Since the university moved from Blackboard to Canvas, we’ve heard a lot about Modules: “Build your content in modules; don’t forget to publish your modules; I never had to use modules in Blackboard, they’re too confusing.” So, what’s all the hype about modules anyway?
True, Blackboard didn’t use modules. That’s one of the main paradigm shifts we encounter when moving to Canvas. Instead of creating menu items and folders as you did in Blackboard, Canvas has you assemble and display content items in Modules. But once we wrap our heads around the modules concept, we can see they’re pretty powerful.
To better understand the idea behind modules, picture a scrumptious spread of holiday food set out on the dining table. The items on the table really come from other locations: the kitchen, the cupboard, the refrigerator, or pantry; but they are assembled and displayed on the table for the benefit and consumption of our guests. So it is with Modules. Content items like files, assignments, discussions, and pages really live elsewhere in the course site, but we intentionally assemble and display them in modules so there’s a logical sequence that walks the student through the learning process.
One of the powerful features behind modules is that you can set requirements for viewing or completing the items inside a module, or specify the sequence in which they will be completed. By setting module requirements, you can release individual items based on certain criteria met on previous items. You can also control the visibility of module items or an entire module through the Publishing function.
Modules really help us assemble content in logical, sequential ways, allowing us to display various content pieces, whether it be an assignment, a page of instructions, a file, and so on. The flexibility and capability of modules make them a great feature in the Canvas learning management system.
This post was written by Michael Wilder, an Instructional Designer for the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at www.stthomas.edu/stelar or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.