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Creating an Organization using a Canvas Course Site

Cases where a Canvas course site is a good fit

  1. If your organization site is an academic organization that provides information, announcements, and/or surveys to participants and/or enrolls users each term using automatic enrollments.
  2. If your organization site is a course of some sort, i.e. student orientation, professional development, job qualification or test practice, etc.
  3. If your organization uses any of the following features:
    • Announcements
    • Surveys or quizzes
    • Discussion boards

Cases where you should consider another platform

  1. If your organization is mainly used to store and/or share documents. Each Canvas course site has a limit of 1,000 MB of storage, so in this case, you should consider these options:
    • Using your own external storage drive
    • Using OneDrive to store and/or share documents with colleagues.
    • Using Microsoft Teams to share and interact with group members.
    • Using SharePoint to store and share documents with your department.
    • Asking your department technical support for a folder set with user permissions on a shared drive to store and/or share documents.
  2. If your organization is used to review scholarship applicants or job applicants.
  3. If your organization is an SOO (student organization).
    • All student organizations must go through Nole Central first. At that time, students may apply for a link to a Canvas course site if the organization is seeking Canvas features such as discussion boards, robust notifications, and surveys.

Additional things to keep in mind:

  • The leader of the organization is called a “teacher.”
  • The participants are called “students.”
  • Participants have control over how and when they receive notifications in Canvas. They can choose not to receive any. Announcements may not reach your participants in these cases. Be sure to communicate in alternate ways, such as a distribution list to be sure your participants are getting the messages.
  • Enroll in and complete the Org: Canvas Instructor/Staff Orientation training before your begin.

Begin by requesting an organization using this form. Once your course site in Canvas is ready, follow the steps below.  

Step 1: Upload files such as power points, images, word documents, and pdfs to the files section of your Canvas course site.

Step 2: Make a home page that reflects the welcome page to your organization, and then add the links to your file content (or modules on that page.

TIP: Sign up for a consulting session with ODL technical support to get help using Design Tools to create a beautiful home page.

Step 3: Use Modules to organize your content, and use the Rich Content Editor to link to your files of uploaded content in the Content Selector.


 TIP: Go to Settings, scroll down to the bottom, and click more options. Choose the number of announcements you want to show on the home page, or uncheck if you don’t want any to show. Check the other settings as shown.


 TIP:  If you allow participants to comment on announcements, be sure you adjust your notification settings:


Step 4: Be sure you publish every page and/or module for the site to be ready for participants to join your organization.


Step 5: Choose Settings, then Student View to see how the organization will look to participants.


If you would like to change items in the student navigation, choose Settings, then Navigation. Drag menu items you want to hide or show participants.

Additional Tip:

Choose Account, then Notifications to set your preferences for how you receive notifications from Canvas. These are global settings for all courses in which you are enrolled. Be sure to explain this to your participants.

Step 6:  Add participants.

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  • 23-Apr-2024