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Canvas VLE Templates

About the Templates

ℹ Minimum standard guidelines have been created to ensure all Canvas VLE courses offer a good and consistent digital pedagogic baseline, improving consistency in courses across programmes of study. Output from user research activities and co-design workshops conducted in March 2022 have identified the minimum expectations that learners have when they access their courses in Canvas and where they broadly expect to find things.  A suite of Canvas VLE Templates have been created by the Centre for Educational Development (CED) in collaboration with Instructional Designers at Instructure (Canvas Supplier). The aim of the templates is to support the application of new VLE Minimum Standards for QUB Canvas courses.

This guide contains instructions on (i) how to access the new templates on QUB Canvas Commons*, (ii) how to import templates into an existing course* and (iii) how to customise content as required.

*Canvas Commons is a learning object repository within Canvas that enables you to find, import, and/or share resource like page templates, quizzes, files, videos, images etc.

*NB: When importing templates, please ensure that you use your Module Develop Area (MDA) rather than you current, live course (which has students enrolled). Watch this video on how to Reset the Module Development Area.

There are three types of content available for you to import.

Available Templates
OptionsMain Steps InvolvedNaming Conventions
A single page template

Locate the page template and import it from Canvas Commons directly into your course. Currently available:

  • Homepage template
  • QUB-Canvas-Homepage-Template
Canvas module templates

Locate the Canvas module(s) you want to use and import it from Canvas Commons into your course. Currently available:

  • Course Overview
  • Week 1 Example
  • QUB-Canvas-ExampleCourseOverview-Template
  • QUB-Canvas-ExampleWeek1-Template
A full course

Locate the course template and import it from Canvas Commons into your course.

The course template contains a homepage,  course overview module and a week 1 sample module.

  • QUB-Canvas-Course (VLE Minimum Standards Template)
  1. Log in to QUB Canvas and open Canvas Commons by clicking on 'Commons' in the global navigation menu (see screenshot below).

Dashboard with Commons highlighted

  1. In the search bar, search for the content you want, referring to the naming conventions contained in the table in the previous section. For example, to find the homepage template, search for “QUB-Canvas-Homepage-Template”

Canvas Commons Search bar

  1. Click on the relevant tile to see a preview of the content.

Preview of a page

Reminder: We recommend that you import templates into your your Module Develop Area (MDA) when redesigning your course rather than you current, live course (which has students enrolled)

  1. To import the content, select 'Import/Download' on the right-hand side.

Import/Download button

  1. From the pop-up window, choose which course(s) you want to import the content into (e.g. DEVELOP MOD1001: Zoology for Beginners). You can select multiple courses at once and use the search bar if needed.
  2. At the bottom of the pop-up window, click the 'Import into Course'

Import into course button

Note that the import may take a few minutes to complete.

Success message

  1. After a few minutes, the content will appear within your course. If you imported a page template, you will find it in the Pages section of the course. If you imported a Canvas module template, it will appear in the Modules section.

Canvas menu with Pages and Modules options selected

If you have imported the homepage, you will need to set it as the new ‘Front Page’ of your course.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Pages area of your course and click on View all pages button
  2. Locate the homepage and publish it (click on Unpublished button to change it to  Published button)
  3. Click on the ellipsis on the right-hand side and select 'Use as Front Page'

Select 'Use as Front Page' option

  1. Go to the Home area of your course and select 'Choose Home Page' from the right-hand side bar

Select 'Choose home page' option

  1. Select the page you want and click 'Save'

Choose 'Pages front page' option

If you import the full course, you will see buttons as quick links at the bottom of your Homepage which will take students to the indicated location (these buttons do not appear on the standalone homepage template).

Home page buttons

It is possible to edit these buttons if desired.

Remove a button

  1. To remove a button, click on 'Edit' and simply remove the hyperlinked text that you no longer want. Save the change.

Add a button

  1. To add an additional button, click on 'Edit' and copy and paste one of the existing links (hyperlinked text). You can now change the text to whatever you would like the button to say by right-clicking, selecting 'Link Options' and changing the text. Save the change.

Select 'Link Options'

  1. It is important that the button takes students to the correct place. To edit a button’s link, click on 'Edit' and highlight the relevant hyperlinked text. Now click on 'Insert', then 'Media' and 'Course Media'.

Select Media, then Course Media

  1. In the side window which appears, select 'Links' from the dropdown menu. You can now choose the area of your course that you would like your button to link to. Click on 'Save' and test your button to make sure it works.

Select the 'Links' option

The content on the templates needs to be customised so that it makes sense as part of your course. As an example, this is what you would need to change on the homepage template:

  • Replace “Course Title” with your course code and title
  • Replace the dummy text (lorem ipsum) with a short welcome message

Each template contains instructor notes which will guide you on how to fill each page with your own content. Don’t forget to delete the instructor notes when editing.

Example instructor notes

To edit the content on any page, click on 'Edit' and use the Rich Content Editor to make changes. You can find out more about the RCE and its tools in this blog post: What is the Rich Content Editor?

Remember to save all changes as you go.

Example home page

Rich Content Editor menu bar

Types of Multimedia Content that can be added

You can add various types of multimedia content to your pages using the RCE such as documents, handbooks, videos and links.

Multimedia types
LinksLink buttonLink to an external source/website or to another page within the course
ImagesImages buttonAdd an image to your page from your computer, course images, or from a URL link
Record/upload mediaRecord/upload media buttonAdd a video recording from your computer or course media
DocumentsDocument buttonAdd a document from your computer or course files
EmbedEmbed buttonEmbed content to your page using an embed code (e.g., MS Stream videos, a Padlet wall etc.)

You can view the VLE Minimum Standards Toolkit for more information on how to edit your Homepage (Minimum Standard #1) and present Important Course Information (Minimum Standard #2) on your course.

Once you have made all the changes necessary in your MDA, import the full course into your live academic module for the upcoming academic year. Watch this short video for more information on importing your MDA into the live academic module.