Day 4: Launch Your Course

The fourth day of Canvas Camp is about finalizing your course and taking the last steps to prepare it for launch. Start thinking about the final touches you hope to add to your course by then end of Canvas Camp.

We will kickoff the session with a discussion asking: “Why do you think the University switched to Canvas?” After spending several days with Canvas, this activity always yields rich conversation.

The remainder of our session will continue with regular course development and offer demonstrations over grading, adding TAs to courses, and fully publishing a Canvas course. By the end of our session, your course will be ready (or very close) to facilitate.


Complete your Canvas Course – Finish adding and organizing all the contents and assignments of your course in the Modules section. Ideally, all course content appears in at least one Module. Additionally, make sure to complete the Syllabus, double check all due dates in the Calendar, and review your course materials are correct.

Add TAs to the course – In the People section of your course, add your TAs.

Publish the course! – The final step! Make sure all of your content is in the “Published” status by referring to the green, check-marked clouds next to each of your materials in the Modules section. All content that has a gray, x-marked cloud is currently in the “Unpublished” draft form and not visible to students. Lastly, on the home page, change the Course Status from “Unpublished” to “Published.”

Bonus Goal? – Consider sharing your course materials with other Canvas users from the University or around the world using the Canvas Commons.


Calendar – Canvas has a strong calendar system that displays all assignment due dates across all courses. Here’s a video overview for the Canvas Calendar:

I recommend filtering your calendar by courses as needed and using the Canvas Calendar to edit assignment due dates with a simple drag and drop. All changes made in the Canvas Calendar are system-wide changes that notify students, meaning in case of a snow day, you can quickly adjust assignment due dates from the Canvas Calendar and these changes occur in real-time across Canvas (i.e. Syllabus section). Finally, the Calendar can also be used to generate assignments if you wish to build your course this way.

Messaging students using the Canvas Inbox – You can communicate with your all of your students through Conversations in the Canvas Inbox. This feature allows you to message individual students, your TAs, or the entire class. This video guide is a great place to start learning how to use this tool in Canvas.

Setup your personal Canvas Notifications – You get to decide how and when you want Canvas to send you Notifications. These alerts can be configure for you account. If you use the Canvas app, this is where you are able to designate what notifications you want pushed to your mobile device.

Take Attendance in Canvas – To use the Attendance system in Canvas, first enable it from the Course Navigation. During the semester, you can use the tool to track student attendance in your course. Although there are some Attendance settings to configure, your options for this tool are limited to this basic functionality.

Grades – The Canvas Gradebook is automatically generated from the Assignments in a course. First, checkout this overview video:

Then read through this guide to see how to interact with the Canvas Gradebook. You can set default grades (i.e. zeros for missing work), curve grades, and message students who make certain grades from the Gradebook. Additionally, I recommend muting assignments while grading if you prefer to release all grades and feedback to students all at once. Otherwise, students will receive notifications as you make changes at your grading pace. Lastly, you are able to download and upload scores to the Canvas Gradebook using CSV files if you prefer.

Use Speedgrader – The easiest way to grade assignments in Canvas is the Speedgrader. This video introduces its power when grading in Canvas:

The Speedgrader supports documents (.doc/.docx), slides (.ppt/.pptx), and PDF files, media recordings, website URLs, and more. This guide demonstrates the specifics of using Speedgrader, including how to enable anonymous grading, leave feedback for students, and use a rubric in Speedgrader. Additionally, you can grade Canvas assignments from the Speedgrader app on a tablet if desired.

Submitting your Grades – Our University aims to make submitting grades through Canvas simple. Checkout either the video guide or the text guide to learn how to complete this task at the conclusion of your semester.

Publishing Content – In the Modules section of Canvas, you can use the published state of contents to hide materials from students as needed. Unpublished materials are in a draft state and will not be accessible to students. Before you finalize your course, make sure all the content you want visible to students is marked as Published with the checkmark/green cloud icon.

Crosslisting in Canvas – You can combine sections from multiple courses into a single course. Before you do this, read this entire guide and view the cross-listing video because you want to make sure you understand how this works. I recommend experimenting and practicing with nonofficial Canvas courses first.

Copy Canvas Course – At some point you will need to move course content from one course to another. Follow this guide to migrate your materials to another Canvas course.

Get Canvas Assistance – The first place I go to get Canvas help are the Canvas Guides, in particular using the search bar on this page. The broader Canvas Community is a great place to get ideas and interact with other Canvas Users from across the world. Our University has its own Canvas Group on the Community website if you’d like to join us. Finally, there are more materials available for instructors on our campus ranging from OU’s Canvas Tutorials, to the resources on the Center for Teaching Excellence’s website.

If you’re hoping to get feedback on your Canvas course, I recommend asking the students in your courses and being open with them about trying new things. Students will be able to give you great feedback on how Modules are setup, etc. At the end of the day, we are all in this Canvas learning process together.

Happy course building, campers!