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Start of the Semester Checklist – Spring 2023

Get a head start on your upcoming courses with our start of the semester checklist!

Posted in: Announcement

MSU campus spring

As you prepare for the coming semesters, take note of our semester-specific support resources, tips for setting up your Canvas course, and some steps for success in your courses!

Key Dates for Upcoming Terms

  • Spring Canvas Courses Published: Wednesday, January 11th, 2023
  • First Day of Spring Classes: Tuesday, January 17, 2023
  • Last Day of Spring Classes: Friday, May 12, 2023
  • Review the Academic Calendar for additional dates.

Please note that online programs may follow different dates.

Faculty Development Opportunities

Join us in welcoming Dr. Remi Kalir as our keynote speaker for our Annual Spring Symposium! This year’s Spring Teaching Symposium will focus on strategies, practices and technologies to promote social learning and belonging. This virtual faculty development day will also include presentations from Montclair State faculty, workshops on instructional technology, and sessions to enhance teaching and learning. We hope you will join us!

Spring Teaching Symposium

A Checklist for Setting Up Your Canvas Course

  • 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 all courses.
  • Ask your students to complete the “Academic Engagement Verification Activity.” It can be accessed via Assignments or Modules in each course. The students should not complete the activity until the first day of the class meeting.
  • 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 validator and student view tools, and double-check your assignment due dates.
  • Publish your course. Courses will be automatically published according to the dates listed above, but it is recommended that you publish your course earlier.
  • 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.

Technical Support

Make sure your devices are registered on the campus network (see the Connect to Wireless page). If you need technical support, please contact the IT Service Desk by calling 973-655-7971 (on campus x7971) or emailing, or your academic technology team. You may also review information on classroom technology on the Audio-Visual Services website, check NEST for modality, room, and other details.