Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
New Member

Dont's in Canvas?

An administrator in my K-12 district just asked me a great question -- and I need your help answering it! :smileyplain:

Question: Is there anything that one should NOT do in designing and developing a Canvas course? 

Some Considerations:

  1. The instructor is developing this "in-service learning" course for adults (faculty)
  2. This will be the instructor's first Canvas course (or LMS course of any kind).
  3. The course instructor has (mostly) completed our online instructor training course.
  4. The course will be blended: about 2/3 face-to-face, 1/3 online.
  5. Many of these teachers have no familiarity with Canvas, but others have some. (We've only rolled out Canvas to our 9-12 high school so far).
  6. The instructor hopes to maximize student-to-student online collaboration.


71 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

Heh, awilliams​ made me think of another one:

If you're going to use the Attendance tool, don't delete, rename, or unpublish the Attendance assignment it creates. This is documented  in How do I edit the Roll Call Attendance assignment? --but seasoned users of the Attendance tool have told me the best way to use it is to leave the assignment exactly as it is created out of the box. Don't fiddle with it, just leave it be as a 100-point assignment. If an instructor doesn't want attendance to count in the final grade, he or she can move it into an assignment group worth 0% or set it as an assignment that doesn't count toward the final grade; that's as much as I would mess with it.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves,  @chofer ! By calling Canvas messaging "email" people inadvertently conflate the functionality of messages and emails; they are not at all the same.

True, but I sure wish it were consistently referred to as either "messages" or "conversations".

Leaving the Chat navigation item available is helpful. The students could use it for back-channel discussions during class.

Community Team
Community Team

In light of a certain commonality among questions I've been seeing as we approach the end of the year, here's a Don't:

Don't wait until the course is over to create your grading scheme and build your Gradebook structure. If you do, you're asking for trouble, as you might (1) be facing an impossible task and (2) be opening yourself up to grade challenges. Build the Gradebook before the first day of classes, even if you have to use assignment placeholders to do it.

Community Member

I'm not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but my biggest peeve...

DON'T make everything a download - There is nothing worse than forcing a student to download everything beforethey can even view it. Make a page & paste the content there. Have the download available if you want, but there is nothing worse than, a student having slow intermittent internet connectivity, forced to download a word document (taking about 20 min.) to open it only to have a 4 sentence paragraph telling them to refer to another downloadable document...

DON'T rely solely on publishers content or websites - There is some great content out there, but the most valuable thing you can give a student is your time, knowledge & attention. Be proactive with the students & respond in a timely manner.

DON'T ignore your inbox - One of the biggest concerns is students getting frustrated with never hearing from their instructor. It is really easy with the online course to put things off. Take the time & respond, it does really matter!

Hope these help! ~TYE

Great "Don'ts"  @tdurbin ​!  Regarding the inbox, I set a weekly reminder to prompt myself to check for student submissions, scoring I need to do, and now... to double check for messages that may still need a response.

Hi  @jomontuori 

Tye is spot-on! Teacher presence is a documented best practice in online education. As an LMS admin the number one complaint we hear from students is "I sent my teacher several messages, but...............", followed by "I submitted my assignment three weeks ago (or longer), and my teacher hasn't graded it.". Glad you are setting reminders!

You can learn more in this great piece provided by the Arizona State University for its faculty:


Community Member

Don't forget to get into your profile page and check on your notification settings. Remember that they are GLOBAL, and apply to courses you take AND courses your teach. Getting EVERY notification can be overwhelming, so picking and choosing your notifications is key to a good user experience. (And may require it's own learning module on it's own.)

Don't ignore all the messages and indicators on the Dashboard, don't think the To Do list updates without some occasional manual input. (Again, more on the what you might need to teach your users side.)

Community Coach
Community Coach

Don't forget to Validate Links in Content

If you have a lot of links to other websites outside of Canvas, they can change on you in an instant without you knowing (due to changes on the company's/organization's website).  :smileyangry:  Nobody likes a broken link on the web, so it's important to verify that your links are in working order.  Go to Settings >> Validate Links in Content to run a scan of links in your course.  Or, just check out this Canvas Guide: How do I validate links in a course?