Canvas Templates

The CLT has prepared basic Canvas templates you can add to your course(s) to help you set up discussions, assignments, and content for a robust Canvas experience.

Available templates include:

  • Course template – this template comes in regular semester, summer 10-week, and summer 6-week versions. It includes a full set of modules with weekly assignments, discussion forums, and pages for the instructor to provide an overview of the week. Instructors must add prompts, due dates, point values, and content, and must set up the Gradebook according to their needs. Unneeded items can be deleted.
  • Modules outline template – this template includes only the modules themselves, along with guides for instructors on how to use modules. Assignments, discussions, and pages are not included.

This guide will help you decide whether to use the templates, and provides instructions on how to import them into your Canvas course.

Reasons to Consider Using a Template

The templates are intended to help you use Canvas more robustly, and are especially useful for incorporating and organizing asynchronous components like discussion forums that students can participate in on their own schedule. Using asynchronous elements is an important way of enhancing student participation for both virtual and in-person classes; for example, an asynchronous discussion forum can serve as a stepping-off point for an in-class discussion, a Canvas quiz can allow you to assess readiness before class time, and frequent small assignments allow for an iterative approach.

The template is a skeleton that you can “flesh out” by adding readings, lecture notes, slides, or written content, discussion questions, videos, assignments, and so on.

Advanced users can also include additional items like reading quizzes to the modules if desired.

Importing a Template into Your Course

Unlike the course shells you receive every semester, the template will not automatically appear in your course. You can preview and import it from the home page of the course, using the yellow “Import Course Template” button in the right sidebar. (Note: this button is only visible on the course home page.)

The home page of a Canvas course in the instructor view, showing the right sidebar. The third button in the list (one of two yellow buttons) is "Import Course Template."
The template import button is visible on the right from the home page of any current Canvas course

When you click the button, you will receive a list of available templates, which you can preview and import.


  • Look at the preview carefully to make sure you are selecting the right template
  • Import the template you want before you make any other changes to your Canvas course to avoid clutter
  • Only import one template (templates do not overwrite each other, and multiple templates will create a lot of clutter that can only be removed one item at a time)

Please contact the CLT at if you need assistance.

Customizing the Template

The model module How to Use this Template (found by clicking Modules within the full-featured template) explains how to customize the various components. You may also be interested in our materials on designing Canvas discussions, and our tutorial on adding media in discussions, assignments, pages, and other Canvas components using the Rich Content Editor.

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