A Midsummer Guide to Canvas Setup

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Deep in thought and focused on my very important game of Sudoku, my wife broke my concentration with sudden alarm and proclaimed, “Oh my goodness, it‘s only 6 months until Christmas Eve!” While six months is still a little while, what is drawing closer is the start of the 2019-2020 school year. In less than two months, Cedarville University will welcome students back and embark on a journey of transformation for the Word of God and Testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Fall 2019 brings a change from Moodle to Canvas for the entire campus, and everyone will be adjusting to the new normal. For faculty, the challenge may be a little daunting, but as you develop your courses to prepare for the new year, here are tips for each of the three areas you’ll be using in Canvas.


We now have a syllabus template that’s loaded into courses each semester. This template contains all the basic information for your course (such as meeting dates/times, course objectives, description). The first time you teach a course with this template, you will need to edit it to fill in some information. For future semesters, it’s easy to transfer the content to a new semester! Check out “How do I Transfer my Course with the Canvas Syllabus Template?” for more information. And if you run into trouble, don’t forget to reach out to your Canvas Fellow (Canvas Fellows program discontinued as of Fall 2023) or the 24/7 Canvas Support (Select “Help” inside of Canvas).

Written Assignments

When you add your assignments by following the training in the Canvas Instructor Orientation, choose the online submission type with file uploads selected (not the text option). This file option allows you to use Canvas Speedgrader, which means you can do all of your grading inside Canvas without downloading files for annotation and then uploading them back to Canvas. Before you leave the assignment settings screen, click on the plagiarism review drop-down box and select TurnItIn.

Complete Gradebook

You will want to add all the assignments, quizzes and tests in the modules page. If you are still using paper quizzes, you need to create an “on paper” assignment for each quiz set with the total number of points. If you have any other grade-bearing activity (e.g., attendance, participation, or reading) use the same “on paper” assignment approach to complete your gradebook. Finally, navigate to the assignments area of your course and set up the assignment weighting to mirror your syllabus weighting. 

Note: edited September 11, 2023, to note that the Canvas Fellows program has been discontinued as of Fall 2023.

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Updated March 2, 2022, to include information about using the syllabus template inside Canvas.

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