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Canvas Best Practices

A guide for U-M librarians

Home Page Options

As of spring 2020, when creating content in Canvas the default Home page (first page) a student will see is a list of the modules in the Canvas course. An example of what that looks like to students is below:

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Many creators choose to set a different page as the Home page, with information on the course, learning objectives, contact information, etc. Then simple links connect users to the modules. The example below shows this:

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Another example is setting the Syllabus as the Home page. This is similar in intent to a simple page acting as the Home page, but the Syllabus is a special type of page in Canvas and has its own link in the Navigation Bar and options like showing the Course stream timeline.

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Setting a Home Page

SETTING A COURSE PAGE AS HOME PAGE

Start on the page you would like to be the Home Page of the entire Canvas course.

  1. Make sure the page is Published. Use the button in the upper right hand corner. It will turn green when published.
  2. Click the hamburger menu (three vertical dots) next to the Edit button.
  3. Select Use as Front Page from the drop-down menu.

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After this is done, a "Front Page" designation will appear at the top of the page.

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  1. Click "Home" in the Navigation Bar on the upper left-hand corner of the page to get to the Home page.
  2. Select the Choose Home Page button on the right-hand side of this page.

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A "Choose Course Home Page" box will pop up.

  1. Select the "Pages Front Page" option. It should list the page title you've already designated as the front page.
  2. Click the Save button.

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All done!


SETTING THE SYLLABUS AS HOME PAGE

Making the Syllabus the Home page is slightly easier.

Starting at the Home page of your Canvas course, select the "Choose Home Page" button on the right-hand side of the page. (See step #5 above) When the pop-up appears, select the Syllabus option and click the Save button.

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This will set the Syllabus as the Home page. It can be edited like any other page, and by default shows a Course Summary.


A SPECIAL NOTE

Regardless of which tool you select as your Home page (Modules, a custom Page, the Activity Stream, Syllabus, or Assignments list) consider hiding that tool itself from the Navigation Bar.  Otherwise, students will see the same content in two places, which can be confusing. See the Settings tab in this LibGuide for instructions on how to hide things in the Navigation Bar.

The NEXT Button

The Next button appears at the bottom of each page in a Canvas module. Some creators choose to alert students to begin or move on by explicitly instructing them to click the button. An example is below:

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One quirk of the Next button is that is appears on the last page of a module if there are additional modules in the Canvas course. So if there are two modules, the Next button will appear on the last page of Module 1, and clicking it will bring the student to the first page of Module 2.

If you do not want the student to directly proceed to the next module, then alert them not to click the Next button. An example of this is below:

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The only time a Next button does not appear is on the very last page of the last module in a Canvas course.