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Build Your Course in 14 Days Toolkit
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Build Your Course in 14 Days Toolkit

Use this checklist and the accompanying toolkit resources to build your Canvas courses. Click on each header in the Calendar to see resources and tools to help you accomplish each step. For a digital copy visit

Your Roadmap to Canvas Success

🗓  Day 1

Growing with Canvas

🗓  Day 2

Prepare to build your course

🗓  Day 3

Import &  Review ISU’s Template

🗓  Day 4

Course Organization

🗓  Day 5

Course Content 

🗓  Day 6


🗓  Day 7


🗓  Day 8


🗓  Day 9

External Tools

🗓  Day 10


🗓  Day 11


🗓  Day 12

Build & Set Your Homepage

🗓  Day 13

Student Experience

🗓  Day 14

Final Touches

Day 1: Growing with Canvas  

Review the Growing with Canvas Course 

  • This will give you an overview of Canvas as well as a sense of the Canvas experience from a student’s perspective. This course will take time to complete. Pace yourself; it does not need to be completed in one day. Many of the lessons in Growing with Canvas align with each of the items in this 14-day checklist.
  • Take note of the resources available in this course in case you need to review them while building your course.
  • Come back tomorrow to get started with your own Canvas course build!

Day 2: Prepare to build your course in your Canvas Sandbox site

Think of your Sandbox site as your staging area. Content in your Sandbox will be migrated to your active courses prior to the start of the semester.

Locate your Canvas Sandbox Site

  • Select Courses from the Global Navigation Menu and find the site titled [Your Last Name] - Sandbox.
  • This will be a blank Canvas course.
  • If you have multiple sites to build, you can request course-specific Sandboxes.
  • If you plan to build your site from scratch, come back tomorrow to move on to the next step!

Day 3: Import and Review the ISU Course Template

Import the ISU Course Template from Commons into your Sandbox (Canvas Guide- Importing from Commons)

  • Select Commons from the Global Navigation.
  • Click Authorize if prompted.
  • In the Search bar, type “ISU Template.”
  • Click the tile for the template and select Import/Download.
  • Click the checkbox next to your Sandbox course and select Import into Course.

Familiarize yourself with the ISU Template

  • Select Modules and review the first module, beginning with How Do I Use This Template?
  • Review the samples: Module 0 and Module 1.
  • Review the Syllabus.

Day 4: Course Organization

Modules (Canvas Guide - Modules)

  • Modules control the flow of your course and its content. It is important to decide how you would like students to access course content. Using Modules will help you create an “outline” for your course. 
  • It is recommended to set up Modules by week, unit, or topic.
  • Text headers can be added to modules to be used as headers or dividers. (Canvas Guide- Text Headers)
  • Begin to build out your Module structure. If you are using the ISU template, Module 1 can be duplicated and used as a template.
  • What is it comparable to in Blackboard?
  • Learning Modules  

Course Navigation

  • The Course Navigation Menu is a series of links on the left side of your course that help you and your students access different course areas. Depending on the structure of your course, you can choose to reorder and hide course navigation links. (Canvas Guide- Course Navigation)
  • Recommendation: Home, Syllabus, Announcements, Modules, Discussions, Grades, ISU Library

Day 5: Course Content

  • Pages store course lesson content and educational resources that do not belong in an assignment or quiz. Pages can include text, videos, links, and documents. (Canvas Guide - Pages)
  • Canvas Studio is a communication tool that allows instructors and students to actively collaborate through video and audio media. (Canvas Guide- Studio)
  • The Rich Content Editor is a toolbar that is available anytime for creating new content. It gives users the ability to format added content. Some of the options included are formatting text, adding images/videos, adding in course or external links, and embedding documents. (Canvas Guide- The Rich Content Editor)    
  • Files can house course files, assignments, syllabi, readings, other documents, or user-specific files. Files can be placed in Modules, Assignments, or Pages. (Canvas Guide- Files )
  • Syllabus makes it easy to communicate to your students exactly what will be required of them throughout the course.  Update the Syllabus template with information for your course or insert a PDF version for students to download. (Canvas Guide - Syllabus)  
  • Course Summary is automatically generated based on course Assignments and course Calendar events. Items within the Course Summary can only be changed by editing or deleting the assignments or events.

Day 6: Assignments and Gradebook

Assignments in Canvas can be used to challenge students' understanding and help assess competency by using a variety of media. (Canvas Guide - Assignments)

  • Assignment setup & options
  • You can create assignments on the Assignments page. It is important to have a detailed title and instructions for students.
  • Submission Types
  • Assignments have four submission types. If you would like your students to turn something into Canvas, use submission type online. This will create a column in your grade book and allow students to submit.
  • Using Assignment Groups allows you to organize the assignments in your course and create rules for the entire assignment group. Assignment groups can be weighted or unweighted. (Canvas Guide -  Weighting Assignment Groups)

Day 7: Rubrics

Understanding & Building Rubrics in Canvas

  • All Blackboard rubrics will need to be rebuilt in Canvas.
  • Rubrics are used as grading criteria for students and can be added to Assignments, Quizzes, and graded Discussions. In Canvas, Rubrics can be used for interactive feedback through the Speedgrader.
  • New Rubrics created in the course are automatically saved and can be used again for future assessments. Instructors can find Rubrics created in previous assignments as well as Rubrics created in other courses in which they are enrolled as an Instructor.

Day 8: Quizzes  


Classic Quizzes

  • Classic Quizzes allow instructors to use the Canvas Rich Content Editor to create quizzes and surveys.

New Quizzes and Item banks

  • New Quizzes use a modified Rich Content Editor that does not yet include: recording audio and video, accessibility checker, or the use of LTIs.
  • New Quizzes has four additional interactive question types: Hot Spot, Stimulus, Categorization, and Ordering. 

Day 9: External Tools

  • What are external tools?
  • LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) is an education technology standard that allows a user to connect Canvas to external tools (websites) and share contextual information.
  • Examples:
  • How can I use them in my course?
  • Once configured, external apps may be able to be added to Modules, Course Navigation, the Rich Content Editor, and Assignments.

Day 10: Discussions  

Discussion Boards (Canvas Guide- Discussions)

  • Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions, allowing both instructors and students to start and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired.
  • Discussion boards can be created as an Assignment for grading purposes. Graded discussions can be assigned to individuals or groups. Rubrics can be attached to Discussions.
  • Discussion topics can be organized as focused or threaded. Instructors can also require students to post to the Discussion before seeing other replies.

Day 11: Announcements  

Announcements (Canvas Guide - Announcements)

  • Announcements allow instructors to communicate with students about course activities and post interesting course-related topics.
  • By default, as soon as an Announcement is posted, students will be notified.
  • Delay posting allows instructors to set a future date and/or time for the Announcements to be posted.
  • When creating an Announcement, instructors can enable commenting. Commenting allows students to directly apply to posted Announcements. Instructors can require students to post to the Announcement before seeing other replies.

Day 12: Build & Set Your Course Homepage  

  • If using the ISU Template: Update Course Name and Course description with your information
  • If building from Scratch:

Day 13: Student Experience  

Student View  (Canvas Guide: Using Student View)

  • This feature allows instructors to view a course in the same way students do. Enabling Student View creates a Test Student in your course.
  • The Test Student can be used to view the course, post and reply to Discussions, submit Assignments, and view Gradebook, Pages, Syllabus, Quizzes, and Modules (depending on what is accessible in the course navigation).
  • Course Items must be published to review using the Test Student.
  • Review your course as the Test Student to verify how students will interact with your course content.  

Day 14: Final Touches

  • Students will not be able to access your courses until they are published. January 4th is the recommended date to publish for the Spring Semester.