Creating & delivering content

Developing and delivering course content is a core part of what you do as an instructor.

Following these guidelines will help you deliver a variety of material to your students in ways that allow everyone to focus on the content of your course and not its presentation.

Canvas at the core

Canvas is the center of your content creation, development, and delivery plan. Canvas is IU's Learning Management System. Every student enrolled in a course is a member of that course's Canvas site.

As you create content in Canvas, make sure to follow these accessibility guidelines (Canvas article) or complete this course (IU Expand course) to ensure your content is easy for all your students to use.

Course organization

The more easily your course site is organized, the more time students can spend focusing on the important content of the course. Using Canvas tools like Modules and Pages can help students more intuitively navigate your course site. You can also start with the IU Course Template, adapting it to meet the needs of your course.

Canvas Modules

Modules organize course content, activities, and assignments. You can organize content by topic, week, lesson, or anything else using modules.

Modules resources:

Canvas Pages

Canvas Pages allow you to add text, pictures, and multimedia to your course. You can link pages to each other (Canvas article) and add them to your course modules (Canvas article).

Pages resources:


Using the IU Course Template

The IU Course Template contains examples of Canvas Pages and using Canvas Modules for organization. For Fall 2020, you can apply the IU Course Template to your courses. To learn more, see Apply the IU Course Template to your Canvas course on the IU Knowledge Base. You can also watch the Fall 2020 Canvas Templates Overview webinar recording.

Create lecture or other video content

Social distancing requirements mean that not all of your students will be in the same space at the same time. Because of this, the course content you create must work in both synchronous and asynchronous situations.

Ask yourself this: Do you need to deliver your lecture in real-time or can you present the content in small chunks so students can watch the video outside of class?

Generally speaking, you can deliver lecture content asynchronously, which opens up time in class sessions to focus on discussions or activities related to the lecture material.

Here are some resources to help you deliver content both synchronously and asynchronously.

Synchronous content delivery

When you teach students in the classroom and online simultaneously, it is important that you ensure that both sets of students can:

Asynchronous content delivery

Teaching students asynchronously has a different set of considerations. When teaching asynchronously, it's important that you ensure that recorded content:

  • Is no more than seven to nine minutes long.
    • Viewer drop-off rate is high after seven minutes.
    • Consider breaking up longer lectures into multiple topical chunks.
  • Is accessible to all learners.
    • When speaking, provide spoken clues that indicate critial information and remember to verbally summarize visual information that is important for those that have reading disabilities or simply cannot see the material being presented.
    • If you have a student with accommodations for hearing or visual impairments, be sure to work with the campus office for students with disabilities to have the videos professionally captioned and/or described.
    • If you will be using the videos for more than one term, consider proactively captioning them:
    • For more information about creating accessible videos, see Create accessibile screencasts on the IU Knowledge Base.

Zoom is the best tool to use to create video content. You can record video or audio sessions with students present or by yourself. Zoom can send the recording to Kaltura. Learn more about using Zoom for instruction.

Curating and delivering others' content

You don't have to create all course material yourself from scratch. Many digital resources are available for you and your students to use, some of it free of charge.

Have a textbook for your class?

Consider ordering the book via the IU eTexts program. The IU eTexts program offers electronic textbooks from many publishers at significantly reduced prices. Many eTexts publishers offer digital courseware and learning tools through the IU eTexts program, too.

Some of the benefits of using an eTexts are:

  • The Bursar bills students for their textbooks and courseware directly
  • Students can access their eTexts directly from your Canvas site
  • All your students will have their textbook on the first day of class
  • You can direct students to important passages by creating annotations in the textbook that students can view as they read
  • eTexts are the only truly contactless method to deliver textbooks

The extended ordering deadline for Fall 2020 is July 2 at 8 p.m., after which you may still place an order by following the instructions for post-deadline orders.

Looking for free and open material?

Open Educational Resources

Many teaching and learning materials—including textbooks for many disciplines—are available free as Open Educational Resources. There are open repositories for other teaching and learning material, too. You can find free and open activities, assignments, videos, and more. Check out the Open Educational Resources page for your campus for resources.

Reading Lists in Canvas

Reading Lists allows instructors to create and manage course reading lists by searching library resources within Canvas and adding readings to their course. As an external tool in Canvas, Reading Lists also lets instructors search library databases for high-quality content, both scholarly and popular, to add to their courses. Instructors can start from a new list or import and edit a previously created list. Learn more about Reading Lists in the IU Knowledge Base.

Make sure you consider accessibility when you evaluate outside material. For example, look for videos that have clear captioning available or provide a transcript. It's also important to verify that non-text content like images and diagrams have appropriate alternative text included.