When students log in to your course for the first time, they need something friendly and welcoming that orients them and explicitly communicates what to do.

You have several options for your course home page, but OAI recommends setting it to a page you create (also called a Front Page). Starting new students on a syllabus page or a modules list isn’t nearly as welcoming as a page with your contact information, a picture of you, a personal welcome, and/or instructions on what to do first.

By default, your Canvas course will display announcements at the top of the page. This is where you can post important reminders or other course information. You can set how many announcements show up on the home page —but limiting to just one can help make sure students notice the most important and current information.

Course Navigation

When students log in, they will notice the course navigation bar. Canvas lets you simplify navigation by hiding items not used in your course. This can reduce confusion for your students and keep them focused on the relevant course materials.

OAI recommends using Modules to organize all your instructions, content, activities, and assignments. This gives students one central location to look for everything. By doing this, you can hide the Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, and Files pages from the navigation bar in the student view.

That means fewer “where is” questions for you and less frustration for your students!

Example Home Pages

An example home page for a Spanish class, with a large image of a cathedral and with emphasis on a link to Modules.
An example home page for a biology class, with a large image of deep woods and with emphasis on a link to the syllabus.
An example home page for a history/social studies class, with a photo of the instructor and an emphasis on how to contact the instructor.

Templates

Use a template from the Commons resource library to create your own homepage! To find one of these templates, log into your Canvas course, and click on the Commons link in the Global Navigation bar. Then search for the following titles:

  • Home Page 1 (minimal information)
  • Home Page 2 (minimal information with tool links)
  • Home Page 3 (welcome note and weekly module links)

Note: These homepage templates will import into a course’s “Pages” section. Select “View All Pages” to reach a newly imported page template. 

Adapted from “Using the Home Page” in Start Here 102: Best Practices in Online Instruction, licensed CC BY 4.0 by Grace Seo, University of Missouri.

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