Take the 5-Day Challenge: Organizing Your Canvas Course

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“We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.” -Helen Keller

When I was nine or ten years old, my parents purchased a subscription to a mail-in series of books called Value Tales. My younger brother and I read through each book that featured a value to learn from prominent people in history. One person I read about that had a significant impact on me was Helen Keller, and the value attributed to her was determination. As a toddler, Helen lost both her sight and hearing, but she overcame these extreme challenges to learn to read, write, and speak. She became the first deaf and blind person to earn a college degree, with honors no less, and went on to champion pioneering work for people with disabilities as an author, political activist, and lecturer.

Helen would not have been able to accomplish any of these remarkable feats without people like Anne Sullivan. Anne was a recent graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind when Helen’s father Arthur Keller sought out help for his seven year old daughter. The director recommended Anne, who agreed and began teaching Helen. Helen had been acting out in frustration up to that point, understandably, so Anne was challenged to find a way to help her. She began with the simple act of having Helen touch an object, for example a doll, then she would spell out the word on the palm of her hand. Helen began to respond, understanding that for the first time someone was reaching out to teach her. This simple teaching strategy was the starting point for Helen. She eventually learned to read braille, “hear” people speak to her by placing her hand on their mouth, and speak by mimicking what she felt their mouths do.

By now you may have guessed that I intend to parallel my connection to Helen Keller to online learning. When learning something new, everyone needs a starting point. You very well may be that person who is just getting started in online teaching. Maybe you are eager to learn online teaching, or maybe you are frustrated and feeling forced into something against your will. Either way, my life’s calling as an instructional designer is to help you learn skills that will forever change your life, by expanding your communication and interaction with learners. In every project I work on in online education, my goal is to always contribute to the development of learning opportunities for a wide range of professionals that is clear, purposeful, and intentional. With this approach, our team has now developed a new series of professional development, specifically for those professionals needing a “jump start” into online learning.

Introducing the first of CVC-OEI/@ONE’s New 5-Day Challenge Series

Course design is a vital part of equitable, asynchronous online learning that helps to promote a welcoming, engaging, and effective learner experience. This 5-Day Challenge is designed to guide you through the process of developing the framework for a content module in Canvas. You will build a foundation for designing an asynchronous online course that welcomes your students and is organized into manageable chunks to support the needs of your diverse learners. Each challenge is set up as a 20 minute daily activity to be completed across 5 days.

The 5 challenges to Organizing Your Canvas Course are:

  • Day 1: Create a Home Page
  • Day 2: Create a Module
  • Day 3: Create an Assignment
  • Day 4: Add Multimedia
  • Day 5: Create a Discussion

This 5-Day course is classified as self-paced because you choose your start date, and have the option of either following the 5-Day recommended schedule, or modifying as desired. Completing all challenges and the quiz at the end will trigger a completion badge!

One final thought: The ability to learn is a gift; it is the essence of what it means to be alive. In all your learning, I wish you the very best! Keep learning, keep growing, keep moving forward!


Shawn Valcárcel
Instructional Designer

Posted in Articles, Self-Paced.

Shawn holds a Master of Music degree from Cal Baptist University, a B.A. in Music from UC Riverside, and is finishing a Ph.D. in Education at Capella University. Since 2007, he has taught Music in the CCC system. Before joining CVC-OEI, Shawn worked as an Instructional Designer for @ONE and Mt. San Jacinto College. Additionally, he is an active working musician. Shawn most enjoys spending time with his wife and son, all avid baseball fans. Let’s go Mets!

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