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Canvas baseline practices

A long-standing tension identified through feedback is that students want consistency within their courses.

Building on the 2016 ‘Canvas Minimum Presence’ document, the University has created the Canvas baseline practices to enable a user-friendly, equitable and inclusive online experience. The drivers for this work include:

  • UoA student feedback, international research, and good practices from peer institutions.1
  • Aligning the use of Canvas for learning, teaching and assessment with the strategic goals of Taumata Teitei, and the Curriculum Framework Transformation project.
  • Ensuring we meet the accessibility requirements identified in the Disability Action Plan.

Alan Shaker, 2023 President of the Auckland University Student Association introduces the Canvas baseline practices.

What are the Canvas baseline practices?

The baselines are intended to lift standards in course design and are underpinned by the principles of Universal Design for Learning2 and accessibility standards, and are informed by the student ‘voice’.

They also support flexibility for those who wish to extend them to achieve consistency – through reaching consensus – within a programme, major, or specialisation. The intention is not to stifle creativity but to provide a foundation on which teachers can build.

“The Canvas pages are sometimes hard to navigate because many courses have their materials located in different places, so maybe if this was more coordinated it would be easier.”
Feedback from the 2022 student survey

Navigate the baseline practices by expanding the modules 1 – 5 and working through the interactive elements.

1. Course structure and navigation

Use the navigation to work through sections 1.1 – 1.6

2. Orientation to the course

Use the navigation to work through sections 2.1 – 2.4

3. Syllabus information

Use the navigation to work through sections 3.1 – 3.3

4. Assessments

Use the navigation to work through sections 4.1 – 4.4

5. Accessibility and copyright

Use the navigation to work through sections 5.1 – 5.4

View a printable version of the Canvas baseline practices.

CBP in practice

The project team is now working on Stage 1 courses for Semester One 2024, ensuring they meet the agreed baseline standards. Ten new Learning Technologists are working alongside faculty members to prioritise and work on the necessary courses.

There are already some great examples of courses which meet or exceed most of the Canvas baseline standards. Work has been done in the Law faculty, in the Communications degree offered in the Arts Faculty, and the FMHS paper ‘Queering Healthcare’.

See also

About the project

The project is part of the Curriculum Transformation Programme. See the Staff Intranet for more.

Page updated 09/02/2024 (minor edit)

  1. Jong, Ton. (2010). Cognitive load theory, educational research, and instructional design: Some food for thought. Instructional Science. 38. 105-134. 10.1007/s11251-009-9110-0.
  2. CAST. (2018). The UDL Guidelines.

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