Are you preparing to teach this summer? If so, this checklist can help to you as you finalizing your course setup.
We recommend integrating your syllabus into Canvas by linking to an accessible Word document. Following the proper guidelines for creating an accessible Word document, this file can be read by screen reading software, should any vision-impaired students enroll in your course.
Along with this document, you can include important information in the syllabus tool for easy on-screen viewing. Consider including the textbook information, your contact information, and an introductory video. If you need help making an intro video, CITL can help.
If you are using the text editor in Canvas to copy and paste in your syllabus text, experiment with linking to other course content, such as pages, modules, assignments, quizzes or discussions.
- Add an introductory video to your syllabus page. This makes you seem more approachable and helps your students get to know you.
- Have students introduce themselves in the discussions tool. An interactive class is a better class.
- To make sure your students read the syllabus, consider creating a syllabus quiz.
- If you choose to use a PDF document instead, check out Adobe’s information about making your PDF files accessible.
Import content from a previous course
If you would like to reuse content from a previous course, it is possible to import specific assignments, pages, quizzes, etc.
Select your grading scheme
Check the default grading scheme to make sure this is how you want Canvas to assign final letter grades. If you prefer to use another scheme or to create your own, this guide to Canvas grading schemes will help.
- By enabling the grading scheme, you can ensure final grades are calculated accurately.
- To avoid confusion, clearly lay out your grading scheme in your syllabus.
Create your assignments in the Assignments tool. View this guide for help with creating assignments.
If you separate your assignments into groups (exams, homework, projects, etc.), you can assign grade weighting to those groups, making grade calculations automatic.
Note: These assignments will appear on the bottom of the syllabus page, as well as in each student’s calendar as you create them, with no extra steps required.
- Try to diversify your assignment pool. No one likes answering the same three questions week after week. Have students develop short presentations, brochures, infographics, or business plans. This helps keep things fresh, and your students on their toes.
- Remember to publish your assignments so that students can view them!
Choose your home page
Remember, the home page is your students’ first view of the course and your best chance to make a good first impression. Consider adding videos and images to help introduce important course concepts.
- Select your home page.
- A common option is to set your syllabus as the homepage, but also consider using a page designed to engage students in thinking about their connections to course content right away.
- Some instructors use a more dynamic approach by leaving their syllabus as the home page for the first weeks of class. As the semester progresses, they change it to display relevant pages, modules, or other content.
Remove tools that are not being utilized
Sometimes the amount of links to tools on the side of a Canvas page can be overwhelming for students. Reduce student confusion and frustration by removing tools that you are not using.
Publish your course
You can always go back and change things in your course. Publishing does not set anything in stone. Keep in mind though, once you publish, people in the course can see the edits you make.
- Once you are satisfied with your course and are ready for students to view it, it is time to publish it.
- If the course status still says “Unpublished” in the upper right portion of the screen, then you need to select the publish button.
- If the course has not been published, students will not be able to see content, or be able to receive messages you send through Canvas. Even if assignments, pages, discussions, and modules are published individually, they will not be visible until the entire course has been published.
If you would like help with setting up your summer course site, contact the CITL to schedule a consultation.