Canvas Start-of-Semester Tasks

Following are steps faculty can take during the beginning of the semester to make Canvas use easier and more efficient! These actions take place after a course has been migrated to Canvas. We recommend that every instructor attend a face-to-face Canvas training and contact their Instructional Consultant with questions about course design. Once your course is ready to be made available in Canvas, these steps are for you!

1. Set Up Notifications

Every Canvas user can filter how and when they receive notifications from Canvas. At the start of the semester, we recommend that faculty inform students of how important it is to enable different notifications, such as Conversations and Announcements. The Canvas Community provides instructions on how to set up student notifications. Instructors cannot enforce those suggestions, as students are the only ones who can change their Notification settings. It is vital that students understand their responsibility to configure these settings.

To set up your own notifications, follow these steps.

2. Organize Your Syllabus

The Syllabus tool in Canvas allows students to view a calendar of assignments, a description of the course, and how grades are weighted within their course. At the beginning of the semester, instructors can use this tool in place of or alongside a written syllabus, as long as all relevant information is addressed. Detailed instructions on how to use Canvas's Syllabus can be found here.

3. Edit Your Navigation Menu

Within a Canvas course, instructors have the ability to re-arrange their course’s left-hand menu. This menu holds Modules, Grades, Announcements, and more; it is students’ most-used tool for course navigation.

To streamline student activity, we recommend that instructors hide options that they are not using, especially options that will draw students away from the course’s structure. Instructors should hide the Pages and Files options from the students’ view. Ideal options to keep available are Home, Syllabus, Announcements, Modules, Grades, People (only if the course uses Groups), and Barnes & Noble. Canvas provides detailed instructions on how to rearrange the navigation menu in their navigation menu guide.

4. Add a TA or GA to a Course

To add your Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistant, or Teaching Fellows to your course, follow the directions below.

  1. Log in to Canvas at unt.instructure.com.
  2. Choose the course to which you want to add a user.
  3. In the left-hand menu of your course, select "People." 
  4. At the top right of your screen, click on the green "+ People" button. A window called "Add People" will appear.
  5. Under "Add user(s) by" on this screen, select "Login ID."
  6. In the text box of the same window, enter the TA's (or TF's, etc.) EUID. If you do not know their EUID, select "SIS ID" and enter the person's eight-digit UNT ID number. If you only have the person's UNT e-mail address, you can select "Email Address" and enter their e-mail in the box provided.
  7. Click "Next" at the bottom right of the screen.
  8. If the person has a user account in Canvas, their name, e-mail address, and Institution will appear. If this happens, click "Add Users." If your TA does not have a Canvas user account, please contact the CLEAR Faculty Helpdesk.
  9. The pop-up window in Canvas will close, and the user will show in the "People" page as "pending."
  10. This new user will need to log in to Canvas and accept their invitation to the course in order to see it. 

Instructors can also add other users besides TAs such as students and other instructors. An instructor can select another role from the drop-down after the user's EUID has been entered. The Instructor role has the most privileges while the Guest role has the least. See the Canvas Community's information on Canvas user roles for more information.

5. Publish Your Course

Once a course is ready, the instructor will need to publish it. A published course cannot be unpublished after students have submitted assignments.

If you have questions about Canvas, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, contact CLEAR's Faculty Helpdesk, or take a look at the Canvas Community's Instructor Guides