DEU often uses platforms like WordPress, Pressbooks and other content management systems for building learning technology functions beyond the capabilities of a standard LMS. We tend to think of the LMS as a central learning hub where students can branch out from to access pockets of content across the world wide web. However, once unleashed into the vast sea of the internet students can, at times, lose focus and be set adrift. It would be nice if we could “wrap” these outside websites, news channels, homework systems etc. inside of Canvas in order to keep students within the walls of the LMS and on task. The Redirect Tool does just that, and we’ll show you how.
Simply put, the Redirect Tool adds a link to a website (or even another Canvas page) that appears in the left hand course navigation. On the surface, it’s just a link. So what? I can put a link in any of my Canvas pages. Why is this special? The Redirect Tool allows the linked page, whether it’s a WordPress site, a News Channel, a homework system or any other web address, to be embedded within a Canvas page thus giving students full access to the website content, function, and navigation, but without losing the Canvas Navigation Menu or without leaving Canvas at all. See the short video below to see this tool in action or follow the instructions to try it yourself.
Instructions for using the Redirect Tool
- In the Settings link of your Canvas course’s Navigation Menu, click on the Apps tab at the top of the page. Here you’ll find the Redirect Tool.
- Click on the Redirect Tool and select +Add App when prompted.
- A new pop-up window will appear. Insert the Name of the link that will appear in your Main Navigation Menu, and copy and paste the URL for the website you wish to embed in Canvas.
- Deselect the “Force open in new tab (For External Links Only)” option as this will take students away from Canvas if selected. Also select “Show in Course Navigation” to create a link in the Main Menu for students to access. (See image above). Then finish by clicking the Add App button.
- Return to your course Homepage to see the changes to your menu. You should now see your Link Name at the bottom of the Navigation Menu. You can move this link up or down in your menu in the usual way.
- Click on your link and you should see your web page appear within the Main body of your Canvas page. Notice students are still inside the Canvas course and maintain quick access to the Main Navigation Menu for Discussions or Assignments or other Navigation items. Also notice, they do NOT have access to a full browser search which may lead them adrift with temptation.
- Any page links or external links embedded in the linked website will now load within the Canvas page as well. Students can navigate back to the previous web pages using their standard navigation arrows in their preferred browser.
- Not all pages will allow you to embed them in Canvas such as the USask LinkedIn Learning Courses.
Photo by Gábor Kárpáti from Pexels - CC0