Canvas - Instructor Course Setup Checklist - COE - UW-Madison

Use this checklist when reviewing your migrated course and getting ready to teach it

    After we or you have moved your content from Moodle or D2L, there are several steps to take before you teach with it.  Use this checklist for COE instructors to help you review your course.  The length of this process varies greatly, so begin as early as possible before teaching the course.  

    ___ Review Imported Content

    We’ve imported as much as we could from Moodle or D2L, and we’ve added some templates to get you started.  Our content can be found in the following places:

    • Home, Modules (Module 0, Module 1, and Module to Unpublish), Syllabus
    • We also have one sample quiz (take it to learn about quizzes!) and one sample ungraded assignment.  
    • You’re free to edit or delete what we’ve put there.  If you delete it and want to find it again, go to 

    Thoroughly review all links to video content or other external sites.  (Hint: sometimes an http: just needs to be https: to display.)

    ___ Explore: Canvas looks and feels different

    Notice we’ve set a Canvas page as the home page.  Pages are like any web page.  They can have embedded links, videos, images, and files.

    Your module titles may have imported as separate Canvas pages.  Work through your modules and delete or combine pages as needed.

    ___ Evaluate your Course’s Flow

    Learn more about Modules.

    Read our Recommendations for Using Modules.

    ___ Update your Syllabus

    Click the Syllabus tab to read about pros and cons of the syllabus tab.

    Decide where you want to put your syllabus and whether you want to split it into sections.

    Adjust your syllabus directions to fit the new Canvas environment, eliminating references to a previous LMS.

    ___ Organize Assignments for Grading

    Your assignments are likely all in one big category ("Assignment Group") called Imported Assignments.

    If you use weights, create Assignment Groups (your weighted categories).

    Move assignments into Assignment Groups by dragging them or using the settings wheel to the right of each assignment.  

    Delete any empty groups.

    Weight your Assignment Groups.

    • To weight assignments within groups, adjust point values of assignments to achieve the desired weighting.  For example, if Quizzes are 25%, but Quiz A is worth twice as much as Quiz B, Quiz A needs to be worth double the points of Quiz B.  This may require adjusting point values of individual questions within a quiz or within a rubric attached to an assignment.

    ___ Thoroughly review quizzes and quiz questions

    Your migrated quizzes are likely all categorized as practice quizzes.  Adjust the quiz types to fit your course.  

    Preview each quiz and check that questions are behaving as expected and graded correctly.

    ___ Add Files to the Course

    Your files were imported to the course, check them over to make sure everything is visible (or restricted) and organized as you would like.  Learn about controlling item visibility and availability.

    Now is a great time to delete any materials you no longer need.

    You can create folders and subfolders to organize your files.  Try to use clear, logical filenames.

    ___ Select Navigation Links

    Learn how to reorder and hide navigation links.

    We have hidden the Files tab from students.  If your files are very well organized and you want students to access them through Files, you can un-hide the tab.

    Add to your course navigation any tools you will use: for example, Attendance, Announcements, Collaborations, Chat, or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Conference. 

    Remember to hit “Save”!!

    ___ Choose a Course Home Page

    You can set a Canvas page as your home page, or make Modules, Syllabus, or the Activity stream your home page.

    You can change your home page throughout the semester to draw students’ attention to different things.  For example, you could have a home page with a course overview and office hours information for the first few weeks, and then use Modules as the home page after that.

    ___ Export then Import Content to your semester course shell

    When you’re ready to teach your course, you’ll export it and then import it into your semester course shell.  If you prefer not to do this on your own, or if you have questions, we can do this for you at CEETE.  Send your request to, and allow at least two business days.

    Note that changes made in either place will not affect the other, so do as much as possible in the sandbox before copying.

    Note: The typical workflow moving forward will be to make changes as needed to your live course during the semester.  Then you will export from that semester and import to the next, eliminating the need to also update your sandbox.  The migration sandboxes will be removed at some point in the future, in accordance with data retention policies.  You will be notified before removal.  If you need to maintain a development sandbox on an ongoing basis, please contact us at CEETE.

    ___ Check Enrollment

    You won’t see any students listed under the People tab in the course we migrated for you.  That’s because your timetable-generated semester course shell will have students added to it automatically.  We’ve migrated your course content to a development sandbox where you can play with your course until it’s ready.  Then you (or we) will copy it into your semester course shell.  (See above.)

    To check enrollment, find your semester course shell on your Canvas dashboard.  If your course needs to be cross-listed and was not automatically linked, send your cross-list request to us at or use these directions for cross-listing.  

    ___ Add TAs to the course

    Add TAs to your sandbox as Designers if they will be helping you to design the course.  See directions to add people.

    TAs (and Graders) will be added automatically to your semester course shell with their applicable roles when their teaching duties begin.

    Read an explanation of what Designers, TAs, and Teachers can or can’t do with their Canvas roles at UW-Madison. (See Appendix B.)

    ___ Add Student Groups 

    Within the semester course shell, you can create groupings of students.

    A group of groups is called a Group Set.  If you change up the groups, make a new Group Set.

    You can let students sign up for their own groups, or you can randomly or manually assign groups.

    Groups can be given group Assignments, including Discussions and Quizzes.

    ___ Add Course Calendar Events

    The Calendar is a feature tied to each user’s account.  Assignments with due dates will automatically add themselves to the calendar for your course.

    It’s possible to change the due date of an assignment by dragging it from one place on the calendar to another.

    You may want to add events (guest speakers, course drop deadlines, related club meetings, etc.) to the calendar.

    Calendar items will also show up for students on the Syllabus tab, if you make the tab visible.

    Set up any Ultra Conference sessions. Sessions do not export/import from one semester to the next.

    ___ Publish the course

    No one can see your course content until you publish it!  

    Do a final check in Student View to see what your students will see.  Note that items that are green in your Modules will be gray for them.  Unpublished sections simply don’t show up for students.

    To publish your course, click the Publish button on your course’s home page.

    Do a little dance!  Your course is ready!

    Keywords:review, todo, list, check, publish, course   Doc ID:73474
    Owner:Erica H.Group:CEETE Resources
    Created:2017-05-23 14:08 CSTUpdated:2019-04-10 13:39 CST
    Sites:CEETE Resources
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