guidance for course learning materials and learning activities. 

Since lockdown and the shift to remote delivery, Canvas has featured more prominently in the student journey in many programs and courses. For some, this has involved a shift in understanding how Canvas can be used and the versatility afforded when teaching and learning in an online environment. 

Diversification of learning materials 

Learning materials encompass everything from in-class lectures to essential and supplementary resourcesIn many cases where face-to-face lectures, labs, and tutorials were the main source of content delivery, Canvas was used as a repository for storing PowerPoint slides, handouts, and worksheets for activities and assessments. It was expected that students would attend classes to receive instructions on when to use the learning materials listed. 

Since flexible delivery, teachers have come to recognise how Canvas can broaden the type of learning materials they use and reference, all housed in one location and easy to share with their colleagues and students. Not limited to PowerPoint slidesPDF or Word documents, teachers can embed audio/video files and post links to websites, podcast series, books and articles, micro-credentials, and extensive library resources. Lectures, labs and tutorial demonstrations can be recorded, and narration added to slide presentations for students to view and review on their own time. While the amount and range in information sources that can be included can be exciting and engaging, it can also be overwhelming, underscoring the importance of contextualisation and instruction when presenting materials. 

Better feedback for learning activities 

Adapting in-class activities to the online environment has been challenging but a lot of teachers have embraced the change and tackled the problem in many innovative ways. Some of these successes have been posted on the Flexible Delivery site, showcasing how Canvas, Collaborate Ultra, and Google Drive have been used in learning activities and assessments to great effect. 

Learning activities are non-assessed but form an integral part of the student journey as they allow students to practice and test their developing knowledge and skills. For this to be useful, students require feedback to ensure that they’re on the right track. Building learning activities directly into Canvas accommodates this need. Teachers can type in feedback for correct and incorrect quiz answers, moderate discussion forums, and post suggested responses for reflect-and-reveal activities. 

Not only can students receive more immediate feedback, but it can also be more targeted. For practical activities where teachers want to see the students’ step-by-step process in solving a problem or creating an artefact, having students submit digital evidence (e.g., video or image series) in Canvas gives teachers a more wholesome picture of each student’s work. Instead of having to divide their attention between students in a full class or studio setting, teachers can more closely see each student’s workflow and identify areas where greater support may be needed. 

There is also increased opportunities for students to work together and give peer feedback. Meeting up over Collaborate Ultra or Microsoft Teams for group learning activities may be easier for students to organise. With discussion forums, students can respond to each other’s posts, providing mutual encouragement and sharing suggestions, links, and other resources related to the topic. 

Support sessions and more 

For more instructional advice on learning materials and learning activities, visit Semester 2 Course Uplift or come to one of the upcoming drop-in sessions with any specific questions you might have.  


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