Creating content and readings for students is a fundamental way to provide information and context for courses. In an online class, it should be ensured that the provided content is engaging and complete for students to go through on their own.  

In Canvas, there are myriad tools available to use, and one of the most essential is written content that is presented to students in an easily approachable way. Using Canvas efficiently can reduce the amount of time spent writing and editing. 

Canvas includes a powerful word-processing tool called the Rich Content Editor in nearly every course’s major text field. It’s like having a tool similar to Microsoft Word inside of Canvas. The RCE offers an array of accessible and valuable tools to help create a wide variety of content in specific Canvas courses, such as specially formatted text, embedded images and videos and interactive components such as knowledge checks. In fact, there are so many tools and features that it may be overwhelming at first. But don’t fret — this tool is not as complex as it might first appear. 

This spotlight covers a few easy-to-use features for text editing in the RCE that will help improve the readability, approachability and accessibility of content in Canvas Pages: accessible text formatting, horizontal lines and embedded knowledge checks. 

Best practices 

  • Creating and using Pages with the RCE allow for a better experience as opposed to uploading different document types such as MS Word or PDFs.
  • Create content that is readable using accessible text. Avoid underlining text that is not a hyperlink, use bold and italics for emphasis and never use text color alone to convey meaning.
  • Improve the approachability of a page through organizational tools. Breaking up text or “chunking” it, especially with the use of horizontal lines, can create a better reading experience for the student.
  • Embed images, videos or knowledge checks to reinforce concepts throughout your content. Presenting multimedia and asking the student to directly engage with the reading material by answering simple questions can reinforce your content.

Walking through it together

For complete written step-by-step instructions, visit the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design Ready Spotlight tutorial page. 

Have questions? 

Want help on this or other teaching and learning topics? Please visit the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design for drop-in support (10 a.m.-3 p.m., M-F) or try one of the self-help tutorials.