Developing in Canvas

For CECS 5510, my colleagues and I have begun building our courses in Canvas.  The entire process has been going well for me so far. Because my development is centered on the constructivist learning theory, I’ve tried to incorporate collaborative learning as much as possible. Students will construct their own knowledge and skills through discussion boards, wikis, and blogs. According to M.U. Paily (2013), “This emerging technology which is characterized by greater functionality, interoperability and connectivity helps in knowledge creation through open communication and collaboration” (p. 39). The Web 2.0 functionalities incorporated in the Canvas learning management system facilitates student reflection, communication, and collaboration so that knowledge can be constructed.

I was particularly relieved to learn that Canvas had wiki functionality built into its interface. It took some time for me to find it, but by creating a page and selecting the option “Teachers and students can edit this page,” students have the ability to edit the contents of a page and view the page history, so that knowledge can be constructed together.  Howard Community College has some training modules to assist its faculty in building courses in Canvas, and one of its pages explains how the wiki works (Howard Community College, 2011). With sources such as this to help me in development and Canvas’s user-friendly interface, I haven’t experienced many issues.

The most challenging aspect is paying attention to the details and the big picture at the same time.  For example, right away, you have to consider the big picture of how students will be assessed, what the assignment categories should be, what percentage of the grade should go to each category, and how many points are designated to each category. Then you have to think about each individual assignment in itself, how many points each assignment should be worth, how each assignment should be graded (i.e., rubrics), etc. Then, for each assignment, not only do you have to create instructions, materials, and the space for the student on how to complete the assignment, you have to create instructions and the tools for the teacher on how to facilitate the assignment.

There are so many little things to consider, that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. As a result, I have several little spreadsheets to help me keep track of everything, and I’ve learned to appreciate all the thought and work that has gone into all the online courses I’ve taken thus far!


Howard Community College. (2011). Using wiki pages. Retrieved from

Paily, M. U. (2013). Creating Constructivist Learning Environment: Role of “Web 2.0” Technology. International Forum of Teaching & Studies, 9(1), 39-50.


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