Canvas Tips and HSU Quick Guides

Canvas Migration Quick Guide

To support you in your move from Moodle to Canvas, we've developed a Canvas Migration Quick Guide to get you started: Canvas Getting Started Quick Guide

Moodle to Canvas Conversion Guide

We've also created a Moodle to Canvas Conversion Guide to help you identity tools with similar functions: Moodle-to-Canvas Content Conversion

General Tips
  1. Having issues with Canvas? Make sure to use the latest version of your browser. For best results, DO NOT use Internet Explorer (IE).
  2. Canvas courses have a 500mb maximum storage. Check your files to see if you have large videos. These can be hosted on YouTube or streamed on HSU's streaming server (see Technical Tips below).
  3. VERY IMPORTANT-Set your Notification Preferences to a manageable quantity.
  4. Do not forget to Publish your course. Students won't be able to access your course until you publish!
  5. Do not forget to Publish your quizzes and assignments.  Students won't be able to complete the quiz or text until you publish.
  6. Email students by clicking the Inbox link in the Global Navigation menu to the left. You cannot email students within Canvas if your course is not published.
  7. You cannot change the names within the course navigation menu, but you can hide any course menu items you do not use (under Settings).
  8. Cannot find a menu item? Some menu items gray out when hidden, and some disappear altogether. Un-hide the item in question (Settings), and it will reappear in the menu.
  9. To create a custom column in the grade book, create an Assignment that is not submitted in Canvas. You can also enable or disable a due date in the assignment settings.
  10. Be sure to check the Student View of your course to see it from the student perspective (Settings).  This will ensure that all links are live, going to the right place, and there are no duplicate quizzes or assignments, etc.
  11. Want the name of your course to be different for your own view, try Canvas course nicknames.
  12. Get immediate 24/7 Canvas assistance from Canvas Help by calling 844-334-0177 or contacting 24/7 Canvas Live Chat (select the Help button at the bottom of the Global Navigation menu on the left side).
Development Course

Start with a fresh, blank Canvas course for best results moving forward. Though it might seem simple to have your Moodle course content copied to your new Canvas development or active course, we highly encourage starting from scratch for Canvas best performance. It is also a good time to clean out those large Moodle courses that may create import problems. Request a development course here.

HSU Canvas Course Templates

If you are developing a new course or redesigning an existing course, consider using one of our HSU Canvas Course Templates. Six template variations are available in the Canvas Commons*. You can locate these templates by searching for "HSU Template". When you import this content into your course, all of your existing content will remain intact. You can then easily revise the content in the templates to develop your course. 

11 Tips for Course Design

Regardless of whether you are teaching a face-to-face, hybrid/blended or fully-online course, the following design tips can help you develop a Canvas course that promotes student learning:

  1. Make your course welcoming for a positive first impression of the course. For example, send a welcome message before the course begins using Canvas Announcements or Inbox, and/or create a Homepage with a welcome message that students will see when they first log in.
  2. Have consistent navigation throughout. For example, use Modules to create a consistent structure by week or topic. Include instructions for students that explain how to navigate the course and locate materials such as the Syllabus and Assignments.
  3. Provide clear instructions and expectations for students. For example, include Get Started instructions and Course Expectations on your Homepage and/or Welcome Announcement.  Not all students will know where to begin when they first log into your course.
  4. Use a variety of methods to keep students informed and engaged. For example, use Inbox (Conversations) to communicate with students via email, and Announcements to send out occasional reminders and updates.
  5. Provide a means for students to ask questions and give feedback. For example, include a Q&A Discussion forum that is available throughout the semester, and/or offer a Survey (via Quizzes) during the 2nd or 3rd week of the course to solicit feedback and identify any problems.
  6. Build community from the start. For example, during the first day or week provide an icebreaker activity via Discussion forum, to have students introduce themselves and share learning goals.
  7. Use the built-in Canvas tools for Assignments and Quizzes. These tools will build grading columns for you in the Speedgrader and automatically be populated in the Calendar with due dates.
  8. Help students locate campus resources.  Students often require help beyond the classroom. You can help by including information in your Syllabus about the purpose and location of student support services such as the Learning Center, Academic and Career Advising Center, Writing Studio, Math Tutoring Lab, Canvas support and more.
  9. Help students locate technical help. Provide information in your Syllabus to help students find the HSU Help Desk and Canvas Help Resources.
  10. Keep Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in mind. Your learners are diverse and will engage with materials in different ways.  Consider how you can meet the needs of all of your students.  For example provide a variety of materials and activities beyond text, such as videos, blogs, wikis, Collaborations and Discussions.
  11. Keep accessibility in mind. Make sure your materials are accessible to all students, including students with disabilities that may affect their learning. In particular, make sure all videos are captioned.  Include information in your Syllabus regarding how to contact Student Disability Resource Services, HSU accessibility policies, and invite students to contact you as soon as possible if they require accommodations.
Technical Tips


PowerPoint files

Embed link into a content page (does not work well on mobile).

Alternative: create a PDF downloadable version for mobile.

Save your PowerPoint as .pps and upload to your course -- this reduces the file size and makes it non-editable. 

External URLs

Since Canvas is a secure site (https) it will block insecure http content from displaying until you enable it. There are two options:

Try adding an "s" at the end of http, as that can automatically resolve the issue

  1. If that doesn't work, you can "enable" the browser. Usually, you can see it is being blocked by a shield icon in the URL bar at the top of the page, if you click that shield you can enable the content to display.

Canvas 24/7 Premier Help

Canvas support staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer your questions and make sure your Canvas experience is a success. In your Canvas course, select the Help button at the lower left of the screen. You will see various options to get help. Live Chat is an incredibly quick method in resolving issues. You can also call Canvas Help at 1-855-9967