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Start of Term Checklist for Canvas: Faculty

Last Updated: May 17, 2017 12:52PM PDT

Table of Contents:

Before you get your course

Get an account, get training

Make sure that you are certified to teach with Canvas and have a Canvas account. If you have not yet taken training, use the form available here to register for training. Certification training is required for all faculty who would like to teach with Canvas at South. Check your certification status. If you have already been certified at another campus, please contact eLearning to confirm your certification and have your Canvas account created.

If you are building a brand-new course from scratch, even if it’s a course that you have taught in a different mode in the past, optimally, you should begin planning and building the course at least one term before the course is scheduled to run.

If you don’t see your courses for next quarter in Canvas

View Finding your Courses in Canvas for possible reasons why you may not be able to see your courses.

Course Set-Up

Check your enrollment for stray instructors

Access the People page for your course and make sure that only the correct instructor(s) are there. Double check to make sure that the course is actually the course assigned to you (check the college class schedule here). Canvas adds instructors automatically, but it doesn't remove them if the course has been reassigned. eLearning is not notified when courses are reassigned. 

If there are unexpected instructors in your course, or if you're in a course that you shouldn't be, file a request to have the incorrect instructors removed by clicking on the Contact Us link on this page.

Making sure that the instructor line-up is correct before you start working will help to prevent possible confusion in the future.

Import content into your course shell

You can import content into your new shell from a previously created course, or a course export package.

When importing content, you can select what content you want to import. You can leave out old announcements and strip out due dates. These options can save you significant time.  

Course Settings

Student Options

Make sure that the options for the following are set up the way that you want them. These are global options for the course, and can be found on the Course Settings page, on the Course Details tab, at the bottom, under “more options” How do I manage the options in the Course Details tab?

  • Let students attach files to discussions
  • Let students create discussion topics
  • Let students edit or delete their own discussion posts
  • Let students organize their own groups
  • Hide totals in student grades summary
  • Hide grade distribution graphs from students
  • Disable comments on announcements

Course Navigation

Make sure that the course navigation is customized correctly.


  • Check to see that all pages that should be published are published.
  • Test to see if links are still functional.
    • Links to outside content may be dead, and content may need to be replaced.
    • Links to internal content should be stable, but it’s worth checking them.


  • Check that all modules that should be published are published. If a module is unpublished, all of the content in the module will be locked and unavailable to students.
  • Check that unlock dates, prerequisites and completion requirements are configured correctly.
  • It’s worth double-checking Modules in Student View—you’ll be able to clearly tell what’s locked down (it will be grayed-out, and you won’t be able to click on it), while unpublished modules will be completely invisible.
  • Check that external URLs and external tools are still functioning properly.


  • Make sure that all assignments are published, are in the correct group, and that group weighting, if used, is configured correctly.
  • Check that all due dates are correct.
  • Update “Available from” and “Available until” dates, if you use them. The date change tool doesn’t change these dates when you import content into a new course shell.
  • Delete any empty assignment groups that are called “Assignments.” A new, empty group is automatically created when the course shell is created. This empty group can create a confusing view on the Grades page for students.
 Student grades page in Canvas showing seven groups all named Assignments with an indication of NA%


  • Delete previous announcements that you don’t plan to reuse. Old announcements are imported from previous versions of a course.
  • Change the “Delay posting” dates on announcements that you plan to reuse.

Note that any announcements that you reuse will still have the original date that you composed the announcement as their posting date. This can create confusion for students.


Delete any discussions that students from a previous course may have started. Student-initiated discussions become a part of the course and may need to be removed.


Check file availability settings. If you release files based on dates, make sure that the dates are correct.


Recreate any necessary group sets. Groups do not export/import as part of your course, and must be recreated each time. If you have group assignments, those assignments must be associated with the recreated group sets.


If you have integrated Panopto videos into your course, you may need to change the permissions on your videos or move the videos from the Panopto folder for your old course into your new course.

  • How do I move videos in Panopto
    Note that it is better to move videos in Panopto than to copy them. Copying will create a new version of the video, which takes time. Copying will also require you to update all of your links in your course. Moving videos will just shift the permissions of the existing video files to the new course.

Publish your course by the first day of the term.

Please note that once courses are published, they cannot be unpublished once students have engaged in activity in them. Although you may add new content to your course, students will still have access to any content in the course that you have made visible to them.

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