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Canvas Course Setup Guide

We recommend following these steps to prepare your Canvas site each semester. Before you can start this guide, make sure to request your site on coursetools.


Step 1: Publish Your Syllabus

The Syllabus you uploaded or linked to on coursetools is not automatically added to your Canvas site.

We recommend that when publishing your syllabus in Canvas that you use the Syllabus tool.


Step 2: Add Assignments

Continue to build your course by adding Assignments.

Even if you are not accepting submissions online, adding Assignments will provide students with a way to track due dates. Also, If you are using the Syllabus tool, the due dates you create for your Assignments will appear automatically at the bottom under Course Summary.

Using the same Assignments or Files from a previous semester? You can always Import them and adjust the due dates.


Step 3: Organize Your Content

Canvas offers users a variety of ways to organize your course content.

  • If you prefer to release content slowly over the course of the semester and have it carefully organized you should consider using Modules.
  • If the visual arrangement of your content is more important than access control, then consider using Pages to create a page for each class, week or topic.
  • If you just need a place to upload files for your students to access, you can use the folders in Files to organize them by subject, date, week, etc.


Step 4: Set Your Course Navigation

Add tools you’ll be using this semester, such as the Library Resources or E-Reserves, to your course Navigation. We also recommend hiding tools you are not using.

Remember to contact the Library to reactivate or request your course reserves.


Step 5: Set Your Home Page

The course Home Page is the first thing students will see when they access your site.

Your organizational approach will inform which Home Page to choose. You may want to select Modules or Pages if you are using them extensively. We recommend the Syllabus tool if you have published your syllabus using the Rich Text Editor.


Step 6: Publish your Course

Your students will be unable to see the Canvas site for your course until it has been Published.


Want to explore more of what Canvas has to offer? See our complete list of articles in our Canvas Faculty Reference Guide.

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