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Canvas: Building a course

What do you wish your course to contain?

Teaching design 

You must consider how teaching resources and assignments can best be presented to the students, irrespective of whether you import content or develop the course from scratch. 

You must consider what teaching design to select for your course.  

Remember, for example, that teaching content in the course must be commensurate with the learning outcomes description for the course and exam, so that the students actually learn what they are supposed to learn and be assessed on. 

For example: 

Use modules to present the content in Canvas, with either one module per lecture or one module per theme. 

Copy from previous courses? 


  1. Remain in the course to which you want to copy content 
  2. Go to Settings in the Course Menu on the left 
  3. Click on “Import course content” in the menu on the right 
    skjermbilde kopiere et canvas-emne
  4. Screenshot showing copying of a Canvas course 
  5. Under “Content Type” select “Copy a Canvas course”. Find the course you wish to copy from. You must have teacher access for this course. 
  6. Important: Under “Content”, click on “Select specific content” 
  7. You can choose to adjust deadlines and delivery specifications, but this is not essential, since you will probably go in and edit the deadlines for each assignment. 
  8. Click on “Import” 
  9. Your import will now appear under “Current jobs”, below. 
  10. Click on “Select content” 
    skjermbilde velge innhold i kopi av canvas-emneScreenshot showing selection of content when copying a Canvas course 
  11. Click on the arrow to the left of the categories, e.g. Modules, to display all modules.  
  12. Highlight the modules you wish to copy, or highlight the entire category if you wish to copy all modules. 
  13. When you have highlighted all you wish to copy, click on “Select content” at the bottom right. 
  14. Canvas will now start importing. You will be notified when the import is complete. 

Import from a course you haven’t taught before? 

You will now need the assistance of a colleague, i.e. somebody with teacher access in the course in question. 

This can be done in two ways: 

  1. You can ask your colleague to share what you are interested in via Commons. 
    1. All individual resources (via the dot menu at the top right) and the entire course (via “Settings” can be shared using Commons.  
    2. Your colleague may choose to share only with USN and possibly remove the content after you have gone into Commons and imported what you need. 
    3. You go to Commons in the menu on the far left in Canvas and search for and fetch the resources into your course, probably selecting specific content that you wish to copy.  
    4. NB: Take care to import into your correct course, not into all courses. 
  2. You may also ask a colleague to send content directly to you in Canvas.  
    1. Your colleague will then go to the content, such as a module, click on the dot menu (three dots), choose “Send to” and search for your name.  
    2. Go to “Account” in the menu on the far left and find the content under “Shared content”. Click on the three dots on the right, select “Import to”, and import to the correct course.  

If it's individual resources, the easiest will be to send them in Canvas.
If large parts of a course are to be copied, it is better to use Commons. 

Seek inspiration from others? Commons and DLR 

As an USN employee you have access to several large compilations of teaching material. 

The most commonly used are 

  • Commons (in Canvas)
  • DLR 



Commons is always to be found in the Global Menu on the far left. 
Click on the image to enlarge it 

In Commons you can easily search for teaching content (pages, modules, assignments, complete courses). You can also filter according to content type (module, assignment, course) and where it is shared (everybody, USN, yourself alone).

When you've found what you're after, you can easily import them into your own course. Click Import/Download and choose which course you wat to import the content to. 

NB: Take care not to import content to all your courses. This is a common error. 



USN is part of DLR (Digitale Læringsressurser) online. This is a teaching platform operated by Unit. 
DLR delingsplattform
Click on the image to enlarge it 

Much content is openly accessible, but you can log in using your USN User Name and Password and search for additional relevant teaching resources. 

You may download these and then easily upload them to your Canvas course.