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Getting Started with bCourses: Site Setup and Management


2.0 - Updated on 2018-08-28 by Steven Williams

1.0 - Authored on 2015-07-29 by Paula Miranda

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In this guide for instructors, we provide an overview of the tasks needed to create and manage your bCourses site, including adding your course materials, messaging your students, and making your site available or unavailable to students. The steps are outlined and there are links to specific instructions where needed. There are more detailed settings and features than the ones mentioned here, but this will get you started!

STEP 0: A note about access and permissions

To get access to bCourses, you will need a valid CalNet ID, and to create a course site, you will need to be the official instructor of record for a course. If you are a GSI for a course, you will not be able to create a site, unless it’s for the discussion/lab section(s) that you are officially teaching.

If you have not been assigned as the official instructor of record for the course, please contact your department scheduler.

For new/returning instructors who do not have a valid CalNet ID yet and/or have not been given a teaching appointment, but would like to set up your course site, please see this help article: How can I create a course site as a new/returning instructor? (no CalNet access or teaching appt)

STEP 1: Log into bCourses


STEP 2: Create your site

See this bCourses help article for step-by-step instructions: Create your course site

STEP 3: Add your course materials

STEP 4: Add assignments

See this guide:  Getting Started: Assignments & Grading

STEP 5: Add people

Course sites are tied to official registration (by 5-digit Class ID), so students who have registered for the course will automatically get access- no need to add them manually. Enrollment information is updated every morning between 6-8a. If a student drops or adds a course after this window, they will be removed or get access, respectively, upon the next update.

STEP 6: Student View

Want to see how your site looks to students? See this Canvas Guide: How do I access Student View?

STEP 7: Publish your site

Now that you have created your site, added your course materials and other people, you can publish it so that it is available for students to access. See this Canvas Guide on publishing your site (it’s really easy!): How do I publish my course?

STEP 8: Message your students!

With the site published, you are now able to send messages to students via the Inbox/Conversations tool or Announcements (these tools will not send messages to students if your site is unpublished). For more information on using these tools, see the following Canvas Guides:

OPTIONAL STEP: Download the Canvas Teacher app to your smart phone or tablet

The Canvas Teacher app allows teachers to manage their courses and use Canvas more efficiently from a mobile device. Download the Canvas Teacher app on Android and iOS devices. User guides are available from Canvas:

OPTIONAL STEP: Set up appointments for your office hours

The Scheduler feature in the Calendar tool allows instructors to set up appointments where students can sign up. Find out how to create a scheduler appointment group in this Canvas Guide: How do I add a Scheduler appointment group in the Scheduler page?

OPTIONAL STEP: Customize the Course Navigation menu

The Course Navigation Menu is a series of links on the left side of your course site that help you and your students access its various areas and/or tools. You can’t rename these links. Links that look “grayed out” mean that there is no content in those areas/tools, and that they are hidden from students.

See this Canvas Guide for instructions on how you can re-order and/or hide links on the Course Navigation menu: How do I use the Course Navigation Menu?

OPTIONAL STEP: Restrict access to your site

If you would like to restrict access to your site (perhaps you don't want students to access it before or after the term, or you want them to have read-only access at the end of the semester), please see this guide: How do restrict access to my course site after the term?

OPTIONAL STEP: Add or remove a section/roster

Did you forget to include one of your DIS sections/rosters when you created your site? Do you need to delete a section/roster from your course site? Use the Official Sections tool to manage which rosters are included in your course site: How do I add or delete a section roster from my course site?


These steps are the basic workflow for setting up and managing your course site. Do you have more specific, detailed questions? First, please search the Canvas Instructor Guide, or our bCourses Knowledge Base. If you find that you are not able to find the help article that you need, submit a Help Request form or sign up on Consultation Calendar to meet with someone from our team.

For more on Getting Started with bCourses, see these articles: