Have you tried Canvas yet? Well, there’s an app for that!
The new learning management system at UAF, Canvas, was in part adopted because of feedback from students about using mobile devices. These days, students expect to be able to learn on the go with easy and immediate access to their courses. A survey in 2020 revealed that 74% of college students want to use their mobile devices, such as a phone or tablet, to help them progress through their courses no matter where they are.1
As an instructor, you may appreciate the same prompt access to stay on top of what is happening in your courses and to be able to communicate with your students.
So what all is possible with the Canvas mobile apps? Below is a table of tasks you can complete within the app, as either a teacher or student:
|Teacher App||Student App|
|Create & manage announcements||View calendar, to-do list & grades|
|Edit and grade assignments & tests||Submit assignments & take tests/quizzes|
|View student progress & send messages||Communicate with instructor & classmates|
|Edit course settings||Watch videos & read other course content|
|Edit and manage notifications settings for all courses||Edit and manage notifications settings for all courses|
Notifications for new announcements, assignment due dates, and replies to discussions can all be customized to be delivered right on the mobile device.
A feature that teachers seem to appreciate is the SpeedGrader on a tablet. It allows for easy annotation on papers and other written assignments.
An initial course design is best done on a computer with a full web browser and a larger screen. The Canvas layout and core features are mobile-friendly. Canvas has created a Mobile App Design Considerations Checklist, with examples and guides, that can assist with ways to adjust the content of a course so that it is handled better on smaller devices.
There are limitations to the features on the apps. The app does not work well for course management tasks such as creating and editing modules, building new tests or posting new graded discussions.
You can download the apps in the respective app stores (links below). Once you have them installed, click on the ‘Find my School’ button and search for ‘University of Alaska.’ As an instructor, you should download both of the apps. The Student App will let you use the ‘View As Test Student’ option just like the browser version does.
Chris Beks is an instructional designer, technology enthusiast, and Certified Blackboard Trainer with 15 years experience in higher education and technology. He is a seasonal peony farmer and lives in North Pole, Alaska.