Prepare to Teach in Canvas (Global Course Administration)

The Prepare to Teach tool inside of Global Course Administration is where you can:

  • Create course shells for Registrar sections, enabling automatic enrollment updates
  • Group multiple Registrar sections into a single course shell
  • Publish your course for release to students
  • Conclude courses from past semesters to remove clutter from Canvas

Note: Only the Section Instructor of Record is able to assign Registrar sections to course shells.

Once you have logged into Canvas, prior to any other actions, locate the Term selection box and choose the correct term.

Select the course term

If the section you are teaching is not listed you will need to contact your Departmental Contact to be added as Instructor of Record.

If the term for which you are trying to prepare is not listed you will need to use the Request a New Course Shell tool.

Step One: Login credentials

You will need to have your ISU Net-ID and password to log into Canvas. If you do not, please visit the IT Accounts and Passwords website or contact the Solution Center at 515-294-4000.

Step Two: Choose how to interact with Canvas

There are three options for finding the Canvas login page:

Step Three: Logging into Canvas

Use your Net-ID and password to login to Canvas. Once logged in, you should see your Canvas Dashboard. If you have an issue logging in, contact the Solution Center at 515-294-4000.

  1. To see if you already have access to a course, log in to Canvas.
  2. If the course doesn’t appear in your Dashboard – check if your class is on the list in Courses > All Courses.Steps: Locate the Courses icon on the Global Navigation Menu (far left of your screen); then, ensure to mark it as a favorite in All Courses.
  3. Access the course by clicking on the course tile
    Course Tile for newly created course
  4. Unable to see the course(s)?
    1. If any of your courses do not have a Canvas course, create one using the Start of Semester Checklist guide.
  5. If you still cannot locate the course, contact the ISU Solution Center.
  1. Locate your Unlinked Registrar Sections and grab the section you wish to use.
  2. Drag it over the top box labeled “Drag Sections Here to Create a New Canvas Course.” When the border turns blue, release your mouse button to create the Canvas course.
  3. Your newly created Canvas course will appear alphabetically in the list below, and your students are now enrolled in the course.

Tip: You must publish the course before students can gain access.

Create a new course

Follow these steps if you would like to:

  • Add a section to a course created through Request a New Course Shell
  • Group multiple sections into one course
  • Add a section to a course with no associations

  1. Locate your Unlinked Registrar Sections and grab the section you wish to use.
  2. Drag it on top of an existing course shell and release your mouse button to enroll this section of students in the Canvas course. If combining sections, you will see both sections listed. You may wish to rename the course so that it doesn’t include one specific section as part of the name.
  3. Select to “Show Empty Shells” if the course is not immediately visible.

*If you don’t see a section and you’ve verified that you are listed as the Instructor of Record, you may have accidentally added the section to another course. Click the links to “Show linked sections” until you locate the incorrectly assigned section. Then, drag the section to the correct course or return it to your Unlinked Registrar Sections.

Add a section to an existing course

If you’ve accidentally added a section to the incorrect course, you can remove it as long as students have not yet made any submissions. To remove a section from a course:

  1. Click and hold on the crosshairs on the section that needs to be removed.
  2. Drag the section to the ‘Unlinked Registrar Sections’.

If your course has disappeared, click the checkbox at the top to “Show Empty Courses” to locate it again.

unlink section from course

Mobile or keyboard users may find it easier to use the built-in menu for course creation.

  1. Click the box to Show Empty Shells (if needed).
  2. Click the button on the Unlinked Registrar Section you wish to use.
  3. Choose to Create Course from Section.
  4. Or choose an existing course for this section.

link section using mobile menu

Once the Registrar Section is linked to a course, you have additional options.

  1. Click the crosshairs on the section that needs removed.
  2. Use the default ”Unlink Section’ to return this section to your Unlinked Registrar Sections.
  3. Select ‘Create Course from Selection’ to create a new course for this section.
  4.  Choose an existing course to move this section into.

unlink section from course using mobile menu

As an instructor, you may receive a Notification Letter (NL) from Student Accessibility Services indicating that your student requires a reasonable academic accommodation.

There are a number of accommodations you can develop in Canvas to support students with accessibility needs. Review the different accommodations in Canvas available to you and your students if you receive an NL from Student Accessibility Services.

Once students are enrolled you also need to Publish the course by clicking the toggle as shown below. The left course card will turn green and the toggle will say “YES” when the course is published.

Publish a course at Iowa State University

The default in newly created courses is for students to gain access on the Monday prior to the start of the semester if the course has been published.

Previously created courses will allow students to gain access as soon as the course is published. Students should not be added through the ISU AdminTools feature. 

If you need to alter student participation dates manually, consider the following: 

  1. Change the course start and end dates. Learn more about course dates in the Canvas guides.
  2. Restrict student access by specifying that students can only participate or view the course between those dates.

*If you are using VitalSource for Immediate Access you will need to add your Registrar sections via Prepare to Teach at least two weeks before the start of classes at the very latest.

If the course is available to students at Iowa State

To de-clutter your Dashboard, Courses list, and Calendar conclude your previous semesters’ courses. Courses that have not been concluded but contain end dates in the past will display with a yellow course card and an exclamation point next to Concluded.

To remove the course from your Dashboard and Calendar, click the toggle to conclude the course. The card will turn gray and the toggle will say “YES” when the course is concluded. This action can be undone at any future point in time.

A course that is concluded at Iowa State University
Help Button in Canvas

Need assistance?

Hover over the help icon (on the far left of your screen in Canvas) for help on each item or call the Solution Center at 515-294-4000 and follow the prompts to speak to Solution Center staff about ISU AdminTools.