Instructors, use this checklist to ensure your Canvas course includes these key items!


CSU’s policy is that instructors make all content in Canvas universally designed for learning (UDL) and copyright appropriate from the beginning. Please make these a standard part of your set up process!

  • Why? A Home Page helps students confirm they are in the right course and section immediately.
  • What? Customize your Home Page to include:
    1. Course number and course name (example: CO-150 College Composition)
    2. Term (example: Spring 2020)
    3. All section numbers (example: 001, 002, 301, and 801)
    4. Embed your own image
  • How to  Change the Home Page to one of yours
  • Why? The Syllabus is your contract with your students and sets expectations.
  • What and How?
  1. You can use the Syllabus Template provided by CSU’s TiLT
  2. Consider creating a separate Schedule file for assignments and dates.
  3. Save your syllabus and schedule files as accessible PDFs.
  4. Upload the files to your course.
  5. In the Syllabus Tool, create links to your syllabus and schedule files:
  • Why? Canvas automatically calculates final letter grades from your assignment scores, based on the course’s grading scheme.
  • What? Each course starts with a grading scheme; you can edit it to fit your grading model.
  • How?
    1. Canvas Grading Scheme How-To
    2. CSU’s Grading Scale
  • Why?
    • Assignment scores are summed to create a student’s course grade.
    • Students view their Grades to see how they are doing in your course.
  • What & How?
    1. In Canvas, Assignments are activities for a Grade.
      • Assignments do not need to be submitted through Canvas; grades can be entered manually.
    2. Gradable Assignments create columns in the Gradebook.
    3. Assignment scores are summed to calculate a final letter grade.
    4. Do not create assignments for activities that are not graded (like pages to read); for ungraded, scheduled activities create an Event in the Calendar, for the course.
    5. DO include due dates – they help students plan ahead.
    6. DO set assignments so students can submit online – it is fast and easy to grade online using Speedgrader.
  • Why? Modules are the easiest way for instructors to lead students to where they should be focusing in the course.
  • What? Modules are like folders. Organize content into modules by week or topic. Include links to files, assignments, quizzes, websites, videos, pages, and more. Modules provide next or back buttons for navigating onward. They can have requirements and prerequisites.
  • How?
    1. Guides for Modules
    2. Consider using CSU’s Canvas F2F course template as a fast way to import a module structure to your blank course first, to speed building your content into that framework.
  • Why? Canvas works differently for students than instructors because of permissions.
  • What? Check for broken links, unpublished items, module progression, etc. You can submit assignments and take quizzes as a student for first-hand experience, then as teacher you can practice grading.
  • How? Home > click Student View button (on right). Guide for Student View

Students won’t see your course until:

  1. You publish it, (from Home, click the Publish button), and
  2. The start date arrives (usually the Friday before the semester begins