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Leslie J. Savage Library

Canvas Faculty Guide: Canvas Organziation

Canvas Information page with resources on the basics, grading, organization, engagement and communication, and a student section

Canvas Guide


Home Page

Homepage (watch a starter video

What are the choices for a home page? Why does it matter?

  • The Home Page is the first page your students see when they enter your course. You have several options for a home page: 
  • Front Page: Create your own page that includes a welcome message, links, images, or other information
  • Course Activity Stream: Use the course activity stream as a home page to show recent activities (announcements, discussions, assignments, etc.) 
  • Modules: You can choose to show all course modules to students as the home page; this can act like a table of contents for the course 
  • Assignments: you can select assignments as a home page, but note that this is only best if your course structure relies heavily on assignments 
  • Syllabus: Similar to a Front Page, but can also list course assignments by default at the bottom of the page; a popular method is to add a banner, provide key information and policies, and include a downloadable copy of the syllabus
  • Announcements: show recent announcements are part of the Course Home Page


list of homepage options


309 - Modules Overview from Instructure Canvas Community.

What are modules and why should you use them?

  • Modules are used to organize course content by weeks, units, or a different organizational structure
  • Modules can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other materials (think of it as a folder that organizes other materials) 
  • When you add a new module, it automatically sorts to the bottom of the list (scroll down to find the new module)
  • Create a module, give it a name, and add items
  • Easily move or reorder modules 
  • Publish or unpublish each module (make visible or invisible to students)
  • Create prerequisite activities that students must complete before moving on in the course
  • Track student progress through a sequence of learning activities


Calendar (watch a starter video)

What are the features of the calendar

  • The calendar is a global feature, which means that users can see all course assignments and events in a single place

  • The calendar helps to remind students of graded assignments with specific due dates
  • The calendar automatically syncs with other features in Canvas, so changing the date of an assignment on the Calendar will show in the assignments list and vice versa
  • You can quickly add assignments to a blank course, and choose to fill in the details later
  • You can filter the calendar view by course
  • Add an event (a non-graded Canvas activity) with links to readings you'd like students to do before a class, or create a reminder for a field trip 
  • Set a Scheduler appointment group aside for students to meet with you (students can sign up for times in their own calendars) as a virtual office hour sign-up
  • For a full list of how-to guides, see the Calendar section of the Canvas Instructor Guides list 

Canvas Calendar view


Pages (watch a starter video)

Why should you use pages?

  • Pages allow instructors to create course content directly on the web. Pages can include video, audio, links to other pages, assignments, discussions, and more (view the link to see use cases)
  • Use the Pages Index page to view all the pages in your course
  • View the history of a page (and the author, date, and time of any changes made to a page); page editors can roll back page content to a previous version 
  • Upload a PDF to a page, embed a video in a page, or add other types of content to a page 


Files (watch a starter video

What are files and how do you use them? 

  • Files can hold course files as well as personal files 
  • Files can hold assignments, syllabi, readings, other documents, user-specific files, and more
  • Instructors can lock files so they can only be viewed by direct link or unlock after a certain date
  • Files can be placed in Modules, Assignments, or pages

Canvas Files preview


Groups (watch a starter video)

What are groups and what can you do with them?

Canvas group display, instructor view

Guide Navigation

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Questions? Contact your Instructional Designer!

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Tiffanie Wick

Library 209

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