Appendix: References and Resources

The following sections offer information on materials referenced throughout this book and other resources that you might find helpful as you learn and grow as an online educator. As this book is specifically focused on how to use Canvas as a platform, the references and resources in this appendix provide guidance for topics such as pedagogy, curriculums, policy, and content structure for online learning.

While these topics are certainly referenced throughout this book and informed each chapter, the following resources provide helpful information that is outside of the scope of this book. Though some of these resources may not mention Canvas specifically, they reference broader topics relating to teaching and learning in the 21st century, designing online learning environments, and conceptualizing online education. The description of each resource that follows includes connections to Canvas that you might find helpful as you explore online education through Canvas.


As a reminder, you can always find help with Canvas within the Canvas Guides and Community Forums, as discussed in Chapter 7, Where to Go for Help. You can find these resources at should you need assistance with Canvas directly.

Teaching and learning in the 21st century

As discussed in Chapter 8, Now You're Ready!, Canvas offers a wide array of features that allow you to address contemporary trends in education. The resources and books described in the following will provide you with more specific information about current and best practices in teaching and learning.

Battelle for Kids: Partnership for 21st Century Skills

  • Author(s): A partnership between educational leaders from the US and non-profit educational organizations.
  • Website:
  • Description: Battelle for Kids' Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) provides valuable information regarding skills to be gleaned from educational experiences that will enhance the lives of learners in the 21st century. These skills go beyond traditional behaviorist goals to include more complex thought processes by making connections, synthesizing information, and thinking critically. The Framework for 21st Century Learning has been adopted as a contemporary best practice in education around the United States with implications worldwide. The details of the P21 skills and framework are freely available online on the Battelle for Kids' P21 website.
  • Connections to Canvas: Chapter 8, Now You're Ready!, includes a detailed discussion of the ways in which Canvas can help you connect to and address a wide variety of 21st century skills in a live, online, or hybrid course. Familiarizing yourself with these skills can inform the ways in which you might choose to utilize Canvas to enhance your students' learning experience.
  • Further reading: A number of publications address the P21 skills and framework, including 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times.

    Authors: Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel

    ISBN: 978-1118157060

    Publisher, Year: Jossey-Bass, 2012

Understanding by Design

  • Authors: Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
  • ISBN: 978-0131950849
  • Publisher, Year: Pearson, 2005 (Expanded Second Edition)
  • Description: Understanding by Design presents ways to conceptualize curriculum design to ensure lasting student understanding. Addressing the contemporary push for standards-based education, components of Understanding by Design such as Backwards Design, the Six Facets of Understanding, Essential Questions, and Teaching for Understanding offer ways to ensure that your students are able to fully understand and utilize content to meet the educational standards of your country, district, or institution. A number of resources related to Understanding by Design are available online for free, in addition to a wide range of publications available for purchase in printed format.
  • Connections to Canvas: As you work to design your Canvas courses, referring to the concepts and techniques articulated in the Understanding by Design literature can help you ensure that your course design, assessments, and outcomes are all aligned with one another to ensure maximum student understanding and retention of information. The Outcomes feature of Canvas offers you a unique way to directly incorporate the standards of your country, district, or institution into your course, and incorporating strategies of Understanding by Design can further aid you in helping your students attain those outcomes.

Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools

  • Authors: Ira Socol, Pam Moran, and Chad Ratliff
  • ISBN: 978-1119461692
  • Publisher, Year: Jossey-Bass, 2018
  • Description: Focused on instructional design to foster impactful and lasting learning for students in the 21st century, this book provides ideas for meaningful activities that will empower students to synthesize and internalize content they encounter in school. Grounded in project-based and student-centered approaches to teaching and learning, the authors provide guidance and examples of successful strategies in the classroom and utilizing technology that has been implemented around the US.
  • Connections to Canvas: With the powerful tools for collaboration available through Canvas such as the Collaborations, Discussions, and Conferences features, the ideas and strategies provided in this book are extremely useful for educators seeking to bolster the lasting impact their teaching can have on their students. Canvas could serve as an apt medium for implementing the examples of collaborative and interactive activities and approaches for learning provided in this resource.

Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses

  • Authors: L. Dee Fink
  • ISBN: 978-1118124253
  • Publisher, Year: Jossey-Bass, 2013 (Revised and Updated)
  • Description: Considering the tremendous changes, developments, and advances within higher education in recent decades, this book offers insight into research on learning in higher education as well as research regarding Fink's popular instructional design model used in colleges and universities around the world. This revised edition presents examples of Fink's model from online education, explores how student engagement impacts student learning, and suggests strategies for addressing resistance from students to innovative teaching strategies within higher education.
  • Connections to Canvas: Though the trend of online learning has begun to spread to institutions serving students of younger ages, online learning started and has remained prominent within higher education. Fink's instructional design model offers guidance for instructors of college-aged learners and integrates current research to support best practices in instructional design. This book can offer context, guidance, and scholarly grounding for you as you work to build and teach your Canvas course within a higher education environment.

Designing online learning environments

In the following, you will find a number of resources that offer specific strategies for designing and developing cooperative, productive, and meaningful online learning communities in which you and your students can engage with one another as well as the content of your course. By comparing the ways in which you might use Canvas to strategies other educators have used, you can expand your understanding of the possibilities of online learning and find unique ways to enhance your Canvas courses.

The Distance Learning Playbook, Grades K-12: Teaching for Engagement and Impact in Any Setting

  • Authors: Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie
  • ISBN: 978-1071848548
  • Publisher, Year: Corwin, 2020
  • Description: As the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted education across the world, teachers entered crisis mode as they worked to finish out the 2019-2020 school year. With the aim of helping teachers plan effective instructional content for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond, the authors of this book sought to provide practical guidance for educators facing unprecedented challenges and adjustments to their practice. With examples on how to adapt elements of education such as daily instruction, assessing student learning, and providing feedback and grading to online and hybrid instructional models, this book is a lifeline for teachers working to thrive in an online learning environment.
  • Connections to Canvas: Through the lens of helping teachers survive and thrive in an extremely challenging situation, many of the suggestions and advice in this book can be adapted for implementation through the features of Canvas. The communication and feedback features of Canvas, such as the Inbox and Gradebook features, offer a platform for much of the interpersonal and social-emotional guidance provided in this resource.

The Interactive Class: Using Technology to Make Learning More Relevant and Engaging in the Elementary Classroom

  • Authors: Joe Merrill and Kristin Merril
  • ISBN: 978-1733481458
  • Publisher, Year: Elevate Books EDU, 2020
  • Description: For teachers at the elementary or primary level, finding age-appropriate and accessible ways to integrate technology into instruction can be a challenge. With circumstances requiring full distance learning, elementary educators have a particular challenge in engaging younger students remotely and designing activities to foster growth and track their progress. This book provides helpful ideas and examples for activities and structures that teachers can implement using technology to foster engagement from younger learners in interactive learning activities.
  • Connections to Canvas: For younger learners, platforms such as Canvas can provide a helpful place for learners' guardians to access class information and activities to support students' learning and engagement. Many of the ideas and activities provided in this book could be implemented through the features of Canvas for easy access by students' guardians or by upper-elementary-aged learners themselves.

How to Design and Teach A Hybrid Course: Achieving Student-Centered Learning Through Blended Classroom, Online and Experiential Activities

  • Author: Jay Caulfield
  • ISBN 13: 978-1579224233
  • Publisher, Year: Stylus, 2011
  • Description: Exploring the educational philosophy and theories behind hybrid courses as well as the actual design and implementation of such courses, this book explores the ways in which combining live and online components in a course can impact student achievement and understanding. Hybrid courses allow instructors and students to take advantage of the best aspects of traditional and online learning environments, and this book offers techniques to ensure a meaningful educational experience for all involved.
  • Connections to Canvas: Hybrid courses have been a topic of discussion throughout Canvas LMS Course Design, and many of the chapters have addressed ways in which you might utilize Canvas within a hybrid teaching situation. You can directly implement the concepts covered in How to Design and Teach a Hybrid Course into your Canvas course in order to foster collaboration, student-guided learning, and ownership of material through both contemporary and traditional best practices.

Discussion-Based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning: Theory, Practice and Assessment

  • Author: Tisha Bender
  • ISBN 13: 978-1579227470
  • Publisher, Year: Stylus, 2012 (2nd Edition)
  • Description: Discussion-based activities are a powerful means of engaging online learners and creating opportunities for interacting with content in meaningful ways. This book looks into the distinction between digital natives, the generation of students and teachers who have grown up surrounded by technology, and digital immigrants, the generation of teachers and students during whose lifetime current technologies have developed. Included in this resource are myriad ways in which teachers might be able to design online course activities to more effectively encourage cooperation through discussion-based collaboration.
  • Connections to Canvas: Canvas offers numerous outlets for collaboration and cooperation through discussion-based activities such as the Discussions, Collaborations, Conversations, and Conferences features. Applying the philosophical considerations and instructional strategies within this resource to your Canvas course can increase the quality and sophistication of discussion-based elements in your course.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education

  • Author: Karl M. Kapp
  • ISBN 13: 978-1118096345
  • Publisher, Year: Wiley, 2012
  • Description: This book offers an exciting look into the process of gamification, or reframing learning through the lens of a game. As a means of increasing engagement with content, designing learning experiences as games offers the potential to help students apply and retain the knowledge they gain as they work through information embedded in various game concepts.
  • Connections to Canvas: The layout options and customizable features of Canvas make it an excellent platform for gamified learning. Within sequential Modules that only unlock once students complete certain activities and customizable Content Pages, you can build custom content pages full of embedded content and incorporate them in outside resources that could function as levels or worlds of a game. As we have focused so much on the importance of sequence, structure, and scaffolding in choosing your course design, considering a gamified version of your course could offer your students unique and lasting interactions with the content of your course.
  • Further reading: As a follow up to this successful overview of gamifying education, the author collaborated with others to publish The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice.

    Authors: Karl M. Kapp, Lucas Blair, and Rich Mesch

    ISBN: 978-1118674437

    Publisher, Year: Wiley, 2013

Conceptualizing online education

As we move into the future, advancements in education, technology, and culture pose challenges regarding relevancy and equity for teachers and learners. We struggle with determining what information is the most valuable for the coming generations to know and finding the best methods of exploring that information with those generations in ways each student can access. Online and distance learning are relatively new concepts in the world of education, and finding a balance between traditional approaches and contemporary practices can be challenging.

Many educators, authors, and policymakers have worked to address these challenges for teachers by illuminating the immense opportunities available through new technologies, philosophies, and strategies. Finding ways to conceptualize online learning within the historical context of education and the advancements of the modern era is vital to ensuring a relevant, meaningful education for our students. The following resources offer excellent ways to understand, frame, and reframe online learning within the context of traditional and contemporary education.

Closing the Gap: Digital Equity Strategies for the K-12 Classroom

  • Authors: Sarah Thomas, Nicol R. Howard, and Regina Schaffer
  • ISBN: 978-1564847171
  • Publisher, Year: International Society for Technology in Education, 2019
  • Description: As technology becomes more and more essential to student engagement and the delivery of instruction, it is important for all educators to consider barriers or hurdles that may prevent students from being able to interact fully with digital content and through digital means. This book provides insight from various educational stakeholders and examines concerns around equity for all students with regard to resources, access, and connectivity for digital learning.
  • Connections to Canvas: With both institutional and Free for Teachers instances of Canvas available, Canvas is a learning management system that is available to a wide array of users with various levels of access, support, and resources. Considering how our students access and engage with digital content is essential to our efficacy as teachers, and this book provides practical strategies for addressing and overcoming challenges teachers and students may face, many of which may be possible to implement through Canvas.

Balance with Blended Learning: Partner with Your Students to Reimagine Learning and Reclaim Your Life

  • Authors: Catlin R. Tucker
  • ISBN: 978-1544389523
  • Publisher, Year: Corwin, 2020
  • Description: Demands on educators seem to be ever-increasing; finding sustainable ways to manage a teacher's workload can be a significant challenge for educators at any level. This book provides ideas and examples for teachers to harness technology to empower students to be self-guided in their educational journey. Featuring vignettes from various teachers and templates to foster student engagement, track student progress, and provide effective feedback without becoming overwhelmed, this book serves to help teachers balance their professional responsibilities while avoiding burnout.
  • Connections to Canvas: Many of the strategies and ideas provided in this book could be facilitated through the robust features of Canvas. Managing student feedback and assessment data through the Gradebook and the interactive possibilities of Course Modules, Collaborations, and Content Pages make Canvas an apt platform for many of the suggestions provided in this resource.

Essentials of Online Course Design: A Standards-Based Guide (Second Edition)

  • Authors: Marjorie Val and Kristen Sosulski
  • ISBN: 978-1138780163
  • Publisher, Year: Routledge, 2015
  • Website:
  • Description: Presenting a methodical, standards-based approach for designing and building online courses, the 2nd edition of this book provides updated insight into the pedagogical, organizational, and visual elements of course design that will ensure ease of use for both instructors and teachers. To help users avoid confusion and disengagement with content, following the steps in this guide will help instructors design courses that present information clearly and logically to promote maximum engagement and achievement.
  • Connections to Canvas: Making sure your students feel comfortable and at ease with their online learning experience is key in helping them understand the content and obtain desired outcomes. With the flexibility and customizations inherent in Canvas as an LMS, you are able to present only the most pertinent, valuable information and features, while hiding unnecessary or confusing tools. You are able to control the left Course Navigation menu items that students see, and you can choose from a wide range of Home Page layout designs that make it clear and simple for your students to participate in the course. The ideas within Essentials of Online Course Design can help you on your journey to creating an intuitive, clear, concise, and robust online learning experience.

Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies (2nd Edition)

  • Author: Michelle Pacansky-Brock
  • ISBN: 978-1138643659
  • Publisher, Year: Routledge, 2017 (2nd edition)
  • Description: With the vast array of social media and internet resources at the disposal of educators utilizing online technologies, finding ways to integrate web-based tools into educational settings while maintaining student privacy is an important goal for contemporary educators. Exploring social media, web-based tools, and mobile device options, this book presents valuable tools at a variety of prices for educators teaching in live, hybrid, or online settings.
  • Connections to Canvas: Connecting your Canvas account to your social media accounts, integrating apps and external services into your Canvas course, and utilizing the Canvas mobile app are just some of the ways you can connect to the students in your Canvas course. Considering the ideas and concepts included in Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies can further your understanding of ways in which you might connect with your students and help them integrate participation in your course into their digital lives.

The Complete 15-Volume Jossey-Bass Online Teaching & Learning Library

  • Authors: Various
  • ISBN: 978-1119139539
  • Publisher, Year: Jossey-Bass, 2015
  • Website:
  • Description: The Online Teaching and Learning (OTL) series from Jossey-Bass covers a tremendous range of topics regarding online learning experiences. Books in this series include step-by-step guides as well as explorations of topics including student engagement, assessment, collaboration, and inclusion. The preceding website includes a variety of resources, both print and online, as well as a list of books within the series.
  • Connections to Canvas: Any of the 15 volumes in the OTL series would prove valuable additions to your collection of resources and each connects to topics directly covered in our exploration of Canvas as a platform for online course content.

Other online course design resources

In addition to the resources listed already, there are many more resources available online dealing with designing online courses, ensuring the high quality of online learning opportunities, and utilizing best practices. The following list includes further resources that you may find helpful, but feel free to explore the web for your own resources as you work to improve your approach to online education.

Course Design Academy

The Blended Learning Toolkit

  • Prepared by: University of Central Florida (UCF) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  • Website:

Distance Learning: A Gently Curated Collection of Resources for Teachers

Online Course Development Resources

The 5 Pillars – Sloan-C Quality Framework

Quality Matters: A National Benchmark for Online Course Design

Teaching Online: Design of an Online Course

CanvasLMS YouTube Channel

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