Getting started in Canvas


In this lesson first-time Canvas instructors will learn how to get started using Canvas and integrate a course template.


Upon completion of this lesson, instructors will know how to:

  1. Login to Canvas
  2. Open their system generated Canvas course
  3. Import a basic course template
  4. Edit the course home page
  5. Edit the syllabus page to include contact information and syllabus attachment
  6. Publish a Canvas Course

Resources & Activities

Canvas Overview

Canvas Video – Canvas Overview:

Logging in

✓ Activity 1 – Login : Users should login to Canvas via the MVConnect portal or login directly by going to the website Use your Moraine Valley username and password.

Accessing Courses

All courses and sections are assigned a corresponding Canvas course shell. The instructor and students are automatically loaded in the shell. Courses should automatically load on the Dashboard and can also be accessed from the Courses list.  Courses are not available to students until they have been published.

✓ Activity 2 – Open your Canvas Course: Open the Canvas site for the section you are assigned to teach.

Import and Edit a Basic Course Template

We encourage you to utilize our “MVCC Basic Course Template” that can be downloaded from Canvas Commons. This resource includes:

  • Course home page template.
  • Syllabus page template.
  • Sample module:
    • Lesson plan template
    • Sample assignment with student “how-to” instructions
    • Sample discussion with student “how-to” instructions
    • Sample quiz with student “how-to” instructions
  • Course links to Home, Syllabus, Modules, Grades, Announcements, Discussions, Conferences, and UDOIT.

✓ Activity 3 – Import template:   Access Canvas Commons and import the “MVCC Basic Course Template. Click the Commons icon on the Global Navigation menu; search “MVCC Basic Course Template”; import the resource in your course.

✓ Activity 4 – Edit course home page:   Once the template content loads in your course (you may need to refresh the page), click the “Edit” button on the course home page. Revise the text according to your preferences. Click the “Save” button.

✓ Activity 5 – Edit syllabus page:   Click the “Syllabus” link on the course menu. Click the “Edit Syllabus” button. Revise instructor contact information area. Scroll down to the course information section. Drag your mouse through the words, “Course Syllabus” then click the “Files” tab that appears on the right-side of the screen. Choose the option to upload a new file, then browse and select the file.  Click the “Upload” button, then click the “Update Syllabus” button.

Publish a Canvas course

Students cannot access a Canvas course or receive course notifications until it is “published” and the course is within the official course dates.  Course dates are pre-loaded, but can be edit on the course settings page, available on the course navigation menu.

✓ Activity 6 – Publish the course:   Click the course Home page. Click the Publish button. Note, if you do not see the course status then the course has already been published.

Next Lesson

Learn how to communicate with your students >>