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University of Denver

Prepping for Winter Term/Spring Semester

Course Planning

Link to Resources Section

Course Preparation

Link to Canvas Course Preparation Checklist


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Canvas Support

Phone: 1.833.291.3240

Zoom Support

1.888.799.9666 ext 2

OTL Resources

Link to OTL Knowledge Base

Contact OTL

Link to Contact Section

Course Planning Resources

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Explore the DU Teaching Toolkit for course planning, development and methods.

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DU Ed-Tech Knowledge Base

Discover useful and searchable articles.

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Visit the OTL Blog for important updates and articles.

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Using What We’ve Learned to Navigate Our New Not-Yet-Normal

Featured Blog Post

Harnessing Technologies to Promote Engagement in Large Courses

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Group Work with Contact Tracing, Social Distancing, and Masks in Mind

Canvas Course Preparation Checklist

Canvas is now required for all DU courses, regardless of modality. Follow these 9 steps to easily update your course.

Set Up Your Canvas Shell

To save time, consider importing course content from a previous term or downloading an OTL template, rather than designing from scratch.
Step 1

Request or reactivate your physical and e-reserve teaching materials

Email reserve@du.edu to request new reserves or reactivating previous reserves.
Step 2

Update Your Content

Start by updating your syllabus, module organization, and home page for any changes.
Step 3

Choose & Update Ed Tech

Decide which technologies you will use to teach in addition to Canvas, such as Zoom, Kaltura, Kahoot!, or Perusal. Ensure you have the most up-to-date versions downloaded. Faculty planning to use Zoom should upgrade on a quarterly basis.
Step 4

Review Assessments

Add or update assessments (like Quizzes, written assignments, or Discussions), update late-assignment and attendance policies in your syllabus, and double check that due dates and submission formats are accurate!
Step 5

Setup the Gradebook

Check that your assignments show up accurately in the gradebook. If applicable, setup and test weighted grading for the course.
Step 6

Review Your Content

Temporarily publish your course and utilize “student view” to view what students will see in your course. Check that all course links work, pages are formatted correctly, videos have closed caption and transcripts, and assignments are visible.
Step 7

Check for Accessibility

Review your course using our accessibility checklist for designing, building and teaching in Canvas. The OTL is here to help support faculty and facilitate this process.
Step 8

Contact the OTL

If you have any remaining questions or support needs, please contact the Office of Teaching and Learning.
Step 9

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, per DU’s COVID-19 Classroom Protocol, “Instructors are required to use Canvas to provide access to essential course materials, including syllabi and assignments.”

Fortunately, Canvas allows you to import content from a previous course into a new course. You can also use the Canvas templates the OTL has designed to help create your Canvas course containers.

See “How do I import content from a previous Canvas course to a new course shell?” and “How to Import the OTL Canvas Template” for further information.

This Canvas Community Guide provides step-by-step instructions for how to import your existing course content into a new course shell.

Starting from scratch? The OTL has Canvas templates you can import into your courses to help you get started. To learn more about our OTL Canvas Templates and import one into your course, visit our Knowledge Base article How to Import the OTL Canvas Template, and our blog Introducing the Basic and Advanced Canvas Templates.

The OTL has two official templates you can use to design your Canvas courses: The OTL Advanced Canvas Template and the OTL Basic Canvas Template. You can download either template from the Canvas Commons.

Okay, but which template should I use?

That’s a great question, and it depends on how you plan to incorporate Canvas into your teaching.  However, both templates will allow you to fulfill DU’s COVID-19 Classroom Protocol.

The OTL Advanced Canvas Template contains formats for the syllabus, a home page, weekly modules, assignments, discussions, and more. This template can be customized for either face-to-face (F2F) or online (synchronous and asynchronous) delivery. If you plan to use this template for a F2F course, you may not need as many of the template pages that are included.  

The OTL Canvas Basic Template also contains templates for the syllabus and home page but is more streamlined. For example, since F2F classes do not tend to use many asynchronous activities, this template focuses on keeping the course organized with the basics needed in a Canvas course, such as assignments and instructional materials.

Introducing the Basic and Advanced Canvas Template offers a comparison chart that explains in more detail the differences of both.

While there is no university-wide deadline for publishing your Canvas course, students appreciate being able to access course material in advance, especially the syllabus. Consider publishing your Canvas course 5-7 days before the start of the quarter.

Bear in mind that once you publish a course, you can keep individual pages, assignments, discussions, media, and even whole modules unpublished if you want to continue working on them before releasing them to students.

 We recommend using the built-in Kaltura Embed tools, which you can read about in this Knowledge Base article. These tools help avoid the risk of videos not having the right permissions once they are copied from one course container to another. 

 If you’re looking to move a set of playlists from one Canvas Media Gallery to another, check-out these helpful instructions. 

All video and audio files uploaded to Kaltura My Media within Canvas or DU MediaSpace will have an auto-generated closed caption file. As the video owner or editor, you can edit the auto-generated closed captions to improve accuracy. Captions should be 95%   accurate to meet ADA accessibility standards.

This OTL Knowledge Base article describes how to edit captions.    

For images: the database ArtSTOR provides access to 1.6 million images, and includes a variety of pedagogically engaging features. Check out the following resources to learn more about how (and why) to use ArtSTOR:

For other media: DU’s library has access to dozens of streaming media databases, including 45 databases for streaming video alone. Check out the following resources to learn more about how (and why) to use these databases:

New Quizzes are Canvas’s completely redesigned quiz feature. Starting in December 2021, you will be able to begin using New Quizzes.

Classic quizzes will be available to create and use until the summer of 2022. If you are scheduled to teach during Autumn Quarter 2022, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the features of New Quizzes sooner rather than later.

This blog gives an overview of the pedagogical benefits of New Quizzes.

Visit our Knowledge Base for how-to articles about using New Quizzes.

To request textbooks and course materials, visit the Online Adoptions to Course Materials website.

As with publishing your Canvas course, there is no university-wide deadline for when you need to submit your textbook orders. However, for reasons of accessibility, equity, and fairness, we recommend you submit your orders to the bookstore as soon as possible.

 Email reserve@du.edu for either new reserves or reactivating previous reserves.

If you are reactivating previous reserves, please include the course number, code, and quarter in which your E-Reserves were last used, as well as the course number, code, and quarter for which you wish them to be reactivated.

Reserves can take up to three weeks to process, so get your requests in as soon as possible.

The Canvas gradebook will automatically synch with any Assignments in your course—this includes Discussions, Quizzes, and general Assignments. When creating any of these  in your course, be sure to carefully read the settings in the setup menu, as there are many options available.

You will need to choose due dates, submission formats, points or complete/incomplete, and number of allowed attempts. For more advanced Canvas users, you can also choose to embed a TurnItIn review, designate individual or group work, or implement peer reviews. To setup weighted grading in Canvas, utilize the steps in this helpful guide.

For instructions on how to view your upcoming course containers in Canvas, please follow this link: 


Upcoming Drop-In Instructional Design Support & Events

You can schedule 1:1 time with an OTL Instructional Designer.

Recent Blog Posts

For a list of all blogs, please visit our OTL Blog page

Navigating the Return to Campus

By Jeff Schwartz, OTL Instructional Designer With face-to-face (F2F) courses resuming this week, it’s hard not to feel uncertain about navigating this return to campus.

Read More »

Resources to Support
Inclusivity in the Classroom

Inclusive teaching practices require us to engage the wealth of intersecting social identities and positionalities that faculty and students bring to the classroom. Whether face-to-face or online, inclusion must not be an afterthought. Rather, it should permeate every aspect of curriculum and course design, classroom management, and assessment of teaching and learning.

Commonly Used Resources

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Explore the Canvas Learning Management System Knowledge Base

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Courses & Opportunities

Discover our course offerings

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Request an instructional consultation from our professionals

Contact us

Send us a note, and our staff will get back to you.  You can also schedule 1:1 time with an OTL Instructional Designer.