Distance Ed Training Newsletter

Welcome to our Distance Education Newsletter! We're excited to share strategies, training, and links to help you navigate remote learning. The goal is to keep you informed and inspired and share ideas for online education. 


Is there a distance education topic or Canvas tool you want to learn more about? Send your suggestions for future training to distancelearning@sussex.edu.

Monthly Newsletters

Module Design:

Thanks to all who attended this month’s training session on effective module design for interactive online learning. For those who could not attend, the session will be repeated prior to the start of the Fall semester. In the meantime, listed below are some widely accepted design principles to keep in mind as you design your Fall courses:

  1. State Clear Learning Objectives
  • Define Goals: Clearly state what learners are expected to achieve by the end of the module.
  • Align Content: Ensure that all activities, assessments, and materials align with these objectives.
  1. Chunk Content
  • Modular Design: Break down the content into manageable, bite-sized chunks to avoid cognitive overload.
  • Focused Units: Each chunk should cover a single topic or concept, making it easier for learners to grasp and retain information.
  1. Include Engaging Content
  • Interactive Elements: Include multimedia elements like videos, podcasts, infographics, and interactive quizzes to make learning engaging. Keep videos SHORT. Studies show students stop watching after 6 minutes.
  • Active Learning: Incorporate activities that check understanding & require learners to engage actively with the content in EVERY module.
  1. Use Uniform Layout
  • Canvas Tools: Hide files, assignments, and quizzes. Present all materials and assessments in the module to help learners navigate the content easily and prevent confusion.
  • Sequential navigation: Organize the module sequentially. Edit module requirements to prevent jumping to assignments without completing preparatory materials.
  1. Provide Feedback and Assessment
  • Formative Assessments: Include regular assessment opportunities to help learners gauge their understanding and get immediate feedback in every module. (This may include quizzes, Edpuzzle, discussions, page contributions, etc.). Use Canvas rubrics to provide regular feedback.



At the end of a busy semester, everyone is immersed in calculating and submitting final grades. Therefore, we have not held an on-campus training session this month. However, summer is a great time to revise your Canvas courses or supplemental shells. One way to ensure all students have access to the wonderful and challenging materials you present is to ensure ADA compliance for course videos.

To meet ADA requirements, all videos included in your Canvas courses should have closed captions and/or a transcript of the presentation included. Videos uploaded to YouTube can enable closed captions, but what if you recorded a video using the Canvas media recorder? There is no need to retype the transcripts of those videos. View this video for instructions on using the dictate function of Word to create an editable transcript draft for your instructor-created videos.


“New Quizzes” is available in Canvas

Some faculty have already experimented with the new version of quizzes, which Instructure has indicated will replace the classic quizzes format at an as-yet-unspecified date. The new tool allows instructors to incorporate different types of questions, such as labeling, equations, and drag/drop, in their quizzes and tests for a more robust assessment of student learning.

To enable New Quizzes in your Canvas course, go to Settings and complete the following:

  1. Select “Feature Options” from among the tabs in Settings.
  2. Scroll down and click the circle next to “New Quizzes.”
  3. If you wish to make New Quizzes the default in your course rather than Classic Quizzes, select “Default to New Quizzes.” (You may return and do this later if you’re not ready to commit just yet).
  4. Refresh the homepage, and you’ll be ready to go

How to use New Quizzes. View the video for tips on getting started.

Remember to reach out to the distance learning team for one-on-one assistance.


EdPuzzle is a tool that allows instructors to pause instructor-created or online video content and check for understanding through free-response or short-answer questions! And yes, it integrates with Canvas, with scores sent to the grades feature. TRAINING MATERIALS


Ethical use of AI and AI plagiarism are the hottest topics in higher education, and the field is rapidly evolving.

Did you know new “humanizer” websites will rewrite AI-generated content to be flagged as “human” when run through AI detection programs? Keeping up with technological advances and revising assignments to encourage students to compose their work, especially online, will ensure academic honesty in the classroom.

One free resource for assignment redesign and academic honesty policies is the downloadable Guide to AI Plagiarism in Higher Education, published by Kritik.io. Click the link above to access the text and see what suggestions others have for detecting AI-generated content, citing AI-written work, and the ethical issues that arise when using AI in the classroom.

SCCC has an institutional subscription to TurnItIn, which is embedded in Canvas. Contact the distance education team if you need assistance setting up a Canvas assignment using TurnItIn. TurnItIn does include AI detection, but as is the case for any detection program, it is a starting point for a discussion with a student rather than proof of academic dishonesty.