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Canvas (Course Template) - Template Effects on Course Home Page and Announcements

The University of Wisconsin Canvas course template controls how the Canvas Home page is configured, including the display of announcements. This document clarifies which options are fixed (mandatory) and which are flexible.

The Home Page

The Course Home Page is the first page students see when they open a course in Canvas.  The Home Page also helps students understand how they can navigate through the course.  All for-credit courses offered through UW-System institutions have the Home Page set to show recent Announcements and Modules.

Why is the Home page a fixed item always set to Modules? The initial design of the Digital Learning Environment (DLE) was informed by extensive, multi-year stakeholder engagement across all UW System institutions through the 1) 2014 UW System Roadmap Project, 2) the 2015 LENA Project, 3) a rigorous teaching and learning technology requirements gathering process in 2016, 4) a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Digital Learning Environment (DLE), and 5) DLE Implementation Workstreams including the Course Template workstream.
These efforts yielded rich feedback from students, instructors and staff.  In particular, students clearly articulated that having a non-standard entry into D2L was confusing and frustrating when trying to find materials, navigate the course, and knowing what was being expected of them.  As a result, one of the core principles of the DLE is to ensure that the technology does not get in the way of student success. A standard home page ensures students have easy and consistent navigation within their Canvas courses, regardless of which institution offers the course.  The DLE is designed to support student access by creating consistency among UWS institutions and yet have flexibility to meet institutional needs.
As part of the DLE Implementation project, surveys are being planned in 2020 to gather user feedback.  Survey results will provide UW System with the information needed to make solid, data-informed decisions about the DLE – including changes to the home page format.  To learn more about the DLE, please visit the project website at

Where Announcements Appear

Within a Canvas course, announcements appear in two places.
  1. Home: The Course Home Page will always display a preview of your most recent announcements.  Typically this means the most recent 3 announcements, but as a teacher, you are able to adjust this number between 1 and 15.  
  2. Announcements: When left enabled, the Announcements page allows students to view and filter course announcements.  Students can go back and look at any previous announcements from earlier in a course.  If you wish to turn off the Announcements page, go to course Settings, then the navigation tab, and drag Announcements into the list of disabled and hidden items.

What Course Elements are "Fixed" and Why

The Home page is fixed to always display course modules and at least one announcement. In an effort to provide students as consistent of an experience as possible across courses and campuses, UW-System has opted to lock Modules as the display option on the Course Home Page.  This decision is based on feedback from students about the ease of use in quickly accessing course content through the Home Page.

Announcements are fixed to always appear on the Home page. In an effort to provide students as consistent of an experience as possible across courses and campuses, UW-System has locked Announcements to always display on the Course Home Page.  This decision arose from best practices of prominent forward-facing announcements paired with a desire to provide a consistent student experience. 

Keywords:canvas course template home homepage announcements flex   Doc ID:93772
Owner:Stephen B.Group:UW System Administration DLE
Created:2019-08-12 11:06 CSTUpdated:2020-02-25 16:27 CST
Sites:UW Oshkosh , UW Parkside, UW Platteville, UW Stout, UW System Administration DLE, UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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