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Create course room in Canvas

This is a checklist for when creating your course room in Canvas. The checklist also works as a recommendation from the E-learning team.

Good examples

Need inspiration when working with Canvas? We have listed four course rooms created by KTH teachers with great course design. Note that most of the examples are of Swedish course rooms.

Read more about good examples to be inspired by .

A summary of the checklist

The following points are addressed on this page:

  • Start from the course room template.
  • Link to the course memo.
  • Consider accessibility from the beginning.
  • Ensure that your material complies with GDPR and copyright regulations.
  • Hide unnecessary content.
  • Create presence in the digital classroom.
  • Use the course room created for the course round.

Start from the course room template

Students want a uniform structure for all course rooms in Canvas. The course room template has been developed with this in mind and we recommend that you use the KTH course room template for your course in Canvas . You as a teacher can of course deviate from the template if needed, but try to keep the navigation as simple as possible if you do deviate from the template. 

Read more about how to hide unnecessary menu options on the page about course settings

If you would like to, you can check out the template (   before using it. 

Link to the course memo

Information about how a course is conducted must be included in the course memo, and Canvas “Syllabus” is a great place to add a link to the course memo. This is because the Syllabus is part of the course navigation menu and a course memo is too important to hide away. Students should be able to find it fast and without needing to look through the entire course room.

According to KTH's guidelines, a course memo should be established through existing system support. This means using the standardized tool for course information in the course and program catalogue. You can read more about Course memo and KTH’s standardized tool .

Read more about The Syllabus function in Canvas .

Consider accessibility from the beginning

Since most users can interpret information written as text with the help of technology, you can as a rule of thumb think: All content which is not text, should be described in text. This is why it is important to consider accessibility from the beginning, when you are planning your explanations of course content and creating your Canvas course. If you leave accessability to the end, it will take longer and the result will not be as good as if you had kept accessibility in mind from the start.

  • Try to make Pages instead of uploading documents, avoid PDFs if possible. Accessible documents .
  • Create links that clearly describe where they lead and what happens when you click on them. Clear links .
  • Headings become accessible when using the program’s template for formatting headings, and when they are used in the correct order. Accessible headings .
  • For images to be accessible they need an image description, preferably as an alt text. Accessible images
  • According to the law, videos (published after the 23rd of September 2020) need to be accessible and have subtitles (and if needed, visual interpretation). Accessibility in video and sound  .

Read more about Digital accessibility and requirements .  

Tip: Accessibility check in Canvas

In the text editor in Canvas (the content editor) there is a function to quickly check if your page and content follows the principles of accessibility. Please try it. Read more about how to use Canvas Accessibility Checker ( . Keep in mind that automatic tools cannot check everything. 

Read more about other tools for web accessibility on the page Checklist and tools for web accessibility

Ensure that your material complies with GDPR and copyright regulations

Use content correctly. Ensure that your material follows current rules and regulations. Read more about Creative Commons, Copyright and GDPR

Hide unnecessary content

Hide as many headings in the course navigation menu as possible if they are not used. For example, are you going to use “Media Gallery”, “Video Recording” and “Attendance”? If the answer is no, hide the headings.

Headings are hidden by going to Settings and then choosing the tab Navigation. The headings that you want to be visible should be in the top list, and the ones that you want to be hidden should be in the bottom list. It is easy to change this by dragging and dropping the heading to where you want them. Remember to save!

Read more about settings in Canvas  .

Create presence in the digital classroom

Presence in the digital classroom needs a bit more work than in a physical classroom and it is appreciated by students.

Introduce yourself

In the first week of the course, you can welcome the students and introduce yourself by writing a couple of sentences about yourself and the course. Choose a profile picture for your account (instead of the grey default-picture) and encourage the students to do the same.

Introduce the course on the home page

“Home” is the first thing you see in a Canvas course room. At the start of a new course, it is good to have a welcome page with an introduction to the course. After the first week or two, “Home” can be changed so that students directly access “Modules” and the course content instead. 

Guides and recommendations for Home in Canvas .

How to create pages in Canvas .

Create discussion forums

This tip is best suited for smaller courses and especially if the students are meeting the same teacher several times: Create a discussion forum for the students where they can write a short introduction of themselves. It is recommended to do this as early as possible, such as the first week of the course. The students can answer questions about their expectations for the course, why they are taking the course, how they relate to the subject etc. You can also ask them to, besides writing their own post, respond to another student’s post. This can often lead to a good foundation for collaboration and discussions later on.

Also make a discussion forum where students can ask and answer questions about assignments, if they need someone to study with, share tips for resources etc.

Read more about Discussions in Canvas .

Use the course room created for the course round

We recommend using the course room created for the course round. To reuse materials, it is better to copy previous course rooms. Problems can arise if you add students to old course rounds without having a well-thought-out strategy for using sections. The problems arise mainly with assigning assignments, quizzes, discussions, and announcements to the students.

Copy previous course rooms

Canvas supports the ability to copy/import course content from one course to another. This feature allows teachers to copy course material from semester to semester, course to course, without recreating a course from scratch. The copying process creates a new version of features such as discussions, assignments, and quizzes in the new course room.

This is how course rounds work

Each course has its own area (course) in Canvas. But if teachers so wish, several course rounds can be merged into the same area (course) in Canvas. We recommend that you only make mergers for course rounds that run parallel in time.

Read more about how Canvas rooms are created.

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Belongs to: KTH Intranet
Last changed: Jan 10, 2023
Create course room in Canvas
Before the start of the course in Canvas
Before examination in Canvas
General checklist