Canvas for Instructors



Course Modules allow instructors to set the structural organization of their Canvas course. Modules are set up to group together content that the instructor would like the students to view together.

An example module

Why Use Modules?

  • Organize course content by week, day, unit, etc. This way, students will better understand what is expected from them and their progress in the course.
  • Design prerequisite activities or content that students must complete before moving to the next course section.
  • Create requirements for students to complete before moving forward to other modules.
  • Assess students more frequently by tracking their progress with regular activities or reflections.

Setting Up Modules

  • To set up a module, click the Modules tab from the course menu on the left side of the page.
  • In the upper right corner of that page next to View Progress, click the Create a Module button.

Add new module button in Canvas

  • In the window that appears, give your module a name. 
  • If you choose to lock module until a given date, the module will become available to students at the specified date.
  • If you choose students must move through requirements, students must complete the content sequentially in the module before moving on in the course.
  • Click Add Module to create the module.

Adding a module in Canvas

  • To add content, edit, or delete your module, click on the gear icon found in the top-right portion of the module. To add content to the module, click on Add Content.
  • A window will pop up, prompting you to pick an already-existing item from your course. You can add assignments, quizzes, files, content pages, discussions, text headers, external URLs and external tools to your modules.
  • If you would like create a new item, simply choose New Assignment (Quiz, File, whichever you are working with) and submit it.
  • Click the Add Item button for every item you select to add it to your module.

Adding an item to a module in Canvas

  • Once you have added your items, they will appear under the module you assigned them to.

Canvas module

  • When you are finished adding items to the module, click on the publishing icon so that students will be able to see the module when it becomes available.

Module Publishing Icon

  • Modules will become public to students when you have assigned them to as long as they have been published.

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Setting Up Prerequisites/Requirements

  • To set up prerequisites/requirements in a module, click on the gear icon located in the top-right portion of the module. In the drop-down menu, click on Edit.
  • In the Edit Module Settings window, you can add prerequisites under the Before students can view this module heading and you can add requirements under the This module is complete when heading:
Prerequisites Requirements
  • Click on the Add Prerequisite button
  • In the drop-down menu, select the previous module(s) that you would like the student to complete prior to viewing the current module
  • You can add more prerequisites by clicking the Add Prerequisite button again
  • Click on the Add Requirement button
  • In the first drop-down menu, select the assignment within the module you would like the student to finish prior to moving onto the next module
  • In the second drop-down menu, select what action you would like the student to perform on the assignment. Here, you have 4 options:
    1. view the item
    2. contribute to the page
    3. submit the assignment
    4. score at least (when selected, a third box will appear where you can add a score)
  • Clicking on the option students must move through requirements in this module in sequential order will force students to complete the assignments in the order you specified.

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Viewing Module Progress

Viewing the progress of modules will allow you to evaluate the progress your students are making quickly and easily.

  • Bring up the module section of canvas.
  • Click on View Progress next to create module

View progress button

  • This will bring up a page showing each student’s name. Clicking on a student will show their progress through each module.

Module Progress Screen

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Setting Modules Page as Course Front Page

  • To set your course's Modules page as the front page, click on the Change Home Page Layout link on your course's front page.
  • In the drop-down menu, select the Course Modules/Sections option and then click Update Layout.
  • Your Modules are now displayed on your course's front page.

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Best Practices and Tips

  • Creating daily, weekly, and/or monthly modules can help you stay organized with your course's activities and content as the quarter goes on.
  • Designing modules where prerequisites and requirements can be helpful when you want students to understand the foundations of a concept before moving onto more advanced content.
  • Indent content within modules to organize and illustrate relationships between assignments, quizzes, etc.
  • Move content from one module to another by clicking and holding the up and down arrows on the left-side of each content row. You can drag-and-drop content from one module to another without having to remove and add content from multiple modules.
  • Rearrange modules by clicking on the up and down arrows on the left-side of the module's name. This can help you keep the most relevant and/or up-to-date module at the top of the page and give attention to the most important and current activities.

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