How To: Set Up Your Canvas Course to Meet Basic Usage Requirements

Canvas Requirements decorative logo image

To ensure consistent access to essential course resources and records, the eLearning Department, the Deans, the Provost's Office, and the Academic Technology Committee have collaborated on guidelines for the use of the Canvas LMS in-ground courses. Please note that all Canvas courses will automatically publish at 8:00 AM on the first day of classes each semester.

  • Beginning fall 2018, and going forward, all course sections will publish a Canvas course that includes an accessible version of your course syllabus (to be uploaded to Canvas by faculty and available by 8 AM on the first day of classes).
  • Beginning fall 2019, and going forward, all course sections will utilize the Canvas grade book to keep a record of students' grades.

So what does this mean to you if you teach a face-to-face class?

If you ARE currently utilizing Canvas, including a copy of your syllabus and recording your grades in the grade book, then you already meet these requirements. Keep doing what you're doing!

If you are NOT using Canvas for your face-to-face course, we recognize that you may need assistance. This guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to meet these minimum requirements. 



​​​Import a basic course template into your empty Canvas course

This process will walk through all the steps to locate and import a basic course template. We have created a basic template for each school at FSW. 

Setup Simple Syllabus in Canvas

We will guide you through all the clicks and steps to setup Simple Syllabus in your Canvas course.

How to use the gradebook to record students' grades

Learn how to create Assignments to log the students' grades.

How to: Get Additional Support


Import a basic course template into your empty Canvas course

Log in to Canvas and click the Canvas Commons Icon.

Canvas Commons navigation link image

FYI: The first time you navigate to Canvas Commons, you may be prompted to "Authorize" your account to use Canvas Commons. If you see this, you will need to click the "Authorize" button to access Canvas Commons. You will only have to do this the first time you access Canvas Commons.

Canvas commons authorization link

When the Canvas Commons page loads, you will see a search by tag, name, institution, or outcome text box under the top row of navigational links.

Image of search box location on the Canvas Commons main page.

Note: You can sort items by Most Relevant, Latest, Most Favorited, or Most Downloaded by using the "Latest" drop-down menu.

Latest drop down menu

Click on the text box and type in the word Template. 

At least five results should appear. 

Image showing the search of the Templates

Locate and click on the title of the template that refers to your school.

On this page, you can find details about the contents of the template.

Image displaying the summary information of a Canvas commons item.

After you verify that the basic template is correct, locate the "Import/Download" button in the top right.

This menu will list all the Canvas courses you are assigned.

Import into Canvas image

FYI: Your list may be quite long, and the "Search for a course" text box at the top can help you narrow the list down to something more manageable.
Click and type in the title of your Canvas course in the search box. 
You may even try just typing in the year or semester to help with identifying which course you need to locate.


Once you locate the Canvas course, you want to import this template content into, click the box to the left of that course, so there is a checkmark in it.

If you are teaching more than one section of the same course, go ahead and click all the boxes that are to the left of all the other classes.

Image of the Import with a course selected

After all the courses are selected, you will need to click the Import into Course button.

A green Banner should appear across the top.

After seeing this banner, you will know that the import is being processed.

Verify the import by clicking on the "Home" button and view your new home page.


Are you still struggling with this step? Submit a service request.


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How To: Setup Simple Syllabus in Canvas

Simple Syllabus is a dynamic tool adopted by Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) to streamline the creation and distribution of course syllabi. By integrating directly within Canvas, it allows faculty members to design, update, and share their syllabi in a more efficient manner, aligning with FSW's commitment to enhancing educational resources. With user-friendly features and compliance with institutional standards, Simple Syllabus offers a modern approach to a vital component of the academic experience at FSW.

Visit the How To: Setup Simple Syllabus in Canvas guide for step-by-step instructions. 


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How to Use the grade book to record students' grades Step 1

The first items you will need to set up are under assignments. On the left, you will find the Assignments link located in your course navigation bar.

Course navigation image

When you navigate to the Assignments area, you will see all the current Assignment Groups created in your course. If you have an empty class, the only thing displayed will be the default group titled, Assignments with no items in the group. 

Empty Assignments Group


To get started, you will want to have a copy of your syllabus to use as a reference. You will want to create an Assignment Group for each weighted category in your syllabus. 

Sample Syllabus template

To create an Assignment Group, locate and click on the + Group button.

+Group button location in the assignments area of a Canvas course.

In the window that appears

  1. Type in the name for the group as it appears in the syllabus
  2. Click Save

Add Assignment Group window demonstration

Repeat the steps above to create all the weighted groups in Canvas as they appear in your syllabus.

If you want to rename an existing Assignment Group, locate and click on the kabob icon to the right of the Assignment Group.

Location of the Kabob icon for each assignment group

In the menu that appears, locate and click on Edit.

Sub menu location under the kabob icon location

In the window that appears delete the current group name, then type in the new Assignment Group name you wish to use and click Save.

Image showing text box to change assignment group's title.

The assignment will now have the updated title.

After you have all the groups created, as they appear within your syllabus, you will need to set the % each group is calculated. 

On the Assignments page of your course, locate and click on the top right kabob button when the Assignments Group Weight menu option appears left click on it to open a new window.

Assignment weights group menu under the Kabob button

In the menu that appears, click on the box to the left of Weight final grade based on assignment groups, so there is a checkmark in it. 

Upon being enabled, you will see all the assignment groups you created appear below with an area to type in the numerical value you want to weight them. 

Assignment groups weight full menu image

Be sure to click, Save. You can verify the changes have been made successfully by looking at each assignment group. You will see the % that the group is calculated at to the right of each group title. 

Verify weights listed on assignment groups image

The next steps will take you through creating assignments within those groups.


Step 2

Navigate the Assignments are of your Canvas course if you are not already there. On the left, you will find the Assignments link located in your course navigation bar.

Course navigation image

When you navigate to the Assignments area, you will see all the groups you created in the previous step. This is where you will create all your assignments for classwork students turn in. To make your first assignment, click on the (+) button within the Assignment Group it belongs to. This will open the "Add Assignments to..." window.

In the new window that opens, you will need to fill out the form.

(1) The type should be set to the assignment option.

(2) The name should match the name of the work listed in the syllabus that you are collecting in class. This way, when it comes time to enter the grades, you can quickly identify which assignment in the Canvas grade book goes with the work collected.

You can leave the Due date empty, but it is helpful for the students to keep up with their work if you enter a Due date. This will make it appear in the students, "To Do..." list when they login to Canvas.

(3) The points will need to be set to; however, many points you have the assignment, quiz, or exam worth in your syllabus.

(4) Click the Save & Publish option, and you have your first assignment placeholder created.

You can create placeholders for in-class tests, exams, or quizzes using the same method. All the placeholders you create will need to be set to the type called "assignment." Go ahead and work through your syllabus now, creating all the placeholder assignments for all the work you will be collecting.

Add assignment to assignments menu image

Be sure as you are adding the assignment placeholders that you are clicking the + button in the correct Assignment Group for each assignment. 


Step 3

When it comes time for you to enter the students' grades into Canvas, navigate to the grade book area of your course by clicking on Grades.

Grades navigation image

Step 4

In the grade book page of Canvas, you will see your students listed in the first column vertically, and all the assignments you just created are displayed horizontally across the top.

Empty grade book image

To enter a grade for a student, click in the cell of the student; you want to grade and type in their grade. 

You can press Enter on your keyboard after entering a grade for one student to move to the next student's assignment box automatically.

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How to: Get Additional Support

eLearning is here to support you through this process. You can reach out to Canvas support 24 hours a day, seven days a week by clicking on the Help link from the Canvas global navigation bar. From all of us at the eLearning department, thank you for your time.


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Article ID: 51784
Mon 4/9/18 6:42 PM
Mon 11/6/23 9:49 AM

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