Distance Learning & Instructional Technology

Semester Start Checklist

  • Publish your course (Links to an external site.) - Students can't access a course until the Instructor publishes it. Even if it's the first day of class students will not be able to access a course that isn't published. Publishing your course does not mean all of your course content is published. You will still need to make sure all Modules and content items are published also!
  • Check your course start date - When your course is created the course start and end dates are automatically default to the specific start date of the semester per the Registrars schedule. No need to add dates in your course settings. Leave the Start and End Dates blank so they follow the default start dates. No students will access the courses outside of the Registrar's scheduled dates. 
  • Check the links in your course (Links to an external site.) - Make sure all the different external links in your course are functioning by running the "Validate Links" tool. This tool searches through course content and returns invalid or unresponsive external links in both published and unpublished content.
  • Set a Grading Scheme - If you don’t set a grading scheme, students will only see their percent grade; they will not see a letter grade.
  • Adjust your Global Discussion Settings - If you are using Discussion Forums there is a good chance you do NOT want your students to be able to edit or delete their discussion posts, or be able to start their own discussion forum (not post, forum!). In addition, you may want your students to be able to attach documents or pictures to their discussion posts.
  • Publish your Assignments - Make sure all of your assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc., have been published (Draft State), otherwise your students will not have access to them. Unpublished assignments, quizzes, discussions, etc. will not be not visible to students, will not show up in the Gradebook, and you will not be able to enter grades for them. Publishing your course does not publish your assignments.
  • Remove unnecessary Navigational Links - Navigational links are the links on the left side of your course page. If you leave too many of them visible to your students, you run the risk of students becoming confused, or skipping your course content from the Modules and going straight to their quizzes or discussions.
  • Check assignment due dates and points - You can do this in a number of places, but the best way is through the Assignments link. You should also double check your assignment “lock dates” if you dragged and dropped on the calendar; in doing that, the “lock dates” don’t change, only the due dates change.
  • Update Online Learning Help information - The best way for students (and faculty) to contact the 24/7/365 Canvas Help Desk is to click on the “Help” button on the bottom left of the screen in Canvas and click “CHAT” or call the specifically list number. Faculty - 1-833-668-8635  or Student - 1-833-668-8634.
  • Add Lock dates to individual Modules - You might want to edit each module so it can be locked until a certain date. This allows students to have access to the module they are currently working on and not all of them at once. Locking Modules does not “hide” them or their content.
  • Publish/Unpublish Modules and content - You can “hide” Modules and other content from students by clicking the “Publish/Unpublish” cloud which appears to the right of each Module and content item (gray is “unpublished”, green with a white checkmark is “published”). Even if content items are “published”, students will not be able to see those items if the Module they are in is “unpublished.”
  • Add a profile picture - Add a picture of yourself or something that represents you to your Canvas profile.Then, when you post something in Canvas, the picture will show up to the students!
  • Gradebook set-up - Double check that your gradebook is set-up correctly. This is especially true for extra credit. Extra credit can be tricky in Canvas!
  • Course overview/student view - Do a once through in Student View. Does everything make sense and seem easy to find/understand? Do things look the way you want them to look?