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Instructor chats with students on U-N-C campus surrounded by bright yellow autumn leaves

We are officially entering the first semester at UNC that Canvas becomes available to any and all instructors who wish to use this learning management system. How exciting! We’re looking forward to seeing how many of you decide to take this early opportunity to dive into Canvas.

Below is a quick checklist to help you get your fall courses Canvas-ready for the first week of classes. Notice in Canvas that your course sites are automatically available in your dashboard. This is one less thing to worry about in Canvas!

Also check out our general Start of Semester Tech Checklist. You’ll find tips on getting to know your classroom, meeting online in Zoom, sharing Panopto videos, and engaging students through Poll Everywhere.

Get Canvas Support

First, be sure to know where to go if you need need help with Canvas:

  • Help menu within Canvas opens in new window: Click Help when you’re logged into Canvas to access 24/7/365 chat and phone support! Here you can also access the help guides, video tutorials, and the Training Services Portal for more in-depth trainings.
  • Canvas Instructor Guides: View help documentation and overview videos to learn about the different Canvas tools.
  • Moving from Sakai to Canvas: View recorded trainings by our ITS-EdTech team to help you move from Sakai to Canvas. Here are also crosswalks between the two systems and resources to help you get started in Canvas.
    • We are offering one final live training via Zoom before classes begin to help you learn the Canvas system. Join us this Friday 8/12 from 1pm-2:30pm!
  • Meet with a Panda Pro: Sign up for a 45-minute consultation with a Canvas expert from the Learning Services team from Instructure, the company behind Canvas! They are current/former educators knowledgeable in Canvas, pedagogy, and course design. This service is available now through September 18th.
  • Download a Template in Commons opens in new window: Unsure of where to begin? Check out our UNC-CH Course Templates in the Commons tool within Canvas. You can download the template and import it into your course. The Simplified version is a great place to start with helping you organize your course materials.

Canvas Course Checklist

Follow this checklist to get your Canvas course ready for the first week of classes!

1. Confirm Rosters and TAs

All section rosters, student enrollments, and TA assignments should be handled through the University Registrar in ConnectCarolina. If you do not see your course on your dashboard or your sections are not automatically cross-listed in your course site, please contact your departmental course scheduler. TAs should also be added to the official course roster in ConnectCarolina. One great thing about Canvas is that enrollment updates typically happen every few minutes, though sometimes it can take about an hour.

If needed, you can make manual adjustments in your Canvas course. Note that if you manually add a TA to your Canvas course (select “Login ID” and add with Onyen), they are automatically given access to student submissions and grades, and all TAs and instructors should complete the University Registrar’s FERPA training. If you have rosters that are not cross-listed but you’d like to manage them in one Canvas course, you can cross-list your sections.

2. Enable Grading Scheme

In your course Settings, enable your course grading scheme and edit it if needed. This grading scheme will then be used in the rest of your course.

3. Add Syllabus and Course Docs

In the Syllabus tool, click the Edit button to upload your course syllabus. You can upload the rest of your course documents into Files by simply dragging and dropping them all in at once!

4. Give Students Access

Be sure to publish your course when you’re ready! In Canvas, student access is also determined by Term dates, which coincide with the University Registrar’s first day of classes. For the Fall 2022 semester, this is August 15th. If you need to give your students access prior to this date, update your course start date in the Settings by switching the Participation from Term to Course and enter the date/time to grant students access. Note the same applies to the Term end date. Students will lose access after this date but you can update their access prior to this date.

Basically, your students will get access once 1) the course is published and 2) the Term/Course date opens.

5. Welcome Students

Your students may be completely new to the University or they could have used the Sakai learning management system their entire college career. Many of them may have never heard of Canvas, so it’s a good idea to send an announcement letting them know to access the online course materials through You might also consider updating your “Class Features” in ConnectCarolina to make students aware you will be teaching your course in Canvas.

Good Luck!

We wish you all the best with the start of the fall semester. Remember to click the Help tool within Canvas to access 24/7 chat and phone support. Have fun exploring the Canvas system!

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