Residential Education: Canvas Blueprint Courses

In the Fall of 2017, Diontrey Thompson, Assistant Dean of Residential Education, approached the Canvas team looking for a more efficient way to design and deploy the RA Residential Class 192A: Residential Education Interpersonal Learning and Leadership course.   All first-year Resident Assistants (including those studying abroad Spring Quarter) are required to complete this course. This is a large course with multiple sections taught by multiple facilitators (instructors).  Maintaining consistency of course content, while allowing facilitators the flexibility to customize their own sections and meet learning benchmarks ranging from leadership to college development, proved challenging.

Creating a Canvas Blueprint course was the ideal solution to address the challenge.  Blueprint is an effective way to deploy, update and maintain a specific course design template across multiple sections for a large number of facilitators.  “Overall it was a big hit!” According to Colton Brasel, a Program Associate for Residential Education. Colton was instrumental in creating a consistent, robust and interactive Residential Canvas course.   He developed learning objectives and organized course content using modules in the Blueprint course. Colton then locked specific settings for items common to all sections and pushed updates to all sections associated with the Blueprint course through course syncing.  The layout was so successful in rolling out 192A that Colton decided to utilize Blueprint courses for the Residential Education 192B Row and FSL 192E Fraternity and Sorority Life courses for Spring 2018 as well.

The Blueprint format and structure facilitated teaching and learning and enhanced communication across multiple sections for instructors and students.  Every component was easily “threaded” together. “Facilitators and Residential Education staff really appreciated the convenience of accessing files and links directly from the Blueprint course, while having the flexibility to customize their own sections,” said Colton.  Facilitators could upload new material to their own section, personalize content and specify different due dates. Yet the core content and objectives remained the same for every enrolled student. Blueprint was also utilized for the Residential Education 192B Row and 192E FSL Fraternity and Sorority Life courses.  Given the success experienced using the Blueprint course, Residential Education will continue to utilize it for their spring 2019 course offering of 192A, 192B and 192E courses.

If interested in learning more about Blueprint courses, please contact the Canvas Help Desk at: help@stanfordcanvas.zendesk.com.

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