Getting Started

Initial Course Setup

  • Meet with the Canvas Team.  Scheduling a 30 minute planning meeting with a member of the HGSE Canvas Canvas Team will save much time learning how best to implement Canvas’s many features.  Schedule a time

  • Develop course navigation to address the following questions:

    • How will students access course readings?

    • How will students turn in their assignments?

    • How will student access other course resources (e.g. office hours, TF bios, collaboration spaces)?

  • Once your course site is ready for student viewing, Publish all site content and the site itself. Learn more

Communicating with Students

  • Decide early on how you plan to communicate with students:

    • If you plan to use the Canvas Inbox, we recommend requesting that students configure their Notification Preferences so that they receive “Conversations” ASAP.  This will forward any Canvas Messages directly to their inbox. Learn more

    • Should you decide to use the Course Emailer, students will always receive e-mails even if they have disabled all Notification Preferences. Learn more


  • Use the Home page as the gateway to your course.  Create links to course resources, and Pages containing assigned readings all within the Home page. See an example here


  • Restrict file upload types so that you do not receive submissions in formats that cannot be read.  Learn more

  • After you have created all of your assignments, use the Grades view to “mute” each one.  This will prevent any students from receiving grading feedback until you are ready to release it to the whole class. Learn more

  • Set a from date to prevent students from seeing assignments before intended (that way all assignments can be published once completed without worry about visibility)


  • Use Discussion navigation options to sort through long discussions:

  • Create a Discussion for any student submission that should be visible to the whole class.  You can also convert the discussion to a Graded discussion, which will allow you to set a due date and evaluate student submissions using both the Speedgrader and the Gradebook. Learn more


  • Enable the In-Line Preview for your Syllabus document, so that students can read the Syllabus within Canvas. Learn more


  • Create collaborative spaces for TF Sections using groups within a Group Set.  By creating a TF Sections Group Set, then creating a group for each of your TFs, you will create a space where TFs can communicate exclusively with their students, upload documents, and share resources as a Section. Learn more


  • We recommend creating Calendar events for each of your courses, and using those events to inform students about readings that are due that day.  You can do this by clicking “More Details” in the calendar creation screen. Learn more