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
- Do you have a multiple-section course and want to know your options for setting up a bCourses site? Review this help article: What are my options for setting up my multiple-section course on bCourses?
- For DeCal Undergraduate Course Facilitators: Please have your faculty sponsor create the site and add you with the "Teacher" role.More information available in this help article: How do I get a course site for my DeCal course?
STEP 3: Add your course materials
- Syllabus: You can upload an existing file or copy and paste your syllabus contents into the Syllabus tool. See this Canvas Guide: How do I edit the Syllabus description?
- Import content from an existing bCourses site: You can reuse some or all of the content from an existing bCourses site. See this Canvas Guide on importing content: How do I import from another Canvas (bCourses) course?. After importing material from previous terms, make sure to review and modify the dates associated with course settings and activities in your new course site.
- Adding Library Reserves to bCourses: You can link directly to online library resources. See this Library Guide: Add "Reserves" to bCourses
- Modules: This is a tool for grouping all of your course materials. We highly recommend uploading and organizing your files as well as other course content (eg: Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and Pages) within Modules. When you upload a file from your computer directly into a Module, it is automatically saved in your Files area. You can also move content more freely within Modules. See this Canvas Guide video on how to use this tool: Modules: Creation & Management
- Files: This is a repository for the files that you upload into bCourses. You can upload files directly here, or you can upload them in other places in bCourses, such as anywhere there is an HTML editor, or in Modules. Please note: This tool has limited options for organizing content, and you cannot add links to external websites. See this Canvas Guide video on using Files: Add Course Content
- Pages: You can use pages to add text, media, links to files, course content, and websites. Pages can also be used as wikis, a space that both students and instructors can edit and use for document collaboration. Canvas keeps the entire history of the page so you can see how it changes over time. See this Canvas Guide video on using Pages: Creation & Management
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.
- Adding non-students: If would like to add unofficial TAs, class auditors, or other people into your course, they must have valid CalNet IDs.
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?
- Want to meet with students virtually? Check out the Conferences tool! Video overview: What are Conferences?
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: