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Are you using this Canvas feature? Multimedia projects explained

Looking for a more engaging way for students to learn? Do you want to see different types of media being used to tell a complex story? If so, consider adding a multimedia project to a future course. Multimedia and presentation skills are crucial for success in many fields and highly regarded by employers. Canvas’s Rich Content Editor (RCE) in Pages makes assigning, creating and presenting these projects much easier for students and instructors, too. We have created a how-to guide for students. This will help them get started right away with their projects. Hopefully it will reduce the number of questions that you get, too. 

Get Set Up:

To use the RCE for group projects, it is important to assign each student or group of students to a unique page. This page is where the student or group will create the multimedia assignment. For students to be able to edit these pages, a professor must adjust his or her Canvas settings to allow students to edit pages. To do so, click on settings in the navigation bar on the left side of the screen. After clicking on settings, select more options at the bottom of the screen. Make sure that the options for Teachers and Students can create, rename, and edit are selected for the last option on the page. Hit Update Course Details when you are done.

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It is now time to assign each student or group of students to a page. Create a page for each student or group by clicking on Pages in the navigation bar on the left, View All Pages, and the + sign. You will then create pages for each unique student or group.

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Make sure that teachers and students are allowed to edit the page.

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After creating the necessary pages, you should email each student’s URL to her or him directly. This URL will be the only way students can access and edit their projects. To prevent students from editing or tampering with other students’ pages, it is important to hide the Pages tab on the left navigation bar.  To do so, click on settings as you did previously on the left navigation bar. Then, click Navigation at the top of the screen. Next, drag Pages under the “Drag items here to hide them from students” section of the page and make sure to click save!

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Have Your Students Start Creating Projects: 

Now that students have their own project pages, they can make use of all that the RCE has to offer to create a high-quality multimedia project. Have students review this how-to guide so they can familiarize themselves with all of the tools available to them through the RCE. Some highlights include:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Images
  • Hyperlinks
  • Links to Content Within Canvas

The RCE allows students to easily import various forms of media from their computers, YouTube, Flickr or other similar media sharing sites. It also gives students the option to record video or audio directly and have this content be automatically embedded into the project page. Another key feature of the RCE is its seamless combination of text and media. Videos, images and audio can easily be moved to any location within the screen to best integrate with text.

This combination of various media forms offers a unique alternative to traditional essays. By challenging students to bring in media to complement text posts, students are exposed to additional material that enriches the educational experience. Additionally, the ability to use various forms of media together to prove a point will most likely be part of students’ work lives in the future.

Conclude and Present Projects:

When all students have completed their projects, it is important to turn off student editing permissions before making the projects visible. To do so, click on Settings in the left navigation bar and click More Options as you did in the initial set-up. Next, change the Teachers and Students can edit drop down menu to say Only Teachers can edit. It is important to check the box that appears below this option and then click Update Course Details.

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Now that editing permissions have been turned off for students, it is time to bring the Pages section of Canvas back into the left navigation bar for students. To do so, simply click Settings and then Navigation as you did when hiding Pages previously. Now, drag the Pages section from the “Drag items here to hide them from students” section to the “Drag and drop items to reorder them in the course navigation” section. Students can now see their classmates’ projects. You can ask students to present their projects either virtually or in-person.

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Want to learn more about Northwestern’s very own film studio dedicated to helping students easily film professional-looking videos for multimedia and group projects? Check it out here!