Documentation:Using Canvas for Open Teaching and Learning

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Canvas, UBC's campus-wide LMS, can be used to support open teaching and learning. This page provides an overview of some of the strategies and functionalities that can be used to support your open goals when using Canvas.

Strategy 1: Make content in Canvas available for reuse

What does this mean?

Canvas allows Creative Commons licenses to be added to course content. An open copyright license, such as a Creative Commons license, is one which grants permission to access, re-use and redistribute a work with few or no restrictions. To learn more about open licensing, please visit the Open UBC toolkit for open licensing.

How do I do it?

  • Creative Commons Licenses can be applied at a course setting level.
  • Usage rights can be assigned to files that are uploaded and published to the course. The usage rights form includes Creative Commons option.

Strategy 2: Publish your content openly

What does this mean?

In Canvas, instructors can choose to remove access barriers by making their static course content openly available. This means that course modules and resource would be openly available for anyone with an Internet connection.

How do I do it?

Course visibility options can be customized to allow different levels of access for different user roles. This includes:

  • Enrolled Access: Course content will only accessible by those enrolled (default)
  • Institutional Access: The course is available to users associated with UBC. The course content shown to authenticated users is the same content shown to the public for publicly visible courses.
  • Public Access: The course is available to anyone with the course URL. Discussion comments and graded assignments or quizzes are not visible in public courses.

The advantages of public courses include:

  • Anyone can see and view information taught in the course.
  • Great way to administer orientation courses (if submitting assignments is not necessary).
  • Anyone can answer ungraded quizzes and surveys, which can be a good resource for administering anonymous assessments and receiving feedback.

Please see the Course Visibility Options PDF for specific details on the different levels of course access.

Strategy 3 : Share your content

What does this mean?

Canvas Commons is a learning object repository that enables educators to find, import, and share resources. A digital library full of educational content, Canvas Commons allows instructors to share learning resources with other users as well as import learning resources into a Canvas course.

How do I do it?

Instructors can share assignments, modules, quizzes, pages, and whole courses in Canvas to Commons. To get started, locate the resource you'd like to share within the feature area page, click the Options icon, then click the Share to Commons link.

Please see this Canvas documentation page for a step by step guide for sharing content into Canvas Commons

Strategy 4: Use OER in your course

What does this mean?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are “teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. Generally, this permission is granted by the use of an open license (for example, a Creative Commons license) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere” (SPARC, n.d). Open educational resources can include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

How do I do it?

  • OER can be added directly to your course. Please see the Open UBC website for toolkits for finding, evaluating and using OER.
  • There is a wide amount of OER available through the Canvas Commons. For step by step instructions on how to import OER from the Canvas Commons, please visit this Canvas documentation page.

Strategy 5: Student generated content

What does this mean?

Engaging students in creating resource or course content, especially when that content is openly accessible and available for reuse, is a form of open pedagogy. Students can build resource designed to improve the learning space for future students or provide value for the world. To learn more about open pedagogy and teaching in the open, please see the Open UBC Teaching in the Open Toolkit.

How do I do it?

Instructors can allow students to edit and contribute to course pages. Students can always create pages in their student group. Canvas pages, which can be set for students to edit, can include text, video, and links to files and other course or group content.

Other Open Canvas Resources