Before a new term begins, you might be running through a mental list to decide if you’ve put all the pieces in place to get your new online (or remote) class up and running. This Online Course Beginning-of-Term Checklist should cover the essentials, and offer some helpful links and tips for completing these tasks in Canvas.
1. Ready your course content.
- If you are copying (or “rolling over”) course content that you have used in a previous term, see the following link for instructions: How do I copy content from another Canvas course using the Course Import tool?
2. Finalize and upload your Syllabus.
- From the Canvas course menu, click “Syllabus” to enter the Syllabus area of the course. Then, click the “Edit” button, and use the Rich Content Editor to embed a PDF of your course syllabus (for help with this, see: How do I embed documents from Canvas in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?).
- A recommended approach is to adjust the “Link Options” to select both “Preview inline” and “Expand preview by Default”. This allows the file to display right on the page rather than the student needing to download/open the file (although they can still download the file if they prefer to). See the difference in the H5P image juxtaposition slider below.
3. Set “Due” dates for graded components for the upcoming term.
- You can adjust the due date on any Assignment, Quiz, or graded Discussion by clicking on that item and then clicking the “Edit” button; near the bottom of the editing page in the “Assign” > “Due” field, set your date and time accordingly. Note that you must check the box that marks a Discussion as “Graded” before you can set a “Due” date for it.
- If necessary, also adjust the “Available from” and “Until” dates. This is most likely to apply to Quizzes, or Assignments used for examinations, in which you are giving students a limited time to access certain materials. See the following for more information: What is the difference between assignment due dates and availability dates?
4. Publish your Canvas course.
- If you are ready to publish your entire course and “let students in”, see the following link for instructions: How do I publish a course?
- Note that students can see everything in your course once it is Published, except for any individual items (Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, or entire Modules) that you have specifically marked as Unpublished. As seen in the following image, look for the green checkmark next to items that are Published, which you can click on to toggle the item to Unpublished.
- If you want to double-check how a course will appear to students before you Publish it, remember that you can switch to the student view: How do I view a course as a test student using Student View? (note that the test student will not be enrolled in any Groups, so won’t be able to see within any of those).
5. Make an Announcement and start communicating with your students.
- An Announcement is a great way to initiate contact with your new students, start to introduce yourself, and alert them to any important information or tasks that they should be sure to take care of in the first few days of the class. See the following link for information: How do I add an announcement in a course?
- If you’d like, you can also schedule Announcements ahead of time to be sent out later in the term (e.g., you might set a reminder message to be sent out 1 week before the midterm exam). See more information here: How do I delay posting an announcement until a specific date in a course?
6. Recommended: Send a Canvas “Inbox” message to your students.
- The communication system in Canvas is not directly linked with users’ USask email. However, by default, users’ notifications are configured to email their USask account when someone communicates with them using the Canvas Inbox. See the following articles for more information:
- Remind students to set their own Canvas notifications in such a way that they won’t miss anything important happening in your class (such as Announcements). The following links will help students make these settings on their Canvas accounts:
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay