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What is the best way to organize content as an instructor?

I understand Canvas's push for module organization for the student and I'm not opposed to it.  However I'm one month into school teaching 3 preps.  I am building my modules.  Everytime I go to add something to a module I find this:


Since I do bellringer "quizzes" 4 days a week, a Formative Assessment one day a week, and a Quiz on Friday, I'm essentially adding 6 "quizzes" each week to ONE class.  

IF I use Quizzes New, the actual assignments are also I'm potentially adding 6-10 things per week to this course.  The list of items (in Assignments, Pages, Quizzes, you name it) is becoming huge to scroll through to find what I want to add as an instructor.

I've read numerous posts, blogs, and questions about folders in folders and it seems they all come back to suggesting using modules.  Am I missing something?  I'm trying to use modules and for the students its fine but even with naming devices this is a huge task and will only get more cumbersome as the semester rolls on.

Can anyone help me better understand how to organize my content?

Please don't tell me to make assignment groups, because I have to have the groups the same as my gradebook for our SIS sync.  I can't make an Ecology "Group" of assignments as that then doesn't sync into our gradebook as practice, lab or assessment.  Additionally, my Ecology unit is 5 weeks long, so even then its 50 pieces of content, minimum, not counting the "extra resources" I want to  post.

Here's an example of one of my Modules:


Thinking of having 18 of these is daunting...

8 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @sbridge 

Almost every published study out there recommends modularization as a best practice.  I have been using modules for 7+ years now, and have never had a student complain about them; however, when we first switched to Canvas from an LMS that used a folder structure with nesting capability, students who had experienced both systems commented that they liked modules much better.  Modules are much more accessible to students, and they can collapse unused or already used modules.  I have a blog about this in this Community you might want to check out at Share UDL Course Design Tips, Tricks, and Techniques I include several structure/organization examples in this blog.

Here is a link to a great article in Faculty Focus, A Modular Course Design Benefits Instructor and Students.

I hope some of this helps, and I am sure others will chime in.


Thanks Kelly, I actually read your blog as part of my research. My concern

is that I started modules for each week to keep the items inside the module

feasible without being overwhelming. This meant I would have 18+ modules

per semester, seemed like a lot!

I really wanted a module structure like this:


- Week 1:

- Notes

- Assignments

- Labs

- Formative Assessments

- Week 2:


- Notes

- Assignments

- Labs

- Formative Assessments

Ideally the student could collapse the weeks they weren't using, but that

requires modules in modules which is not an option. My ecology unit is 5

weeks long....the "list" created when the 5 weekly modules are open is

overwhelming to students.

Another questions regarding modules. When I create a module in a blueprint

course, and then push it out to commons and import it into my honors course

(basics are then same, then planned to tweak the honors by adding to it) it

doesn't bring any of the content with...quizzes, assignments, etc. So I

find I have to rebuild anyway.

I tried this with my students this week:

The homepage leads to this:

Its visibly ugly but the student response was overwhelmingly "that's


Is this considered modules?

I look forward to hearing feedback and would appreciate screen shots of



On Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 11:49 AM Kelley L. Meeusen <>

Hi again,  @sbridge 

Ultimately, course design is up to you unless your school enforces some other standard. However, I can tell you that what you attempted with BluePrint courses is not how they are intended to work. BluePrint courses are intended to be "associated" and synced with courses within Canvas, not exported to Commons, then re-imported.  Here is some help in understanding how to use BluePrint courses, and you will need your Canvas Admin to help with part of the process.

There are also a series of blogs on BluePrint courses that you might want to check out at......

Seem like a lot, but BluePrint courses are a rather complex process. Anyways, I hope some of this has helped.


 @sbridge , I just looked back at one of the old courses I used to teach and found that it contained 20 modules. Each one is organized with multiple text headers; a typical module contains around 10 items. This is admittedly only one person's experience, but I taught hundreds of students using this module design and they had no trouble navigating through the items.

#StefanieSanders Out of curiosity...what grade level? I'm finding my

freshmen in high school with limited online "class work" and new to

chromebooks are struggling. This is NOT necessarily a Canvas issue but I

have found when I take grad classes via the university, the Module and

style that works at that level isn't as feasible with younger learners.

They don't have the motivation and cognitive organizational strategies they

need to move through massive amounts of content. I've told them everyday

for 4 weeks to CLOSE THE MODULES they aren't using and they still leave

them open and are scrolling through pages and getting lost. I hate to

"unpublish" old modules because they won't have them for reference but I'm


On Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 7:54 AM stefaniesanders <>

 @sbridge ‌, good point! Although I had a number of 16-year-old dual enrollment students in my courses, the courses themselves were offered by a college, and the majority of my students were non-traditional; many were not digital natives, and some were not native English speakers. So it's different from your scenario, but probably just as challenging. The first week or two of every semester always involved some training—and I purposely designed the course grading scheme so that early assignments contributed only a small amount to the final grade in order to give my students a chance to get acclimated to the new tools.

Navigator II

Hi Stephanie Bridge,

I am a little late the conversation and you've gotten great advice from stefaniesanders‌ and  @kmeeusen ‌! I just want to chime in that yes, embrace the modules and pack those suckers up with whatever you need to have. It'll get to be a lot but after you have it built (and named) you don't have to create it again.

And yes, a blueprint course is meant to be the master/parent course with the content that gets pushed to the associated/child courses. So if I was still teaching in K-12, I'd use the blueprint to be my master that pushes content to my 6 periods of class and for the honors course, I could add or move things around but I know that everyone is getting the same basics.

As far as managing your course content, if you have the ability to create multiple Canvas courses at your school, you could create different sandbox courses for each of your units. Bridge-Sandbox-Ecology and then just have all your ecology modules built there and appropriately named knowing that you'll be importing that content into the course shell you use for your students. Again, if I was still teaching in K-12 and had to use the same Canvas shell for my students for the whole year (with multiple grading periods) I'd for sure have my own separate sandboxes for my main units of study so that I could work on those items in isolation before students see them and then import into the live courses.

By the way, what are you using as the homepage in your course? is the modules page or do you have a specialized landing page like you showed in the image screen shot with Unit C-2 Homepage? You could rotate out those as the homepage for the week/9-weeks.

Hope this reply helps and yes, embrace lots of items in your modules! Smiley Happy
Cheers - Shar I move into my 3rd month I'm getting better! Still a long ways to go.  This seems great for courses where once you have it set up you can use it over and over...unfortunately my curriculum is dynamic in many areas and I see it as a lot of rebuilding every year...but time will tell.  Thanks for chiming in...blending peoples ideas has helped a lot.