Guide To Teaching and Learning

Overview: Step-by-Step-Guide

The guidance below estimates a three-six week process for course design and build. A lot can be done before you even have a Canvas course shell. 

Before You Go Into Canvas

Basic course design planning:

  • Create or review and revise course learning outcomes.
  • Consider the learning activities (readings, audio and video recordings, group projects, lectures, etc.) you will include that will help students learn and achieve the outcomes you’ve articulated.
  • Consider how you will assess their learning in a variety of activities (low- and no-stakes activities have been shown to deepen learning and are advised in this new environment as students learn to be online learners).
  • Consider the delivery of your online course content: will it be asynchronous (students work independently) or synchronous (students meet with you and each other in real time) or mixed (recommended: course content delivered asynchronously via Canvas with some real-time interactions between you and the whole class, small groups, and individuals).
  • Consider the different ways you will deliver content, e.g., video recordings, audio recordings, screen capture, readings, links to online content outside of Canvas, and any synchronous activities you want to include such as group work, discussion, lecture/demonstration. See more options in Digital Tools

Now that you have an idea of what you want to do:

  • Consider the amount of time students will need to spend completing the activities and assignments using this time calculator and remember that they may be taking multiple courses. Try to resist deploying too much content.
  • Consider what students will be working on throughout the course, e.g., will there be many incremental independent assignments, group work, how will assignments scaffold and build on each other? And how will these function online?
  • Consider requesting library instruction for your class. Options include live, in-class Zoom, Zoom recording, web-based research guide. Request Instruction
  • Draft your course map. This is essential for online learning; it provides a complete view of the course with the learner in mind. Mapping your course help you 
    • Create a manageable unit of learning
    • Determine effective student learning assessment that align with the outcomes you’ve articulated
    • Ensure that the activities are scaffolded so that learning building incrementally
    • Allows you to articulate clear expectations
    • Provides you and your students with a roadmap to learning
  • Write your syllabus.
  • Gather materials in online folder(s) so they’re ready to go when you begin to build your course
  • As you begin to think about building the course materials, consider access and equity. Videos should be captioned. Images should be described, etc.

Some Decision Points

  • Will you be creating videos of yourself speaking and determine what materials you will need? See more options in Digital Tools
  • Will you be creating screen-capture demonstrations? See more options in Digital Tools
  • What add-ons and additional software you will use and what you/students will use them for? Identify tutorial videos that will teach students how to use them. See more in Digital Tools
  • How do you want students to introduce themselves?
  • Will you use Quizzes and Grading in Canvas?

Once You’re In Canvas

Tools to explore in Canvas: 

Other software to explore:

  • The accessibility tools in your computer
  • AbbyReader (reviews your PDFs for accessibility (faculty access only)
  • Read&WriteGold (available to faculty and students, requires Google Chrome)
  • Scanning apps: Tiny Scanner, TurboScan, 

Begin to prepare your course materials

  • Record Introduction and Welcome message 
  • Write your ‘Start Here’ tips to orient students to the course
  • Record introductions to each module

Start to set up in Canvas: 

  • Post the syllabus
  • Change your home page to a “Custom Home Page” 
  • Create or update your Canvas profile 
  • Post your welcome message
  • Upload documents to the Personal Files Areas 
  • Create a way for students to introduce themselves and connect with each other. 
  • Create Modules and Discussions

Take The Next Step

Submit your application


To apply to any of our Bachelor's programs (Except the Bachelor's Program for Adult Transfer Students) complete and submit the Common App online.

Graduates and Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctural, Professional Studies Diploma, Graduates Certificate, or Associate's programs, or to apply to the Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students, complete and submit the New School Online Application.