Creating a Well-Designed Canvas Course

Principles & best practices for a well-designed Canvas course

1. Make a Great First Impression

  • Make the course home page a place that welcomes students.
  • Use the home page to make it clear to students where to go and what to do first.
  • Include a relevant image to engage students.


2. Create a Course That's Easy to Navigate

  • Make course navigation obvious and simple to help your students easily get to where they want to go within the course.
  • Include instructions on the home page that direct students where to start.


3. Make It Easy for Students to Find Everything

  • Students don't want to spend a lot of time or become confused trying to find the course content. Organize your course in a way that makes learning resources and assignments easy to find.
  • Create modules that are organized by unit, week, or topic and make sure a module contains everything a student will need to complete it.
  • Avoid duplication by publishing content in the course once and linking to it.
  • For clarity, write consistent and descriptive names for resources, assignments, pages, files, folders, URLs, and modules.


4. Ensure that Students Know What to Expect

  • Include the syllabus PDF on the Syllabus page. From the first day of class, students want to know what they will be learning and how they will be graded. The syllabus lets students know what to expect.
  • Use rubrics for each assignment to let students know how they will be graded.


5. Keep Students Informed and Engaged

  • Communication is the key to keeping students engaged in learning.
  • Canvas provides several types of automatic Notifications and communications.
  • The Calendar makes it easy for students and instructors to see all events and Assignments and provides automatic Notifications of due dates.
  • Announcements are used for special events and news items.
  • Discussions make it possible for students in a course or in groups to discuss key topics as a graded or ungraded Assignment.