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What has stood out most during this module is the concept that course design best practices are platform agnostic. It was not until I heard this quote that I had realized all our Small Learning reading had made no reference to any specific LMS. The universality of good course design (such as backward design) means that these principles should be taught to faculty before teaching them the technical nuances of a specific LMS. Once faculty have become fluent in the best practices of online course design, they are empowered to apply these lessons to the creation of any online course in the LMS of their choosing.

This being said, it is important to stress that a key component of this module has been an introduction to Canvas. Once faculty have become aware of best practices, it will be time to become fluent in Canvas as the chosen LMS of Northeastern. Prior to this module I have only used Blackboard as an LMS, so I was a bit nervous of the transition. Leading up to the start of this program, I had even watched some youtube tutorials to assuage my fears of what I thought to be fundamentally altering the way in which I communicate with students in online curricula. 

The change in LMS was not nearly as “fundamental” as I believed it would be. In many ways Canvas is similarly structured to Blackboard; however, I would describe Canvas as much less cluttered. The ATS program has also done a great job of easing me into the new software by providing a variety of resources. I am a visual learner, so I found the instructional videos to be incredibly helpful. Even though it has been an intensive first week (definitely getting in my 20 hours), the work feels manageable. The ATS program has followed an incrementalist model of weekly assigning smaller assignments that will accumulate in a final project. This incrementalist approach is something that I have noticed working well in the previous online classes I have taken, and it has been fulfilling connecting my observations as a student of online courses with the lessons I am learning as an instructor.