Canvas Structure and Flow
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Microcredential ID : 2752
0.5 USBE Credit


This microcredential represents educators' use of Canvas organizational resources to create a course that has quality structure and flow. This allows learners to easily navigate through the Canvas course and meet instructor expectations.

  • Utah Effective Teaching Standards > Standard 2: Instructional Design Clarity
    Element 2: Learning Progression - Demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of where students have been, where they are now and where they are going using strategically sequenced learning experiences aligned within and across grade levels.
  • Utah Effective Teaching Standards > Standard 2: Instructional Design Clarity
    Element 3: Instructional Planning - Planning high quality, personalized instructional activities that are informed by student progress data, provide multiple opportunities for students to reflect upon and assess their own growth and allow multiple opportunities and means for demonstration of competency.
How To Earn This Microcredential

To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items to demonstrate your effective organization of courses in Canvas. You will also submit a reflection. Click the Earn This Microcredential button for more information.

A fee of $20.00 will be assessed once the microcredential is submitted for review.

To receive this microcredential, an educator must use Canvas effectively and consistently to guide student learning. The purpose of quality instructional design in a Canvas course is to enable student access to learning materials, assigned tasks, and opportunities to demonstrate learning in a manner that is intuitive to manage and appropriate for the grade level. Earners will demonstrate this by providing evidence from a Canvas course that is easily navigated and provides clear flow for the users.

Important Terms

To put a resource such as a graphic or video into a computer program or internet page.


A non-graded Canvas activity. Events you create on the Calendar will not appear in the Assignments page or in the Gradebook, but they will show up on the Syllabus page and student calendars.


A link from a hypertext file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image on the screen.

Iconic Navigation:

Using images/icons/buttons as sources for hyperlinking information for navigating a site or accessing information.


Canvas Modules allow instructors to organize content to guide students through a course. Types of organization can include sequential, thematic, or hierarchical. Using Modules allows instructors to deliver what students should read, complete, interact with, or discuss in a course and can deliver files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other resources for the course.


Required as a prior condition; a prior condition that has to occur before the next step is accomplished. Prerequisites can be added to assignments and modules within Canvas.


These are items that must be completed. Within Canvas, requirements can be added to assignments and modules, requiring users to complete specific steps in order to move forward.


Breaking up learning tasks into smaller steps and providing a tool for each step. Generally, each step of the process building upon the previous step.

Mastery Paths :

Mastery Paths allows you to customize learning experiences for students based on performance. You can enable Mastery Paths to automatically assign coursework based on the score achieved for a previous assignment. This provides multiple opportunities to show and achieve mastery in a course.

Personalized Learning:

Personalized learning is an educational approach that aims to customize learning for each student's strengths, needs, skills, and interests. Each student gets a learning plan based on data indicating what they know and how they learn best.

Background Scenario / How This Will Help You

An elementary school teacher using Canvas as a learning management system (LMS) has noticed that a majority of their students are not successfully completing their work in the Canvas course. It is apparent that the course needs more direction and guidance, so the students will be more successful. The teacher decides to develop a visually appealing home page with iconic navigation, so the students and their grown-ups are able to get around the course seamlessly. By scaffolding assignments inside modules, or other features, like “Week at a Glance,” their students can be more successful in their course work.

A secondary school teacher using Canvas as a learning management system (LMS) has noticed that a majority of their students are not successfully completing the work in the Canvas course. After seeking feedback from students and their guardians, it is apparent that the course needs more direction and guidance to help students feel more successful. The teacher creates a visually appealing home page, with hyperlinks and other features, so the students and guardians are able to find course content and important information easily. By scaffolding assignments inside organized modules and posting key information in announcements, the teacher’s students are better able to recognize what is expected from them and how to find materials. By including assignment due dates and using calendar events, students are also able to better pace themselves and manage their time, rather than feeling confused or frustrated with unclear expectations.

Evidence Options
Be sure to submit the type and number of pieces of evidence specified below.
Category: Preparation and Planning

Submit the evidence below to demonstrate your preparation and planning for Canvas courses with effective structure and flow.

Unit Plan:

Submit a unit plan of your design for a unit in Canvas. Your unit plan should demonstrate your effective planning to create an organized experience for learners.

Your Canvas unit plan should include each of the following: (1) at least one module with scaffolding to teach the content; (2) the use of prerequisites and requirements to progress through the module(s); (3) due dates on assignments, quizzes, etc. that generate items on the calendar and to-do list; (4) events on the calendar to help learners self-pace as they progress through the module(s);

In a separate section of the unit plan, include citations of research supporting your instructional approach. (See the resources section for examples to cite.)

Category: Implementation

Submit ONE of the evidence items below to demonstrate your effective and consistent use of Canvas organizational tools to create structure and flow for learners.


Submit a 4-6 minute narrated screencast tour of an active Canvas course you created. The screencast tour must include (1) the home page, demonstrating how hyperlinks guides students through the course; (2) the calendar, or the equivalent of calendar such as “week at a glance;” (3) a tour of the modules, demonstrating logical progression inside the Canvas course. This could include using prerequisites and/or requirements, but could also look like mastery paths or some other form of personalized learning;

Observation Results:

Submit the results of an observation of one of your Canvas courses from a supervisor. The observation results must be the equivalent of "satisfactory" or "evident" in areas regarding online instructional design.

An Observation Guide (based on the National Standards for Quality Online Courses) is included in the Resources section of this microcredential, and may be downloaded, completed by supervisor, and submitted as evidence. Alternatively, your supervisor may use a district or charter digital instruction observation guide that includes criteria regarding online instructional design. Examples of these types of criteria include the following: • Teacher creates a well-organized, inviting, appealing, and easily navigated online course. • The online course is organized by units and lessons that fall into logical sequence. • The online course’s content and learning activities promote the achievement of the stated learning objectives or competencies.

Survey Results:

Submit the results of a survey of learners and/or their parents on the structure and flow of one of your Canvas courses.The survey results must include data from 15 or more participants who frequently utilize the course. The survey must include a minimum of 5 questions/items addressing the following topics: (1) home page, (2) calendar, (3) modules, (4) supplementary items, such as embedded videos, hyperlinked activities, etc. Results of the survey should show an overall average of the equivalent of met expectations or above.


Submit a testimonial (written or video) from an administrator or supervisor who has reviewed one of your active Canvas courses. This testimonial should describe how you effectively use the homepage, calendar, course modules, embedded images/videos, and links to create a visually appealing, easy to navigate course with structure and flow for learners.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: The evidence demonstrates effective design of the home page, enabling students to quickly navigate to at least three key areas/topics of the course. Key areas include elements such as modules, calendar, announcements, syllabus, gradebook, content, hyperlinks, online textbook, school website, etc.

Criterion 2: The evidence demonstrates the educator has used a number of organizational tools in Canvas to make course pacing clear. Evidence may include using a calendar, create pages such as “week at a glance,” posting schedules in Announcements, adding tasks to the Canvas Calendar with dues dates, using a course Syllabus, etc.

Criterion 3: The evidence demonstrates logical progression through the Canvas course, including a systematic organization of information in modules. At least one additional element of structure should be included, such as including module prerequisites and/or requirements, utilization of mastery paths, or some other form of guided learning.

Reflection Prompts

Describe how your organization of Canvas courses supports student learning.

Which of Canvas's organizational tools do you find to the be most useful to you as an educator? Why?

Describe how you will continue to strengthen your practice concerning organizational structure and flow within Canvas.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Reflection describes one or more aspects of Canvas course's structure and flow and how it has benefited learners.

Criterion 2: Reflection demonstrates use of Canvas organizational tools that benefit the educator as well as learners

Criterion 3: Reflection indicates the instructor will continue to strengthen their use of structure and flow within Canvas.

Observation Guide – Quality Course Structure and Flow

An observation guide, to be completed by an administrator and educator, to evaluate the instructional design of an online course in Canvas. Written using the National Standards for Quality Online Courses.

Using the Calendar as an Instructor

This is a video tutorial on how to use Canvas Calendar as an instructor.

How do I use the Calendar as an Educator?

This is a step-by-step instruction page on how to use the Canvas calendar.

Using Modules in Canvas LMS

How to make, organize, and maximize modules quickly and easily for better Canvas courses.

How to Use Modules to Build Courses in Canvas

Teachers love Canvas because, like its name, it can be a blank canvas for building out courses. But that same quality can make it feel a bit overwhelming at first. So, adding content to Canvas and wondering where to start? Modules! This is an essential tool in organizing and “chunking" content in Canvas.

Engaging Students with Dynamic Homepages

This is a screencast video from Instructure employees on how to maximize your home page.

Course Home Pages with Purpose

This gives simple suggestions of essential elements to include on your Canvas home page.

Canvas Basics: Getting Started - Self-Paced Course

Use the self-enroll link to get started on this self-paced, asynchronous course.

This course is designed to help you become familiar with Canvas Course Navigation, Course Settings, Inbox and Calendar. This course will help you with your course set up. To get started click on the Course Overview button below.

Canvas Course Design for Elementary - Self-Paced Course

Use the self-enroll link to get started on this asynchronous, self-paced course.

Designing your Canvas course can be an exciting opportunity to organize and share information with your students. Creating a Canvas course that is engaging and accessible can provide a learning platform that can help provide learning activities and resources for student growth.

Canvas Course Design for Secondary - Self-Paced Course

Use the self-enroll link to get started on this asynchronous, self-paced course.

This course is designed to aid you in proficiency when it comes to course design for your Canvas courses. You can either complete the course in its entirety, or choose to utilize modules that are specific to your needs.

Paula Almenar

Paula Almenar
Cortnie Bain

Cortnie Bain
Anna Bessesen

Anna Bessesen
Carli Brown

Carli Brown
Valerie Burgoyne

Valerie Burgoyne
Jessica George

Jessica George
Danielle Heilbut

Danielle Heilbut
Madison Hoffman

Madison Hoffman
Jessica Kempter

Jessica Kempter
Kyle King

Kyle King
Celia Larson

Celia Larson
Lorena Lesue

Lorena Lesue
Rebecca Love

Rebecca Love
David Ludwig

David Ludwig
Carly Maloney

Carly Maloney
Sharon McGarry

Sharon McGarry
Deanna Wilson

Deanna Wilson
Teressa Yung

Teressa Yung
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