Part 11 – Spring 2020 Labs

209 Canvas as a Course Hub – 01.17.2020

On January 17, 2020, the first Active Teaching Lab of the Spring 2020 semester met to discuss strategies and best practices for organizing your Canvas page as a “Course Hub.” Participants shared their own tips to streamline student engagement, facilitate workflow between instructors and Teaching Assistants, and enhance visual features for a more dynamic online presence.


  • Eliminate Distractions by simplifying the course as much as possible. Consider a “Module 0” to establish expectations, refresh/build necessary tech skills, and introduce students to the flow and goals of the course before diving in to content. 
  • Use External Tools to facilitate access to course materials and to save storage space (Canvas course sites are limited to 1GB). In Canvas, strategic file management is a must! Experiment with embedded files and folders, develop consistent file labeling conventions, and find out what files are most frequently accessed to streamline navigation for instructors and students alike.
  • Ask Your Students! Enrolled in other courses, they have a wider perspective of what other instructors are doing with their courses. Give time for students to reflect on course design and to offer feedback, then demonstrate that you are listening!

To learn more, visit the session’s activity sheet.

The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.), room 120. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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