Getting ready for a new term? Whether you are days from starting to teach or just thinking ahead, this page has resources to help you prep. Work through the Canvas Checklist to make sure your course is ready to go in Canvas, use the FAQ’s and resources to help you get set up and navigate the start of the term, and find links to connect with the OTL for support as you get started and beyond.  

Canvas Checklist

Step 1


To save time, consider importing course content from a previous quarter or downloading the OTL template, rather than designing from scratch.

Step 2


Email reserve@du.edu to request new reserves or reactivating previous reserves for physical and electronic materials.  

Step 3


Begin updating your syllabus, module organization, and home page for any changes. 

Step 4


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

Step 5


Add or update assessments such as quizzes and written assignments, update late-assignment and attendance policies in your syllabus, and double check that due dates and submission formats are accurate. 

Step 6


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

Step 7


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

Step 8


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 9


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

Inclusive & Accessible Course Design

Making your course content accessible and inclusive can be crucial to creating a healthy learning environment for all students.  Click on the icons to explore the resources below and learn more about how you can create a more inclusive and accessible course.

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Instructional Accessibility Course Design

Instructional accessibility refers to the design of educational materials, methods, and environments that are accessible to all learners, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or learning preferences. Instructional Accessibility includes ensuring that teaching materials, instructional strategies, and technologies used in the classroom are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments, motor disabilities, or cognitive differences.

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Inclusive Teaching Practices

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

 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 can I use a template to set up my Canvas course?” for further information

Visit time stamp 1:11 in this video to see just how easy it can be to import existing course content. 

This Canvas Community Guide provides step-by-step instructions.

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. 

The OTL Advanced Canvas Template contains template pages for the syllabus, a home page, weekly modules, assignments, discussions, and more. It also has ten modules (to reflect a ten week quarter) already built out. 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, while there are template pages for weekly overviews, readings and instructional materials, assignments, and discussions, the Basic Template does not contain ten prepopulated Modules.

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.    

This Knowledge Base article compares both quiz systems. Both have their strengths and limitations, so which one you use depends on your course’s needs and your preferences as an instructor.

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.

Commonly Used Resources

Kaltura Video Not Playing in Canvas

A quick guide for enabling Kaltura videos in a variety of web browsers.

Using Zoom to Record a Video Presentation

In this tutorial, we will illustrate how to use the ZOOM Cloud Recording option to record a presentation and share the video with someone.

Tips for Instructors & Students with Video Assignments

Learn ways to use video to demonstrate skills, knowledge, and communication strategies.

Knowledge Base

Discover support articles for educational technology resources and trouble shooting.

AI In the Classroom

Learn how to navigate concerns and positive uses of Artificial Intelligence programs.

Teaching Resources

Resources, ideas, and best practices about some of the most common teaching topics and methods.

Need Support?

Book a consultation with an instructional designer for help with course planning and educational technology