Organizing Your Canvas Course

September 5, 2023

Why is organization important?

Organization helps to create an engaging and transparent online space for your learners. Rather than spending time and energy figuring out where to find things and how to progress through the course, students can focus on their learning process. An organized course demonstrates your presence and commitment to fostering a welcoming learning environment.

Spending time organizing the course and its components will also save you future frustration as the instructor. You will be able to find student contributions and past course content more easily. Online courses are iterative with need of continual improvement and updates. Having a clear organizational structure will help you keep track of all of those components.


Create Modules to organize your course content by unit, chapter, topic, or week. Within each module, place items in a logical order so that learners can navigate through it using the Next button. Use the student view to make sure everything looks as you intend it to and that learners can access what they need. 

From the module view, add text headers and indent levels to create categories within a module. Establish naming conventions to title items consistently. 

Navigation Menu

Hide menu options that your students will not need for your course to streamline the parts they will need. Also hide those sections that are primarily used to store resources in your Canvas shell; these include Pages,  Files, and Course Videos. You will want to organize the materials in these by using folders and standard naming conventions for your own benefit, but students do not need direct access to them. 

The navigation menu is managed in the Settings for your course. You can reorder and enable/disable items in a way that makes sense for your students. Learn more about the navigation settings in Canvas. 


The Assignments tab will contain all graded assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Sorting these into appropriate groupings and arranging them in a logical order will help learners understand the expectations for the course and know what to expect. Make sure they align clearly with your grading policy so that students can track their grades accurately.  Learn more about keeping grades updated in Canvas

Consider whether you want students to use the Assignments tab to access them or if you will incorporate them all into modules. If you want students go work through the modules in order, you may want to disable Assignments/Discussions/Quizzes in the course navigation as well. 

Upcoming Events

Online Orientation and Course Presence

Wednesday, September 13, 1:30-2:15 PM

Encouraging your learners to engage with you, their peers, and your course starts with orienting them to online learning and establishing your presence. Join this presentation to learn more about deploying these principles in your course to encourage learner engagement. 

Facilitated by Leslie Fuller, Ph.D., Digital Learning Strategist. 

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Online Orientation and Course Presence on September 13th 

Quick Hits – Turnitin and ChatGPT

Thursday, September 21, 3:30-4:00 PM

Join this training to have your questions on Turnitin’s new AI chat text detection feature answered. Whether you have a specific question or want to see this feature demonstrated, this training opportunity is your time to work with one of our Turnitin admins. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both. 

Facilitated by Gray Jackson, Learning Technology Specialist.

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Quick Hits: Turnitin & ChatGPT on September 21st .

Clemson Online Fall 2023 Events Calendar

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Review our Fall 2023 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust Summer lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on inclusive practices for online education, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact James Butler with any questions regarding these sessions. 

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