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Basic Course Creation

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Never created a Canvas site? Here are the first steps to getting up and running (Students can visit First Steps for Students).

We recommend using the Chrome browser (See minimum system requirements). Instructor Canvas apps are available for iOS and Android.

1. Login and click your course

After logging into Canvas, instructors will see their courses in the Dashboard. Unpublished course shells are created automatically in Canvas a few weeks before the start of each quarter and instructors, TAs, and students are added based on their affiliation in Axess. If you are an instructor and don’t see your course in the Canvas dashboard, verify you have been added in Axess, then contact the Canvas team for help. 

    Login to Canvas dashboard for an instructor

    2. Import course content

    Select Settings-Import Course Content to import selected components of old courses if they exist, including Announcements, Files, and Assignments.

    Import existing content button

    3. Add and manage files

    Add files one by one or in bulk then set usage rights and publish them. You can also set access rights and visibility.


    4. Add Syllabus

    Adding your syllabus to the Syllabus tool in Canvas automatically publishes it to even if your Canvas course is currently unpublished.

    5. Create Assignments 

    The five types of Assignments are Assignments (readings, reply to a prompt, or upload), Discussion, Quizzes, External tool, or Not Graded.


    6. Choose a Home Page

    Set your Course Home Page to the style that matches your course:

    Choose Home Page located under Course Status

    7. Clean up menu

    Hide items in the Course Menu that you don’t intend to use (e.g., Chat) by going to the Navigation tab in Settings.

    Navigation can be changed in Settings

    8. Publish content

    Publish FilesModulesAssignmentsQuizzesPages.

    Because your course is unpublished by default, students won't see these and no course notifications will be sent. Students do not have access to your Canvas course until you click Publish Course.

    Publish button

    9. Preview course

    Use Student View to see how everything will look for students before publishing your course. If everything looks good, you’re now ready to publish your course.

    Student View can be found on most pages

    10. Publish course

    Go to your Home page and click Publish Course to make your course available to students. 

    Next: Manage your new course

    Still need help?

    Visit the Instructors section of this site to learn about additional resources or Contact the Stanford Canvas Team.