Canvas Quick Start Guide – Create a course in 1 hour or less

Need to create a simple Canvas course?  This post is for you!  If you want assistance with a more customized design, contact us at CEETE.

Adjust your navigation.

Students need to know where to go in your course.  Canvas’ default navigation settings offer too many choices and can be confusing. Adjust your navigation so that students can see Grades and Modules.

  • When you have time later, come back and consider adding in other options.
    • The People tab will show students the list of who’s in the class.
    • Blackboard Conference Ultra (BbCU) can be used for online office hours. (If students are identifiable in videos, they are for educational use within that course only. Before making a video public, either anonymize student information or obtain written permission from identifiable students.)

Why Modules?  Your content in Canvas doesn’t “live” in the Modules section.  Modules is the place where you can combine Pages, Files, Links, Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions in a single area.  Then you can still use all of those things, but students access them through Modules.  Modules can also be toggled closed after students are done with them to keep the necessary information easier to find.

Build from Modules.

Make a module for week 1 (or week 0).

Add items to the module. For example, add your syllabus as a File.  Add your lecture slides or notes as a File.  You can even add multiple files at once this way.  Hold down the control or command key to select more than one!

Add an assignment. From Modules, you’ll be asked to give the assignment a name. Click on the Assignment name from Modules to go directly to the Assignment editor.

Repeat as needed until you have your content in place. It’s okay to put up a week at a time. You can drag items around within and among modules.  Or move items using the settings dots to the right of each item. It’s possible (as of June 2018) to duplicate a Module, too, as long as it does not contain a quiz.

Publish your course.

Before you hit publish, take a look around in Student View.  Make sure your modules and module items are published.

Students can’t see your course until you publish it using the button in the top right corner of the home screen.


Edits: 6-19-2020 – Removed information on taking attendance. Removed information about Course Summary tab. Added policy on use of videos with identifiable student information.