1. Make Your Site Available or Unavailable- Prevent enrolled students from accessing your course site before it’s ready by making it unavailable, or making sure it is “Unpublished.” Courses will automatically be unpublished by default. In order to “Publish” your course site navigate to the home tab in your course site and click published. Tip: This icon will be red if the course is unpublished and green if it is published.
2. Optimize Your Course Menu- Turn off unused items on the course navigation menu and reorder the remaining items to simplify student navigation. Click on settings in your course navigation menu. Then, select the navigation tab at the top of the screen. Here you can click and drag items in any order as well as selecting the gear icon to disable. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this page and click the Save button to save any changes you make!
3. Email Students- FSU’s Registrar automatically enrolls students in your course site. However, in order to use the Canvas Inbox feature you will need to publish your Canvas course. If the semester has not yet started, you will need to follow the steps in our support article How do I message my students before the start of the semester?
4. Post Announcements- Announcements are an easy and effective way to communicate to the entire class at one time. To add an Announcement simply click Announcements in your course navigation menu and then press the garnet +Announcement button at the top of the screen. You can add attachments, delay posting, edit reply settings, enable podcast feed, and allow liking. You can even link to a new page. For example, you could post that an assignment is due and then link to the assignment within your announcement.
5. Collect Student Work via Assignments- Why bother keeping track of emailed file attachments? Instead, create a Canvas Assignment, which lets students submit their work (with a date stamp!) and maintains a copy in your course site. In your course navigation menu select Assignments. Add an Assignment by clicking the garnet +Assignment button. From here you will be able to choose from many settings including points, submission type, peer reviews, and even assigning to all students, a select group of students, or an individual student.
6. Post Grades- In the Grades section, new columns are created automatically for every gradable assignment. Here, you will be able to add a score for each student. Students will be able to see their own grades and the class average unless you mute the assignment. To find this and other options click the drop-down menu at the top of the grade column.
7. Track Student Use- Verify student use of the course site and identify frequently accessed materials for a particular student through People in your course navigation menu. You will then select the student’s name and click on the Access Report icon on the right-hand side. You are also able to go to the Settings tab in your course navigation menu, and then click Course Statistics on the right-hand side of your screen. Here you will find: running totals, assignment usage report, recently logged-in users, and file storage.
8. Post Discussion Questions- Encourage interaction outside the classroom by creating discussion forums, either on specific course content or as open-ended “virtual office hours.” Be sure to establish policies and post rubrics to clarify expectations, and attend closely to the various settings available when you first create the forum. To get started, go to the Discussions tab in your course navigation menu and click the garnet +Discussion button.
9. Create Groups- You can set up group areas with their own discussion boards as well as other tools. Only the group members that you specify can access a group’s functions. Setting up groups requires a little investment of time. Begin by going to People on the course navigation menu, then click the garnet +Group Set icon at the top right of the screen. You can create a self-enroll group set where students can sign up themselves, an automatic enroll group set where Canvas will split the students into the amount of groups you choose, or a manual-enroll group set where you assign students to a specific group.
10. Build Content- Decide how to organize your course material- by weeks, topics, units, or texts. For maximum instructional design benefit, match your organizational system with learning outcomes and assessments. Then add content: syllabus, calendar, grading references (rubrics, instructions, samples), readings, video clips, images (Canvas can take just about any file format), and you can add links to library databases and other useful websites. Simply click on the Modules tab in your course navigation menu. To create a new module click on the garnet +Module button at the top of the screen and name the module (e.g., week 1, Chapter 1, etc.). You can add assignments, discussions, files, and more to the module by pressing the + button that displays to the right of the module name.