The following recommendations were compiled by the Wharton Computing Student Experience Team based on feedback from Wharton students.
Regardless of which learning management features you choose to use in your course, it is helpful to your students to set expectations early on. How will you be using the course site? Is it a repository for course files, or a place to discuss and engage outside of class time? Will assignments be digitally submitted? Digitally assessed? Will you be using the announcements to distribute course news? Will you be putting any files in a Study.Net course pack? Which types of files will be on Canvas and which will be on Study.Net? Clear expectations will prepare your students for a successful semester.
Canvas Best Practices
There are many benefits to fully exploring and utilizing the feature set of Canvas. These tools can streamline communication with students and help them engage the course content outside the classroom. A commonly used feature of Canvas in Wharton courses is the Files area; files uploaded there can be linked easily from other Canvas pages, such as Announcements or Assignments.
Types of materials suitable for Canvas
Examples of course materials which lend themselves to distribution through Canvas include:
- Class notes
- Material produced by the instructor
- Articles from magazines, journals and newspaper articles which can be found in the Lippincott Library
All copyrighted business cases, book chapters, and any other copyrighted material not in licensed Library databases must be distributed using Study.Net. If a reading has been posted to Study.Net, it should not also be posted to the Files area of Canvas site—and vice versa.
Canvas file names
It is easiest for students when file names are clear and accurately reflect how the assignment is referenced on the syllabus. Naming files by the title of the document is a better practice than naming by the author or the concept the document teaches. While the content of the file may be obvious once it's opened or printed, it is less obvious in a long list of file names.
For example, if the syllabus calls for students to prepare Homework on Statement of Cash Flows, but the file is named homework2.docx, it will be unclear which file is the correct document for the assignment. A file name like Homework on Statement of Cash Flows-Background Information.pdf will be clearer.
Adding new files in Canvas
When new files are added to the Files section of a Canvas site, by default students will not receive any automatic indication or alert. A Files notification option is available in each user’s personal Canvas settings, but each student must enable this feature. Since there is not an automatic “default” setting, this topic provides a good opportunity to set expectations for students regarding files. Clarify which kinds of files will be posted, when, and if there will be communication about it. For example, you could specify that slides will be posted within 2 days after class with no announcement, but you will make an announcement if any readings are added. Announcements are also an opportunity to tell students where to find specific files; you can even attach a file to an announcement or link to several files.
Study.Net Best Practices
Wharton Printing has partnered with Study.Net to provide web-based services for managing and delivering digital, copyright-protected course materials as online “course packs,” or bulk packs.
Study.Net file types
Only copyright-protected materials should be posted in Study.Net. All other materials should be posted in the Files section of Canvas. Some examples of copyright-protected materials include:
- book chapters
- business cases
- journal articles
Study.Net file names
Just as with Canvas, it is best when files are named by the title of the document and in a similar manner as they are listed on the syllabus. It is best to organize files for the course pack in the order they will be used on the syllabus. It is helpful to note on your syllabus whether the reading is on Study.Net; that way, students will know not to look in the Files section of Canvas.
For example, if the syllabus calls for students to read chapter 1 of the title Organizational Behavior, but the file is named after the authors, robbins_judge_ch1.pdf, the student will have a hard time finding the correct file in a long list of course materials. Organizational Behavior-Chapter 1.pdf is clearer.
Please don’t include your syllabus as a Study.Net reading
Wharton Printing typically works with information on your syllabus to locate readings and work with Study.Net on copyright clearance. However, it is not recommended for the syllabus itself to be a downloadable reading within your Study.Net course pack. Students will normally access your most up-to-date syllabus information through Canvas, either as a file or via the Syllabus page of your site.
Canvas Integration with Study.Net
Students are able to access all course materials from within Canvas. The Study.Net Materials tab on the left-side navigation provides an integrated experience for students. When they click on this tab within a course, they see the Study.Net course pack readings and are able to download or view them. Undergraduate students who need to purchase the Study.Net materials may start that process from within Canvas; similarly, printed text packs can be ordered by undergraduate and MBA students there.
Students should be directed to access Study.Net course packs from directly within Canvas. This ensures they are accessing the correct materials and eliminates any confusion over how to log into the Study.Net site. For MBAs, course materials are subsidized as part of tuition. However, the subsidy status only works for students logging in via Canvas (or SPIKE, though this is no longer the recommended path). When starting from Canvas, the user’s login information is passed through to Study.Net automatically; what the student sees will be based on his or her purchase history or subsidy status.