Professor Paula Moya, Photo Credit: Ved Chirayath
Professor Paula Moya Photo Credit: Ved Chirayath

Canvas Course Profile – Paula Moya

As the first in a series of Canvas Course Profiles, we showcase Professor Paula Moya’s exemplary use of Canvas to enhance teaching and learning. She shares her experience, insights and lessons learned as well as tips and suggestions for instructors who are just getting started with Canvas.


Canvas Course Profile

Instructor: Paula Moya, Professor of English, and by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Department: English
Canvas Courses

F15-ENGLISH-161-01: Narrative and Narrative Theory
F15-MTL-334A-01/English-334A-01: Concepts of Modernity I: Philosophical Foundations
Sp15-OSPBER-43-01: Culture Clashes: Race, Ethnicity and Migration in Germany and the U.S.
Sp15-OSPBER-46-01: Gardens of Earthly Delight: Berlin’s Culture of Landscape and Public Space
W15-CSRE-196C-01/Psychology 155/English 172D/SOC 146/TAPS 165: Introduction to Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
F14-ENGLISH-363D-01/FemGen 363D: Feminist Theory: Thinking Through/With/About the Gendered Body


What has your experience with Canvas been like so far?

Overall, it has been very positive. I’m glad that I made the transition to Canvas.

How has Canvas helped to enhance teaching and learning in your courses?

(e.g,  facilitating assessment and feedback, supporting interactions, collaboration and engagement)
Modules work well for helping to structure the course and organize content (e.g., by week or topic). I can make all the assignments, readings, lecture slides, discussions and other content for each week or each topic available in one place as a module. I like that students can easily preview course content in Canvas and then download files.

Modules organized by topic
Modules Organized by Topic

I like Canvas Assignments better than CourseWork’s Dropbox feature.  Everything is in one convenient place. You can create the assignment, assign it a point value, and constrain the types of files students upload. And then once the students upload their assignments, it is very easy to grade them using SpeedGrader. I appreciate the fact that I can download all their submissions at once (if I want to) – although I usually just grade them online using SpeedGrader.

Canvas Assignment File Upload Types
Assignment File Upload Types

I try to always create rubrics when I create assignments. Rubrics are helpful for students as they clarify expectations and set criteria that will be used for assessment.


The Canvas iPhone app makes it easy to access courses.

Canvas iPhone App
Canvas iPhone App


What’s your favorite thing about Canvas?

Syllabus Tool –  You can set the Syllabus as the course homepage. If you copy and paste text from a document into the Syllabus tool, it’s easy to create the syllabus. The best thing about it is the ability to make updates during the quarter.  

Syllabus Tool
Syllabus Tool

SpeedGrader – This feature makes it easy to read and grade text assignments online. SpeedGrader allows me to use rubrics for grading and provide feedback as text comments.

Using a Rubric for Grading in SpeedGrader
Using a Rubric for Grading in SpeedGrader


Are there any challenges or areas for improvement?

Making the transition to Canvas has not been totally intuitive. It took a while to get used to new ways for dealing with content (e.g., publishing/unpublishing, organizing files and working with modules) and learning about options for assignments and student notification preferences.

What are some key lessons learned from your Canvas experience?

Everything has its advantages and its disadvantages. The Canvas interface is more robust and has some real advantages for students in terms of organizing material. For students, the experience of using Canvas may be more intuitive than the experience of using CourseWork – even if it is not for the faculty member.

Do you have any advice or tips for faculty just getting started with Canvas?

  • I think it is important for someone coming to Canvas for the first time to spend some time getting to know the new Canvas system before starting to  teach a course. (You can check out online resources for getting started with Canvas at, watch video tutorials, go to Canvas Office Hours for faculty and teaching staff, or meet with a VPTL Canvas consultant one-on-one.) There is a lot there, but you have to get to know the system before being able to take advantage of its robustness.
  • Don’t be afraid to take advantage of Canvas features.
  • Use the Course Setup Checklist feature.  It contains helpful reminders to make sure you don’t miss anything when setting up your course.

What are your plans for future courses in Canvas?

I’d like to do more with apps (e.g., using Google docs for collaboration).

The VPTL Canvas team is always happy to help. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss your course and get one-on-one help or check out our Stanford Canvas help resources for instructors.


Want to share your Canvas experience? Please get in touch with us to contribute a Canvas Course Profile.

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