Bakersfield Adult School

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Starting the Semester

Below you will find helpful instructions about how to get your class up and running on Canvas. There is tons of information on Canvas online and its daunting trying to sift through all of it. These resource page will help circumvent your frustrations and get to the point on how to get your class running as quickly as possible. 

Step: 1 Take a deep breath, you can do this: The Home Page can display the course participation activity stream, the Course Modules page, the Course Assignments list, Syllabus, or a page you design as the front page.

Step: 2 Create a Syllabus and Home Page: The Syllabus lets you welcome your course users and share expectations with your students. Use the Syllabus description to clarify course objectives, preferred contact methods, and other details, or upload a PDF of an existing Syllabus. The Syllabus page can also display all assignments and events within the course.


The Course Home Page is the first page students see when they open your course.

How do I use the Course Home Page as an instructor?

Step 3: Upload or create content: Once you have your content organized (content includes quizzes, discussions, assignments) Upload all documents you would like to link. Start creating assignments in Canvas. You can open your assignment document in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and copy and paste the information into your newly created assignments. 

How do I create an assignment?
Step 4: Organize course content: Use modules to organize your content and create a linear flow for what students should do in the course. Modules can be used to organize content by weeks, units, or a different organization structure. Add files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials. Require prerequisites to be completed before moving to a module or next module item, or lock an entire module until a specific date.

An online course in Canvas should include the following:


  • Course Design - Modules preferably by Week, if not, then by Unit or Chapter. Weekly Modules are recommended because students often find it much easier to understand what is required and what they need to do if the course is structured by Week. 
  • Course Welcome - Pererably a Module introducing students to the course, what to expect, and how to get started. At a minimum, there should be a page with this information.
  • "Introduce Yourself" Discussion - Need a discussion at the start of class where students can get to know each other and their Instructor. 
  • Syllabus - Detailed explanation of your course.
  • Course Content - Course content needs to be provided in the Canvas Course. This could be chapter readings from the textbook, links to outside resources, files, PowerPoint, and/or pre-recorded videos. It is recommended that video (either Instructor created or found online) be utilized as learning resources.
  • Gradebook set-up with Assignments and due dates. 
  • Weekly engagement - To meet federal requirements, students need to have the opportunity to engage with each other every week. 
  • Weekly assignments - These assignments could be discussions, assignments, or quizzes in Canvas.  
  • All assignments need to be submitted in the Canvas course.
  • Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet sessions can be utilized as needed by the Instructor and students. It is recommended that class sessions are recorded and made available for students who couldn't attend in person or who would like to rewatch the session.
  • Canvas email (Inbox/Conversation) messages will not be sent out if the course is unpublished.
  • Pay attention to the time stamp on anything you have placed a date on. 12:00 means the very first minute of the selected day. For end dates, it is often best to choose 11:59 PM to ensure you are setting it up on the correct date.
Ways to Encourage Positive Online Student Behaviors 
  • Include information in a consistent way throughout the class to reduce the number of questions students may have.
  • Answer student questions by redirecting them back to resources you have already included in your online course. This will ensure you are getting the student to the right place and empower students to have a better appreciation for what is available to them in the course by directing them to links where you have provided further direction or information. 
  • Provide direct instruction about expectations for using video during synchronous sessions and consider alternatives for poor connectivity or limitations on devices.
  • Identify which course content is required versus which is supplemental. 
  • Build interactive elements into video and lecture content, such as asking questions or having students record video reflections so that they get in the habit of engaging with course content. 
  • Err on the side of kindness.