Ideas and Strategies for Course Sites

Ideas and Strategies


Discover the best platform for your course site.
Canvas, edX and WordPress help you to create, host and share course materials, interact with students, manage assignments and assessments, and offer options for open education delivery. Each platform has unique affordances and features, and it can be difficult to make informed choices about how they might work best for you. Explore examples from our work with faculty, then come and talk to us about your ideas so we can help you with your choices.

Course Showcase

CHIN 100-level courses – Chinese Language Material Sharing

Instructor: Bin Zheng
Department: Asian Studies, Chinese Language and Literature Program

Bin Zheng is using Canvas to create a resource site comprised of student created videos, ungraded comprehension quizzes and question banks drawn from CHIN 131 course material. This open Canvas site is shared with other instructors from the Chinese Language program so they can request to have specific content copied over to their own Canvas courses. They may choose to make use of individual items, entire content areas or complete sets of tests and question banks.


Keywords: Canvas, video production, recording studio, tests, Camtasia, Snagit, loaner equipment

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HIST 106 – Global Environmental History

Instructor: Dr. Eagle Glassheim
Department: History

Eagle Glassheim is using Canvas to create a flipped classroom environment in which course material is taken out of lectures and organized into online course modules. As a result, a significant portion of lecture time is freed to for interactive exercises and classroom discussions. Additionally, students are able to go through the online modules and review the course material at their own pace.


Keywords: Canvas

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CENS 303A – Representations of the Holocaust

Instructor: Dr. Bozena Karwowska
Department: Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies

Bozena Karwowska has integrated elements of Canvas and UBC Blogs to create her CENS 303A Representations of the Holocaust course. Using both these platforms, Dr. Karwowska is able to guide her students through a carefully arranged selection of materials and assignments to help them learn about the Nazi Holocaust and Nazi Germany. Discussions activities, quizzes and assignments are set up in Canvas, while course materials are shared through the UBC Blogs class site.



Keywords: Canvas

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LAST 100 – Introduction to Latin American Studies

Instructor: Dr. Jonathan Beasley-Murray
Department: French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies, Latin American Studies Program

Jonathan Beasley-Murray used the WordPress platform to create a course site that integrates course content, a video and podcast library and student blog posts. The site has an embedded Twitter widget, adopting a more modern medium for updating students about course activity. He also uses a tool called Tag Cloud so that students can easily find posts related to a certain word or topic. This interactive site gives students the opportunity to access course material from anywhere and be more proactive in their learning.


Keywords: WordPress, loaner equipment

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LING 100 – Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Instructor: Dr. Martina Wiltschko
Department: Linguistics

Martina Wiltschko used the WordPress platform for the Linguistics Video-site, a video library for hosting both instructor and student-produced videos. An instructor-produced video is featured for a particular topic taught in the course, prompting discussions for students to create their own videos on a similar topic. Videos are added to the website from term-to-term as students create them.

Dr. Wiltschko also uses the WordPress platform for LING 100, a course management site that features the course syllabus, content, lecture notes and a discussion area for students to collaborate and discuss course material.


Keywords: WordPress, video Approaches, DIY video approaches, Camtasia

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PHIL 102 – Introduction to Philosophy II

Instructor: Dr. Christina Hendricks
Department: Philosophy

Christina Hendricks used the WordPress platform in PHIL 102 to develop six sites, each corresponding to a discussion section. Posts created by students in each of the individual section blogs were then syndicated into one main course site. The main course site also hosted course material such as syllabi and assignments in addition to student work. Dr. Hendricks emphasizes that students sharing work should be voluntary, thus allowing her students to post both anonymously and privately.


Keywords: WordPress, blogs for teaching

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Arts One Open

Department: ArtsONE

The vision for the Arts One Open course was to open learning to virtually anyone. That is why Christina Hendricks used WordPress to create this website to contain video recordings of lectures, podcasts, blog posts written by both students and instructors, along with many more items. With all these resources readily available, students are able to learn at their own pace and observe their peers’ progress. The site has now also implemented Badges, to reward students reading, writing and participation accomplishments.


Keywords: WordPress

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GEOB 370 – Geographic Information Science

Instructor: Dr. Arthur Green
Department: Geography

Arthur Green used the PulsePress theme to deliver a forum in UBC Blogs to encourage student discussion and interaction. As PulsePress acts as a Twitter-like feed for real-time posting, the forums of this course site have seen great success with students helping and learning from each other. Developing these skills has helped prepare students for future interactions with GIS professionals and communities on online forums.
Keywords: blogs for teaching

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CENS 303A – Representations of the Holocaust

Instructor: Dr. Bozena Karwowska
Department: Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies

Bozena Karwowska has integrated elements of UBC Blogs and Canvas to create her CENS 303A Representations of the Holocaust course. Using both these platforms, Dr. Karwowska is able to guide her students through a carefully arranged selection of materials and assignments to help them learn about the Nazi Holocaust and Nazi Germany. Course readings and group work activities are presented on the UBC Blogs class site and discussion activities and assessments are set up in Canvas.



Keywords: WordPress

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China 300x – Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science

Instructor: Dr. Edward Slingerland
Department: Asian Studies

Edward Slingerland delivered his MOOC on the edX platform so that the course was divided into individual modules, each containing sub-units. Lecture material was presented to students by means of captioned videos, followed by a series of multiple choice self-check questions to reinforce the learner understanding. Students were also required to participate in discussions, complete sets of required readings and end of module quizzes. Students received an explanation of correct answers immediately after completing the self-check questions and Module quizzes. Every week, the instructor would post a Q&A video that addressed some of the questions raised in the discussion forums. Emails were also sent out to students every week that summarized discussion highlights from the past week.


Keywords: MOOCs, edX, video approaches

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Water 201x – Urban Water: Innovations for Water Sustainability

Instructor: Dr. Karen Bakker
Department: Geography

Karen Bakker delivered her MOOC on the edX platform. The course consists of six weekly modules, each comprised of short, documentary-style videos, lecture videos, a reading, discussion questions and concluding short online quiz. The module quizzes were designed so students would receive immediate “targeted” feedback based on their chosen answer options.


Keywords: MOOCs, edX, video approaches

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POLI 360A – Security Studies

Instructor: Dr. Brian Job
Department: Political Science

Brian Job made use of edX Edge to deliver all course materials including course readings, videos and assignment descriptions. The decision to use edX was based on its simple, fast and user friendly interface that allowed students to easily access course content. EdX also enabled the instructor to structure his course so students were following a learning sequence for each module. Although course content was online, students were not required to complete any graded assignments or assessments online.


Keywords: edX, edX-Connect LTI Integration

POLI 377/APSC 377 – Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control

Instructors: Dr. Allen Sens and Dr. Matthew Yedlin
Department: Political Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Allen Sens and Matthew Yedlin used the EdX platform to deliver all course materials in the class they taught together. Each module consisted of a number of videos that were followed with multiple choice questions to check student understanding of the course content.


Keywords: edX, video approaches, DIY video approaches, edX-Connect LTI Integration

PSYC 101/102 – Peer Assessment Workshop

Instructors: Dr. Peter Graf and Dr. Catherine Rawn
Department: Psychology

Peter Graf and Catherine Rawn used the edX edge platform as a component of their PSYC 101 and PSYC 102 courses. Their Peer Assessment Training Workshop was meant to guide students through the peer evaluation process, teaching them how to apply set criteria and become better evaluators. Students worked through a series of phases to practice evaluating sample essays and providing critical and constructive comments based on a rubric created by the instructor. The workshop included peer and instructor feedback videos to guide students through the process and to compare their grading with that of the instructor and their fellow students.


Keywords: edX, peer evaluation and review, Camtasia, loaner equipment, edX-Connect LTI Integration

Political Science – Summer Institute for Future Legislators

Co-ordinator: Rebecca Monnerat
Department: Political Science

Rebecca Monnerat used the edX Edge platform to deliver all materials for this legislative training program. Each weekly module featured a series of lecture captured videos which were hosted through MediaSite, a video player that allows for lecture slides to be shown alongside the lecture video. This made reading slides an interactive visual experience for her students. The system tracked where students last stopped watching a video, so they were able to pause and work through the videos and readings at their own pace.


Keywords: edX, lecture recording for instructors

VISA 110 – Digital Media

Instructor: Christine D’Onofrio
Department: Art History, Visual Arts and Theory

Christine D’Onofrio integrated edX with Canvas to create an online technical library for students to learn the technical skills they needed to complete their course assignments and projects. By putting lecture material and technical tutorials online, class time was made free for discussions and activities that allowed students to exercise the skills and concepts they learned independently. Additionally, the platform enabled students to revisit and refer back to the online tutorials at any time over the duration of the course, freeing them from the time constraints of learning technical skills during limited class hours.


Keywords: edX, Canvas, edX-Canvas LTI Integration

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