Teaching & Learning Resource Center

Setting Up Course Content

CarmenCanvas allows instructors to customize their course by organizing their course PagesFiles, and external content into Modules to help students navigate their course materials. 

Master Courses

We recommend that instructors build their courses using a Master Course.

A master course is a Carmen course shell that corresponds to a specific academic course you currently teach or will be teaching in future semesters.

Master courses are not connected to the Registrar's system. It is a dedicated, consistent space for building instructional materials that you can then copy into the academic course each semester. See Master Courses for more information.

Building Course Content

We recommend that you begin by uploading Files and/or creating Pages then organizing the content using Modules.


Files are where instructors can upload course files, syllabi, readings, or other documents. Items uploaded to the Files area can be linked in Modules, Assignments, or Pages.

Files and folders are put in alphabetical order and cannot be reordered but you can move files easily between folders.

By default, the Files area is visible to students. Instructors can easily remove it from the student view of the course menu if desired. 

Canvas users will find access to files (documents, images, media, etc.) in three different places:

  • User files, located in each user's profile.
  • Course files, located in each course (students, teachers, and TAs unless files are locked by the teacher).
  • Group files, located in each group (students and teachers who are enrolled in groups).

User files

User files are located in your user account and include profile pictures, uploaded assignment submissions, and other files uploaded to your personal Canvas file storage area.

User files cannot be placed in your course. First, they need to be moved to your course or group files.

To locate your user files:

  1. Select Account from the global navigation.

  2. Select Files.

    Click on Account (profile picture) then Files to access user and course files
  3. You will see all files associated with your user account including course and group files.

    Note: Students will see a Submissions folder containing copies of their submissions.

Course and Group files

Your course folders display below your user files if accessed from your profile. Group folders display below the course folders if you've been added to a group.

You can also view course files and group files directly from the course or group. You can drag and drop files from your user files into a course or group folder.

Items uploaded to the course files area can be linked within ModulesAssignments, or Pages.

Canvas files area


Managing files

In order to view the options to manage Files, you can do one of the following:

  • Click the three dot menu for the options to download, rename, move, or delete the file. 

    Click three dot menu to download, rename, move, or delete a file
  • Click the area of the file (not the file name) to select it. Additional options appear above. 

    Click file (not file name) and additional options appear above
  • Click the cloud icon to quickly manage access to the file or folder. See How do I restrict files and access? for details. 

    Click cloud icon to Manage Access to a file
    Edit permissions options
UX Tip

Choosing to restrict access of folders or files to students only if they have the appropriate links means the folders or files will not display within the Files section of Canvas. However, students will be able to see the file or folder if the link to it is added to a Module, Canvas Page or elsewhere. 

See the Canvas Instructor Guide more information on Files.


Pages are where you can put direct instructional content and educational resources that are part of a course but don't necessarily belong in an assignment or that are referred to in multiple assignments.

Pages are similar to a webpage and allow you to organize text, images, video, and link to files.

With pages you can:

  • Provide text and images to guide student learning or provide information.

  • Embed media content.

  • Link to course Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes using the Rich Text Editor.

Below is an example of a Carmen page containing text, links, and an embedded video.

Example of Carmen page with text, links, and embedded video.

You might consider creating a page as your course homepage. It provides students with a dedicated landing page for your course that you can customize.

You might use the homepage to:

  • Introduce yourself and the goals of the course.

  • Provide quick navigation links to important content within your course.

  • Give students directions for their first steps in the course.

  • Provide contact information.

Below is an example of a Page set as the course homepage.

Carmen home page example

See the Canvas Instructor Guide more information on Pages.


Modules allow instructors to organize content to help control the flow of a course. Modules are used to organize course content by weeks, units, or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With modules, you are essentially creating a one-directional linear flow of what you would like your students to do.

You can include assignments, files, pages, and web addresses in each of your modules.

To control when students are able to view and access certain content, organize your content using Modules. Then, you can do the following:

  • Once the content has been added to a module, you can edit the Module to select what content is required for the completion of the module. See How do I add requirements to a Module? for step-by-step instructions.

  • When more than one module exists, the next modules allow you to add prerequisites to select which modules must be completed prior to being allowed access. See How do I set up prerequisite Modules? for step-by-step instruction.

Below is an example of a course using Modules to organize course content week-by-week.

Carmen course Modules organized week-by-week


See the Canvas Instructor Guide more information on Modules.

Once you finish setting up your course, don't forget to publish your course, the Module, and each item within the Module so students can access the material.