Part 5: Spring 2017 Labs

60 Large class solutions with Miguel Garcia-Gosalvez — 02.24.2017

The February 24, 2017 Active Teaching Lab explored strategies for managing Miguel Garcia-Gosalvezlarge classes in Canvas. Miguel Garcia-Gosalvez shared how he is able to manage a 400-student, 3-credit fully online course with over 40 assignments by using Canvas’s rubrics, automatic score calculation, audio assignments, infographics, peer-review, etc. to provide fast, meaningful feedback for his students. 


  • Canvas is a different LMS than Moodle or D2L. Just as it offers new opportunities, it also requires some adjustment in approaches and behaviors.
  • Requiring students to turn on notifications allows instructors better options than using the class list to communicate with students.
  • Tying all assignments to learning outcomes helps instructors structure their class, and helps students understand what and why they’re learning (students really like this).
  • Using rubrics can help students better understand assignment objectives, and also helps norm grading between TAs and instructors.
  • Have students enter text into Canvas text entry for assignments to reduce rendering time.
  • Miguel has created a very detailed syllabus organized into sections with pages and modules. Students are given a quiz on the syllabus, and they need to retake it until they get 100% on it. Then they can move to next assignment.
  • Miguel’s course lectures are downloadable podcast episodes for student-friendly, on-the-go learning.
  • Miguel recommends using Canvas for student communication (vs. email) because it offers several advantages over classlist emails or other communication options:
    • Students can set where they want to be notified — email, text, etc.
    • Notify different groups of students in your course — all, sections, groups, etc.
    • Notifications can be sent to each student individually for a more personal feel.
    • Keep communication for each course out of your email boxes, and separated by course.
    • Track student communication in Course Analytics.
    • You won’t lose student emails in your personal inbox.
  • View the session’s activity sheet for additional support materials.

Active Teaching Labs are held every Friday from 8:45-9:45am (and every other Monday from 12:30pm-1:30pm, see events calendar for dates) in room 120, Middleton Building. Check out the upcoming labs or read the recaps from past labs — or see them all in one place in our new  Active Teaching Lab eJournal ( To stay informed about upcoming Labs, check back to this website or sign up for regular announcements by sending an email to

UW-Madison is transitioning to Canvas as a single, centrally supported LMS, and will discontinue support for D2L and Moodle by 2018. Visit for information and resources.

Watch Miguel’s story and discussion:


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.

Share This Book