Quick Start Canvas Guide

Quick Start Canvas Guide

Last updated on June 28, 2022

This Quick Start Canvas Guide is designed to help you prepare your course shell for a new term. Whether you’ve taught the course before or not, the following steps are good best practices for organizing your information and making sure your course is set up exactly the way you need it to be to start the term. The intent of this guide is to help you walk through the steps, in order of importance, to clarify the preparation process for you.


Step 1: Log into Canvas

  1. Go to MSU Denver’s Faculty and Staff Hub.
  2. Click Canvas in the Teaching & Learning section.
  3. Log in to your Canvas Account.
  4. Select the Course you’d like to work in.

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Step 2: Check for Existing Course Content

The first step you will want to take with any new shell is to populate your course with the appropriate content. 

If it’s a course you’ve taught before, you can copy the course content from your previous course using the Copy a Canvas Course into the New Semester guide.

If this is your first time teaching this particular course, you will want to check in with your department chair to see if course content already exists and who taught the course previously. You will need to collaborate with the previous instructor or your department chair to receive access to that previous course. There are multiple ways that an instructor can share course content with you, including creating a sandbox with content from the previous course or adding you as an instructor to the previous course. Once you have access to the previous course content, you will need to copy the course content from that course into your new shell. 

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Step 3: Change or Add New Content to the Course

Once you have populated your shell with course content, you will be ready to customize the course to your specific needs. Types of content that you may decide you wish to tailor include the syllabus, modules, content pages, discussions, and assessments. The following tutorials provide guidance on how to create and modify course content. 

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What Comes Next? 

Now that your content has been tailored to your specific course and all of your assessments have been created, you are ready to teach your course. Our Self-Help Tutorials are intended to help you with day-to-day use of the various online teaching tools that MSU Denver provides, including Canvas, Yuja, and MS Teams. Our tutorials are organized into our most commonly requested topics, such as Canvas Tools, Videos, Grading, and many more. Visit our Self-Help Tutorials to see the full list of topics and tutorials!