Faculty Resources

Online Course Examples

There is no right or wrong way to design an online course. There are three main ways a Canvas course can be organized. The following are examples of online courses that have been designed using these approaches:

Organized Around Modules and Pages

This approach is the most common use of Canvas. You can think of modules as a one-stop shop for all the content in your Canvas course. It is best used when using multiple Canvas tools and when you need to keep the course organized.


You are teaching a face-to-face class and you would like to use Canvas for uploading course readings, having students turn in assignments, online office hours, and using the grade book.

Take a look:


Organized Around Assignments and the Calendar

If you are using Canvas soley for managing student assignments, then this design will work for you. 


In your on-campus course, students will be turning in their assignments online via Canvas. You will grade and return these assignments back to the students online.

Take a Look:

Human Genetics, BIll Hana (Massasoit CC)

Organized Around Files

Organized around files example

This course design is best used when you needto organize large amounts of content (for example course readings) and you will not use any of the other tools in Canvas.


In your course, you do not use a textbook and therefore have a large amount of readings for your students, which you post online. You may choose to use a few other tools in Canvas, however the main use of the course is for the posting of the course readings.

Take a Look:

Math 214, Canvas Network

There are several other examples of Canvas course design models. As with any course, there are pros and cons to how they are designed. For more Canvas course examples, navigate to the following links:

A list of open and public courses put together by Canvas

Canvas Courses  A list compiled by Sara Thompson, librarian at OSU