UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Cirt Knowledge Base

Five Quick Online Course Refresh Tips

If your New Year’s resolution is to refresh your online course, here are five quick ideas to get you started. Each suggestion should take an hour or less.

1️⃣ Update Your Canvas Home Page

Every online course should have a home page with instructor contact information and pertinent course information. CIRT’s online course templates have a wonderfully adaptable Home Page that you can use. Complete the Banner Request Form, and our Course Media Developer will create your course banner. Or, design your own graphic using Adobe Express or Canva.
canvas course banner image example

2️⃣ Add Announcements to Your Canvas Home Page

Announcements are emailed to student UNF email accounts and posted to the Announcements page of your Canvas course. However, email inboxes can be overfull, and students may need help navigating to the Announcements page. If you have experienced students not reading your announcements, consider adding the announcements to your Home Page. You can add an Announcements section on your Home Page where you can copy and paste your announcement. You can also choose to display a certain number of the most recent announcements at the top of your Home Page through your course settings.

3️⃣ Copy Your Courses Into a Sandbox Course

Having a backup of your course is always a good idea. Once you have a backup, you can update your course in the sandbox and delete all the unnecessary or extraneous items in your live course. For example, you can delete your unpublished assessments to streamline your gradebook and Assignments pages in your live course. Further, you can delete previous syllabi and course schedules in your live course as you have them backed up in your Sandbox copy of your course.

4️⃣ Update Your Assessment Directions

Another impactful course refresh is to ensure that each assessment on your Assignments page includes Directions, Submission, and Grading sections in the assessment’s text box. Directions can be simple: “Complete x-number of objective quiz questions. Questions will be displayed all at once.” The Submission instructions can read: “To submit the quiz, click the blue submit button.” If you require a submission upload, limit the upload file type to meet your requirements and inform students how to submit the file type in the Submission area. To reduce student inquiries regarding assessment grading, add your grading information under the directions and submission information. If you use a rubric, you can refer to your rubric here. If you don’t use a rubric, you can post an outline of the assessment grading here. 

5️⃣ Use the Assignment Page Assignment Groups

Utilizing the Assignment Groups function in Canvas can give students a better understanding of their current course grade while streamlining your grading process. For example, you can assign a rule to an Assignment Group, such as “Drop the lowest grade,” and Canvas will automatically perform this function. Further, each Assignment Group can be assigned a percentage of the course’s overall grade. The percentage breakdown appears on both the Canvas Assignments and the Syllabus pages.

If you’re ready to take your course refresh resolutions to the next level, see how the UNF Faculty Development Model can help you design and deliver a high quality online course.

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Natalie Gray
CIRT | Senior Instructional Designer