Lin Zhang

Lin Zhang

Parks, Recreation and Tourism/College of Health


A Canvas Open Course: A Handbook for Online Instructors

Faculty Mentor: Linda S. Ralston - Parks, Recreation and Tourism/College of Health


The curriculum in our department is undergoing an important transition whereby faculty is attempting to put their face-to-face courses online. However, most of them are new to online teaching and they are hence not acquainted with the standards within it. Although CTLE and TLT are offering many quality workshops and resources to help those new online instructors with their online course building, for some reasons, few online courses satisfied both instructors and students in the department. Students mainly complained about the fact that online courses lack communication and interesting contents, while instructors merely gained ideas for adjusting and improving their online teaching. Therefore, an online teaching handbook to which new online instructors can refer is an urgent need in my department.
This handbook will be published as an open online course on Canvas. It will provide hands-on resources that online instructors need for designing and implementing a successful online course. This handbook is intended to be a practical introduction for new online instructors who want useful ideas and resources that will help them to start building online courses. From the basics of online teaching to techniques, tools, and methods for effective online communication, the handbook will address the breadth of conceptual and practical topics related to the online classroom. This online handbook will consist of five modules: namely plan, design, implement, teaching and evaluation. In each module, the handbook contributors -- faculty members and outstanding graduate TAs at the University of Utah Online Campus -- will share a wealth of useful strategies to sharpen your instructional skills. By accomplishing all the modules, instructors will acquaint themselves with Canvas and learn ideas about how to build their own courses on Canvas.


This handbook will assist instructors by facilitating the construction of their online courses on Canvas. In addition, the handbook will provide instant online teaching resources that are compatible with Canvas, such as course master calendar, wiki-page for collaboration, etc. This guidebook will have the potential to be improved and thus extended so as to be applicable to other university departments that are using the Canvas system as their educational management system. In brief, this handbook will be extremely helpful to those instructors that want to get their online courses started but do not know where to begin preparing them.