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UCF will be continuing remote instruction through the summer semester. For information and resources, please refer to the Keep Teaching site for faculty and the Keep Learning site for students.

With 99.8% of UCF students owning a smartphone and over half owning a tablet, the Canvas Student app is an important part of how students access courses and materials on-the-go. It is important to understand how to design course content for these students since the experience and expectations are slightly different than a desktop/laptop.

Tip 1: Content Chunking

Students at UCF spend 2/3rds less time each session on a mobile device when accessing online coursework compared to a computer. To better accommodate this experience, consider chunking larger sections of content into smaller well-organized parts.

A best practice is to use the Modules tool to organize Pages in your course.

Tip 2: File Formats

Traditional file formats such as Word and PDF can produce a subpar reading experience and be less accessible on a smartphone. Consider using the Pages tool to create content that supports native app features like enlarging text, high contrast modes, and text-to-speech.

Tip 3: File Sizes

Students using mobile devices might have data limits or limited access to data, so consider:

  • Converting larger files into smaller formats (Ex: Convert PowerPoint files into PDF files)
  • Chunking large files into multiple parts
  • Letting students know the file size before downloading content

Tip 4: Mobile-Friendly Media

To make the experience compatible with mobile devices, it’s important to avoid:

  • Flash
  • Java
  • Non-responsive websites (link to mobile responsive websites formatted for mobile devices)

When uploading audio/video into a course, explore services like YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud or use the video and audio tools in Webcourses@UCF (Canvas).

Tip 5: Mobile-Friendly Tools

Consider offering students tools that are compatible with mobile devices to continue learning on any platform and to take advantage of mobile device tools. This includes cloud tools such as Office 365, Podcasts, and using the camera for assignments or communication.

Tip 6: Instructions and Prompts

Mobile devices and computers are physically different, which requires a unique user interface and experience. Avoid referencing specific aspects of the user interface when giving instructions (ex: Click the next button, Click the submit button above) because these elements could be different on mobile. 

Tip 7: Inform

As a best practice, if a portion of a class is not mobile-friendly, it’s important to be upfront and inform students of alternative ways to view the content, complete an assignment, or participate in the class.

Tip 8: Review Your Courses

Maybe you don’t use mobile devices while teaching, and that’s okay, but it’s important to review your courses on a mobile device. With more and more students using mobile devices to access their courses, their success and satisfaction isn’t exclusive to the computer anymore.