Canvas Course Templates

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The Courseware Services Team has created a selection of optional templates for use in Canvas course sites. Each template is designed as a starting point to accommodate a variety of subjects and instructional settings. Course templates can expedite the course design and setup process, allowing you to focus on enhancing the learning content of your course. 

Each template has been thoughtfully designed with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, Canvas Best Practices, and web accessibility standards in mind. 

Template Preview

You can preview a live version of each template from the student’s perspective below. Once loaded into your course site, the template can be customized to accommodate the specific needs of your course.

Each template includes an instructor module with instructions for using the template, an overview module with course information and student resources, sample weekly module(s), and sample midterm and finals assessment modules. The templates can be easily adapted for in-person, online, or hybrid courses.

Graphic representation of a single Canvas modules for Template A: Basic

Template A: Basic

Preview Template A: Basic

This template has a module-based instructional layout and provides one sample weekly module.

Graphic representation of multiple Canvas modules for Template B: Multi-Week

Template B: Multi-Week

Preview Template B: Multi-Week

This template has a module-based instructional layout and provides 15 sample weekly modules.

Get a Course Template

Course templates can be applied to a Canvas site during the course creation process by request (using the Course Request Form or submitting an email request) or self-service (using the Course Import Tool).

We recommend that course templates are applied to empty course shells in order to prevent current course content from being overwritten. If you do not have an empty course shell (or a course in which you feel comfortable loading these materials), please contact

Request a Template for Your Course

  • Course Request Form: For courses using the Course Request Form, in the Additional instructions field, enter the name of the desired template that you would like imported into your course. If your school does not use the Course Request Form, or if your site has already been requested, please use the Email Request instructions.
  • Email Request: Please include the following information when submitting your template request via email to
    • Name and ID of the course you want the template applied to (e.g. HIST XXX-XXX 2021C).
    • Template name (see Template Preview for available templates).

Import a Template Into Your Course

You can import all template content or specific template content into an existing course by following the self-service directions below:

  1. Download the desired template file (.imscc) via Penn+Box to your computer (PennKey login required).
  2. Open the course into which you want the template applied. We recommend using a blank course shell with no content. You can reset course content or request an empty course shell (
  3. Click Settings from the Course Navigation Menu (bottom left side of the page).
  4. Select the Canvas import icon Import Course Content button (right side of the page).
  5. From the Content Type drop-down menu, select Canvas Course Export Package.
  6. Use the Choose File button to upload the template file (.imscc) downloaded to your computer via Penn+Box from Step 1.
    • To import all of the content, choose All content then click Import.
    • To import specific content, choose Select specific content then click Import. A “Waiting for Selection” status will appear. Use the Select Content button to select specific items to import.
  7. The Current Jobs section displays the status of your import and a progress bar indicating the time remaining to complete the import. Once the import is complete, you can view the imported template by clicking Home in the Course Navigation Menu.

Customizing a Template

Once the desired template has been applied to your Canvas site, you will then need to customize the template to meet your needs. Make sure to review the module titled “For Instructors” which provides additional instructions and information about using the template. 

Please note:

  • All of the content in the template will need to be customized for your course. The template only provides a starting point for your course development. 
  • Before publishing your course, make sure to view the course using Student View to confirm the visibility of content items and functionality of course links.

Last Updated: 2 Aug 2021