How to: Create and Manage Modules in Canvas

Canvas, Content Creation, How to, LMS, Modules, Tutorial Leave a Comment

What are Modules?

Modules is the function in Canvas that allows teachers to structure the content for their course.  Modules can be used to organise the content of a course by weeks, topics, lessons, project or any other structure.  Modules can contain different types of items including: assignments, quizzes, files, content pages, discussions, text headers, external URLs and external tools.  When working with modules, instructors can manage the settings for modules and the items, as well as reorder them.  Please keep in mind that the structure of your modules reflect the linear flow that you are expecting your students to follow.

How do I set up a Module in Canvas?

Before adding modules, it is important to have decided how you want to structure your content i.e. weeks, topics, lessons.  This will not only save you time, but it will minimise the risk of having to rename the modules once you have started.  It is also recommended to have, if not all, at least most of your material saved in a folder structure that reflects the structure of your content in Canvas.

To add a module, follow the instructions below:

  1. In Course Navigation, click the Modules link.
  2. Click the Add a Module button.
  3. Enter a name in the Module Name field, this can be week 1, name of the topic, lesson 1.  This will depend on the structure you have decided upon.
  4. If you want to restrict the module until a specific date, select lock module.
  5. If you have locked a module, you must add the module prerequisites.  Prerequisites indicate to students what they need to complete before proceeding with the next module.
  6. Click the Add Module button.

Once a module has been added, you are now ready to add content items to it.  These items can be completely new, or they can be existing items. Existing items are those created in the past and which can be reused in a different module.  
To add and item to a module, follow the instructions below:

  1. Navigate to the module you wish to add to.
  2. Click the Add Item button.
  3. Click the Add drop-down menu and select the required content item type (assignment, quiz, file, content page, discussions).
  4. If you want to add a new item, click the New link and enter a name in the name file OR if you have already created the item you want to add, click the name of the item in the list.
  5. If you wish to indent the item, choose the Indentation drop-down menu.  
  6. Click the Add Item button.
Backboard and Canvas are very different when it comes to creating and organising content. Where in Blackboard content was hierarchically structured within a folder or within a content area, Canvas uses Modules and allows linking to content and functions to create a structure for your course site.


  • Canvas will accept most media files.
  • When you add items to a Module, note that the status of the Module overrides the status of the individual module items.  If the module is unpublished, the items will not be accessible to students, even if they appear as published.
  • Modules supports up to 100 module items. Exceeding this number might affect performance.
  • When you add requirements to a module, students must complete all requirements within one module before moving to the next module.
  • Note that you cannot add requirements until you have added module items.
  • You can only indent to two levels within a module and the indentation only affects to visual layout within the modules index page.


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