Dons Template

As of August 1, 2021, the USF Instructional Design has introduced a new version of the Dons Template for Canvas, appropriate for all course delivery modes. The Dons Template v2 replaces previous iterations of the USF Dons Template, released in early 2020.

The Dons Template for Canvas include easy-to-understand prompts to help you design a dynamic digital component for your courses, as well as a more consistent user-experience for your students across their courses. The templates are intuitive, good-looking, and built on research-based course design best practices that will help reduce time spent designing your Canvas course, with advantages including:

  • A customizable, inviting home page to welcome students to your course
  • A modular structure to easily organize your lesson materials
  • Getting started resources for students to head-off commonly asked questions
  • Placeholder pages and text to easily input essential course information

screen shot of Dons Template in CanvasHow does the Dons Template for Canvas accommodate Simple Syllabus’ template content?

The updated Dons Template for Canvas, fall 2021 release, has been developed and restructured to work with Simple Syllabus, continuing to address the QM standards across the two platforms. The new syllabus template provides pre-populated University Policies policies information, which is also included as a page in the Dons Template Student Resources module. To learn more about Simple Syllabus and what its template provides, please visit the ETS Simple Syllabus page.

How can I add the Dons Template to my course?

The Dons Templates are designed to be immediately accessible—you can access it from Canvas Commons and apply it directly to your Canvas course shell in Banner. The template includes links to the set up handbook as well as an exemplar course.

How do I import my course content, including the Dons Template into my new semester course?

Visit these directions on the ETS website if you previously used the Dons Template and would like to copy your materials to a new course you are teaching.

How do I add only the Dons Template Homepage?

One of the features of the Dons Template is an updated homepage. If you previously used the older version of the Dons Template, then you can update your Canvas course with only the updated Dons Template homepage. 

Here are two versions of the instructions on how to Import the New USF Dons Template Homepage Google Doc or Interactive Presentation

What is Quality Matters and how does it support quality course design in the Dons Template?

USF has adopted the Quality Matters (QM) framework and rubric, comprising 42 evidence-based standards used to develop and evaluate the design of online and blended courses. The rubric application and course review process assists in improving courses to strengthen student engagement and learning experience.

Adapting the QM rubric for the purpose of your course, the Instructional Design team has selected key standards to guide best practices for course design. The Dons Template incorporates these standards in its organization and foundational content components, providing you with a solid start. To see the list of standards and the associated components built into the Dons Template, view our comparison document.

If you’d like to learn more about Quality Matters 6th edition QM rubric and Quality Matters research, applications, and community, please schedule a consultation with an instructional designer.

How do I learn more about Canvas and the Dons Template?

The USF Instructional Design team provides consultations on designing courses, including taking advantage of the Canvas platform to improve students’ experiences with your technology-enhanced courses and incorporating best practices on course design, active learning, and accessible teaching. Sign up for an Instructional Design consultation to learn more.

The USF Instructional Technology and Training (ITT) team offers self-guided training materials and consultations on educational technologies to support your transition to technology-enhanced teaching and learning. Visit the ITT resource page on Canvas to learn more about USF's learning management system.