It is hard to believe that fall term is almost here! For those on the quarter system, courses start on September 11. Whether you are excited or exhausted (or a bit of both!), the Office of Teaching and Learning is here to support you as you prepare for, or begin, your fall classes. 

You may be considering how the new fall COVID policies will affect your teaching. One of the new policies for fall involves the required use of DU’s primary learning management system, Canvas, regardless of modality to provide important course materials such as syllabi and assignments. The OTL created a Canvas template that you can import to help you get started. A Canvas template is a Canvas course shell that is pre-formatted and pre-populated with items such as modules, assignments, and pages. You can import a template into your course and then add your course content to those pre-built items.

Per the fall 2021 COVID class policies, using Canvas is required so that critical course materials are available to students. If you’re only interested in Canvas for the basics, we would encourage you to use the Home, Syllabus, and Readings and Instructional Materials pages. The OTL also strongly recommends the use of Canvas for assignment submission and the gradebook. Using these pages will ensure that the most essential information about your course is easily accessible for students. You can then delete the rest of the pages you don’t plan on using.

Benefits to Using Canvas

  • Canvas is a cloud-based structure that provides a space to store, organize, and present materials in one centralized location for all students enrolled in the course.
  • Canvas facilitates communication between instructor and students via course announcements, Canvas inbox and more!
  • Tools within Canvas help support the learning experience and save instructors more time and effort for other priorities.
  • Assignments make for easy submission, feedback, and grading via SpeedGrader. They also synch with the students calendar, which is helpful for time management.
  • Canvas users can set course notifications for reminders with assignment deadlines, course updates and more.
  • Canvas is accessible! Check our our accessibility checklist to ensure you are setting up your course appropriately.

We also believe that faculty using Canvas, paired with best practices, aligns exceptionally well with the vision for DU’s 5 strategic imperatives.

  • Using Canvas with your teaching helps sustain your teaching practices and store content long-term.
  • Canvas helps bring purpose to the 4D student experience.
  • Canvas can be used as a tool to build community in your courses and offer equitable access to course content and information.
  • A well-designed Canvas course may help to ensure academic excellence for all students.

These benefits just scratch the surface of using Canvas to enhance and support your teaching practices. Import our Canvas template to get started and ensure your course is ready for fall Canvas requirements.

Canvas Support

If you’re unsure how you want to use this template, or want guidance for making changes to suit your course, you can schedule a one-on-one with an Instructional Designer here. Or email with additional questions. 

You can also visit our OTL Canvas web page for tips and resources, our Canvas Knowledge Base and the Canvas Help guides for step-by-step instructions, and contact Canvas Help for 24/7 support.