What do I need to know to launch my Canvas courses for the new year?

Learn more about new features, best practices, and timelines for preparing your Canvas courses for the new year.

Written By Jay Heath (Super Administrator)

Updated at July 8th, 2024

Canvas Courses are Ready for the New Year

Courses for the new year have been synced from Veracross to Canvas and are ready for you to begin building. A few notes:

  • Courses are unpublished by default and not visible to students until a teacher publishes them.
  • Course rosters are not yet finalized and will change nightly as add/drop progresses throughout the summer.
  • Remember, you can't message your students until your course is published.
  • Since 2020 we have had expectations for what should be included in Overlake Canvas Courses
  • If you have other questions about preparing information and technology resources for the new year, please check out our "Wrapping Up the School Year" article shared in June.

New to Overlake?

Please coordinate with your department chair and teaching colleagues before starting in Canvas. You can always contact the Information Literacy and Technology (ILT) Help Desk for support, but coordinating with your department chair first about the big picture of how Canvas supports you, your students, and your classroom is key.

New employees at Overlake teaching or leading classes or groups and using Canvas may appreciate this Canvas Need to Knows guide. You may also find Intro to Canvas for Teachers a helpful platform overview.

A Few Best Practices for Setting up Canvas Courses

  • Over the years, we have assembled these "Beginning of the School Year Canvas Tips for Teachers" articles, which you may find helpful. Of note, you will want to double-check your Canvas course settings - hide grade distribution graph, show recent announcements on the homepage, etc.
  • Importing is your friend - remember you can import content from any class in which you're a teacher. Canvas has introduced Direct Share, which makes it easier to share content between your courses or with your colleagues.
  • Rename your course (in the course settings) to make it easier to differentiate from similarly named courses from previous years. We are working on renaming classes by default in the future so that teachers do not need to do so manually.
  • Update your course navigation to hide items you don't regularly use.
  • Set a course image to display in the dashboard to make finding your course easier for you and your students.
  • Add colleagues as observers or teachers in your course if you want to bring more people into the fold or share class content.
  • Remember, you can access your Atlas curriculum maps directly through the related Canvas class.
  • Following up on the discussion of anonymous grading at our May 2024 PD day, you can enable this per assignment or for all in your SpeedGrader settings
  • ⚠️ New in 2024 🤔 - Canvas Retention Policy - after ten years of using Canvas, it has become clear that we needed better structures to manage legacy content in Canvas. Rolled out in June 2023 and taking effect in October 2024, Canvas courses will be retained for the previous four school years. Will we will be offering lots more training and support around this change in the start of the 24-25 school year.

What about using Canvas for online/hybrid instruction?

In past years we've launched Canvas with a caveat to the effect of, "Be ready to use Canvas in person, in hybrid, or fully online." It's been a long while since we've been anything but on campus, but it never hurts to be prepared as this world is unpredictable. Here are some of the most important articles we put together in the past to prepare for adaptations to how we do school.

  1. Instructional Technology Competencies Checklist
  2. Instructional Technology Expectations for Teaching and Learning
  3. Overlake Online Learning Expectations

More questions?

Can't figure out a setting? Want some guidance about how to implement something? Don't hesitate to reach out to the ILT Help Desk in the Library, or at help@overlake.org or 425.602.7007 for assistance.

Was this article helpful?