As an instructor preparing your course for a new semester, you may find yourself balancing several tasks at once. Even with existing course content from a previous term, you will still need to customize and make changes to content, due dates and, in some cases, technology to keep your course relevant for a new group of students and a new term.

Fortunately, there are a few techniques and tools you can use to make updating a previous course for a new semester quicker, easier and less stressful. This Canvas Spotlight will cover some of them.

Best practices and featured tutorials

  • Reference the Course Copy Guide for detailed steps on how to copy/migrate your course.
  • Copy your previous course into one of your sandboxes before making updates rather than updating the previous course. That way, if there are any questions about the previous course, it’s still set up exactly as it was when you taught it.
    1. Once you’ve made the changes in your sandbox shell, copy it to your new semester shell.
    2. To learn more about using sandboxes, visit our tutorial “Everything You Need to Know About Sandboxes.”
  • Thoroughly review your previous course to identify what worked, what didn’t and what, if anything, you would like to change. For instance, make a note of any areas where you have manually added due dates. Anything manually entered will not be automatically updated for the new term if you use Canvas’ option to edit assignment dates.
    1. Visit the Ready, Set, Go section of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design Ready Website or Virtual Drop-in Hours for additional ideas.
  • Update all due dates in the course at the same time by using the Adjust Due Dates for All Assignments page. This saves time and enables you to view all of your assignments and due dates on the same page, giving you a big-picture perspective of your course schedule and flow.
  • If you are teaching a synchronous online course, set up your class and online lectures in Teams. For more detail on setting up Teams classes, visit our tutorials “Set Up a ‘Course Team’ in Teams” and “Schedule a Recurring Meeting in Teams.”
  • If you didn’t find what you’re looking for or have additional questions, please visit our Virtual Support Drop-in Hours.

For complete written step-by-step instructions, visit the CTLD Ready Spotlight page.

Have questions?

Want help on this or other teaching and learning topics? Visit us for virtual drop-in support (10 a.m.-3 p.m., M-F) or try one of our self-help tutorials. Please note that physical drop-in support will resume Feb. 14, but virtual hours remain open as scheduled.