Canvas start of the semester instructor checklist

Create or Import your Content

Multiple ways to begin to build your class

Copy from another class in Canvas. Your access to classes you have previously taught in Canvas continues indefinitely.

Copy in an entire course or portions of one from Canvas Commons.

Create your content from scratch in Canvas

Review Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions

  • Verify activities and content in the course are published.
  • Verify dates. Due dates are added to the calendar and the syllabus and serve as reminders to students. “Available from” and “Until” dates will unlock and lock the activity.
  • Verify instructions are accurate and well formatted.
  • Verify assignment submission types.
  • Verify number of quiz attempts is correct.
  • Verify assignment groups are set up correctly. See: How to use Assignment Index Page.
  • Verify assignments are weighted correctly, if using a weighted grading system. See: How to Weight Assignment Groups.
  • Verify discussions are ordered logically on Discussions list page.
  • Verify Quiz “Options” are correct. See: Canvas Quiz Options.

Review Course Details

Final Preparations

  •  Publish your course when you are ready for students to have access to it. This typically is on the morning of or before the official course start date. See: How do I publish a course? NOTE: Some faculty like to publish their courses well in advance of the start date, but only publish a handful of elements of the course (such as the syllabus). This allows enrolled students to “preview” the class.
  • For online and hybrid classes, encourage students to attend a Student Online Academic Readiness (SOAR) workshop. You may also wish to share the Canvas Student Orientation to help any students who are new to Canvas to have a resource for learning the basics.
  •  Especially for online and hybrid classes, send an email to your students through your SURF Roster telling them how to access your course in Canvas.


  • Canvas email (Inbox/Conversation) messages will not be sent out if the course is unpublished. Send class messages from your SURF Roster instead, prior to publishing the course.
  • Pay attention to the time stamp on anything you have placed a date on. 12:00 means the very first minute of the selected day. For end dates, it is often best to choose 11:59 PM to ensure you are setting it up on the correct date.

Zoom: Getting Started, Getting Help, and Using Zoom with Canvas

Zoom Flex Workshop Recordings

Zoom Logo

Zoom provides a reliable, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly tool for live, recordable online presentations, meetings, and discussions with audio, video, chat, screen sharing, polling, and more. It can be used within Canvas or independently.

Zoom Pro is available to all MiraCosta faculty and staff at no charge. Students don’t use the Zoom Pro account but can use free Zoom basic accounts. Nobody at MiraCosta should be paying anything to use Zoom!

The version of Zoom that MiraCostans use changed after the fall 2020 semester; MiraCosta Zoom is now accessed at rather than or Faculty need to sign in to Zoom with their MiraCosta College login and password to obtain unlimited pro (“licensed”) access to all features of Zoom, including:

  • Unlimited meeting lengths and very large numbers of attendees
  • Recordings “in the cloud” so that you do not need to manage large files of your recorded meetings
  • Auto-transcription of your cloud-based Zoom recordings

This page includes basic technical how-to information and resources on using Zoom in general, and Zoom use in tandem with Canvas. Please see our separate Teaching with Zoom at MiraCosta College page for more detailed tips about teaching securely, effectively, and accessibly with Zoom.

Log On to Zoom at MiraCosta College

  1. To access your Zoom account via the web go to:
    Sign in with your MiraCosta College employee account and two-factor authentication (2FA).
  2. To sign into Zoom app(s) on desktop and mobile:
    1. Open the installed Zoom app. (Download the latest Zoom apps from )
    2. Select the ‘Sign in with SSO’ button or option at the app login screen
    3. Enter our ‘Company Domain’: miracosta-edu
    4. You will be directed to our MiraCosta login portal where you will enter your MiraCosta credentials.

MiraCosta Zoom Help and FAQS

  • Zoom help for MiraCosta staff and faculty is through the IT Help Desk:
  • Zoom help for MiraCosta students is through the IT Help Desk for Students
  • General MiraCosta Zoom account help and FAQs (You will need your MiraCosta credentials to access this).
  • How do I get a Zoom account? If you had a pro Zoom account through ConferZoom prior to 2021, it should have been automatically migrated to the MiraCosta Zoom, and there’s nothing you need to do. If you did not previously have a Pro Zoom account, and need to create a MiraCosta Zoom account, sign in to the MiraCosta Help Desk in the Portal and select the User Accounts option.
  • What if I’m having trouble with my Zoom account? Sign in to the MiraCosta Help Desk in the Portal and click the User Accounts button to request help.
  • What happened to my Zoom recordings made before 2021? They are still in your Zoom account! The old links to Zoom recordings will still work, but a message will briefly appear when people click an old link. If you update an old recording link with the new MiraCosta Zoom URL (replace with in the link) it will work seamlessly.
  • What happened to my recurring Zoom meetings I set up before 2021? Similar to your recordings, old links to recurring Zoom meetings will still work, but a message will appear when people click an old link. If you go to your Zoom account, you’ll see that your meetings have been migrated in, and you can get a new invitation. You can also simply update a meeting link created before 2021 with the new MiraCosta Zoom URL (replace with in the link).
  • What happened to Reports from Zoom meetings held before 2021? They are gone, sorry.
  • How much storage do I have for Zoom recordings? As of spring 2021, there is not a limit; however, this may change in the future if we do not manage our recordings well. Please delete recordings that you do not need.

Zoom Documentation

The following Zoom trainings, documentation, and resources can help you stay informed:

Using Zoom with Canvas

You can schedule and share Zoom meetings and recordings directly within Canvas, using the Zoom integration. To get started and learn more about the Zoom/Canvas integration, see directions below.

Note: You may also share individual Zoom meeting links and recordings in Canvas without using the integration.

Canvas Integration with Zoom

  1. Enter your Canvas course
  2. Click Settings on the course menu
  3. Click the Navigation tab
Step 2 and Step 3
  1. Click the 3 dots to the right of Zoom and select Enable.
  2. Click the Save button
Step 4 and Step 5
  1. Click the Zoom course menu item which will appear in your course menu.
Step 6

Now you can schedule and access Zoom meetings from inside of Canvas.

Viewing All My Zoom Meetings in Canvas

When you first enter Zoom on Canvas you will see only the Zoom meetings associated with the Canvas course you entered from. To see and access all Zoom meetings within your account, click the link ‘All My Zoom Meetings‘.

All My Zoom Meetings link in Canvas

Adding NetTutor to Your Canvas Class

MiraCosta’s Learning Centers provide great online tutoring for all students, available in Canvas through the Student Support Hub. For subjects and times where local online tutoring may not be available, the next option is eTutoring through the Western eTutoring Consortium. A third option with even more subject and time availability is NetTutor, available through the California Virtual Campus (CVC-OEI).

Regardless of which online tutoring services may best benefit your students, these are recommended practices that faculty use to help more students benefit from tutoring:

  • Mention online tutoring sources in your syllabus
  • Embed reminders about use of tutoring within instructions for assignments
  • Provide specific references to the opportunity for tutoring in your feedback/communication with students
  • Normalize tutoring as an option that can support everyone

NetTutor provides support for just about any academic subject, up to 24×7 for the most popular subject matter, and can be made available via your Canvas course menu. The link opens an interface where students select their subject for NetTutor help, with no additional login required. Students can access both the STAR-CA tutoring consortium from California and the full complement of professional NetTutor tutors.

How can you help students take advantage of NetTutor?

First, please keep in mind that if your subject is supported by local MiraCosta Learning Center tutors, you should direct your students to that support primarily. If you do want your students to consider NetTutor support:

Also with NetTutor, each instructor may specify “Rules of Engagement” that inform tutors about the approach and resources you would like them to use when working with your students. If you would like to do this, contact Jim Julius for more information.

Adding NetTutor to your Canvas course menu

Once you add NetTutor to your course menu following the directions below, click the NetTutor link to verify that your subject is available.

1- Click Settings at the bottom of your course menu

Canvas SEttings

2- Click the Navigation tab

Navigation step 2

3- Click the gear icon to the right of NetTutor
4- Select +Enable
5- Click the Save button

Step 3-5 add NetTutor

NetTutor link now appears in your course menu.

An Option for Sending Out Midsemester Reports

Hi Folks,

Each semester I send out “midsemester grades” to all of my students.  Students appreciate the heads up, and it often leads to conversations that benefit the students.

For those interested in sending out a “midterm report” regarding your students’ current grade in the course…   consider using the message option in the “New Analytics” feature.  With it, you can customize messages to go out to students based on their grade percentage (e.g., between 90% – 100%, 80% – 89%, 70% – 79%, 60% – 69%, etc.).  This is an excellent way to let students know how they are currently doing in the course.

First Step: Grading and the Canvas Gradebook

  • Complete all grading 24 hours before sending out the midterm reports.  The ‘New Analytics’ feature does not read directly from the gradebook… it has a lag of 24 hours before it is updated.  Once you have finished grading… wait 24 hours before sending out the midterm reports.
  • As part of the grading, place a zero for any assignments overdue that are not submitted (otherwise, they are not included in the grade calculations)

Second Step: Enable the New Analytics Feature

  1. Click on the ‘Settings’ option in your Canvas Course
  2. Click on the ‘Features Options’ tab along the top
  3. Click the ‘New Course and User Analytics’ option
Screen shot for Step 1, 2 and 3.

Third Step: Open the New Analytics Feature

  • From the Home Page of your Canvas course, select ‘New Analytics’
New Analytics button

Fourth Step: Prepare to Send Out Messages

  • Click on the ‘Envelop’ icon.
Envelope Icon

Fifth Step: Prepare to Send Out Messages

  • Provide the lower and upper range for grade percentage.
  • Type the Subject line and Message.  Adjust both to be meaningful and helpful to the students receiving the message.  I tend to say ‘Congratulations’ for all passing grades (A, B, and C), and let students with grades not quite passing that making a change now could help them to pass the course.  For students significantly below passing, I share that a bigger ‘mid-course’ correction is needed, but that it remains within their options.  Share resources, provide advice, and cheer them on.
  • Click ‘Send’
  • Repeat this process for each grade range you’ll be using (e.g., 90 – 100, 80 – 89, 70 – 79, 60 – 69, etc.).
Settings screen for Message Students Who.



█ Robert G. Kelley, Ph.D.
█ Psychology Department
█ MiraCosta College

Adding Faculty Evaluators, TLC Staff, STEM Tutors, Writing Center Tutors, and Community Ed students to Canvas classes

You cannot manually enroll users at the student permission level to your Canvas class.

If you have any of the following, follow the specified directions to have the user enrolled within your course at the student permission level.

  • Faculty Evaluator: Contact Heidi Willis at (760) 795-6827 or in the Office of Instruction when you need to provide access to a peer, your chair, etc. to conduct an evaluation. On the People roster, within Canvas, the user will be assigned the Evaluator role. The Evaluator role has the same permissions as the Student role in Canvas.
  • The Learning Centers (TLC)
    • [STEMLC & ASI]: Contact Amy Paopao at (760) 757-2121 ext. 6389 or On the People roster, within Canvas, the user will be assigned the STEM Tutor role or Tutor role.
    • [Writing Center]: Contact Sarah Pultz at (760) 757-2121 ext 6320 or in the Writing Center. On the People roster, within Canvas, the user will be assigned the WC SI leader role.
  • Community Education Student: Contact Karen Turpin at Include the confirmation of student enrollment through community education, the SURF ID of the student, and your 4 digit class number.

Also, keep in mind:

To add a TA or other MiraCosta College employee to your Canvas course with TA , see this set of instructions.

DO NOT attempt to add students to your course on Canvas. Students are automatically enrolled from SURF to your Canvas course several times a day.

You should not add anyone to Canvas as a teacher. Teachers are assigned via SURF.

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