We have created a Canvas Commons module for students to complete in Week 0 (or Week 1) of any academic-year quarter called the “UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module”. This module covers:

  • Campus resources for students
  • How to use Canvas, Zoom, YuJa, and Hypothesis as a student
  • Tips for succeeding in an online course
  • Guidelines for online discussion & academic integrity
  • And more!

This Introduction Module works best if you already have modules set up in your Canvas course. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can contact the TLC. The Introduction Module is customizable and appropriate for any course in any discipline. Instructors can import the module into their Canvas course from Canvas Commons. Search for “UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module” (and be sure to use that exact wording!).

The instructions for importing the Summer version of the Introduction Module can be found here.

How to add the Introduction Module

Option A: Direct link

This is the easiest way to add the Introduction Module to your course — unfortunately, it’s not the most reliable!

Navigate to the UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module in Canvas Commons

Do you see the see Introduction Module? If so — great! Skip to “Option B: Step 6” below.

If you do NOT see the Introduction Module when you click the link, try clicking the link a second time. If that does not work, move to Option B below.

Option B: Search in Canvas Commons

Step 1: Navigate to the Canvas course to which you want to add the Introduction Module.

Step 2: Click Import from Commons, located in the navigation bar on the right side of the screen (on smaller screens, the button may be on the bottom of your screen).

Step 3: Click the blue Authorize button to authorize Commons to access your account.

Step 4: In the “Search by title, institution, name or tag” field, type UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module. Use this exact wording; it’s very hard to find the module if you don’t!

Step 5: You’ll see a module called “UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module 🌎🌍🌏” with a photo of the UCSC sign at the main entrance to campus. Click on the title.

Step 6: Click the blue Import/Download button.

Step 7: Select the course(s) you’d like to add the module to and click Import into Course. You’ll see “You have successfully started the import! It may take a little while to see changes in your course.”

Step 8: Return to your course. Click on Modules, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and then drag the introduction module to the top of the page. (You can also click Pages to see the individual pages of the Introduction Module.)

That’s it! You’ve now added the Introduction Module to your course. You can use it as-is, delete pages that aren’t relevant to your course, and/or customize the module.

Option C: Contact us

Email tlc@ucsc.edu to request that the module be added to your course. Don’t forget to include your course’s name and code.

Tips for Customizing the Introduction Module

Why customize?

While you are free to use the Introduction Module as-is, we recommend that you personalize it to make the greatest impact. Customizing the Introduction Module allows you to:

  • Introduce yourself and the class to your students
  • Help students feel excited to take your course and comfortable asking for support
  • Address questions and concerns that frequently arise at the start of the quarter
  • Help create a sense of community in your course

Ideas for personalizing the Introduction Module:

  • Embed a friendly welcome video to introduce yourself in the first page of the module (Start here!). Ideally, this video should be:
    • Short — we recommend 2–3 minutes. No more than 6 minutes
    • Simple — with high-quality audio
    • Communicate support & set the tone for your course (ex: high support, high expectations)
  • Add in friendly language in your own voice to personalize instructions on each page
  • Add in offers of support and encouragement on the How to Find Help page
  • Address the difficulty of this time (pandemic, remote instruction, racial injustice, election, etc.) in the How to Succeed in an Online Course page, or wherever you find most appropriate
  • Acknowledge challenges students are facing on the Using Zoom page. Examples:
    • “Come talk to me if you don’t have a quiet place to study in your house and it is affecting your ability to participate in class.” 
    • “I know it can be exhausting to be on Zoom meetings all day. I get exhausted too! Try your best to take breaks every day where you’re moving your body and not looking at a screen.”
  • Add in a short assignment or quiz to make the module more interactive and verify that students learned key information. For example, you might ask students to add a portrait of themselves to Canvas and Zoom (this can also help humanize Zoom sessions where many students have their cameras off!).
  • Create a pre-course survey in Canvas quizzes or Google Forms and add it to the module (note: students will not be able to access this module until the start of the quarter; if you want to send a survey before then, use Google Forms).
  • Tip: Online Education created a sample Google Form template for creating a pre-course survey. If you are interested in using it, follow these instructions:
    1. Navigate to the Google Forms homepage. Be sure you are accessing this page from your UCSC account.
    2. Click on Template Gallery (near top right of the page – not always easy to find!). Click the Remote Learning Student Survey.
    3. A copy of the templated quiz is now in your Google Drive. You can edit the survey description, questions, theme, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Should I use the Introduction Module or the Course Design Template?

Wondering whether you should add the Introduction Module to your course or use the Course Design Template? Here is an overview of each that will help you decide. Both are available on Canvas Commons. 

Introduction Module

  • Student-facing
  • Can be used as-is (“plug and play”)
  • Consists of one module for use at the beginning of the quarter
  • Includes information on campus-wide resources and remote instruction tools for students
  • Content is updated each quarter by Online Education (see next FAQ for more info)
  • Reduces instructors’ need to respond to student questions about how to use digital tools
  • How to find: search “UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module” in Canvas Commons 

Course Design Template

  • Instructor-facing
  • Must be customized and filled in with the materials for your course
  • Includes modules for all 10 weeks of the quarter
  • Includes the Orientation Module, but with additional pages that must be customized
  • Is ideal for instructors who are new to Canvas, UCSC, and/or remote instruction. The template guides you through setting up your course on Canvas.

How to find: search “UC Santa Cruz Course Design Template” in Canvas Commons

Can I copy over my introduction module from a previous course?

Yes — but the information might be out of date.

To ensure your Introduction Module includes the most current information, follow these steps:

Step 1: We’ll assume you’ve already made a copy of a previous course that includes the Introduction Module to use for your new course (if you haven’t, start by doing that!).

Step 2: Log in to Canvas and click the Commons button in the left navigation bar. It looks like a “C” with an arrow pointing right inside of it.

Step 3: If the Introduction Module has been updated since you last imported it, you should see the following notice pop up in the top right of your screen:

The module “UC Santa Cruz Introduction Module 🌎🌍🌏” was updated on [date].

Click the View Update Notes button.

Step 4: You’ll see a description of the updates made to the module since you imported it, as well as your courses that include this module. Click the blue Update button.

Step 5: Canvas will check if you’re really sure by prompting you with this notice: “This update will replace your current resource. Do you still want to update?” Click Yes

Congrats! Now your Introduction Module is up-to-date.

Do you have any examples of what a welcome video looks like?