Visual Enhancements for Your Canvas Courses

decorative: sphere with geometric designs

You are happy about teaching this upcoming semester! You have your course content and feel good about the curriculum delivery. However, there is still something missing. Visually, the course could be more appealing, intriguing, and inviting for students but, how? You can work with an instructional designer to achieve the ideal visual enhancements for your online or certified hybrid course!

Why Visually Enhance a Course?

Visually enhancing courses make the learning experience interesting and inviting for learners. Matching concepts with purposeful images can assist students in making meaningful connections to remember the subject matter. Not to mention, visual enhancements can be made clickable which can increase interactivity.

As a matter of fact, visuals elevate long-term memory, improve comprehension, and even trigger emotional reactions. Furthermore, when visuals elevate these components of the mind, positive effects occur regarding retention, motivation, and leave a longer-lasting impression. Depending on the type of course and the associated goals, there are a variety of visual assets to consider when choosing to enhance your Canvas classroom. 

Types of Visual Enhancements

There are many types of visual enhancements that can be placed into your Canvas course. Depending on your instructional designer, they may provide you with general or specific suggestions. They may also provide you with a mood board so you can review the design ideas.

A mood board allows you to select what types of assets would be most suitable for your class. It typically contains a color swatch and a focused variety of designs to select. In addition, clickable visuals that take the learner to different pages, assignments, or discussions in the course as well as external websites, PDFs, and videos can be included. Below are a few examples of potential course visual assets.

Banner Example

Example of a banner

Button Example

Example of a button

Icon Example

Example of an icon

Image Example

Example of an image

Video Example

Making Visual Enhancements a Reality

The most effective way to visually enhance your hybrid or online course is by connecting with an Instructional Designer (ID). Moreover, the ID can communicate recommendations regarding what type and how visuals will be placed. As the instructor, you can communicate what will be most appropriate. Considering the subject matter and needs of the students, as a team, you and the ID can make the most applicable decisions for increasing the visual appeal of your Canvas course. 

To emphasize, be sure that the choices you make about visual assets complement the course material. Keep in mind that poorly chosen graphics can deter or distract the learning processes. Unquestionably, a unified discussion about design elements minimizes error and maximizes effectiveness. Overall, thoughtful collaboration with an instructional designer can lead to a visually dynamic and impactful course that students remember for a lifetime. 

Currently, FIU instructional design consultations are available remotely. You may log in using your FIU account to submit a request to connect with an instructional design professional, receive assistance preparing your upcoming Canvas course, or get help with a Canvas error.

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Kristen Andersen, Ed. D is a 17-year contributor to higher education in teaching, administration, and instructional design; she was an Instructional Design Consultant with FIU during 2020-2021. Dr. Andersen is a skilled educator and instructional designer dedicated to sharing and developing an integrative, experiential, 21st-century curriculum. She understands that being an effective educator requires the ability to help students connect knowledge to their lives through self-reflection and positive communication. Dr. Andersen writes and edits research articles, designs higher education curriculum and coursework, creates instructional resources, and gives talks and presentations about a variety of educational and creative topics.

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