Design for Student Access

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It's impossible for students learning remotely to succeed, if they cannot gain access to both a computer and wifi. Most students will be able to locate limited access to technology or use mobile devices during the course of the semester. Designing your course to account for limited access is the best way to give every student an opportunity to succeed.

Limit or eliminate required, synchronous web lectures/meetings. Students with low access to wifi will face additional barriers when they are required to meet at specific times to view/participate in live lectures/meetings. Even students with computers and internet access may experience poor connections frequently or intermittently.


  • Create synchronous meetings that are optional and complementary, but not essential to succeeding in the class. This eliminates the penalty for students who are unable to attend.

  • Record all synchronous meetings and make them readily available for students to view. Encourage students to contact you if they have any questions about what they viewed, since they were unable to attend live. Consider making these recorded web lectures a Discussion in your Canvas shell, so students who could not attend can ask questions or make comments.

  • Record short videos (5-7 minutes) and add to your Canvas shell or share via email. Students can download videos when they have access to wifi and can watch at their convenience. You can record videos in Studio. This guide will help you create videos.

  • Record podcasts. Audio files are smaller, and easier for students to download. You can include PPTs, charts or images as downloadable materials to illustrate points in your podcast. How to record a podcast/audio file in Canvas.

If you do plan to use synchronous lecture, here is a guide for some best practices.

When possible, use downloadable material in your Canvas course. PDF's, PPTs, videos can be downloadable electronic resources. Students with limited wifi access can strategically use time when they have wifi access to download necessary items for later use. You can even suggest this practice of downloading material to all of your students.

Download the Student Canvas App and check that all of your material is readily available. The Canvas app is a good option for students who have a smart phone and data plan. But the app is not as reliable as Canvas on a computer. Some assignments do not show up in the app. You can download the Student App for yourself and check to see that students have access to everything you want them to see. Download the Student App here. If something is missing and you can't figure out why, contact us at or contact Canvas Help 24/7 at 901.318.3024.

Find out how a color-coded graph can help lower the bandwidth students need to succeed in your course:

How Low Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All