Community Participant

Baseline Canvas Requirements for faculty

Hello everyone, 

Has anyone established minimum Canvas requirements for all faculty at your institution? Our academic administration has identified the following as baseline:


  • Post a copy of the course syllabus 
  • Program all assignments into the course calendar
  • Post course materials broken up by week
  • Post PowerPoint slides from class, if applicable
  • Post all grades in a timely manner and with appropriate weighting



30 Replies
Coach Emeritus

 @wli40 , our bare minimum for traditional/face-to-face courses is as follows:

  • Course Syllabus
  • Gradebook set up correctly (points vs. percentage, etc)
  • All assignments listed (preferably with due dates, or add due date when possible)
  • Post grades in a timely manner
Community Participant


Thanks for your response. How do you check if the course meets the minimum requirements? 

Coach Emeritus

 @wli40 , this is actually our first semester mandating it even though we've been using Canvas for almost 6 years. Before faculty can actually have a real course in Canvas they have to create their course - with a minimum of the above criteria - in a sandbox course and get it approved by me. Once that's done then we allow them to use Canvas for their real courses. Moving forward I'm working with our Internet Systems Specialist to see what information he can pull from Canvas Data or the API that would allow us to know for sure that grades are being entered, etc...


Coach Emeritus

Looks like I’ll have a report with the course, Instructor, and grading activity that I’ll be able to use to help check that grades are being entered. 

Community Novice


We have an institutional Minimum Standard Use of Canvas that is: 

  • Course Guide and Syllabus
  • Attendance taken every class meeting for F2F and Hybrid
  • Gradebook setup and up to date
  • All content is accessible
  • Course is published

Canvas at the minimum standard is required for all courses at the institution: online, F2F, and hybrid. These standards were determined by a team of faculty and academic administration. Online Services pulls a random sample of 15 courses for each of our six schools in at the end of the second week of the semester and sends it to the VP for Learning. She tasks the deans of each school to check the courses and report back to her.


Hi Karen (and all folks who are commenting here),

 I work for one of the California State University campuses (Humboldt) and as more of our campuses move to Canvas, we are seeing challenges around these very issues.  Currently, our campus just passed an addendum to our Syllabus policy that says every course must minimally post an accessible syllabus in Canvas (even if they are using Canvas for anything else.  I also facilitate a Canvas Common Interest Group (CIG) for the CSU and California Community College Systems.  It would be really valuable to have this discussion in one of our monthly Zoom-Shares. Bring ideas and discuss the benefits and challenges to these policies/requirements.  Anyone interested? 

Please join our CIG by going to https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas/groups and search for “CSU and CCC Canvas Common Interest Group”.  Would be great to pull in all these campuses on this discussion right in the Community.

 @kona ‌  @wli40 ‌  @acreek ‌

Thanks! Kim

Thanks! I've asked to join the group!

If anyone else is interested, here is the direct link - https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/csu-group 

I've asked to join as well!

This sounds like a great and timely group discussion... I've submitted my request to join! Thanks for the invite and link!  ;>)

Hi Karen Acree,

Wow! That's an impressive set of requirements! I'm glad to hear that faculty were included in the group that put those requirements together.

I'm wondering what compliance among faculty looks like, and what kind of support is provided to help faculty meet those requirements.


Hi Linda, 

We don't have the data on that, but just given what I see being in our courses every day, I would guess it's about 75%. We do a lot of cross listing, which makes getting a snapshot a bit more difficult as sometimes faculty build and publish and then decide to cross list and some never touch the course being crosslisted. We still have faculty who aren't using Canvas at all in F2F classes, even with the mandate. I expect that to change when we have our ILP grade passback from Canvas to Colleague working next academic year. 

Our Online Services team has created a Canvas template that is used by many faculty, making it easy to get courses started and meet the College's minimum standard and 19 of the 43 Quality Matters standards with minimal effort. We provide training, one on one sessions, and have an open lab several times before the start of each semester to help faculty get courses setup or improved. 


Community Champion

Hello Karen Acree,

This sounds like a it might be a workable approach for us... at least in some form or another. I would be very interested in seeing some version of your template, if you would be willing to share. Especially since it sounds like you are incorporating QM standards into it.

Thank you!    Earl@Pierce

Community Explorer

Hello  @wli40 

You might find the Course Evaluation Checklist to be of use. I especially like the fact that it includes more than just administrative stuff, and highlights the importance of building S-S and S-T interactions instead of just stacks of content.

Community Novice

Hello Wei,

Yes, this is something we realized early on in our implementation needed to happen.  We developed several tiers of rubrics.  For face-to-face delivery, the rubric is more of a self-check guideline.  For alternative delivery, we are more stringent about what essentials must be in a Canvas course.  Below are links to the rubrics we use at our institution:

Face-to-Face Canvas Rubric

Alternative Delivery Canvas Rubric

We also use the Quality Matters rubrics for courses that must meet an even higher level of excellence, but that is more agnostic of Canvas.

Community Champion

We don't have an actual requirement, but we are at the early stages of trying to encourage a baseline.

Student Success Hinges on Three Instructional Choices | Office of Distance Education and eLearning 

  • Use assignments with due dates
  • Post grades in the gradebook
  • Post a full syllabus in the Syllabus tool
Community Champion

The only thing required by our faculty is to post their syllabus and grade in Canvas. Most use Canvas for much more, but those are the only official requirements at our school. I was quite please to see in our annual business review with our Canvas CSM, that 95% of our active courses contained activities (assignments, quizzes, and discussions), much higher than I thought!

Community Contributor

Our campus just enacted a syllabus policy where it must be posted in Canvas. We are excited to introduce Canvas to faculty who have not used it before. I'm nervous about how to enforce the policy - we may just look at published courses percentage to ensure all courses are published.


Our instructors got through a QM review before they can offer the course online. Face to face there really isn't a standard due to it being more of a tool to enhance the face to face experience. 

Our campus online courses are developed using the Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) and must meet the Core 24 objectives before being offered.

Community Novice

Attached are the expectations for the teachers in our building.

Thank you, 

Lisa Polhamus

Community Member

Hi All, 

We have similar requirements for our faculty mentioned here. We just went through a revision of our school’s tech policy because we are officially moving to Canvas, Yay! Here are our requirements for faculty in Canvas: 

Faculty MUST complete, at minimum, each of the following in their course(s) each semester:
• Make course(s) available (publish) no later than the eve of the start date of your course(s)
• Post, link or embed a current course syllabus
• Provide faculty contact information in the designated area, including Touro email and office hours
• Use the Gradebook for all graded activities and exams

Nowadays it's very important to have faculty do these things to create uniformity across courses. 


Community Participant

Hi  @wli40 ‌

Yes.  We have as minimum requirements:

- Video course overview - so students can see their lecturer introduce the course

- Learning outcomes of the course

- Assessment briefs - these are mostly written, but we are gradually encouraging lecturers to video themselves explaining the assessment brief as well.

- Reading lists

I use a blueprint course to roll this out.  Lecturers are given a 'shell module' to work on before term.  It has these items with placeholder text (lorum ipsum) and video, all highlighted in garish green so that they know they have to remove it before term starts.  

The blueprint course also has content on Harvard Referencing, and a standardised course menu to make sure students have access to all the things they need as minimum (library, room bookings etc).

Great question, I'm glad to learn about how everyone else deals with this.


Great idea to include the video tool  @cwindsor . 

Helps to establish a relationship with the class as well as getting them to embed a useful tool. 

I'd love to include some basic mandatory tasks for primary schools. I don't think we are quite ready for it yet though. 

Community Contributor

Really interesting discussion.  I find myself peeking at everyone's profile to see if this is for online courses or face to face.  Amazing to see Higher Ed institutions moving to more requirements on the face-to-face side.

For online:

   We use fully developed Master courses with a robust production process.

For Face-to-Face:

   We require that all faculty post their syllabus and have some activity with students in Canvas (this could be assignment, discussion, etc...).  We currently have no other requirement.  We do run a script to confirm that all faculty post their syllabus.  We use Canvas as a way of archiving syllabi as part of requirements for our accreditation.

   We have achieved what I believe is a very high level of Canvas adoption.  We generate detailed stats on usage across the on-campus environment but we only ever report this in the aggregate and do not supply this data to administration.  For instance, we have been using percentage of courses with "5+ assignments with grades assigned" as one of our indicators of adoption.

I am curious if other schools are collecting adoption numbers. 

Community Novice

Thanks for the great discussion thread @Wei Li. My institution has been wrestling with the same challenge and has explored similar solutions to others.

  • We tried Quality Matters, but it was too resource intensive to scale to all of our courses.
  • We tried Canvas Data but it was too complex to finagle into meaningful insights.
  • Finally, we tried a brute force approach of using humans to review each course against 12 simple standards

This solution has helped us evaluate and drive quality Canvas adoption in our 1,000+ courses each year. I walk through the process in a 10min video here (How we evaluate 1,000+ courses per year  ).

Community Champion


We have baseline requirements to include: 

- teaching team details
- assignment info
- learning outcomes

- reading list
- link to definitive module descriptor
- link to previous module evaluations
- link to external examiner reports

Courses to be published 4 weeks before term, lecture outline 24 hours before (for accessibility reasons)

These were in place before we migrated, but the implementation gave us an opportunity to enforce this.

To help this we created homepage templates, which prompts staff to populate the info. We then run workshops where they can complete these requirements step by step

We have run 'audits' each semester to check for compliance - manual - very time consuming but have identified many issues!

Community Contributor

 @david_summervi1 ‌ we could look at this thread more closely for our Canvas Policy development.


Community Novice

Hello Wei:
You pose an interesting question that encompasses agreement on standards, enforcement of them or auditing for compliance, and the reality of how much capacity is available to address these issues. The course template used at our Community College includes a comprehensive syllabus across many pages. This is where the student contract, organizational policies, and course- specific criteria and policies are addressed. So the underpinnings of every online course are standardized within the syllabus. The current process is that every new course must be developed and then reviewed by the Faculty Success Center to ensure every instructor has a firm understanding of how Canvas works and the expectations of the college for instructors who teach F2F, online or hybrid.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI) is a bit more tricky to capture in an online course and that is what several of the replies in this thread address: policies to demonstrate that instructors are interacting with students in ways that increase their learning. Our college is currently auditing online courses for RSI using a rubric to measure it. This process has just begun so it will be interesting to see the data from this work. Under discussion at the same time is how deal with non-compliance, provide additional faculty support and what new policies might be developed as a result.

Community Champion

Hi Wei Li,

At our institution, we took a different approach because of strong faculty push back about 'templates' and other mandated teaching techniques or styles. Early on we (eLearning) pushed for required faculty training, which took several quarters to finally get adopted and implemented, but it is now written into the faculty contract for our District, and has been for the past few years.

Required trainings for using Canvas and/or teaching Hybrid or Fully Online;

  • CE/Canvas Essentials (or equivalent) - required to use Canvas and to teach F2F, Hybrid/Fully Online.
  • FTO/Foundations for Teaching Online (or equivalent) *pedagogy/andragogy/best Online practicesrequired to teach Hybrid/Fully Online.
  • QM/APPQMR - *applying the QM rubric - required to teach Hybrid/Fully Online.

In conjunction with the required trainings above, we have active 'mentor' and 'QM review' processes with experienced, Canvas trained faculty and certified QM faculty peer/master reviewers.

We are always looking for effective ways to expand engagement and deepen use of Canvas and available proven technologies, so I am really finding value in this discussion, and hoping to leverage some of these ideas.

Community Explorer

Every course at our institution (online, hybrid, in person) has a Canvas course shell. We require the following be added to the Canvas course shell:

  • Homepage
  • Syllabus
  • Grades

In order to teach an online course it must be reviewed by an online advisory board and the instructor must successfully complete an online certification course in Canvas.