Canvas Course Design

Syllabus Design Model

The Syllabus in Canvas, when used in combination with the Calendar, makes it possible to deliver content through the creation of events with linked content and date-based assessments.


  • Events are automatically created for assessments associated with a due date.
  • In the Calendar simply drag and drop an event to change the due date.


  • Calendar events must be created manually for the delivery of files and pages.
  • Content is available as soon as the event is posted unless the item has been locked/made unavailable at the file, page, or assessment level.

About the Syllabus

Calendar Overview

Canvas Course Design Content types

Creating a Syllabus

The Syllabus page allows instructors to edit the syllabus description. Within the syllabus description, instructors can use the Rich Content Editor to post:

  • a course banner
  • the course description
  • a brief introduction
  • class guidelines
  • weekly reminders
  • other important information. 

Instructors can copy and paste content from Word documents directly into the Rich Content Editor or create original content inside of the Rich Content Editor. The Rich Content Editor also allows instructors to embed videos and input HTML.

The Content Selector that appears in the Sidebar when editing the Syllabus description will also allow instructors to link to files or other locations within the course from the Syllabus description.

Syllabus Tutorials

Canvas Course Design

Site Design

Step 2 focuses on the course site design models in Canvas. Course site design in Canvas will require instructors to make decisions about how they want to engage students and deliver content within the LMS.

Canvas provides a variety of models for the design and delivery of content within a course. Each of the design models described within Step 2 allow for different levels and modes of student engagement.  Given this fact, It is likely that a combination of models will be employed within a course.

As you consider how you will design your Canvas course site, it might be helpful to be able to visualize how each of the content delivery options connect to each other. Click the links for each model to learn more about the pros and cons of each delivery option.

This diagram illustrates how the models connect to each other. In brief:

  • Files can be used to deliver content if the learners are only expected to retrieve documents from the course.
  • Pages can be used if the learners will be engaged in a narrative that includes images, videos, and files as well as assessment and communication tools.
  • Modules can be used if the learners will be expected to engage with a variety of filespages, and external resources as well as assessment and communication tools.
  • Calendar/Syllabus can be used to focus the students on the course content and assignments based on the class meetings and assessment due dates by directing students to various filespagesmodules and other course tools.

Course building steps

Click on the buttons below to access information on building courses in Canvas.