If you are using Canvas for the first time, here are the very basic things to know to begin sharing information with your students.

Log in to Canvas 

You can log in to Canvas using your university ONID credentials.  

Canvas Dashboard 

Once logged in, the first screen you will see is your Canvas Dashboard which displays up to twenty of the most recently added Canvas courses, including future term courses, which you are assigned to teach. These courses are displays as Course Cards on your Dashboard. 

The Dashboard and Course Cards are fully customizable meaning you can add favorite courses and remove unnecessary courses from the Dashboard to meet your needs in the moment, and give your Course Cards nicknames to help you distinguish similarly named course sections more easily. Here are links to instructions on customizing your Dashboard and nicknaming your Canvas courses. 

Course Setup 

Now that your Dashboard is manageable, you are ready to set up some basic content in Canvas. Click on the Course Card which corresponds with the course you would like to set up. The following instructions are not for creating an ideal Canvas course site, but rather provide some very basic steps to get you started.  

  • If you have multiple Course Cards that appear to correspond with a single course and are unsure of which Course Card to use, contact your OSU Learning Platform Services team. 

We will cover how to publish your content and your Canvas course, share documents through Canvas, create assignments for students to upload their work remotely, and communicate with your class. 

Set Course Home Page 

Before you can publish your course, you will need to set your home page. For first time users of Canvas, a decent Home Page option is Assignments. To set your Home page, click Home in your course navigation menu (on the left). On the right side of the screen (or bottom if you have a small screen), locate and click the Choose Home Page button. From the list of options, select the Assignments List

Publish Course and Content

Nothing in your Canvas course will be visible to students until/unless the content AND the course are published. If you publish your content, but forget to publish your course, your students will not be able to access your content. This can be good while you are building, but be certain that your content AND your course are published once you want students to access content. Here are quick links for publishing your course and your content: 

  • Canvas Announcements are posted immediately – no need to ‘publish’ 

Upload Documents 

Any document you wish to share with your course through Canvas should be uploaded to your course Files area. In a new Canvas course, the Files area is generally the eighth option in your Course Navigation menu. 

Click Files then click Upload in the top right corner of the Files area. Select a file from your computer that you want to share with your students in Canvas and upload it to Canvas. Files are automatically published in Canvas when uploaded. 

Create Canvas Assignments 

You may want to create assignments in Canvas for a variety of reasons. For example, you may want to enter scores from an in-class exam so students know what their score was or you may want to collect, view and grade student paper submissions without dealing with paper copies. 

Click Assignments, then click +Assignment in the top right corner of the Assignments area. The critical features of any Canvas assignments are: 

  • Assignment Name 

  • Instructions - enter instructions into the large box 

  • Points - enter the points possible for the assignment 

  • Submission Type – the Online; File Uploads option allows students to submit a document through Canvas. 

  • Due Date – enter the due date into the Due field in the Assign to box 

  • Save & Publish your assignment; this automatically creates a column in the gradebook.

Communicate with Students 

There are several options for communicating with students through Canvas. The three most common include Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox.  

  • Announcements allow a one-directional communication from you to your Canvas course.
  • Discussions provide an open forum for you and your students to communicate with each other. This is an excellent Q&A space.  
  • The Inbox is a good tool for communicating with a specific individual within Canvas.