Delta PDC Portal

Checklist – Before the Start of Term

Checklist – Before the Start of Term

Make changes before the new semester begins, so your students have the most accurate and effective content!


1. Verify And Organize Your Course List

checkConfirm that your courses are available in Canvas.  Go to Courses > All Courses from the sidebar menu to indicate which courses should be available on your Dashboard.

checkHave your most used courses available on the Dashboard and Courses list, and keep others out of sight but still easy to get to when needed.  The secret is the star. star

See How do I customize my Courses list?

2. Combine Course Sections (optional)

checkIf you teach multiple sections of your Course and you want all students to access the same content, you can request to combine or cross-list sections before the semester begins.

3. Copy Content From An Older Course

checkYou reuse content from a previous semester, a development shell, or another instructor’s course. If it is a course taught by someone else, that instructor will have to give you access to that course.

See: Copy Course Content


1. Update The Syllabus

checkMake any updates and corrections to the course syllabus as necessary.  Confirm dates, grading policy, links to Academic Integrity and Attendance documents provided by the District.

2. Review Modules and Content

checkTake the time to look over the materials and links in your Canvas course.  Did you use everything in it?  Are there any new items to add?  Typos to fix or clarifications needed?

Review Content Items
Examine module contents and make any necessary edits to item titles, remove unused items, add new materials.

Review Course Accessibility
There are several important elements all instructors should consider to ensure maximum access to course content, so every student is able to succeed, regardless of ability.

Some of the most important features of an accessible course include:

  • converting most PDF files into Canvas Pages
  • adding ALT text to images
  • captioning video

Module Settings
Check Lock Until dates and Publish status.  Incomplete modules may be locked or unpublished to prevent student access.

If used, ensure module requirements and prerequisites are set properly.

How do I lock a module?
How do I unpublish a module?  (Draft state)
How do I add requirements to a module?
How do I add prerequisites to a module?

Internal Links
Test all internal and external links using the Validate Links in your Course Settings. See: How do I validate links in a course?

Publish Course Content Items
Review all course content items (Pages, Assignments, Modules, etc.) to confirm Publish status.  Only content that is Published can be seen by students.

3. Update Course Navigation

checkConfirm the Course Menu contains the appropriate items in the desired order. Only necessary items should be visible to students to avoid confusion.

See: How do I reorder and hide Course Navigation links?


1. Review Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes

checkExamine all gradable activities in the course, update instructions and details as needed.  Check all relevant settings for assignments, discussions and quizzes:

  • directions
  • submission type
  • point value
  • number of quiz attempts
  • availability date
  • due date

2. Gradebook

checkConfirm grading policy, points possible, and grade displays in Gradebook.  If using Assignment groups for weighted grading, ensure the assignment weights align with the information provided in the course syllabus.

See: How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?


1. Adjust Dates

checkMake adjustments to assignment due dates, availability dates, module lock dates, and any other time sensitive information.  Double check the calendar and syllabus to be sure your course events and due dates are set correctly.

2. Check Announcements

checkAnnouncements from the previous course will be copied when content is imported from another course.  Review content for accuracy, delete unwanted announcements, and adjust delay dates to reflect the new semester.

See: Canvas Guides – Announcements

3. Preview The Course In Student View

checkBe sure to examine your course using Student View (eyeglasses/top right corner of tools) to preview the course from the student perspective.  Ensure that all modules/items are published, available and updated.

You may submit assignments or quizzes while in Student View to verify everything is working properly.  NOTE: Any assignments or quizzes submitted in Student View will appear in the Test Student row in the Gradebook. See: How do I view a course using a test student?


1. Publish The Course

checkStudents should have access to courses beginning on the first day of a semester.  However, instructors must Publish a course to make it visible and available to students.  Students only see Published courses.  Click the Publish button under Home when you are ready.

2. Welcome your students

checkOnce your course is published, you can send an announcement or private message to your students welcoming them to your course. Introduce how you are using Canvas (e.g. Modules or Files, Assignment submissions, Discussions, Quizzes, Calendar, etc.). Indicate how you will communicate with students and how they should communicate with you (e.g. Inbox, Q & Q forum).  Keep the welcome message short. Direct students to the Syllabus for information on the course schedule and policies.

Tell them where to go for help: Student Canvas Help

3. Review The Roster

checkBe sure to  compare your Canvas course roster (under People) with your MyDelta roster.  Student enrollments in Canvas are updated every hour to reflect enrollments in MyDelta.

Please report any enrollment discrepancies to 

Credits: From Butte College’s Technology Mediated Instructional Resources