Optimal Canvas Setup: Due Dates and Ungraded (Reading) Assignments

One thing that you may note as a potential challenge is the lack of due dates for any link. Links cannot accommodate due dates or to-do dates. This is something I’ve adapted to in my own teaching practice today. Instead of using direct links to videos I want students to watch or websites to visit, for instance, I would recommend using pages to house that information. Then, you can add a due date, which will allow the page to appear as something students need to do in their activity stream (and it will appear on the calendar, too), as I indicate below:

Create a new Page from the Module you want it to appear in.
Once you ADD ITEM, go back to the Module and click into the assignment page. Edit it. At the bottom, note the option to ADD TO STUDENT TO-DO. This gives you the ability to add a due-date that students can see in Canvas, their activity stream, the calendar, and more.

The most important thing is clarity. Clarity, clarity, clarity! You want to make it as simple as possible for students to navigate the course, to find their reading assignments, and to find their homework assignments. If you don’t add your reading assignments as pages with due dates, it can be very difficult for students used to checking in with the course stream that appears on the right side of their screens to notice that this is indeed something you need to do.

Be sure to look at your course through the eyes of the Student View. This is also handy for showing your class how to navigate your Canvas site, as your view is different from your students’ view.

What tips for calendar clarity do you have?

Suggestion 1

Instead of including links in your Canvas modules, consider putting the links in a page where you can identify a to-do date.

Suggestion 2

Or, clearly title the link “In Class Activity” or “Reading Due XX/XX/XX.”

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