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How do I prepare for Canvas?

markers in a container and notebook in background

Switching to a new learning management system can be a daunting process, especially without a game plan in place. So where should you start?  Follow the four-step checklist below to get you ready for the move.

Step 1: Access your sandbox

Information Technology Services (ITS) is working hard to prepare Canvas for use. If you are interested in getting an early start, you can access your practice course via the Canvas dashboard. Don't see a practice course in your Canvas account? Request one by emailing at The practice course will let you familiarize yourself with Canvas while you build and store your content until your official course is ready.

Step 2: Get acquainted with the Canvas tools

UC San Diego’s Canvas instance has all the common LMS features, such as assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, file sharing, grading, and announcements. To learn about any of these features, refer to the how-to resources available at:

Step 3: Design your students’ course experience

Canvas offers its module structure to assist instructors in building the student experience. So what are modules? According to Canvas:

“Modules allow you to organize your content to help control the flow of your course. They are used to organize course content by weeks, units, [chapters, themes, projects,] or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With modules, you are essentially creating a [list view] of what you would like your students to do.

Each module can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials that you would like to use."

Before building your course in Canvas, ask yourself what kind of module setup will be used? Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc? Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4-6, etc? Not sure? Explore some of the sample courses below to see how the instructors set up their modules.

Still unsure what module setup to use? The Teaching + Learning Commons staff is available to help you determine the best module structure for your course.

Step 4: Contact your Canvas support team

The EdTech team is ready to help and support you in making the transition to Canvas. You can contact the EdTech Services office at 858-822-3315 |