What do I need to do at the beginning of the quarter?

Last updated: January 30, 2023
Audience: Instructors

This article provides an outline of steps useful to consider as you prepare to teach a course in Canvas and points to step-by-step procedures for completing relevant tasks.

Accessible Accordion

Is the course offered jointly through more than one department? You will want to verify that the course is set up in Canvas as you expect and then edit the course name or crosslist the courses, if necessary.

Combine Canvas courses

If this is the first time you are teaching a course in Canvas, you will need to add content to your course. If you are new to Canvas, you will want to familiarize yourself with the Canvas environment, learn about how the Canvas syllabus works, add your files and assignments to Canvas, set due dates, and see your course as your students will see it.

If you have taught in Canvas previously, you can easily move content from one Canvas course to another:


  • Before copying a course forward, review and delete unused course files.
  • Course settings are imported with the content, unless you select specific content to import when copying a course, and choose not to copy course settings.

Zoom meetings scheduled in your previous Canvas course will automatically include Calendar events for previous Zoom meetings. To avoid importing previous Zoom calendar events to your new course, deselect Calendar items when importing your previous course content.

If you import a course with an Hypothesis-enabled reading created with a PDF from canvas files, the assignment in your new course will still be linked to the reading from your previous course. Use these steps to update the links in your new course.

If you import group Assignments they won’t be associated with groups in the new course, which can cause errors when students start to submit. Remember to create new groups for this course and add them to the imported Assignments.

Did your imported course contain Panopto recordings? If the recordings are in the Panopto section in your Canvas course, you will want to copy and move any recordings from a previous course to ensure that students in the new course will have access.

Grade posting policy determines when students can see grades you enter in the course. You can choose a posting policy for the entire course or for individual assignments.

If you select:

  • A manual posting policy (recommended), assignment grades remain hidden from student view by default until you post grades for the assignment.
  • An automatic posting policy, students can see assignment grades as soon as they are entered in the gradebook.

For optimum course experience, hide unnecessary course navigation links.

It is important to be aware of the many different options residing under Course Details in Course Settings.

  • Course Dates – By default, students can access a course at midnight before the first day of classes. If you want to have students access the course earlier, you can change the start and end dates.
  • Course Visibility – The default setting for this option is Course, meaning the course is available only to users enrolled in the course. Setting a course to Public creates a risk of possible FERPA violations, and is not recommended.

After adding content to Canvas, you will want to review it to make sure that content is current and dates reflect the current quarter. Review your course content from Student View to experience your course from a student perspective.

Consider whether your Canvas course includes content that should not be visible to students, such as answer keys. If so, you can lock individual files and folders.

Does the enrollment in your Canvas course match the roster in MyUW? If not, email help@uw.edu and request that Learning Technologies manually sync your Canvas course.

Anyone listed as an instructor of record in the time schedule will automatically be added to the Canvas course as a Teacher. TAs will need to be added manually. You can also add Guest Teachers, Observers, Designers, or Librarians as needed, within FERPA guidelines.

When you have added and reviewed course content in Canvas, and made sure that all the required participants are also added, you can publish the course. You must publish the course in order for students to be able to see it.