Beginning of the Fall Quarter Checklist

This is an UPDATED post from a prior quarter.

Welcome back! Here’s a handy checklist to review to ensure that your Canvas course site is ready to go this fall.

  1. Do students have the right access to the materials? Go into Settings on the left side, then Student View, and check through your course. Did you publish every item that you want students to see?
  2. Have you hidden unnecessary navigation links? You may want to hide navigation links such as Files if you have already linked to the files in other areas in the course. If you are not using Collaborations, Conferences, Blue Jeans, or other items, you may choose to hide them. The resulting course will be simpler for students to navigate.
  3. Have you muted assignments? When you grade an item in Canvas, the grade will immediately be visible to the student UNLESS you adjust the “muting” settings on your assignments. We suggest that instructors mute all assignments as they create them, unless this immediate notification is okay with you. Then, when you are ready for students to see their grades for an assignment, you simply “unmute” the grades.
  4. Do you need to check specific assignments for plagiarism? Turnitin is Northwestern's anti-plagiarism software. When a paper is submitted through Turnitin, it is compared against vast databases.
  5. If you are using the Canvas grading tool and want to weight the grades in Canvas, have you done this properly? Check the assignment due dates and points. Double-check the weighting that you’ve assigned to assignment groups.
  6. Have you chosen a Home Page that you like? Do you want to add some images to your course site? Learn about this easy-to-use tool that may help.
  7. Have you customized your notification settings? Doing so will limit the number of emails that you receive. If there are essential notifications that students need to receive, please tell students that they are required to keep notifications “on” for that category. For example, many instructors use Announcements for crucial reminders. In this case, instructors may want to clearly state in the syllabus that students must keep their notifications on for announcements, otherwise students may not get important information for the course.
  8. Are your TAs enrolled in your course yet? If not, you can add TAs to your course manually, though it is best to add them through CAESAR. Here is a handy chart that explains the permissions for the various roles (TA, Designer, Support, etc.) here at Northwestern.
  9. Need to combine your courses or create an ALL SECTIONS course site? Complete this short web form and a member of Faculty Support Services will handle your request.
  10. Are you interested in trying a new tool? Northwestern offers a host of academic technologies including Panopto (record and edit short lectures from Canvas), Yellowdig (social media platform inside Canvas), and Arc (allows time-stamped discussions on original or streaming videos).
  11.  Have you checked your course for accessibility concerns? Canvas offers an accessibility scanner called UDOIT. Find more resources about creating accessible course materials from AccessibleNU.
  12.  Have you requested digital reserve items and streaming media from the library? Northwestern Libraries offer several services through Canvas, including Course Reserves and streaming media, and customized course subject guides.

If you are new to teaching at Northwestern, or want to refresh your Canvas skills after a long summer away, sign up for a workshop. If you would like to discuss a customized use of Canvas, or explore other blended learning opportunities, request a consultation, and a member of Faculty Support Services will meet with you.