Canvas Pre-Publish Checklist

As you gear up for a new semester, it’s crucial to ensure each course in Canvas is ready for students.  This guide will walk you through the most common forgotten items to double-check before you hit the “publish” button.



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Import/Copy Course Content
Importing course content in Canvas refers to the process of bringing in materials, assignments, discussions, quizzes, and other elements from one Canvas course to another. This is especially useful when an instructor wants to reuse content from a previous course, collaborate with other instructors, or create consistent content across multiple sections. Canvas provides tools to facilitate the seamless transfer of content between courses.

Cross-List Sections (Optional)

Cross-listing in Canvas refers to the process of combining multiple course sections into a single course shell. This is most commonly done when an instructor teaches both undergraduate and graduate sections of a course. Cross-listing simplifies the management of the course and ensures consistent content delivery across all sections.

Cross-Listing is very easy, but please make sure you have a pedagogical reason for cross-listing the course. Please read the FERPA statement here ( . In some cases might be easier to work with the courses separately than to cross-list them. 

Optimize Course Navigation

Trimming down the navigation in Canvas courses can be really helpful to students. By removing the tools on the course navigation that are not used students can more easily locate the tools they are using, reducing confusion and frustration.

Note: It is mandatory that some tools be included in the navigation, you will not be able to remove them.  See the links below for additional information.


Add a Course Card Image(Optional)

Course cards appears on the Canvas Dashboard and represent the “door” to your course.  By default each course has a plain colored course card.  You can modify the card and add an image that may be more representative of your course and content.

Canvas Guide: How do I add an image to the Course Card?



Modify Announcement Dates

If you chose to copy course components from a previous course, all announcements will have start dates that occur in the past.  These will be visible for all students in the new course.

Prior to publishing your course, you will want to delete any unneeded announcements.  If you would like to reuse an announcement during the upcoming semester modify the “Delay Posting” date to a time in the future.

Run the Link Validator

One of the beauties of Canvas is being able to link to other areas of a course or external websites. Unfortunately, often webpages move or are archived and links no longer work.  Instead of having to manually check every single link in your course or waiting for a student to find one, use the link validator tool.  This handy tool that will check your entire course for broken or outdated links and return a report you can use to quickly and easily fix them.

Check the Course Calendar / Assignment Due Dates

When you copy a previous course into a new semester, it’s important to adjust assignment availability and due dates accordingly. While you can modify these dates individually, Canvas offers a streamlined solution—a single page that helps you to efficiently update dates for the new semester. Once you’ve updated assignment dates, we recommend going back and double checking the calendar for the last semester, just to make sure nothing was missed.

Update the Course Grade Scheme

By default, Canvas uses the following grade scheme.

A 94% to <100%
A- 90 to < 94%
B+ 87  to < 90%
B 83 to < 87%
B- 80 to < 83%
C+ 77 to < 80%
C 73 to < 77%
C- 70 to < 73%
  and so on..

This scheme is different than what many instructors at UW Oshkosh use.  If you use a grade scheme other than the one posted above, we recommend changing this setting at the beginning of the term.  This can be done fairly easily and will ensure grades are accurately displayed to students and successfully transferred to TitanWeb at the end of term. Several grade schemes have already been create, you just need to select the scheme that fits the needs of your course.

Set Grade Posting Policy

By default, grades in Canvas are released to students as soon as they are entered into the gradebook.  If you wish to hold assignment grades until the majority of assignments are scored and release all of the grades at the same time, you will need to change the grade posting policy to “manual”.

Check Course for Accessibility

In an effort to ensure all students are able to engage with course content, it is important to make sure course components are accessible.  Canvas includes many tools that can assist you with this endeavor. We recommend examining your course to ensure the following best practices are implemented.

  • All videos provide closed captions.
    Captions are automatically added to any new videos uploaded to Kaltura MyMedia. Older videos may not have captions, but you can request machine captions to be added.
  • All PDFs have Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enabled.
    Many times when a PDF is added, it is added as an image.  You should be able to search individual words in PDFs.  If not, you will need to enable optical character recognition (OCR). Erin McArthur, the UWO Online Services Librarian is able to assist with this process.
  • Canvas Pages pass the Accessibility Checker
    Every Canvas page is automatically checked for accessibility. Best of all, the tool will walk you through fixing any issues identified.
    Canvas Guide: How do I use the Accessibility Checker?

Accessibility is a large topic. The recommendations above are only a subset of best practices and require you to check each page individually. UW Oshkosh has access to the UDOIT tool.  This tool will scan an entire course, locate problematic components and assist instructors in ensuring a higher degree of compliance with accessibility standards.  For more information on UDOIT please see Canvas (Accessibility) – Using the UDOIT Cloud Accessibility Tool


Ensure all Components are Published

You’re almost done!  Check your modules, make sure all components and the module itself are published.  Only modules, pages and items with a green checkmark next to the title will be viewable by students.  If you have Modules locked until certain dates, make sure those dates have been updated.