7/23: The template import button goes live tonight in your Canvas shells! See below for instructions on quickly importing the template, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Building a course in Canvas can take time, and we recognize that your time is limited! To expedite the process, CLT staff have created a basic Canvas template that you can use as a starting point, adding to or subtracting from it as needed. Using the template is your choice, but we highly recommend it if you are using Modules (or any common Canvas component) for the first time. In addition to providing a basic structure for your course, the template also includes self-directed resources and instructions for you to ease your Canvas adoption. For more advanced users, the template will simply save you some time creating modules, discussions, assignments, etc.
Important note: if you plan to use the template, we recommend importing it before you begin building your course to avoid duplicating elements. If you have already created a modules structure or most of your assignments and discussions, you may wish to import only parts of the template, which requires manual import instead of using the button in Canvas. The instructions provided on this page only describe importing the entire template with the button.
The template includes the following:
- weekly discussion forums, with due dates each Friday
- weekly assignments, with due dates each Friday
- weekly blank pages for you to fill out with framing information, links, to-do lists, or whatever you would like
- a module structure that organizes these items by week, and also permits you to add additional items to the week, like quizzes, links, recorded class videos, and/or PDF readings
These items contain no content. You will need to edit each one you intend to use, which in most cases simply means writing or pasting in the assignment or discussion prompt and adding your own text to the weekly intro pages. You should also change the due dates (called “student to-do” in discussions) for anything you do not want due on a Friday. You can delete any items you do not intend to use–for example, if you will not have weekly assignments, simply delete the assignments you won’t need.
While you certainly are not required to use a weekly discussion and assignment structure, using modules is part of the mandatory Course Standards for fall 2020.
The modules section also contains some resources for students on using Canvas, which you should retain, and tutorial materials for you that explore how to create effective content pages, quizzes, discussions, and assignments.
There are several ways to view the template. You may be familiar with the Assignments and Discussions views, in which you can see a list of all your assignments or discussions, respectively. You might be less familiar with the Modules view, which will be the most important way for your students to interface with Canvas-based course materials and exercises. It looks like this:
You’ll notice that these modules are very consistent. It is helpful to students to see similar organization each week. You can also see that they invite changes; when you add your prompts (which you can do by clicking on the item and then selecting edit), you may need to change the titles as well. You can remove the text header about inserting readings. The plus sign in the top bar of each module allows you to add further items, like files, links, and additional assignments or discussions, which you can drag and drop into the order you like.
With the exception of Week 1, the modules are unpublished by default (notice the gray circle with the line through it). You will need to publish modules for your students to see them by clicking on the gray circles until they change to green checkmarks.
Your course shells for fall also contain an expanded syllabus template and homepage template. These are part of the default shell and you will see them whether you import the template or not.
You can easily replace the highlighted text in this template with the relevant parts of your syllabus. You can retain the boilerplate. The Course Summary (list of due dates) will appear below the syllabus.
This page template allows you to link directly to the weekly modules from the calendar by editing and inserting links. Please replace the filler image before students have access to the course.
If you have questions about how to edit the template, please consult the member of the Design Team or peer group you are working with.
In addition to saving you time, the template will create consistency for students across courses. The more faculty build courses out robustly in modules, the easier it will be for students to navigate them. Students often ask for faculty to make sure that they are using certain Canvas features that are part of the template, like assignment and discussion due dates. Thus, the template models a course that creates a simple and easy-to-follow student experience.
As you decide whether to import the template, you can access and explore it via Canvas.
Unlike the spring and summer templates, which had a multi-step import process, the fall template is easy to import right from your Canvas course! If you go to the home page of any course, on the right side, you will see a sidebar menu on the right. You may have used this menu before to enter Student View. We have added two new buttons to that sidebar, which look like this (exact color subject to change):
You can import the template simply by clicking the “Import Course Template” button. This will import all the pages, assignments, discussions, and the module structure.
Important notes about importing the template:
- Import the template before you start creating content for your course to avoid duplication. It is possible to resolve duplications, but it’s time-consuming.
- If you are also importing content from a previous version of the course, import the template first and then the old content. You can then plug old items into the modules (making sure to update due dates) and remove template components that are not useful to you.
- If you will have two sections of the same course, import the template into only one of the shells. Build your course using the template in that shell, and then import the entire course into the second shell. Again, this avoids duplication.
If you have already begun work on your course modules or you have set up all your assignments and want to avoid duplicates, it is still possible to import only parts of the template, using a method similar to the procedure for importing a previous version of the course or copying a course into another shell for a second section. Please consult the CLT for help if you want to do this, or follow the instructions in this CLT Knowledge Base article, making sure to choose the option to select specific content.