At a Glance

This Term Start Checklist is a road map for teaching teams. It outlines key steps to prepare your course technology so you’re ready to teach on Day 1.

Part 1: Find Your Course(s) in Canvas

Canvas courses are created before the term starts so that you have time to prepare them. Refer to our calendar for this year’s Canvas course release dates. Once Canvas courses are available, confirm the following:

Do you see the courses you expected for the current/upcoming term on your Canvas Dashboard? Note: See How to Access Past Courses in Canvas to learn how to find courses from past terms.

Canvas Dashboard Student View

Tip: By default, courses get the same Canvas site configuration from term-to-term unless you request a change. For example, if your two-section course shared a single Canvas site last term, we will give you a single site again this term. However, if you want each section to have its own Canvas site this term, that’s no problem. Contact us to request this change.

Part 2: Make a Plan With Your Teaching Team

The best teaching teams have a plan to divide and conquer. From hiring your TAs correctly to making sure everybody attends training, pre-term preparation makes for a successful course launch. Make sure to do the following:

  1. Instruct your TAs to set up their appointment:
    • Follow the school’s TA workflow via the TA Hub so they are added to your Canvas course.
  2. Come to training:
  3. Meet as a teaching team (faculty, primary course admin, and TA) to make a course management plan. Consider the following:
    • Who will build the Canvas course?
    • Who will schedule Canvas calendar events? (e.g., course meet times, recitation sessions, office hours)
    • Who will manage the Canvas course? (e.g., post announcements, manage waitlist students, grade assignments)
    • Who will coordinate your classroom technology needs? (e.g., submit an AV Support Request for a remote guest speaker)

Part 3: Build Your Canvas Site

The next step is to build your Canvas course according to MIT Sloan’s Gold Standards. These are student- and research-driven best practices developed in a school-wide effort to build consistent and effective Canvas sites that allow students across Sloan to quickly and easily find what they need in all their courses.

Tip: The How to Build a Gold Standard Canvas Course self-paced course takes you step-by-step through the course building process, including how to request a content copy from a prior Canvas or Stellar course and how to set up a Study.Net course pack. When you’re done building your course, use the Technical & Gold Standards Checklists below to make sure your site is ready for students.

Technical Checklist

Complete this checklist to make sure the technical details on your course site are ready for launch.

  1. Check the files, assignments, and modules for accuracy (due dates, content, etc.).
  2. Confirm that students can view/download items in Canvas.
  3. Quickly check your entire course site for broken external links with the Link Validator tool.
  4. Verify that your Study.Net Course Pack loads properly (if applicable).
  5. Ensure your Canvas calendar events are correct. See Learn how to add/edit/delete calendar events in Canvas for instructions.
  6. Select your grade posting policy in the Gradebook:
    • Automatically Post Grades: Grades are visible to students as soon as they are entered in the Gradebook. This option is selected by default in all Canvas courses.
    • Manually Post Grades: Grades are hidden from students until you manually post the grades for each assignment. Selecting this option at the start of the term is strongly recommended.
  7. Adjust the end date of your course, if needed; otherwise, the course becomes Read Only when the term ends. See How to Extend a Canvas Course Past the MIT Term End.
  8. Publish your course in Canvas when you’re ready for enrolled students to see it.

Gold Standards Checklist

Complete this checklist to ensure a quality student experience in accordance with MIT Sloan’s Gold Standards for building effective Canvas courses.

  1. Modules are labeled with the class date and topic.
  2. All assignments and deliverables (graded or not graded) are created as assignments with a due date.
  3. Course content, instructions, links, etc. are added to modules as items.
  4. All files are labeled with the class date and subject.
  5. The Course Navigation Menu is customized to show only necessary items.
  6. You have structures in place to solicit informal feedback from students about your Canvas course, such as announcements linked to informal surveys.

Part 4: Prepare Your Classroom Technology

Now it’s time to make sure your classroom technology needs are known and accounted for. Which of the following scenarios apply to your course?

Do you have any Remote Guest Speakers planned?

Are you running any in-class or online Simulations?

  • Request Simulation support at least 4 weeks in advance. Simulation setup can be complex and requires ample lead time. For example, your software licenses need to be current and the simulation software must be on the latest version. We also prepare Virtual Machines (VMs) when applicable and schedule a technician to support your in-person event.

Do you have special AV needs?

  • If you are planning an in-class activity that will have unique AV needs (e.g., a panel of speakers, multiple microphones, etc.), submit an AV Event Request or request an AV Consultation for help conceptualizing and planning.

What’s your plan for teaching in Spring?