Canvas Homepage

The Canvas Style Guide is a collection of recommendations based on feedback from students and faculty in our Foundations courses.  It’s meant to be a quick reference for setting up your course site.

Block Overview module

The Block Overview Module should contain general information about the course. For example, the Block Overview module might contain a welcome message, syllabi, the catalog of lecture recordings, or a page of faculty contact information. The title Block Overview is automatically added to the top module in every UW SOM Canvas course.

Example of a block overview

Library resources

Included in the block overview. Each curriculum block in Canvas has an associated online library resources guide containing eTextbooks, journals, databases, and other resources block director faculty would like to include to support learning. Students receive instruction about use of the online library resources as part of their technology orientation, and know that all eTextbooks available from the library for the blocks & threads are located there. Statistics show the online Library Resources are being heavily used by students, especially when links are provided next to reading assignments. For more detail on the library resources, click here.

An example of a Library Resource

‘How To’ page for students

Included in the block overview. Each block uses Canvas in different ways. To help students acclimate to your Canvas course, provide a page with instructions on how to use your Canvas site. For example, if students are expected to check a particular page for weekly updates on classroom activities, or if there is a discussion board for after class questions, explain that in a how-to page.

Weekly modules

Students have frequently expressed a preference for chronological organization of block content in Canvas. Also, for the most part, the organization of session topics within the blocks follows a weekly schedule. As a result, most of the blocks organize their Home pages into weekly modules, with each week containing a single page for each day. Weeks are usually ordered with first week at the top of the Home page and last at the bottom. Combining all session links within the daily pages makes for a less cluttered Home page.

How to create a module

An example of a weekly module

One Page Per Day

Students have expressed a preference to have all instructions and materials for a day’s classwork linked from a single page for that day. This “daily page” can contain things like text and images, links to presentations, cases, reading assignments, links to Opal, videos, and links to quizzes, discussion boards, or webinars. Some blocks have chosen to group a week’s worth of these pages into a module on the home page, so that each week of the block is collapsible when navigating the homepage. Some blocks include all daily pages in a single module.

An example of daily pages in a weekly module.

How to add a module

How to edit a module

Opal Module

Opal sessions contain learning objectives, region specific scheduling and other information for each hourly session in a block. Opal session links should appear in each regional Canvas course, on either the Home page or on daily pages. An unpublished module titled Opal Links that contains session links will appear automatically on the Home page. To make the module accessible to students, click the Publish button (cloud icon) to the right of the module title. The session links do not need to be moved to the Weekly modules.

More detail on Opal sessions

Opal session links in a module and on a page


Links in modules can be indented to create an outline style of page layout. For example, an online quiz might be added below a daily page and indented to indicate that it is part of that class day.

Example of identing in a module