Canvas course design

There are different ways for you as a teacher to create good conditions for the learning environment and for teamwork and interaction to be developed in the virtual classroom. Below are some tips to help you work in Canvas.

Closeness in digital learning environment

Introduce yourself

In the first week of the course, you can welcome and greet the students and introduce yourself through a post (feel free to make it personal). Choose a profile picture for your account (instead of the anonymous grey profile picture) and encourage students to do the same.

Start Page

Create a “Start Page” for the first week of the course (which you will replace later, for example with “Modules”). On the start page, you can welcome and greet the students and write a few words about the start of the course and yourself. Learn more about Pages in Canvas (Canvas@KTH) .

Create a discussion forum

This tip is best suited to smaller courses, especially at the beginning if the students will meet the same teacher several times: Create a discussion forum for the students and ask them to briefly introduce themselves. Do it as early as possible, preferably in the first week of the course. They may be able to answer regarding the expectations they have for the course, why they have enrolled in the course, their relationship to the subject, etc. In addition to their own posts, you can also ask them to respond to a post by someone else. This type of activity can often provide a good basis for interaction and social initiatives and discussions later in the course.

Add a discussion forum in which students can ask questions and answer for each other regarding information, whether they need someone to study with, share tips on related literature, etc. Learn more about discussion forum in Canvas (Canvas@KTH) .

Be clear about your approach

Go through how you have set up your course room in Canvas, where the students will find assignments, information and other things that you will share in the course rooms. Also make sure your course room looks the way you expect when accessing it from a smartphone because many students will follow the course on a phone and app instead of a computer. More tips good to know when creating your course room can be found on the "Beginning-of-course Checklist for teachers"  page.

Think about accessibility

When working with your course room in Canvas and in the text editor (Rich Content editor) there is a button available to quickly read whether the page and your content are available.
Read more about Canvas Accessibility Checker (external page in English, Canvas Community) .

Do not use long pages of text, create subpages. Do not upload files unnecessarily. When uploading files use a file format that is available to everyone for example PDF which is accessibility-adapted (not scanned).
See more Accessibility tips  and the page Accessible web content at ITM  under the heading "If you are a teacher and work in Canvas".

Canvas Teacher App

There are two apps, one for students and one for teachers. With the app “Canvas Teacher” you as a teacher can be active in the course via the phone and among other things send and receive messages. You can convey results and reviews and time control the publication of certain material.

Manage course materials

You can, for example, time control the publication of material. If you want to edit a whole page / module it works better to do via Canvas in a web browser.

Communicate results and reviews

Respond to student submissions when the app is synchronized with Speedgrader and The Gradebook. Note that the app may have file management problems.

App restrictions

The app has certain limitations that are important to know, such as uploading files to tasks and quizzes. There are also limitations in calendar management and answering quizzes. These features work best through web browsers.

Good to know

  • If you do not have a KTH account, you will not be able to use the app.

  • It is Canvas (Instructure) that develops and updates the apps. KTH does not provide support or handle questions about the apps.

  • Download the "Canvas Teacher" app from the place you usually download apps. There you can also see the latest updates and bug fixes.
  • The apps are updated regularly. The latest information can be found on Canvas's own web pages about the apps.

Read more on page "Mobile guides – Canvas Teacher" (external page in English, Canvas Community) .

Inspiration and tips

At the "Lunch 'n' Learn"  seminar (March 26, 2019), teachers Johan Berg and Nihad Subasic talked about how they have designed their course rooms in Canvas. 

Video: "Teacher stories - Educational solutions in Canvas" (on YouTube, video in Swedish)


Would you like to know more about course design and how you can work in KTH's learning platforms?
Contact . If you have technical questions about for example: copying course rooms, login or accounts, please contact .

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Belongs to: KTH Intranet
Last changed: Jul 30, 2020