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 comprising of student created videos, practice comprehension quizzes, and question pools pertaining to the CHIN 131 Course material. This Canvas site is shared with other instructors from the Chinese Language program, where they can request to have specific content copied over to their own Connect courses. They may choose to copy over individual items, entire content areas, or entire sets of tests and question pools.


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

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


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, taking on a more modern approach to updating students with 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 allows students 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

Dr. Martina Wiltschko used the WordPress platform for the Linguistics Video-site as a video library for hosting both instructor and student-produced videos. An instructor video is featured for a particular topic taught in the course, leading the discussion 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.

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


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

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PHIL 102 – Introduction to Philosophy II

Instructor: 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 are then syndicated into one main course site. The main course site also hosts course material such as syllabi and assignments in addition to student work. Christina emphasizes that students sharing work should be voluntary and allows 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’s why Christina Hendricks used WordPress to create this website containing video recordings of lectures, podcasts, blog posts written by students and instructors and many more. 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 on 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. PulsePress acts as a Twitter-like feed for real-time posting. The course site forums has seen great success with students helping and learning from one another. This will also help prepare students for future interactions with GIS professionals and communities on online forums.
Keywords: blogs for teaching

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

Instructor: Dr. Edward Slingerland
Department: Asian Studies

Dr. Edward Slingerland delivered his MOOC on the edX platform. 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’s understanding. Students were also required to participate in discussions, complete a set of required readings, as well as an end of module quiz. Students receive an explanation of the correct answer immediately after completing the self-check questions and Module quizzes. Every week, the instructor would post a Q&A video that addresses some of the items raised in the discussion forums. An email is also sent out to students every week that summarizes the 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

Dr. 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 a short online quiz to conclude. The module quizzes are designed so students receive immediate “targeted” feedback based on the answer option they chose.


Keywords: MOOCs, edX, video approaches

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POLI 360A – Security Studies

Instructor: Dr. Brian Job
Department: Political Science

Dr. Brian Job utilized edX Edge to deliver all course materials including course readings, videos, and assignment information.The decision to use edX was because of the simple, fast, and user friendly interface that allows students to easily access course content. EdX also allowed the instructor to structure his course so students are following a learning sequence for each module. 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

Dr. Allen Sens and Dr. Matthew Yedlin used the EdX platform to deliver all course materials. Each module consisted of multiple videos that were followed with multiple choice questions to check students’ understanding of the material.


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

PSYC 101/102 – Peer Assessment Workshop

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

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


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 the 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. In result, reading slides becomes a much more interactive visual experience. The system tracked where students last stopped watching a video, so they were able to work through the videos and readings at their own pace.


Keywords: edX, lecture recording for instructors

VISA 110 – Digital Media

Co-ordinator: Christine D’Onofrio
Department: Art History, Visual Arts and Theory

Christine D’Onofrio integrated edX with Connect to create an online technical library for students to learn the technical skills they may need to complete their course assignments and projects. By putting lecture material and technical tutorials online, class time could be used for discussions and activities that allow students to exercise the skills and concepts that they had initially learned independently. Additionally, the platform allowed students to go back and refer to the tutorials at any time over the duration of the course as needed. This resolved prior constraints on teaching technical skills during limited class hours.


Keywords: edX, Connect, edX-Connect LTI Integration

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Find a Platform that’s right for you

Starting up with a Learning Management system? Read more on their advantages, limitations, features, and integration components and find useful tips for using each platform.