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Extreme Makeover - Canvas Edition


Have you ever looked at your Canvas course and noticed it was a bit bland?  This 3-part series of workshops will help you bring your Canvas pages from drab to FAB by adding visual interest and cohesion that will "Wow" your students.  Participants will work to incorporate images, learn techniques for adding color and practice adding interactive elements that will help students maintain interest in what they're reading.  Seats will be available both in-person and online.  Note: If joining virtually, we strongly recommend a dual-monitor setup.


  • John Bellotti, Instructional Designer, College of Business
  • Sarah Bradway, Instructional Designer, CETL

Session Resources

Series Sessions

Session 1 - Working with Images

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words, but many Canvas pages are a dry desert of text. In today’s media rich society, where we all have cameras in our pockets and we cherish the latest grumpy cat meme, without pictures your course may have a hard time holding students' attention. Images can not only help hold students' attention but also enhance your course content in a variety of ways. Sadly, images in courses often appear awkward and out-of-place instead of wrapping around an image. This session will help you seamlessly incorporate all types of images into your Canvas pages. We will talk about different ways to use images, discuss limitations of copyright, learn how to wrap text so your pages appear flawless, and learn how to enhance content with the images you include in your canvas pages.

Note: The images included in the UW Oshkosh Flickr page mentioned in this session are available for University use with the exception of sports-related images.  Sports images should not be used.

Session 2 - Page Layout and Design

Why won’t students read the text on my pages? Why do they always ask where to find information?  Research has proven that when confronted with a page of text, you don’t immediately start reading. The first thing your brain does is take in the page, scan the headings, and seek out the most efficient route to tackle the page or find the information you need. Students working in Canvas may get brain overload, seeing a mass of black words forever scrolling down an endless page of text.  This session will introduce participants to simple techniques that will draw the eye to different areas of the page and help maintain reader interest. Many of these techniques will also help those with accessibility needs.

Session 3 - Interactive Elements

When people see a lot of text on a page, their first reaction is often, “Ugh! Another page of text! Do I have to read all that?” In this session you will learn how to turn that statement into, “Oh, another short page. I can read this.” Not only will you learn to incorporate text into smaller digestible chunks of text, but you’ll also explore how to incorporate interactions into your Canvas pages like tabs, accordions, and buttons. These interactions can act as both organizational components but can also act to engage students through flashcard like interactions or no stakes self-quizzes. Learn all this and more in this hands-on session. 

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