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A Maryland University of National Distinction
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Start of the Semester Checklist

1. Importing From Another Canvas Course

If you have content from a previous semester, or have been working in a development course, you can import the content of that course to the current semester.

Important  Note: If you have integrated Turnitin Assignments, embedded Panopto videos, or enabled Respondus LockDown Browser for assignments, after you import the course content you must perform the following additional actions.

  1. Turnitin: remove assignments dates from the assignments settings in MyClasses and update assignments dates in Turnitin settings. Follow instructions to fix Error#3 under "Common Errors" section on the Turnitin Assignments Dates page.
  2. Reuse Panopto Recordings by setting up permissions for the new course.
  3. For Respondus LockDown Browser, activate it in the new course by selecting Respondus LockDown Browser from the course menu.  You receive the following message as verification. 

    Lockdown Browser verification which states "Important Message. Your Settings Have Been Updated!  Copied courses require instructors to access the LockDown Browser dashboard before exams can be taken by students. You just did that, so you're all set!" 

2. Setting the Course Home Page

It is recommended that faculty set the Syllabus as the course home page.

The Syllabus Tool in Canvas makes it easy to communicate to your students exactly what will be required of them throughout the course. Using the Syllabus tool you can post a brief course description, instructor information, as well as a link to the syllabus file (see next step). In addition, the syllabus tool will automatically display to students a course schedule including due dates of all graded activities.

Resource: Examples of course home pages

3. Adding Your Syllabus

Provide a link to a syllabus file directly to your course.  You can upload the file or select from an existing file in the course.  

View the short tutorial on how to link your syllabus file to the Syllabus tool in MyClasses.

4. Setting Up Your Gradebook and Assignments

One of the most important tips about MyClasses Canvas is that the gradebook is organized based on the Assignments area. Assignments are organized into Assignment Groups.  A course whose final grade is based solely on points would only need one assignment group.  Faculty who want to drop grades or calculate final grades based on weighted percentages (e.g. 15% Participation, 25% Quizzes; 30% Projects; 30% Exams) are required to use Assignment Groups to organize their graded activities.  For more information, refer to the How do I setup my gradebook in MyClasses Canvas? from our Faculty FAQ under the Getting Started section.

Tip: There is no way to add a column to the gradebook within Grades. Faculty can create a column in the gradebook by creating a No Submission Assignment. 

5. Activating Turnitin Assignments

Instructors using Turnitin assignments, must view and activate the assignment in order for students to be able to access and submit the assignment. After creating a Turnitin assignment, to view and activate the assignment:

  •     Click the "Load [assignment name] in a new window"
  •     Click the Settings tab. If needed, change/update the assignment settings.
  •     Click Submit

This activation needs to take place even if the assignment was imported from another Canvas course and was previously activated.

What happens if you don't activate these Turnitin assignments? Students trying to submit a Turnitin assignment in MyClasses will receive the following message:

Sorry, we could not process your request
This assignment does not have a valid assignment title, start date, and / or due date. Please contact your instructor for more information.

6. Organizing Content

There are several ways to organize a course. The majority of faculty will use the Modules area to add content pages, files, and various graded activities. Content Pages is one of the highlighted new features of Canvas. Pages provides the ability to create content, similar to using Word, directly within MyClasses. Using the Rich Text Editor, you can create and edit information to display to students as well as link to files, assignments, discussions and other areas within the course. Some examples of pages used in some courses at SU:

Resource: Examples of organizing content

The course navigation for a class has many links and tools that become available as content is added. Every link may not necessarily be used during the course or a faculty member might want to reduce the various avenues for students to access course content.  As the instructor, you can choose to modify the course navigation menu by deciding which links are available for students, which links are hidden and organize the links in the order you prefer.

Disabling a section of the course navigation will only hide the link from your students. Instructors will always see each item on the course menu. After changes to your navigation are saved, you will still be able to access or re-enable the link.  Greyed titles indicate either the tool is empty or is hidden.  Refer to the How do I reorder and hide Course Navigation links? handout for more information.

8. Utilizing Student View

The Student View allows you see the course as a student views it. While in the student view a Test Student is created for your course to allow you to participate in assignments, quizzes and other areas of the course just like a student. At the end of the session, you can choose to keep the student data of the Test Student in the gradebook or reset it to allow you to complete the activity again. Refer to the What is the Student View? and How do I assess Student View? guides for more information.

9. Publishing Your Course

Even though courses are created automatically courses do not display to students until the faculty member Publishes the course. Course availability to students is also dependent on the course dates. Courses are setup for students to access one week prior to the semester start date to two weeks after the end of the semester.

Online and hybrid courses are expected to open for students one week prior to the semester start date. This allows students to review the course syllabus, become familiar with the MyClasses course, and to complete any pre-week activities.

10. Learn More About Canvas

Faculty can learn more about MyClasses Canvas by:

Need help or have questions about this page? Please visit our Ask a Question or Report a Problem page.
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