Faculty at whiteboard in front of room full of students

Getting Started

Resources to Help You Get Started with Canvas

Checklist for Setting Up Your Canvas Course

The checklist below can assist you in preparing your courses in Canvas for a new semester.

  • Are you teaching a course you have previously taught? Import a course (or some materials) from a previous semester. It is easy to incorporate materials from previous semesters by importing or copying your course components.
  • Are you teaching a course for the first time? Import our modifiable course template from Canvas Course Commons! This will give you a head start on using modules to structure your course, making it user-friendly for students. The template may be modified for multiple weeks by adding or removing modules as you see fit. You can also view a public version of the Course Template.
  • Update the Canvas Syllabus page. Although you may have your syllabus formatted as a Word document or PDF, the Canvas Syllabus page will also need to be updated. It appears in every course with some important information. It’s based on the Montclair State Canvas Syllabus Template already imported into courses.
  • Set up a course homepage (either a Canvas page or Canvas modules) that orients students to the course as a whole and clearly indicates where and how to get started.
  • Use modules that are logically organized (e.g., weekly, thematically) and consistently structured.
  • Design your course with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in mind, use the Canvas Accessibility Checker and Ally to help ensure your course content is accessible.
  • Familiarize yourself with your gradebook and ensure your assignment group weights match the grading scheme from your syllabus correctly.
  • Create assignments to allow students to submit their work (documents, media files, links to online work, etc.) and set up discussions to facilitate academic discourse, share course logistics, build community, collaborate, etc.
  • Review your course before publishing it! Use the link validatoraccessibility report, and student view tools, and double-check your assignment due dates.
  • Publish your course. Courses will be automatically published 3 business days before the semester starts, but it is recommended that you publish your course earlier. Courses in online programs are automatically published 1 week before they start.
  • Post an announcement to inform students of the course modality and your requirements for the first class. Courses must be published for announcements to be visible to students. An announcement that is posted while your course is unpublished will not send an email to your students!

For more recommendations, please visit our Designing Your Canvas Course page.