Setting up a Profile Page
When you're leveraging an online learning platform for teaching and facilitation, your instructor persona is an extension of your academic brand, but it also serves as a way to maintain community and humanize your course. Remember to keep your profile page updated each term and consider setting it as your course home page, part of your syllabus or a link within an course introduction module.
What Should I Put On My Profile Page?
Students may access your profile to learn about you and connect with you during the semester. Here are a few ideas of things to include in your profile:
- Display Name and Title
- Updated Photo
- Contact Information
- Include your office hours or instructions for setting up meetings
- Web Links
- Do you have a website? Department Site?
Videos are a great way to increase instructor presence. Video can be an engaging venue for presenting information, but can also work to build community. Instead of uploading a complete lecture presentation with a voiceover, consider breaking your videos down into focused topics that you cover during the lecture.
In addition to that, making a video of yourself introducing the course and allowing students to get to know you and linking it in your Profile Page, is a great way to increase instructor presence and add a human element to your course. Try taking it a step further by creating throughout the course to introduce or conclude modules, or highlight other points of interest that show a little bit of your personality.
Engaging students with one another is a highly effective method of building a community presence in the course.
At the beginning of the course, you could include your personal introduction video as the description of a discussion and encourage students to do the same, either by having them submit a 1-2 minute introduction video of themselves or writing a discussion post with images attached. An open discussion can also be made, so that students can post questions and engage with one another throughout the duration of the course. Discussions can also be a great place to hold ungraded group work, such as think-pair-shares, and brainstorming activities.
Students can use the collaborations tab of the course to work together on ungraded efforts. For example, students can create a collaboration to design a midterm or final study guide, or as a place to brainstorm ideas and share helpful articles and resources with one another.
Canvas offers a number of ways for students and teachers to communicate, including announcements, discussions, chat, and inbox. Encourage students to use these tools, not only to ask questions of the professor, but to engage with each other as well.
Student collaboration can be increased when it is done formally through group work. Brainstorms and discussions that occurred informally in discussions or collaborations can be used as starting points for students to create groups around topics of interest and create a project for grading. Students can work together on a document through collaborations, so it is not necessary that they meet in-person if the course is fully online. Collaborations allows for access to One Drive and Google Docs, so students can create documents, presentations, or spreadsheets. Additionally, video projects encourage students to take advantage of the technology available to them.