Designing Your Canvas Course

Screen shot of a Canvas course home page that says, "Find, Import, share." The image has paperclips, pencils, scissors and tape.

Designing Your Canvas Course

Designing your course can be an exciting opportunity to organize and share information and engage with your learners! Consider the following when designing your course in Canvas: 

  1. Create a central space for students to access course materials (documents, links, activities, assignments, assessments)
  2. Support student success by showing them how to get started, where to find due dates, grading information, and relevant tools
  3. Make everything accessible for all learners (use formatting such as headers, alternative text for images, caption videos). See our Universal Design and Accessibility resources
  4. Provide support information for all technologies used, e.g., link to a tutorial for Turnitin
  5. Use the Humboldt Quality Learning & Teaching (QLT) Best Practices Guide to ensure a supportive and interactive environment for all your learners 

Humboldt Quality Learning & Teaching (QLT) Best Practices 

The Humboldt QLT Best Practices Guide is a compilation of learning and teaching research-based best practices that are applicable across all learning formats. Chat with an instructional designer if you'd like to learn more about QLT!

Canvas Modules and Pages

Organizing your course materials can take shape in several ways. One of the main methods to organize/design your course is through Canvas modules or pages. You can use modules, pages, or a combination of both. Using Canvas modules provides the benefits of easy-to-create course set-up, easy-to-navigate for students, and consistent naming. See more details in Desiging Your Canvas Course with Modules and Pages.

Sample Humboldt Canvas Courses

Canvas Templates

Accessible Syllabus Template

screenshot of syllabus page in Canvas

We highly recommend using the Accessible Syllabus Template to ensure that you have all the essential and supportive elements of a strong syllabus. Copy and paste your syllabus content into the template on the Syllabus page in your Canvas course and then add a link to the downloadble version (e.g., PDF). This is important for consistency in navigation for students who will look for the syllabus under the Syllabus link in Canvas.

Front/Home Page Templates

Use a template to create a visual page that makes a welcoming place that students land as they login to your course. Review the Front/Home Page Templates and import them into your course via the Canvas Commons. Canvas Quick Guide - Front Page Template Editing - a step-by-step guide to setting up your front page.

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Course Templates

Course Templates are designed to help you set up your course by following best practices. Click on each of the templates below to look at them. If you'd like to import one of these templates to your Canvas course, go to the Canvas Commons and search keyword: Humboldt.

Click each of the Canvas Course Templates below for a preview of what you can import into your own course via the Canvas Commons.

We have many resources to help you in designing your course. Need help from instructional designer? Contact us at or 707.826.4461.