Community Novice

New Prof Need the BASICS

Hi, I’m a new instructor, have never used Canvas before.  I would like to copy my syllabus,  a word doc on my laptop, into Canvas.  How do I go about doing that?  Also, I have in that syllabus a lot of URLs to reading assignments.  I wanted to have all of this together in one place. If a student pulls up the syllabus in Canvas, will he or she be able to use those URLs to get to the assignments?  Hopefully I don’t need to print all of these into PDFs first and load them.   Anything else I should know as someone totally new to Canvas?  Thanks!!!  

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Community Coach
Community Coach

@ClementMiller -

for the syllabus, click on the syllabus navigation link and then edit it.

Once you are in edit mode, go to your word document and select all and then paste it into the Canvas syllabus page.  If you have tables, you will have to update their formatting - as well as formatting in general.  The links(if they are to web pages should be fine).

Save that and see what you have view wise.

As for information in general about Canvas here are some links to consider

Instructor Guide - this lists all the topics with what you can do in Canvas

And here is a link to videos for general instructor information


Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi there, @ClementMiller ...

In addition to the info that @Ron_Bowman gave you, I wanted to ask you about the URLs that you have in your document.  You said that these URLs go to assignments in your course.  Are these URLs going to assignments that you've built into your Canvas course already on your "Assignments" index page?  If so, I might recommend that (as Ron has already suggested), copy that text from your document and paste it into your "Syllabus" page.  You'd most likely have to update your links on the "Syllabus" page so that they are pointing to the assignments in your course, but that's fairly easy to do.  Check out this Guide for further details:

How do I create hyperlinks to course or group content in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?

Hopefully this will also help a bit.  Let us know if you have any other questions about this...thanks!

Community Contributor

Hi @ClementMiller, until the pandemic began, I had never used Canvas, and all of my course content was contained in Microsoft Word files.

Here is my advice to you: Start learning how to create content directly within Canvas. Copying and pasting from Word documents can result in a lot of problematic formatting. Just type your syllabus directly in Canvas using the Rich Content Editor. Learn how to use Headers for accessibility. Learn how to add links to other Canvas content (e.g. pages, assignments, discussions, quizzes). Learn how to add links to external sites.

It will be a lot of work to do this for your semester or two using Canvas, After that, it is very easy to copy content into future course shells. Trying to deal with a lot of Word files and PDF documents is going to be a headache. Just bit the bullet and learn how to use Canvas.