Create a simple Canvas site in 8 easy steps

Canvas is a simple yet powerful way to share files and other course information with your students. Let’s build a basic Canvas site together. By the end of this process, you will have a completed Canvas site with a syllabus, organized course files, and, if needed, assignment links for students.

1. First, you will need to request a site and log into Canvas. Course sites are created upon request. To get your site, email with the course number and name. We’ll let you know when it’s ready. Then, log into Canvas at Find your course listed under the Courses menu at the top of the page.

2. Welcome to your course site. Let’s start with the Syllabus. To get to the syllabus, click on the Syllabus link in the left-hand navigation menu.

Edit the Syllabus by clicking on the Edit Syllabus Description link on the right-hand side of the page. Add basic course information, direct students on navigating the course, and upload a standard downloadable syllabus file. Don’t forget to click on the Update Syllabus button underneath the textbox to save your work.

The table at the bottom of the page will display any assignments you create in your site or events you add to the course calendar. If you wish to collect assignments or distribute feedback through Canvas, we will set up Assignments in a few minutes.

3. Next, let’s upload any files and documents you are planning to use. You can batch upload files from your desktop or import a course export from Blackboard (directions forthcoming).

4. Now, let’s create any assignments you need in your site. Click on Assignments in the left-hand course menu to get started. If you are not planning on collecting student work via Canvas or using the Gradebook, you can skip this step.

If you are planning on using the Canvas Gradebook, you will want to create an assignment for everything on which students get a grade. So, for example, you would create an assignment for Course Participation and simply choose the “No submission” option. This will allow you to enter a grade later on.

5. It’s time to organize everything you have added to this point. We are going to use the Modules tool to group your content. Click on Modules in the left-hand navigation menu.

Create Modules for each week or other course unit.

Then, add your Files and Assignments to the Modules.

6. Set a home page. You can design a new page or use the Syllabus or Modules page, both of which you have already edited.

7. Hide unused navigation links. Eliminate confusion by reducing the number of options in your course menu.

8. Publish your site when you are ready for students to access it.

That’s it. You’re done!


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