Getting Started for Instructors

This page gives a quick overview for accessing Canvas, creating a Canvas course, and adding content to the course. The Canvas Resources course offers all of this information and more, including our handy Start of Semester Guide!

1. Log-in to Canvas

Canvas can be accessed directly at in any modern web browser. There is also the Canvas Teacher app, which is available for Android and Apple devices. 

2. Create Your Course in Canvas

To get started with Canvas, you'll first need to create a course. You'll need to create a Canvas course using the Canvas Wizard. This is a quick and easy process that will take less than 2 minutes to complete.

  1. Navigate to the Canvas Wizard. You can do this in one of two ways:
    1. Select the Canvas Wizard link or button on this page.
    2. Log-in to Canvas at, click on the Help button on the left of the page, and click on the Canvas Wizard link.
  2. Select the Add courses to Canvas link.
  3. Choose the course(s) you wish to create by selecting the button under their name.
  4. Select the Add courses to Canvas button and give the page a moment to load.

That's it! You'll receive a confirmation page when your course(s) have been created. You can then use the link provided by the Wizard to enter your course, or find it within Canvas at

A Note About Enrollments

Students will not automatically appear in your Canvas course; they will be added within 24 hours of you creating the course using the Canvas Wizard. If students add or drop the course in SIS, these changes will be reflected in your Canvas course.

Want to add someone to your course?

If you need to add a TA or co-instructor to your course, you will need to manually do so. See our Adding and Removing Users page for more information.

Want to combine sections of students into one Canvas site?

Check out our cross-listing guide for more information on how to cross-list sections together in Canvas.

Looking to reuse a course?

You can easily reuse your Canvas content! Whether you want to reuse an entire course or just a few items, you can do so. Check out our guides on copying and reusing course content for details. 

Watch our tutorial video to get your Canvas course created!

3. Add Content to Your Course

After you create your Canvas course, it's time to add your course materials to the site. At a minimum, we recommend the following:

Follow the steps here to add a document to the Syllabus page. This assumes that you have a file ready and available on your computer (such as a Word document or PDF).

  1. Enter into your Canvas course and select Syllabus from the course menu.
  2. Select Edit in the top right corner.
  3. Optionally, type a message into the textbox. 
    • NoteYou don't have to add a file to the Syllabus page; you can enter just a typed message if you desire. The remainder of these instructions detail how to add a file.
  4. On the right of the page (or on smaller screens, at the bottom), click Files from the content selector.
  5. Select +Upload a new file, then click Choose File to locate your syllabus file.
  6. Once you've selected the file, click the small Upload button under the Choose File button. This will insert the file into the textbox, which you will see as a text link.
  7. Select  Update Syllabus to save your changes.

For complete information, including a quick tutorial video, see our Canvas Resources site.

Bulk adding content to your course is entirely optional, but does help when you need to add large amount of content to your Canvas course. Example of content that can be bulk imported include:

  • Document formats such as doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pdf, xls, xlsx, rtf, txt, odt, odp, and ods
  • Images formats such as jpeg, gif, bmp, tiff, and png
  • Videos formats such as flv, asf, qt, mov, mgp, mpeg, avi, m4v, wmv, mp4, and 3gp
  • Audio formats such as mp3, wma, and wmv

Canvas courses at CWRU have a default storage quota of 500 MB; if you require more space, please send an email to

Take a look at the Canvas Guides for bulk uploading for more information. We also have more information available on adding content to Canvas available at our Canvas Resources site.

Here at CWRU, we recommend placing content into Modules to help guide students through your course materials. Content can also be placed into the Files area; content added to Files must be an actual file (doc, pdf, ppt, etc). Web links, YouTube videos, or other dynamic content is not supported in the Files area. For this reason, we prefer to use Modules. Modules also support prerequisites, requirements, and MasteryPaths, which give you the ability to customize how students interact with your materials. Canvas also has a feature called Pages, which let you build more robust content pages combining several types of information.

For more information on the benefits of Modules, Files, and Pages, please see out Canvas Resources site.

Finally, you may want to reach out to students to welcome them to the course. Posting announcements or sending a message via the Inbox is the way to do this. Learn more about announcements and the Inbox with our Collaborations & Communication pages.

Getting Started Videos

These CWRU-specific videos give you a quick introduction to using Canvas and its tools!

Need additional help?

For any Canvas questions, you can always reach out: