Canvas is JMU’s learning management system. On this page, you’ll find expert advice on effective uses of Canvas for your teaching. For personalized help with using Canvas, contact the Learning Innovations & Design Desk online or in Rose Library.
Start using Canvas as a JMU instructor
- Log in to canvas.jmu.edu to find out if you have a “course shell” already set up for the class you are teaching.
- If you do not have a course shell, contact LETsupport@jmu.edu to request a course shell. Include your course number (e.g. EDUC 630) and course title.
- Review the Canvas Instructor Guide from Instructure.
Promote a sense of community in an online environment
Frequent communication and low-barrier modes of communication will help build a strong online learning community.
- Be responsive and communicate regularly to demonstrate your commitment to fostering a trusting and supportive learning environment.
- Use interactive assignments (e.g. Canvas discussion boards) to help students stay connected with peers.
- Create activities that foster reflection and experiential engagement when possible.
- Use teaching strategies that will promote sustainable engaged learning throughout the course.
- Provide guidance, feedback, motivational support, and direction so that students remain focused on the learning objectives of the course as you monitor their progress.
Facilitate participation when teaching online or in a hybrid mode
- Use Canvas Discussion Boards for text-based discussion that can take place over a period of time or at different times (asynchronously).
- Record your lectures so students can view them online. (Note: For recordings and video conferencing involving observing clinical sessions, telemedicine activities, discussing patient information, etc., please refer to subject-specific HIPAA guidelines.)
- Use Zoom for live (synchronous) facilitation.
Integrate JMU Libraries’ resources into a Canvas site
As you build your course in Canvas, you may want to include videos, articles, readings, or other library resources in it. You can:
- Upload documents, readings, text files, video, and audio directly to Canvas.
- Before scanning documents or seeking copyright clearance, search for documents in electronic form that may be available online or in the JMU Libraries databases.
- Use the Connect the Library to Canvas guide to find helpful suggestions for adding library resources to Canvas.
- Search over 200,000 titles from the Virtual Library of Virginia’s (VIVA’s) shared library collections, open textbooks, and ebooks available for purchase.
- Use the Open Textbook Library to find freely-available textbooks in accounting, business, economics, education, languages, humanities, information systems, law, marketing, natural and physical sciences, statistics, and more.
- Embed or assign streaming video:
- Learn how to add a Library Search widget to your Canvas course.
- Learn about copyright and online education.
- Explore JMU’s online library resources.
You can make a Canvas cross-list request here if you are teaching multiple sections of the same course (or multiple courses you wish to combine).
Get Canvas information and help
- Contact the Learning Innovations & Design Desk online or in Rose Library.
- Visit the Canvas Instructor Guide provided by Instructure.
- View Canvas how-to videos from LinkedIn Learning.
- Read the Libraries’ FAQs on Canvas.