Wayne State College

Beginning of Course Checklist

These checklists are based on the collective experiences of the team members in education and their deep knowledge of Canvas. The Beginning-of-Course Checklist is a starting point for ensuring your course is ready to go for student access at the start of a new course term.



1. Select Account and click Notifications to set up your account notifications and your contact method in your Canvas Account.  

Tip: Show students how to set their notification preferences.


2. Select Account and click Profile to set a profile picture that represents yourself in your Canvas Account. Students will be able to see the image displayed in the Inbox, Announcements, Discussions, and People tab.  

Tip: You may want to choose a professional headshot to model appropriate photos for students.



1. Select Courses to customize which course cards are displayed on the Dashboard by Favoriting or Moving courses based on preference, current term, quarter, semester, etc.  

Tip: Once courses are displayed on the Dashboard, you can also give the course a Nickname visible only to you.


Course Settings

1. Select Settings and click Import Course Content to manually copy course content from another LMS, another course, a previous term or the Canvas Commons.

     a. If you migrate content from a prior LMS or another course, you need to review individual items, check course settings, organize content, and remove unneeded content before publishing your course. Review the Files, Modules, Pages, Quizzes, Assignments, and Discussions index pages. 

Note: Removing items from a module does not delete the items from your course. If you need to delete an item go to that item’s index page. 

Tip: Verify settings for Assignments, Discussions and Quizzes. Keep in mind some items may already come into Canvas published. Unpublish items as needed.


2. Select Settings and click the Course Details tab to set your overall course settings.

     a. Select More Options to open a menu of extra features to turn on and off, such as allowing students to post their own discussion threads and adding announcements to the home page.  

Tip: Don’t forget to enable the Course Grading Scheme. 

Tip: Don’t forget to select Update Course Details at the bottom once you update the settings. 

Tip: Adding a course card image is a great visual cue for quickly identifying courses.


3. For an optimum course experience, hide unnecessary course navigation links. Select Settings and click the Navigation tab. Drag and drop course tools into the order you want them to appear in the left course navigation. Drag tools underneath the Hide Here text to remove them from the navigation. Once the tool order is set don't forget to scroll down and click Save

Tip: The fewer the better.


Course Tools

1. Select Syllabus and click Edit to add the current syllabus to your course.  


2. Select People to verify your Canvas roster (teacher, student, TA, etc.) for accuracy.  

Tip: The People link also displays course sections (if applicable).


3. If you use weighted grading categories for your final grade calculations, you will want to add Assignment Groups to the Assignments Index Page and assign weights to each Group. Select Assignments and click +Group.

Tip:  You have the ability to add drop rules to each Assignment Group.


4. Select Attendance to track student attendance using a roll call attendance assignment. Verify the attendance tool and assignment are set up according to your attendance policy.


5. Select Files to Upload and review course folders and files. Manage the visibility of content by Publishing, Unpublishing or Restricting Access to folders and files. 

Tip: You can bulk upload files.


6. Verify the Gradebook is arranged according to your grading policy and your syllabus. 

Tip: You can move the “Total” column from the far right position to the far left position next to the student list. 

Tip: You can change your Total column to display as Points, if needed. 

Tip: You can set Late Submission or Missing Submission policies.


7. The Home Page is the first impression of a course. Select the Home Page option that best fits the needs of your course. 

Tip: Include visuals to engage your students and incorporate important information about your course.


8. Check the Calendar tool to verify Assignment due dates and Events scheduled for your course.  

Note: The Calendar displays graded/published Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions and Events with due dates. 

Tip: The Calendar tool allows for drag-and-drop options to easily manipulate and change due dates.


9. Review your course content from Student View to experience your course from a student perspective.  

Note: Some third party tools may not have student view functionality. 

Tip: Student View adds a test student to Grades. After participating in Student View, enter your Gradebook as a teacher to view any Test Student entries. 

Tip: You may want to select Validate Links in your Course Settings to ensure there are no broken links.


10. Check visibility of individual items and Modules as a whole. Don’t forget to publish your course.  

Tip: You can unpublish any items you don’t want students to see.

Last Updated: 5/1/23