Canvas Guides (English)Canvas GuidesCanvas Instructor Guide Courses and SectionsHow do I start a new course from the Dashboard as an instructor?

How do I start a new course from the Dashboard as an instructor?

If you are allowed to add new courses in Canvas, you can start new courses from your Canvas Dashboard. New courses are created as course shells which can host course content and enrollments for your institution.

When you create a course from the Dashboard, you are automatically added to the course as an instructor. No other enrollments exist in the course, though you may be able to add users to a new course. Additionally, new courses do not contain course content. In the new course, you can create new content and add existing content using the course import tool and by sharing content from an existing course.

Alternatively, you can create a new course to use as a sandbox. A sandbox is a course without student enrollments where you can create, modify, and preview course content and structure  without student interference. You can then share or import your sandbox content into live courses.


  • If you are not able to start a course as shown in these instructions, your institution has disabled this feature. Some institutions provide courses to faculty automatically via SIS (student information system) imports. For assistance creating a new course, contact your Canvas Admin.
  • If your institution is using a course template, your new course will be populated with content from that template.

Start a New Course

Start a New Course

In the Dashboard sidebar, click the Start a New Course button. You may need to scroll down to see this button.

Note: If you do not see this button in Canvas, your institution has disabled this feature.

Add Course Details

Add Course Details

Add your course name by typing in the Course Name field [1].

If your course name is longer than 21 characters, you can create a course code in the Short Name field [2]. If your course name is too short to create a Short Name, a short name will automatically be created for you. The short name will be displayed at the top of the Course Navigation menu and in the course card in the dashboard. If you have permission to edit the course name, you may be able to change the course name and code later in Course Settings.

If you want to set a content license, select the content license drop-down menu [3]. This setting will help Canvas keep track of the default license for content inside of your course. By default all content is considered copyrighted, but you can also release your content to the public domain or choose a Creative Commons license. You can also learn more about licenses and set the license at any time in Course Settings.

Create Course

Create Course

Click the Create course button.

View Course

View the new course. Depending on your institution's preference, you can use either the Course Setup Checklist or the Canvas Course Setup Tutorial to populate your course at any time.