top of page

Quick Tips: Starting a Canvas Course

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

This is my longest blog ever, so if you don't need to set up a Canvas course, go do something more fun and remember this is here for future reference.

If you have just switched to Canvas, here are some notes to help you build a home page and a video walking you through. You may want to watch more videos (Ashlee Espinosa has more tips, tricks and a theatre background). Be sure to keep some notes like this to reference so that you can recall how to build a landing page, ect.

I also include some free online resources to improve the visual feel.


Media: better than text online. Break up text with images, videos, or by using links to different pages so that one page does not seem overwhelming.

Text: Less is more. Edit. Make shorter when possible. Segment into subsections and spread across several pages or keep longer text in assignments.

Accessibility: black normal font is easiest for the readers to read aloud so to make accessible keep it simple. Images have the option for captions, going through images to do this also increases accessibility

Humanistic Elements: Ask students to submit some things in videos, add photos of yourself so they can see you (link to your page so they can see more about you), ask students to introduce themselves. Students want to see you. Comment on their introductions in the beginning to set the tone that you also want to see them. Ect.

Note: Even if you follow all of these guideline, 20% of students will likely be disappointed if they don't see you in zoom a couple of times. Even during corona times, or perhaps especially during corona times. Setting up zoom meetings may also disadvantage certain students who now have strange schedules due to Covid (for example, parents who have children at home, people sick with covid, or those who work and offer basic services like grocery store clerk). I would be very honest and up front with your decisions and how you try to take these factors into account as you design the course. Offering some meetings on zoom or office hours on zoom may help. This is not the case with courses that were always offered online.

Home Page

Making home page:

Go to pages, design page click on home and choose home page from left menu to change settings to make it the homepage (can choose syllabus as home page if desired or make key dates with links to assignments)

Starting Home Page from a blank page: If you want to make your own home page, after you design the page, in the pages tab, be sure to click on "use as front page"

Then you may go to the home tab and select the front page from the right menu choose home page:

Adding latest three announcements: Go to settings:

You should open the setting to the course details tab:

select more options (at very bottom of page):

select show recent announcements:

For buttons: Use a free button maker

Fonts for Titles: Use free font tool like this one


Adding modules: go to modules and use the + module button

Making pages with links: Select text, image or make custom button, add hyperlink with link icon (looks like infinity symbol), select link to next page (course link) or to external content (external link). If making pages that flow together, be sure to create the pages first before trying to link them :)

Making assignments: Can add in assignments or modules page. If on assignments hit the

+ assignment button

If on module hit the (+) button and select type of assignment. Don’t be afraid to use quizzes as assignments.

Quizzes: + quiz, name quiz, write description of quiz, pay attention to when it is available. The details tab is the overall description and settings for the quiz. The questions tab is where you add the question stems, responses, and feedback.

For interactive assignments, use the allow multiple attempts with multiple choice. Students can take the quiz multiple times until they have the correct answer. This is GREAT for driving home any points you want to make where you have to give individual feedback too many times. For example, APA style: “select the citation that is correct.” Options might include a citation that does not have a hanging indent whereby you could give a link about how to make a hanging indent for reference about how to make one.

To make quiz question: + new question, select type of question and select from the dropdown button

If Multiple choice: be sure to delete the blank options (use the icon that looks like a trash bin as pictured below), fill in feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Try to keep short but give information that is also helpful for learning here.

Question Types: multiple correct (MC but can have more than one correct answer to select), matching, fill in blank, essay, ect.

Sign-up sheet: Perhaps for small group work? Used to be in a wiki? Go to pages, add page, go to table, add desired amount of rows/columns, be sure to allow students to edit the page and add it to their to do list. Link to page in assignment.

Group Work: Group work can also happen in collaborations where students can work in google docs

In the collaboration tab, groups can work in the same google doc but it does require scary approvals to have access and even delete any of your Google Drive files...

Other Features

Grades: Speed grader can help you to see the submission in the grader, you can write brief comments, attach feedback, or attach video/audio feedback if you wish.

People: See all students and teachers, time on the page, ect.

Announcements: Can be used for reminders or general feedback or any other messages

Conferences: can replace zoom, similar but not identical functionality

Discussions: Can be used to have students add content like mini-lectures or group work where other students can watch and interact

Groups: can be used to create content for subsections of the class: group work, or students taking the course for credit vs. auditing, ect.

Important features: include publish (don't forget to publish and save as you go!) and these little glasses which allow you to see the student view of the course:

Watch this video to see someone go step by step on how to make a nice landing page

#Canvas #LMS #AshleeEspinosa #LandingPage

19 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page