Designing Your Canvas Course
Create a site with a welcoming Home page and clear navigation for your students.
1. Add and Manage Files and Content
Files are where you upload course files, syllabi, readings, or other documents. Faculty can lock folders so students cannot access files. Files can be placed in Modules, Assignments, or Pages. Files and folders are listed, by Canvas, in alphabetical order and cannot be rearranged.
- Upload your syllabus and other files in PDF and Word formats.
- Files are organized in alphabetical order. While you can still move files into folders, you cannot rearrange the alphabetized structure of the files and folders.
- Canvas will accept most media files as uploads. However, not all media files can be played within Canvas.
- With document preview you can scroll through the document, zoom in and out, and view the document in full screen.
- Markup and commenting tools are available via Crocodoc (within SpeedGrader).
- To best utilize these tools: when creating an assignment in Canvas, limit student assignment submission uploads to the following file formats - .doc/.docx, .ppt/.pptx, and/or .pdf.
- The Annotation Tools are not yet available for use with text entries or .txt and .rtf files.
See also Instructure's video: Files - Add Content
2. Create Pages
Pages can contain text, video, and links to your files. You can even make links to other pages. Pages are usually used to provide content and educational resources that don’t necessarily belong in an assignment. Pages can also be used for creating a class wiki.
3. Use Modules to Organize Content
Modules may be used to organize content and help control the flow of your offering.
- Modules are used to organize course content by weeks, units, or whatever organizational structure works for your offering. With modules, you can create a linear flow of what you would like your students to do.
- You can add an item to multiple modules or multiple iterations of an item to one module.
See also Instructure's video: Modules - Creation and Management
The left sidebar is referred to as the Course Navigation menu. It consists of several tabs which may be made visible to or hidden from students. (Tab names cannot be edited at this time. However, additional tabs may be created by adding an external app and/or using the Redirect Tool.)
- Course Navigation is a series of links on the left side of your screen that help you get to where you want to go inside of a Canvas course.
- Links to sections that don't have any content and that students cannot create content for will not be shown to students and will be "grayed" for your view. For example, if there are no learning outcomes set for the course, you will see the "Outcomes" link in gray, but students will not see the link at all.
5. Create a Home Page
Create a welcoming landing page for your students.
The ‘Homepage’ of your course can be customized as you prefer.
- The default is the ‘Recent Activity Dashboard' which displays the current Announcements to your students.
- Or you can choose to create a custom page using the "a Page I Design Myself" option - or the list of Modules as the Homepage.
We recommend selecting "a Page I Design Myself" and creating a welcoming and identifying front page for your students.
Information to include on the Home page:
- Title of program/course, and/or a welcome message or brief offering description (2-3 sentences)
- A related image (recommended dimensions: 700 pixels wide by 300 pixels high)
- Indicate where students should "start" in the site, such as using text or an icon linked to the Modules List
- Meeting day(s)/time(s) and location(s)
- Faculty name(s)
- Faculty office hours and location (or create a "Faculty Page" to include more information)
- The Course Home Page is the first page that students see when they click the Home link in their Course Navigation. As an instructor, you decide what you want students to see and interact with on the Course Home Page.
- You can change your Course Home Page to 1) the Recent Activity Dashboard, 2) a Page you can Decide Yourself, 3) the Course Modules/Sections, 4) the Assignment List, or 5) the Syllabus with Assignment List.
- The Front Page is the first page your students will see when they enter your course, if you choose to have the course home page set to the page. Use this page to show a welcome message, links, images, or other information for students.
- A Page may be edited even after it has been published.
A course is made accessible to students by publishing it. Use Student View before publishing to see the course as students will see it.
See also the Canvas Orientation for Faculty
Use this online self-paced Canvas course as a step-by-step guide for developing your site.
Interested in Individual or Faculty Team Training?
- Please contact Bridget Irish in Academic Computing to make an appointment.
Canvas Guide Topics
- Canvas Guide
- Canvas at Evergreen
- Technical Requirements
- Designing Your Canvas Course
- Canvas Site Templates
- Enrollment Information for Canvas
- Communication Tools
- Assignments and Quizzes
- Assessment and Grading Tools