Canvas Spotlight

Improve Student Engagement Using the Rich Content Editor

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Creating content and readings for students is a fundamental way to provide information and context for your course. When teaching online, you should ensure the content you provide is engaging and complete for students to go through on their own. In Canvas, there are myriad tools you can use, and one of the most essential is written content that is presented to students in an easily approachable way. Using Canvas efficiently can reduce the amount of time you spend writing, editing, and empowers you to maximize accessibility for all students in your course.

Canvas includes a powerful word-processing tool called the Rich Content Editor (RCE) in nearly every major text field in your course. Think of it as having a tool like Microsoft Word inside of Canvas. The RCE puts an array of valuable tools at your fingertips, allowing you to create a wide variety of content in your Canvas course, like specially formatted text, embedded images and videos, and interactive components such as knowledge checks. In fact, there are so many tools and features that it may be overwhelming at first. But don’t fret, this tool is not as complex as it might at first appear.

This spotlight covers a few easy-to-use features for text editing in the RCE that will help you improve the readability, approachability, and accessibility of your content in Canvas Pages: accessible text formatting, horizontal lines, and embedded knowledge checks.

Best practices

  • Creating and using Pages with the RCE allows for a better experience as opposed to uploading different document types such as  MS Word or PDFs. 
  • Create content that is readable using accessible text. Avoid underlining text that is not a hyperlink, use bold and italics for emphasis, and never use text color alone to convey meaning.
  • Improve the approachability of a page through organizational tools. Breaking up your text or “chunking” it, especially with the use of horizontal lines, can create a better reading experience for the student.
  • Embed images, videos, or knowledge checks to reinforce concepts throughout your content. Presenting multimedia and asking the student to directly engage with the reading material by answering simple questions can reinforce your content.

Let’s walk through it together

Adding a Horizontal Line to Break Up Text and Increase Readability

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas Account.
  4. Select the Course you’d like to work in.
  5. Select a Text Field you’d like to edit using the RCE.
    • Most commonly, you’ll be using these tools within Pages, so that’s a good place to start. However, the RCE exists in most text fields in Canvas, so these tools can be used in an Assignment, Discussion, etc.
  6. Click Edit in the upper right corner to open RCE.
  7. Click within the RCE to place your cursor where you’d like to place your horizontal line. 
  8. Select Insert in the upper left corner. 
  9. Select Horizontal Line.
    • Add as many lines as you want to improve the readability of your page.
  10. Click Save in the bottom right when you are finished making edits.

Embedding a Knowledge Check in the RCE

  1. Create a Microsoft Form.
  2. Click the Share button in the upper right corner of the page.
  3. Select the Embed Icon in the middle right of the window.
  4. Copy the Embed Code.
  5. Return to Canvas.
  6. Click Edit in the upper right corner of the page.
  7. Click within the RCE to place your cursor where you’d like to insert your knowledge check.
  8. Click the Three Dots Icon above the RCE on the right side.
  9. Click the Embed Icon.
  10. Paste the Embed Code that was copied from the Microsoft Form
  11. Click Submit in the lower right of the window.
  12. Click Save in the bottom right.