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      Quick Start Checklist for Teaching with Canvas

      This checklist provides a high-level overview of steps to take as you continue to transition from face-to-face to online learning with Canvas. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to automatically convert your face-to-face course to online, but we want to help you get started with these easy-to-use tools and resources.

      Throughout this guide, you’ll find links to videos, tutorials and in-depth resources—all accessible in our Canvas Community.

      Step 1: Review your support resources within Canvas.

      Go to your Canvas Dashboard and click on the “Help” button. From there, you’ll be able to access a range of helpful resources and The Training Services Portal.

      Step 2. Watch the “Preparing to Launch” tutorial and start planning what you’re going to teach.

      Familiarize yourself with essential features to quickly move your course content from face-to-face to online learning. Watch the video.

      Make a plan

      • Identify a topic. What topic/unit/project will you focus on and what resources you have available?
      • Identify your practice. How will you have students practice with the information they are learning?
      • Identify the work. What do you want students to submit to show they’re learning your content?

      Step 3. Set up a course, enroll your students and publish your modules and your course.

      Review this series of quick tutorials on how to build and manage your courses and how to create and manage course content. Please note: Your institution may have already created your course for you. Watch the video.

      Set up a course

      It all starts with Modules which helps you organize your content to control the flow of a course.

      Create a Module in Canvas

      Call your Module the name of your topic/unit/week. Add in content to your Module which could be a Page or any of the resources you listed from your plan. Here you can access the Rich Content Editor to create and embed custom content (including video and audio) into Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Pages, Quizzes.

      Create Assignments

      Create Assignments for everything you grade a student on during the semester, this may include quizzes, papers, participation, attendance, exams etc. Watch the video.

      • Make sure that you publish each assignment to make them available to students. Creating an assignment adds a column in the gradebook for the assignment.
      • If students are doing this offline, create a page with your instructions of what you’d like them to do.

      Enroll your students

      Check to see if your institution has automatically added students for you. If not, there are three ways to do it:


      You’ll need to publish all the modules that you are ready for students to see and publish your course. Yes, you need to do both. Publishing the course gives students access to the course on their dashboard. Publishing the modules lets students see the content inside of the course.

      *Visit our community site for drill down guidance on each feature. Getting Started with Canvas as an Instructor.

      Step 4. Set up video conferencing.

      The number one question people ask: how do I set up video conferencing? Especially during this time of social distancing, students and teachers are wanting to connect and come together online.

      Review our list of Canvas partners to find the right conferencing and video solution. A few examples to consider:

      • In partnership with Microsoft, we now have a Microsoft Teams Conferencing integration. Watch the Video.
      • We now have a new LTI integration for you to connect with your students using Google Hangouts Meet as your conferencing tool. Add a Hangouts Meet code to your Canvas Course, Course Announcement, Module or via Calendar. Learn more.
      • Use Zoom's free option in Canvas by manually copying the zoom link into Canvas Course/Assignment. If you have 'Business' or 'Enterprise' licenses with Zoom, you have the ability to install the Zoom LTI. Learn more.
      • BigBlueButton enables you to share your audio, slides, chat, video, and desktop with students, helping you create a fully online experience. Learn more.

      Step 5. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

      Continue to maintain connection with your students as you move online. Review these tips on the best tools for communicating. Watch the video.

      Download the Canvas Teacher App to access Canvas on your mobile device, available for Android and iOS devices. This app allows teachers to edit course details, communicate with students, and grade student submissions. You should also encourage your student to download the student app--giving you both quick, anywhere access to Canvas.

      Need an account or help signing in?

      Check to see if your school is a Canvas customer. If not, we’re offering free accounts for you, your students, their parents, and anyone else who wants to use our Canvas learning tools. This account never expires and offers all the features you and your students need to transition to online learning. Get a free account.

      To login to Canvas, open your web browser. Chrome is our recommendation, but here is a full list of supported browsers.

      • Go to
      • Type in your username and password provided by your school
      • Click login

      These are just a few high-level steps to get you started. Once you’re up and running, we encourage you to visit our Canvas Community where we’ve gathered a full range of resources, guides, and video tutorials to further help you through this process.

      Download this checklist as a PDF