Start of Semester Checklist
This comprehensive checklist is organized to support your upcoming semester preparation. Work through these topics to confirm your Canvas course site is ready and shared with students. Click on each header to find more instructions on each topic.
Finding your course site
You can find your Course Site by going through MyU or directly to canvas.umn.edu. (Direct links to your course sites are not available in MyU.) Academic courses are automatically created and instructors are assigned based on PeopleSoft. Learn when academic course sites are available for the upcoming semester. If you aren’t finding your course, you may need to reach out to your department scheduler.
Importing or creating your content
There are two ways to add content to your Canvas course site:
importing content or creating directly in your Canvas course site.
You can import from a previous Canvas course, a development site, or a file exported from another learning management system. Be selective and import only the parts you need for the new semester.
- Review important information on importing content.
- Note: If you assign group work, create Group Sets using the same Group Set names of the source course.
- See steps for how to import specific content from one Canvas course site to another.
- See steps for how to import all course content from one site to another.
Creating your content
Create your content directly in your Canvas course site. Self-Help guides are available to assist you.
- Canvas: Get Started with Canvas
- Canvas: Create and Organize Content
- Canvas: Communicate with Students
- Canvas: Assess and Grade Student Work
Combining multiple sites into one course site
You can manage course and section enrollments in a single course site by merging / cross-listing your course sites.
Cross-listing is helpful when:
- A course has multiple sections and uses the same content.
- There are undergraduate/graduate/honors courses using the same content.
- An interdisciplinary course is offered through and taught by multiple departments/colleges/campuses (check with your departmental scheduler).
Reviewing Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions
- Set and verify due dates. Due dates are automatically added to the Canvas Calendar and the Syllabus to serve as reminders to students. Available from and Until dates unlock and lock the activity.
- Learn the difference between Assignment due dates and availability dates.
- Learn how to bulk update due dates and availability dates.
- Canvas allows you to assign different due dates to sections or for individual students needing accommodations.
- Verify details for assessments (Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes):
- Instructions are accurate and well formatted.
- Point values are correct.
- Assignments Submission Type are appropriate. Learn how to add or edit details in an Assignment.
- Quiz Options are correct. Learn what options you can set in a Quiz.
- Use the Preview option in each quiz to check for errors.
- Assignment Groups are set up appropriately. Learn how to use the Assignments Index Page.
- If using a weighted grading system, ensure Assignments are weighted correctly. Learn how to weight the final grade according to Assignment Groups.
- Confirm group work is assigned appropriately.
- As needed, learn how to reset groups after importing course content.
Reviewing course details
- Verify total points possible in the Gradebook is correct.
- Review your syllabus for accuracy.
- Validate Links in Content by using the Course Link Validator.
- Set the Course Navigation menu. Hide items that your students do not need to see.
- If using Modules, verify:
- Verify course Home Page is set appropriately.
- Review Announcements and adjust posting dates.
- Verify that all of your content is available in an accessible format.
- Apply a Grading Scheme to your course.
- If your course has fewer than 30 students, hide the Grade Distribution Graph from Students.
Making your site available to students
- Publish the content and activities you want students to be able to access.
- Learn how to Publish/Unpublish individual content items.
- Use Student View to review the entire course.
- Publish your course site when you want students to be able to access the course.
- Learn how to Publish a course.
- Encourage (or require) your students to review these Canvas student resources.
- Consider adding a student readiness survey to your course.
- Send an email to your students telling them how to access your course in Canvas.