Course Building Best Practices - University of Houston
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Course Building Best Practices

Follow these best practices and linked tutorials to get your course ready for your students.

Upload the Syllabus

Upload your syllabus file in the “Syllabus” course navigation link. This will make it easier for students to find the syllabus. You can also add additional details in the text box, like an instructor bio or welcome message. The course summary feature also shows students all upcoming due dates and calendar events.

Organize Course Content in Modules

Use the Modules to organize your course content in a way that makes it easy for students to find content and work through the course. Modules can be broken up by weeks, units, or any way that makes sense for your course. Avoid having too many modules or too many items in a module. Instead of having many individual links or files in a module create a Page with those files and links. Then add that individual page to the module. Remember to publish modules and items so that students can see them.

Clean up Course Navigation

You can reorder, enable, disable links in the course navigation settings. Some links are only visible to instructors and some links can be disabled for students, but remain visible to the instructor. You can click and drag to reorder the navigation links. The links can’t be renamed. Use the student view to see how the navigation looks for students.

Set up the Gradebook

Enable and update the Grading Scheme to match the percentage and letter breakdown in your syllabus. If you are using weighted grading set up the assignment groups and associated weight.

Choose Course Image

Setting a course image will display it on the dashboard course tile and make the course easier to identify for you and your students.

Choose Course Home Page

The default home page in Canvas is the Modules page and is the best way to get students directly to the course content. You can also create your own home page using pages or set the syllabus as the home page.

Check the Course in Student View

View your course in student view to see what your students will see. Check the navigation and make sure the appropriate modules and items are published and visible. You can also submit assignments or quizzes as a test student and grade them as the instructor.