Starting with a Blank Canvas Course

When beginning to create a course, here's a great strategy for getting started:

1. Delete Course Template Items

You will notice the UTS course template is applied to every new course shell in Canvas. Before importing any content into your course, delete and remove any and all of the course template items you will not use. This will reduce the amount of content you have to clean up after the import. 

Go to each of these Course Navigation tabs and delete the template items included in them (If you do not plan to use them):

    • Modules
    • Pages
    • Assignments
    • Discussions
    • Quizzes

2. Start with the Home Page

Recommendation: Create a Home Page using information from your Syllabus. For some, this may include contact information, course objectives and/or the course schedule.

  • The home page is the first entry point and "landing spot" for your students each time they enter your course. By default, Canvas courses show Modules within the course on the course Home Page.
  • If you are using Canvas primarily for distributing files, it may make sense to make the Modules section your home page.
  • Your course home page doesn't have to be static, it can be changed as often as you would like.
  • You can create a Page with information from your Syllabus and schedule by following these instructions.
  • Make that Page your Home Page by following these instructions for Setting the Home Page .
  • Review the video below for ideas on creating an engaging Home Page

3. Add Your Syllabus

You have 2 Options.

Options 1: Uploading your file to a page.

*Adding your syllabus file to a page is the recommended option if you are not uploading your syllabus to the Syllabus course navigation tab.*

Options 2: Uploading your file to the syllabus course navigation tab.

  • By default, your syllabus page will be blank. Regardless of how extensively you plan to use Canvas, it is recommended that you upload your syllabus file to the course so students can download and print if they choose to. 
  • Go to the edit option from the Syllabus course navigation tab. 
    • Follow the steps outlined in Option 1. 
  • You can add text, images, and video to this section in addition to the file you upload. 
  • The Syllabus Page is connected to your assignments. This means that as you add assignments, the Course Summary chart at the very bottom of your Syllabus page will be automatically updated. You cannot delete this chart.
  • Instructions for updating the Syllabus Page

4. Organize Content

  • Reusing Course Content - Step-by-Step

  • Consider using Modules. Canvas Modules are an organizational tool that help instructors structure course content by day, week, unit, topic, or outcome. New to Modules? Plan your course outline with pen and paper first. “Think about structuring your content first, before you build it out. Worry about details after.”

5. Create Your Assignments and Quizzes

Assignments automatically populate Grades, Assignments, the Syllabus Course Summary and the Course Calendar. Students see assignments with Due Dates in their To Do list when they first log into Canvas.

6. Update Your Course Settings

Settings is the last item on your course menu. Use Settings to control your course name, start and end dates, course navigation, and to access Student View.

  • Verify your Course Start and End Dates are correct
    • The course start and end dates are determined by dates in CAMS. We recommend checking these dates.
    • Term dates define a fixed period of time when UTS Canvas users can participate in a course. By default, all Term Dates in our instance of Canvas are set for the time two weeks before the start of courses until 30 days after the last day of the term. After this time, the course is concluded. 

      • When a term has concluded, associated courses are placed in a read-only (archived) state. Read-only means that a course is not available for submitting assignments, posting discussions, uploading files, grading, or any other action-based task within a course.
  • Remove items from the Course Menu

    • Drag any unwanted menu items from the top of the list to the bottom, disabled list.
    • Click on Save.
    • To reduce student confusion, remove any menu items from the Course Menu that you will not use. For example, if you are not using Collaborations, Conferences, or Chat, remove them from the menu.
    • To change the Course Menu go to Settings and click on the Navigation tab. More here 
  • Check your Course in Student View
    • Before you publish your course, take a look at it from a student's view. You can view all menu items, pages, modules, and assignments to make sure everything is published. You can also get a feel for how students will view items which will help when they have questions. You can even submit assignments or take quizzes as a "Test Student" and then grade them!
    • Your screen will have a bright purple border around it to indicate you are in Student View. When you are done, click on Leave Student View.

7. Publish Your Course and Verify Course Start and End Dates are Correct

When you begin building your course, it is unpublished. When you are ready to allow students to access the course, click the "Publish" link on the top right of your home page under Course Status.

Course Status

Once published, the course will be available to your students. At this point, any messages or announcements you send will be sent, via notifications, to students in the course.


Article ID: 149704
Mon 2/19/24 11:46 AM
Mon 2/19/24 11:46 AM