Public Health - How To Set Up Your Course

This guide has been created to help you create an easy to navigate course in Canvas. This is not a complete list of Canvas features, nor is it the only way to set up a Canvas course. If you have additional questions please contact

1: Upload your content

The Files tool stores content such as PowerPoints, .pdfs and documents.

To learn more read this guide: How do I upload a file to a course?

2: Create your Activities

You can manage many types of activities in canvas, including written assignments, quizzes and discussions.

To learn more read these guides:

How do I create an online assignment?

How do I create a quiz with individual questions?

How do I create a discussion as an instructor?

3: Build your Modules

One way to organize you Canvas course is to create a module for each week or unit. Arranging each module in a standard structure will go a long way to making your course easy to navigate; For example the Demo course uses weekly modules that organized by readings and assignments. Under each organizational heading you can add a link to any canvas content, including Files, Assignments, Quizzes and Discussions.

To learn more read these guides:

How do I add a module?

How do I add assignment types, pages, and files as module items?

How do I add a text header as a module item?

How do I add an external URL as a module item?

4: Set Modules as your Home Page

The home page is the first thing that students will see when they open the course. Selecting Modules as your home page can be a good way to helps students stay organized and on track.

To learn more read this guide: How do I change the Course Home Page?

The column on the left allows students to quickly navigate the course, but some links are best hidden so that students do not waste time on unneeded or unorganized sections of the course. You may want to hide any unused course tools, like Media Gallery or Collaborations. You also may want to hide the files area if you would prefer students to access files from modules.

To learn more read this guide: How do I manage Course Navigation links?

6: Preview

Student View allows you to preview the course as a student would see it, and this can help you test your course before you publish it to students.

To access student preview:

  1. Click on “Settings” in the left hand navigation
  2. Click on “Student View.” Depending on your screen size this the ‘Student View” button will be on the right or near the bottom of the page.
  3. You will see a purple bar along the bottom of the page, indicating that you are in Student View.
  4. To exit student view click on one of the following buttons in the purple bar.
  5. Reset Student: this will erase the “Test Student” from the course.
  6. Leave Student View: this will leave the “Test Student” in the course. Any interactions, such as replying in the discussion board and submitting an assignment will be visible to anyone in the class.

7: Publish

Once you are happy with you course you will need to publish it before you students can access it. Click on “Home” and then on “Publish.” Note: that publishing the course will not allow students to see any content within the course that is unpublished or restricted by date.