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Concepts - Canvas Collections

Adapted from the Collections landing page the following descriptions and videos provide an overview of the primary concepts that make up Canvas Collections and video examples of what they look like as you interact with Canvas with Collections installed.


The difference between Collections and collections

The use of upper or lower case C distinguishes between two different concepts:

  1. Collections - refers to Canvas Collections, the entire tool.
  2. collections - you use the tool (Collections) to create collections and allocate different Canvas modules to belong to different collections.

Canvas Collections allows you to define different collections of Canvas modules. Providing a way to add structure to Canvas modules, moving beyond the one linear, vertical list of modules.

In the video below, the 12 modules for a Canvas course (designed to introduce Canvas Collections) are grouped into four specific collections summarised in the table.

The collection's names - Why?, What?, How?, and Questions & Suggestions - are designed to help students navigate between collections.

Within the Canvas community, this is a long requested feature (a 2016 request).

collection name Description
Why? Three modules answering the question why use Collections?
What? Four modules (one unpublished) addressing the question what is Canvas Collections?
How? Five modules (one unpublished) answering the question how to use Collections?
Questions & Suggestions No modules, but a padlet is available as a space to ask questions and mark suggestions about Collections. The padlet is embedded in a Canvas page for this course. It has been nominated as this collection's include page, i.e. its content is displayed as part of the collection.

See the collections reference page for more.


For each collection, you can select from one of a number of different representations. Each representation adds a different visual design to the modules. Moving Modules beyond a sequence of Windows 95 folders.

The representation for a collection can be changed at any time by selecting another of the available representations. Currently, there are four representations. New representations can be added.

See the representations reference page for more.

Context (objects through metadata)

For each module, you can provide additional (meta-)data about the module, including a description, date (range), label, banner image etc. This allows you to add more context to the Canvas modules page. Transforming a vanilla Canvas module into a design and context specific object.

See the Objects reference page for more.

Claytons (or static) Collections

All the previous examples on this page are for live Collections. i.e. the Collections code is installed and is actively modifying how you are seeing your Canvas site's module page. Not everyone can install the Collections code.

Claytons Collections provides the ability to use the Collections representations on a static Canvas page. Using Claytons collections does not require the Collections code to be installed.

Claytons Collections can be used to follow Canvas community best practice to create an inviting course home page. A home page that can emulate the features of Collections, without requiring Collections. The animated image is a demonstration.

See the "Claytons" Collections reference page for more.

Using Claytons Collections to create a visual home page