Build your Canvas Course in 5 Steps

This guide provides an overview of how to build your Canvas course using ITG's template. We encourage you to reach out to ITG with any specific questions, or to schedule a design consultation for more in depth support.

Please note that the provided template is not required and you can customize it as much as you see fit. 

Overview of your Course

The following video provides a brief overview of the course template.

You can get your course ready in a few easy steps: 

1. Edit the Home Page

  • Based on best practices in distance education, we’ve included a home page that includes information on how to navigate the course.
  • Click on the Edit button at top right of this page to customize the information. Any [bracketed] text is meant to be replaced. You can add your name and contact information to the top. You may also choose to record and embed a welcome video.
  • If you decide to use Modules, add a sentence near the top of the home page letting your students know that they can find all course content by clicking Modules in the left-hand course menu.

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2. Add Your Syllabus

Add your Syllabus to the Syllabus section of the course:

  • Click Syllabus in the left-hand navigation menu
  • Click Edit to add your Syllabus in one of two ways:
  • Upload it as a document, or
  • Type it directly into the body. (We’ve added the sections for you based on Academic Affairs Guidelines.)

Note that the Canvas Syllabus has some dynamic features that it pulls from other parts of your Canvas course. The Course Summary at the bottom of the Syllabus page automatically pulls due dates and other events from your course calendar. However, the Course Summary does NOT pull information from any text you’ve entered or files you’ve uploaded in the Syllabus section above it.

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3. Create Assignments, Discussions and Quizzes

  • You can create various types of assignments through Canvas using the Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes tools. We started you out with a sample assignment and discussion for you to edit (or remove) as needed. Chances are that you will have more assignments to add. Here are the key things to keep in mind:
  • Be clear about what you want students to do by adding your instructions directly to the assignment description space.
  • Add due dates to the due date field to help students manage their time. Due dates appear for students on the course's calendar and on their to-do list.
  • Add points to your assignments and adjust submission settings.
  • Set up your Assignment Groups.

For asynchronous online courses, we suggest having at least one online discussion each week. 

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4. Build Your Weekly Modules

Canvas Modules will provide structure for your course. ITG recommends using weekly modules, as well as an orientation module. We’ve included an orientation module which includes an overview page and an online introductions discussion. You can easily create additional modules starting with Week 1 (and add an overview page, assignments and other items to it as needed, then duplicate the module to create modules for subsequent weeks). Then, customize and build out your weekly modules by doing the following:

  • Edit the weekly overview pages for each week to include any readings, viewings, and to-do’s that students need to complete. You may also choose to record a weekly overview video or paragraph to put the week into context. For extra credit, you can add weekly learning objectives to this page too.
  • Add any additional assignments, quizzes, or discussions to your modules.
  • Add any additional content such as Files or Pages that your students will need for the week.
  • Publish your modules and module items (Click on the slashed circle icons to the right of each title and item. Checkmarks indicate that the content is published). An unpublished module will be completely invisible to students even if some of its items are published.

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5. Schedule Your Zoom Sessions

Schedule your class meeting times using the Zoom tool in your Canvas course's left-hand menu. Please use the scheduled times originally posted for your course, as students registered for your course with these days and time in mind.

Related Guides


Course Review Checklist

Use the Course Review Checklist to be sure you're ready to go. Happy semester!

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