Modules in your Canvas course are an organizing tool for all types of content.

Modules give instructors the ability to arrange all content related to the course in the order in which the students will view each item, for best results. When students navigate through the pages of a module, a Next"  button appears at the bottom of each page or assignment, which helps students navigate your content correctly, without getting lost.  

Modules are arranged to make students progress through the course clear and convenient. (Please note that other Canvas tools such as the Gradebook and the Assignments Tab are arranged for instructor convenience, rather than students.) Use of Modules is optional
in Canvas.

Use modules when

  • You want to present additional materials beyond the minimal use of Canvas. (Minimal use is only Syllabus and Gradebook/Assignments.)
  • You are presenting new materials each week.
  • You have multiple handouts, quizzes, discussions, assignments or links to important websites.
  • It will benefit your students to read a variety of materials in a specific order before attempting assignments. 
  • The course is online.  Online courses require the most thorough and complete contents, so fully developed modules are essential. 

How to arrange modules

There is more than one correct way to arrange content in modules, with different repercussions.
  • Choose naming conventions for content material carefully.
  • In a full 16- 17 week semester, 17 modules can be created and named to help students stay on pace with course expectations, including a placeholder for Spring/Fall break (example: Week 1: Intro to Geography). Sections taught in shorter/accelerated semesters could be organized into 4, 8, or 12 weeks. 
  • Modules can be named/arranged to align with the chapters in your textbook. If a single module covers several weeks, you can still signal this to your students by inserting text header lines (giving the appearance of "sub-modules").
  • Choose a Unit topic naming approach when your course covers 1-5 general concepts in varying numbers of weeks.

Important points to remember


  • No item shows in Modules until it is placed there manually by the instructor. Please review the Canvas Guide: Add Items to Modules
  • Any existing item in Canvas can be pulled into modules
    • Assignments—due dates are visible to students
    • Quizzes
    • Pages
    • Discussions
    • Files—Word Docs, PowerPoints, PDFs
    • External Tools/LTIs, even Publisher sites
  • Depending upon your workflow preferences, new items can be made first and then added to modules.
  • Alternatively, pages and assignments can be made inside the modules tab which simultaneously places those items in modules and multiple course locations at the same time. 
  • A "Start Here" text button can be linked from the Course homepage to the modules list view, to ensure that students navigate correctly.
    • SLCC Online recommends linking to the Modules index rather than into a single page in order to train students to navigate Canvas without getting lost.
  • Modules are an ideal place to display Weekly Overview Pages with additional instructions, lesson plans, and information to assist students with pace and planning.  
  • For additional information, please review this Canvas Guide: What are Modules for instructors?