IDEA Courseware Team Support
Online assistance for Canvas and Learning Tools from Wharton Computing

STEP 2. Review your site


If we set up a Canvas site for your Wharton course, you probably elected either a Starter Site, an Advanced Site, or a Site Copy.  Below you will find more information about what your site is likely to contain, items you will want to double-check, and other functionality you may want to use.

Does your site look different than what you're used to? Canvas now features Draft State - the ability to publish and unpublish assignments, quizzes, pages, and discussions. Be sure to watch for unpublished items, as your students won't see them until they're published. The Student View feature can be helpful for catching these.

Assignments and Calendar Events

  • If you requested a Starter Site, we created Assignments for the major course deliverables based on the list or syllabus you provided.  If you requested an Advanced Site, we used your syllabus to create additional Assignments, and sometimes Calendar Events, to help students prepare for courses. In either case, you're free to make any changes you like. Calendar Events and Assignments are automatically fed into the Canvas Syllabus.
  • Unless clearly stated on the list or syllabus you provided, Assignments are not initially set up to allow online submission by students or teams. You may enable online submission by editing the Assignment.
  • Similarly, the maximum possible points for each assignment aren't configured unless the syllabus shows them. If you edit points for each Assignment or choose a different grading option, students will have clear information about their performance, and the Gradebook will compute running totals. (These totals are not shown to students.)
  • If you have a site with sections that meet at different times, we may have used a feature known as Differentiated Assignments.  If you're seeing multiple listings for each assignment in your Syllabus or Calendar, this is most likely the cause.

Site Copy

If you asked for a site copy without any special instructions, the finished site will include copied Assignments (including some parts of group assignment setup), Pages, Files, Calendar Events, and Quizzes.  Generally speaking these items will not have updated dates -- they'll still show last year, or last semester.  Group Assignments will have an associated Group Set (on the People page), but they might not match your previous course's configuration exactly.

  • Please check Files thoroughly before publishing your site.
    At the advice of the WCIT Faculty Advisory Committee, we recommend that instructors review all files copied from an old Canvas site. If a copied file was published in a previous site, it will continue to be published in the new site unless you take action. Only instructors may publish a course site, and you can be sure that Files cannot be viewed by students when a site is unpublished.
    • You may unpublish each file which students should not see, or add other restrictions such as scheduled availability.
    • You can move files intended solely for use by the teaching team into your unpublished Instructor Folder.
    • You may delete any files that are no longer necessary.
    • Some faculty provide links to materials in Files. If the file was not copied over or was removed or unpublished, the link will be broken in the new site.  Student view can be helpful in checking for broken links.
  • Please check the due, availability dates, and other Quiz settings before publishing your site.
    When you copy a Quiz, you get a duplicate of the original. If it was published in the old site, it will be published in the new. Availability dates and other settings get copied over as well. Therefore, you’ll want to check and set the Quiz availability dates if you’re concerned about restricting access, as well as settings that allows students to see their quiz responses and the correct answers.
  • You will need to check all dates and times on Assignments and Calendar Events, modifying them as needed.  One easy way to check all dated items is to use the "Syllabus" link in the left course navigation.
  • Verify that assignments and quizzes are muted. If you would like to hide grades and feedback from students until you are ready to release this information, be sure to check that assignments are muted. In most cases, they will have been unmuted in the old Canvas sites.
  • Regarding group assignments: A single Group Set entitled "Project Groups" will be established when group assignments are imported as part of a site copy.  However, the groups within them might not be configured unless you explicitly requested that we do so.
    • We are happy to help you with this upon request.  Please send us any additional details (e.g. minimum and maximum team size, section) for how group signup should work in the new site.
    • Alternatively, to complete the configuration on your own: Go to the People page, select the "Project Groups" tab, and use the + Group to add groups. Use the gear icon to make edits to the Group Set.


If you will be using student groups in your Canvas site, and you requested help with setting them up, please check the "People" page to see that a tab for each Group Set (distinct signup for groups/teams) exists, containing the groups and group sizes you expect.


Canvas provides an array of grading options, such as points, percentages, or letter grades for assignments, as well as rubrics, annotation and feedback tools. In a Starter or Advanced site, here are the default grading options we use unless otherwise directed:

  • Deliverables, or graded assignments, will use points. These assignments will have a default point value of 0, unless your syllabus specifies otherwise. Preparation assignments (Advanced sites only) will use the "Not Graded" type. To change to a different grading option or fill in the maximum possible points, simply edit an assignment's details.
  • We'll group these assignments into categories as shown in your syllabus or setup instructions. 
  • If category grade weights (e.g. "Exams: 30%; Papers: 40%") were specified in your syllabus or instructions, we'll configure each weight in the corresponding assignment group for each category.

Assignment configuration builds columns in your site's Gradebook, where you may post assignment grades for students if you wish. The Gradebook's "total" grade is hidden from students. Please use Wharton's Instruction Center, rather than Canvas, to post final course grades.

Content Updates

Once the Courseware Team has provided you with your site, you will be responsible for subsequent content updates. We are always happy to give advice and answer questions, but we don't have the resources to update content for all the Canvas sites in use at Wharton.

Getting Help with Other Features

Once your course is underway, you may find yourself wanting to use additional features, such as Files, Quizzes, Announcements, or Discussions. Please feel free to contact us at any time during the semester for assistance with these features.


Your site will not be visible to students until you publish it. We recommend you publish only sites that are complete or as close as possible. 

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