This week, my Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I are starting to input our own course information into the online learning management system (or LMS) we will be using this semester called Canvas. If you are not familiar with Canvas, I highly recommend reviewing the informational website here. This is my first exposure to the LMS, and thus far, I am highly impressed with the functionality and flexibility.
At this point, we have been asked to input information we have already developed in our instructional design document such as the learning theory we will utilize, course goals and objectives, and information about the purpose of the course including the problem the course intends to solve. However, once I began to enter the information, I realized how versatile Canvas can be making it possible to place the information just about anywhere. This has both advantages and disadvantages. Fantastic that I have such choices about where to put information including adding graphics and changing colors, but the possibilities are becoming a bit overwhelming. It is probably a good thing we are not developing new information right now and simply playing with the Canvas features. My biggest challenge has been to figure out how to create a front page for the learner to view once the first log in to the course. As it turns out, we must publish that page then set it to be our front page. Luckily Canvas provides an extensive help and support site which allowed me to figure out my problem. What has gone really well is my experiments with the modules and course progression. I love the prerequisite feature which requires the learner to complete one module before moving on to the next. Because my target audience is much younger, exposing them to the entire course might be overwhelming. So limiting them to only what I want them to see at a time is a plus.
Due to some personal and family issues which asked me to travel across the country, I am about a week behind in my Canvas course development which I hope to catch up during the next two weeks. So because my course mates and I were not supposed to have our peer reviews done until this week, by the time this blog was due, I should not have been able to give or receive feedback. However, the feedback I have received from my peer has been extremely valuable. Most of her comments have been about the placement of information as opposed to the content, and I quite agree. Canvas allows the teacher to create highly-visual pages and organize information into limitless pages and modules. I have provided my peer with similar feedback. So far, most of the development has involved the where to place it as opposed to what to place. As for what I have learned so far, Canvas is a very powerful LMS. I have only broached the basics of what it can do, and I am eager to explore more options.