Choosing a Homepage Layout

Not sure which homepage layout to choose for your Canvas site? Here is an overview of Canvas’s homepage layouts with some suggestions and tips for working with each option.

Recent Activity Dashboard
This is the default homepage layout. By “recent activity,” Canvas means the most recent announcements, assignment notifications, messages (“Conversations”) you send to the entire class, and discussion posts. It is like the Global Activity Stream you see after logging into Canvas, except it only shows activity in your course.


Choose the Recent Activity Dashboard if you . . .
•    will actively use the communication tools in Canvas
•    expect your students to use the communication tools in Canvas
•    want students to stay aware of recently created assignments

A Page I’ll Design Myself
This option lets you work with a Rich Content Editor to design your homepage from scratch. The page is completely blank, so you can add any text, links, images, and media you want. The editing options are similar to those found in Microsoft Word.


Choose a Page You’ll Design Yourself if you . . .
•    want a lot of control over how the homepage looks
•    are comfortable using text-editing programs like Microsoft Word
•    have time to design your homepage from scratch

Course Modules/Sections
The Modules layout allows you to organize items and areas in your Canvas site into categories. You can also create module prerequisites that require students to access course content in a sequence. Want to pull together and display all content–files, pages, links, assignments, etc.–for each week in the term? How about organizing content by purpose or type (e.g., “Introductory Materials”)? If either suggestion sounds appealing, then Course Modules/Sections is the way to go.Image

Choose Course Modules/Sections if you . . .
•    want students to see the course’s structure when they first enter your site
•    think students would benefit from seeing related content grouped together
•    would like to use module prerequisites for guided learning

The Assignment List
With this option you can list assignments, which are any graded activities (papers, quizzes, discussions, etc.), on your homepage. An assignment is added to the homepage after you create it and make it available to students.

Choose the Assignment List if you . . .
•    think your students will need frequent reminders about upcoming assignments
•    have many assignments with close due dates or that are based on one another

The Assignments with Syllabus
You can design most of the homepage yourself in a Rich Content Editor and display all of your assignments with this option.

Choose the Assignments with Syllabus if you . . .
• want to design you homepage yourself (just like the a-Page-You’ll-Design-Yourself option), but also want your students to see their assignments when they first enter your site (just like the Assignment-List option).

And remember . . .
If the number of options seems overwhelming at first, think of it this way—your homepage is the gateway to your Canvas site. The best option is the one that directs students to parts of the site you will use regularly and that you deem essential to your course.

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