There have been some great blog posts so far about how to start the semester right and tips and tricks for running the semester. What I would like to do here is to outline a few things that I have found to be helpful when starting a new semester with Canvas for the first time.
1. As other blogs have said, communication is key. Be up front with your students about the software, what it can do, and how you will be using it. Let them know it is ok if they cannot get something to work, as chances are someone else is having the same problem. The same goes with teachers. Make sure there are open lines of communication between those who are making the courses and those who are making the software work.
2. It is ok if something goes wrong. No one gets everything right the first time. There are very few things that cannot be fixed if broken/messed up. Your institution will have help lines you can follow for help, and also the Canvas community has a large archive of help topics and a very fast turn around on questions. You are not alone.
3. Encourage innovation. The main thing that I see is people just wanting to do the bare minimum to get their courses working, which is fine. However, try and foster those people who want to try and do something new or different with their course. Everyone will benefit from it.
4. With number 3 said, remember it is ok to say "we will come back to that". Chances are that the beginning of semester will be one of the busiest times, especially when using Canvas for the first time. The bare minimum gets everyone working and happy, it is ok if innovation doesn't happen until the second week.
5. Don't panic. Canvas is a tested LMS and your institution has put it through its paces before implementing it. We were all new to it once. It is intuitive and as mentioned there are a lot of support lines. Again, if in doubt, ask.