Semester Start Up Checklist

Although each Canvas course is different, there are some basics things you should do when you create a new course.  If you have never used Canvas before, you may wish to request a consultation to learn more about Canvas and how best to set up your course.  Use this checklist to make sure that your Canvas courses are ready!

Step 1:  Add and Organize Content
Add your course content or copy content from an existing Canvas course. Choose how you would like your students to navigate the course. You might organize files into folders, create pages, and/or group materials into modules that suit your course. Check the accessibility of your content.

To access the UDIT Canvas template, use the Canvas Commons link in the blue global navigation bar on the left of your Canvas course. Type “UDIT Canvas Template” in the search bar and you will find the most recent template for each term.

Step 2: Update Syllabus
Update the Syllabus.  Although copying and pasting your existing file seems easiest, make sure that students have a copy to download.  If you upload the file and link to it in your Syllabus, you can auto-open the inline preview so you only have to maintain one document.

Step 3:  Create Assignments, Adjust Due Dates, and Review Gradebook
Add new assignments to your course or update imported assignments. Include due dates with existing assignments to help students maintain their calendar.  If you copy a previous course, you can remove the dates during course import to start fresh.  Assignments build your gradebook, so review your gradebook and check your grading scheme and weighting scale. Set a manual posting policy for your entire gradebook or for individual assignments if you want more control over when grades are released to students.

Step 4:  Remove Old Announcements
Delete outdated announcements from a previous copy that you will not need.  If you re-use announcements, set new delay posting options on these announcements to the dates when the announcements should appear to students.

Step 5:  Choose the Home Page
The Modules tool is the default home page.  Your course home page can be your syllabus, modules, assignments list, activity stream, or a custom page.  A good recommendation is to use this space to display the tool your students will need to access the most or to make it a welcoming landing page that provides important information and instructions on navigating your course.

Step 6: Customize Course Navigation
Canvas is very flexible, but giving students too many options may cause confusion.  Choose the tools you want the students to see and hide tools you will not use.  Check the navigation using Student View.

Step 7: Verify Notification Settings
Check your notification settings to customize how Canvas updates you on course activity.  Consider which Canvas features you will use often and make your students aware so they can update their notification settings as well.

Step 8: Test Your Site
Use Student View to make sure your course is ready for student viewing.  Check that items are published and that tools are visible.  If you copied your course from a previous course or added links, run the Canvas link validator to check for bad links and correct them as needed.

Step 9:  Publish!
By default, your Canvas course is “unpublished” and hidden from students.  When you are ready for students to access your course and its contents, publish your course to give your students access!

Step 10:  Make a Welcome Announcement
Send a welcome announcement to let your students know you course is ready. Consider adding an image or video to make the announcement more personal.  Notifications will not be sent from an unpublished course, so make sure to publish the course before you start interacting with students.