Best practices for Canvas template preparation

Use the following guidelines to design Canvas course templates that are efficient, adaptable, usable, and accessible. If you need help creating your template, contact eLearning Design and Services at

  • Provide clear instructions: If using your template requires specific actions on the part of the instructor, provide clear and detailed instructions; for sample instructions, see Apply and customize the IU Course Template for your Canvas course. Make sure your instructions are visible from the course landing page.

    When embedding instructions in individual course assets (for example, the course home page, syllabus, or sample assignments, etc.), use visual styling that distinguishes your instructions from course content intended for students, and keep the styling of instructions consistent across assets.

  • Avoid content duplication: If your template includes sample items (for example, assignments, discussion topics, or modules), don't create multiple copies of each item (for example, one for each week). Letting instructors make their own copies will make your template more flexible and reduce the number of unused sample assets that need to be deleted before the course is published. Also, instructors may want to modify asset templates to better suit their needs before making copies.
  • Optimize images, videos, and other large files: Templates containing very large files (stored in the Canvas Files tool) can take a long time to import. But more importantly, large files, especially image files, may load slowly on mobile devices. Be sure to optimize all files intended for online viewing and try to keep the overall template size under 5 MB. You can determine overall template size by exporting the template course and downloading it to your local device.
  • Hide tools and assets that are not needed by students: Be very intentional about the course elements you allow students to see and interact with. Hide any tools and course content items that students will not need to interact with directly. Remember to:
    • Remove unneeded tools from the course navigation. For example, if you want students to access all course content and activities through Modules, hide other tools, such as Assignments, Pages, Quizzes, and Discussions, and let students access these tools via Modules. For more, see How do I manage Course Navigation links?
    • If the Files tool is available to students in the course navigation, hide any files and/or folders containing items that should be accessed only via linking/embedding in the Rich Content Editor or items that shouldn't be accessed by students at all. For more, see How do I restrict files and folders to students in Canvas?
    • If your template contains resources for instructors that should not be seen by students, make sure they remain unpublished. Keep instructor-only files together in the same folder.
  • Make sure all template content is accessible: When reviewing course content for accessibility, consider both the content created in Canvas and the files added to the Files tool. For general guidance on accessibility in Canvas, see Create accessible Canvas sites.

This is document bgyh in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-12-13 13:16:14.