Faculty Toolkit

Leveraging Canvas

USF's LMS, Canvas, provides a variety of solutions for establishing communication with your students, organizing your course materials, delivering media-rich content, promoting interaction between you and your students, and assessing your students' learning.

For more quick reference guides, just-in-time training and workshops, visit:

Faculty Resource section on the Innovative Education, Digital Learning team's website.

Below you will find six actionable steps that you can take immediately to leverage Canvas.

Step 1: Canvas Access, Syllabus & Minimum Technology Requirements

All courses at USF have an associated Canvas course site. If you are listed as the instructor of record in Banner, you automatically have access to the course shell and your students are automatically populated within this course site. 

  1. Verify that your syllabus is uploaded to the Syllabus section of your course. How to use the syllabus in Canvas.
  2. If you are planning to record your sessions, update your syllabus in Canvas to include the following statement:
    "In this class, software will be used to record live class lectures and discussions. As a student in this class, your participation in live class discussions will be recorded. These recordings will be made available only to students enrolled in the class, to assist those who cannot attend the live session or to serve as a resource for those who would like to review content that was presented. Students who prefer to participate via audio only will be allowed to disable their video camera so only audio will be captured. Please discuss this option with your instructor."

  3. Download the Canvas App for Instructors, which can be used with mobile devices. How to download the Canvas App for Instructors.
  4. Ensure you have the minimum technology requirements for using Canvas and reliable Internet access. Identify your available tools, such as a microphone or headphone and/or webcam, which will expand your options in leveraging Canvas.
  5. Bookmark the Canvas Basics Guide and use it as a reference as you add content to your Canvas course. Canvas Basics Guide
  6. For an overview of tools and strategies for optimizing academic integrity within your course please click here.

Step 2: Establishing Communication

Establish a communication plan with your students now. Canvas offers a number of communication tools to ensure that you maintain a connection with your students. Here are some items for consideration:

Step 3: Organizing Your Materials

Using Canvas you can structure your course content in a clear, organized manner. Learning objectives from your in-class sessions should guide your online content. A simple read/view/do format is a good place to start. 

Step 4: Delivering Your Content

To modify or create content for the Canvas environment please review the following table, which provides recommendations for content delivery and technologies to facilitate your efforts.

Content Delivery Strategies Short-Term Solutions
Adding text-based information (files, articles, links)
Record a lecture (asynchronously)
Host a live lecture or office hours (synchronously)
Add or embed existing content

Step 5: Interacting with Your Students

It is important for students to have a sense of connection with the instructor and the learning community. Some courses rely on classroom discussions to enhance student engagement. Using Canvas discussion boards, you can move the conversations online to simulate a discussion in a digital environment. Create questions and prompts that require complex thinking and application of ideas to avoid repetitive student responses.

Step 6: Assessing Student Learning

Canvas supports online quizzes and the submission of online assignments. Here are several resources for moving your assessments to Canvas:

  • Assignments - Use the Canvas assignment tool if you need your students to submit a paper, PowerPoint, or any type of file that you will review and grade. How to create a Canvas Assignment.
  • Quizzes – Use the Canvas quiz tool to create online tests and quizzes. It allows various questions types including multiple choice, short answer, essay, matching, and others. How to create Canvas Quizzes.
  • Grades – The Canvas gradebook is where you will post grades and provide assignment feedback to your students. How to use the Canvas Gradebook.
  • Honorlock - Honorlock is now the official USF online proctoring solution. Honorlock online proctoring enhances the security of Canvas based quizzes and exams through student identity verification, browser lockdown, and exam monitoring.

    Explore Honorlock, its capabilities, where to begin, and a step-by-step guide to implementing Honorlock in your classroom.

  • Respondus Lockdown Browser - Respondus lockdown browser is another option for locking down the browser window while students take a Canvas exam. Due to the setup requirements for the students and browser limitations, Respondus is recommended as an "on campus" solution. If instructors need a lockdown browser for off-campus exams Proctorio can be used.