Canvas Blog: Using Announcements Effectively

This is the second post in our blog looking at specific tools and aspects of Canvas and how they can be used to further improve our students digital learning journey.

The Importance of Announcements

Canvas announcements are a potent means for fostering effective communication between instructors and students. Announcements can fulfill various roles, including welcoming and guiding students, summarizing key concepts, and reminding them of impending assignments, projects, and exams.

Despite their importance, there is a prevailing tendency among students to disable announcement notifications, attributing it to an overwhelming influx of notifications and email spam, in light of this, we present a set of recommended best practices.

Best Practices

  • Carefully consider your purpose before crafting an announcement, avoiding duplication of information already covered elsewhere.
  • Establish a regular schedule for posting announcements. Consistency helps students anticipate and look forward to updates, creating a routine that enhances engagement. These regular announcements could include recapping the previous week and providing a preview of what students can expect in the upcoming week.
  • Give your announcements meaningful titles that precisely convey their content. Utilize descriptive titles like “Week X Update” or “Important Date Change for Assignment X” to help students easily locate relevant information when needed.
  • When composing your announcement, use the toolbar features to format bulleted or numbered lists for improved readability. Employ headings to separate topics into different sections. If necessary, attach a document to an announcement rather than including a large amount of text in the body.
  • Establish clear communication expectations with your students at the beginning of the course. Consider allocating 5 minutes at the start of the semester to give students a tour of the Canvas course site and discuss how communication will occur throughout the semester.

Utilizing Delay Posting for Scheduling Announcements

To streamline the process of maintaining a consistent announcement schedule, we highly recommend leveraging the delay posting option. This feature enables you to draft announcements in advance and set a specific day and time for their publication in your Canvas course. Until the publication date, the announcement can be edited, allowing for the addition of any supplementary details or updates as needed.

Postponing an announcement is a straightforward process. Just create the announcement as usual (consider making a basic template for consistency), and then choose the “Delay Posting” from the list of options at the bottom of the page.

Finally choose a date and time for the announcement to be published. Your students will then receive a notification as normal once the announcement is published.

Next Steps

Instructure has an excellent set of web guides on how to use Canvas effectively:

Additional information can also be found on the Canvas Orientation page:

Additional Canvas training is provided by LTDS on a monthly basis, you can sign up on elements below.

Getting to Know Canvas – Introductory Webinar:

Using Canvas Effectively – Advanced Webinar:

Alternatively if you are interested in booking an in person workshop for colleagues within your school then please contact

Canvas Blog: Creating Engaging Interactive Content Using H5P

This is the first in a series of blog posts looking at specific tools and aspects of Canvas and how they can be used to further improve our students digital learning journey.

The Importance of Interactivity

Developing interactive educational content is crucial for creating an engaging online learning experience. This approach enhances students’ effectiveness, engagement, and motivation by facilitating active learning instead of merely receiving information passively. Furthermore, the ability to include small self assessment activities within such content promotes self reflection allowing students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses. According to Yung-Ming (2013), interactivity plays a huge role in

“the perception of the ease of use of the learning system, as well as the consideration of the usefulness and the interest that stimulates.” Theodosis Karageorgakis

Why use H5P?

As a busy academic, it can be challenging to find the time and resources to enhance your teaching methods. However, H5P is a powerful tool that can significantly benefit your teaching, even amidst a busy schedule. Here’s why: 

  • Interactive and Engaging Content Creation: H5P simplifies the process of crafting interactive and engaging content. This feature boosts student attention, engagement, and overall enjoyment of the learning experience.
  • Time Efficiency: H5P offers a user-friendly interface along with a diverse range of pre-designed templates, facilitating the swift creation of interactive content. Once you grasp the tool, time savings are achievable through template reuse and the modification of existing content—whether created by you or shared with colleagues—to suit various topics or courses.
  • Versatility in Activity Types: H5P provides a multitude of activity types, such as interactive videos, presentations, quizzes, games, timelines, and more. This versatility enables you to accommodate different learning styles and adapt your teaching methods to the diverse needs of student groups. Whether your aim is knowledge assessment, concept reinforcement, or fostering critical thinking, H5P offers a broad spectrum of options.
  • Seamless Integration with Learning Management Systems: H5P seamlessly integrates with our learning management systems, including Canvas. This integration streamlines the content creation process, allowing you to stay within your Canvas page. Consequently, it minimizes the need for students to navigate between multiple tools.
  • Accessible Help and Support: H5P includes built-in tutorials for all content types, providing readily available assistance. Additionally, we offer further support through workshops dedicated to using H5P, fostering a collaborative environment for sharing knowledge and skills among colleagues.

How to build a simple resource

The video below shows how you can quickly build a simple H5P resource and/or import the Christmas advent calendar to add to your Canvas course.

Examples of H5P in practice

Click on any of the content types below to see an example of some of the excellent resources being created across the University.

Course Presentation

Interactive book

Flash Cards

Interactive Video

Branching Scenario

Getting started – Next steps

The H5P website has a wide range of examples of content to get you started thinking about how you can use this amazing tool within your own teaching practice.

There are excellent step-by-step guides to creating various content types available at

Training is provided by LTDS on a monthly basis, you can sign up on elements below.

H5P Introductory Webinar:

H5P Advanced Webinar:

Alternatively if you are interested in booking an in person workshop for colleagues within your school then please contact

Finally if you are looking for some festive content for your students you can find the Newcastle University H5P Advent Calendar below, click the reuse button to export it. There are instructions in the video above.