Home in Canvas
The first thing that is shown in a course is Home, which makes it important for the student’s first impression. There is also a sidebar on the Home page with functions that are useful at the start of a course. The recommendation is that you change the Home page after a couple of weeks from a welcome page to the Modules, as the students will no longer be in need of an introduction.
Welcome the students at the beginning of the course
Everyone who enters a course room in Canvas is directed to “Home” for the course. Therefore it is important to reflect over how the course is perceived, based on the introduction you have set as the Home page.
The KTH Course room template has the Home page set to an example of a welcome page with short instructions for you as a teacher. We recommend that you edit the welcoming page so that it contains:
- A message welcoming the students to the course
- An introduction of the teachers and preferred ways of contacting them
- Information about the course layout, for example where the students can find Zoom links and schedule, information about modules if they are to be used, etc.
Home page is changed under "Pages"
Sometimes you need to replace your home page with another page. For example, if you import a page or template from Canvas Commons, or if you want to implement a new version of the home page you have been working on during the course.
To change home page:
- Go to "Pages" in the course menu.
- The Home page is shown. Press the "View all pages" button to see a list of all the pages in the course.
- Find the page you want to make into the home page and press the options-button (it has a symbol of three dots).
- In the meny that opens up, choose "Use as Front Page".
The page you chose is not the Home page for the course.
Note: If "Use as Front Page" is greyed out it means the page is unpublished. Publish the page and try again.
The To-do list and other features in the sidebar
The To-do list for both students and teachers can be seen on the Home page. It is in the sidebar on the Home page and is automatically generated by Canvas, but you as a teacher can also add e.g. pages to the "to do" list.
The To-do list for students shows up to seven items with due dates or event dates in the coming weeks. Each item in the To-do list shows the item name, course name, number of credits and due date / event date. Once the date has passed, the item remains in the list for up to four weeks. Objects that can be marked as finished, such as submitting assignments and quizzes, disappear from the list when the student has completed them.
For you as a teacher, the To-do list shows e.g. assignments and quizzes you need to assess. The link in the list will then take you directly to SpeedGrader.
The sidebar also contains other course related functions, such as course analytics and the functions to import material from other courses or Canvas Commons (community.canvaslms.com) .
Keep the Home page relevant: Change to modules two weeks two weeks into the course
The Home page can be changed at any time by clicking “Choose home page” in the sidebar. A pop-up will appear with options on what you can choose your Home page to be.
The Home page can be chosen to display:
- Course activity stream, which displays everything that has changed in the course, in chronological order
- “Pages front page”, which is a Page marked as “Front page”.
- Course modules
- Assignments list
The recommendation from E-learning is to have the Home page as a welcoming page during the first two weeks of the course and then changing it to Course modules. The students then get a more functional home page and can access the content they want more quickly.
If you have information on the welcome page that cannot be found anywhere else you can place the welcome page in a module so that the students can read it if they need to and access the actual content of the course directly if they don’t need it.