Instructors need to publish Canvas courses earlier

Jeff Rose

As classes start up, it’s nice to be able to view our Canvas courses, look over syllabi and begin prepping for the semester. However, many Canvas pages for students were not published or finalized until this week. Instructors need to post their Canvas courses and finalize their syllabi earlier for their students.

On Twitter and around campus, students were complaining about courses not yet being available or not having a finalized syllabus. Aerospace engineering junior Mykaela Dunn tweeted “catch me stressing out over my classes bc I know they won’t be posted on canvas till 7:59am on the 16th.” One of my classes was still not up yet as of Wednesday.

Many students want to have their classes available in advance so that they can prepare early for the class if need be. This can include buying textbooks, starting on a creative project, brainstorming ideas for a paper, going over concepts they might have forgotten, examining the workload or reading assigned texts ahead of time.

Students cannot find guidelines to follow if they do not have a syllabus to look over. For example, I would love to get an early start on one of my short stories for my creative writing class, but I can’t be sure of what the assignment guidelines are without a course syllabus.

Students might be able to guess what their classes could be like based off older syllabi, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be the same as previous semesters. Course descriptions and textbooks could also be different. While some textbooks are available through UT Direct, not all professors send their booklists to the University Co-op.

Publishing Canvas courses can be as simple as a click of a button. While two of my courses were published in advance, they didn’t have a syllabus up until the day before class or the first day.

Having syllabi up earlier can also help students decide sooner than the first day of classes if courses are right for them. That would allow people the time to switch classes earlier and free up spots for others wanting to rearrange their schedule.

While many instructors might be more prepared and already have posted a good bit of what the class will need for the semester in advance, it helps if there’s uniformity. 

It can be understandable that instructors don’t have as much time as they did for the fall semester to publish courses ahead of time. However, if instructors work on their syllabi and Canvas sites throughout the semester into the winter break, it would be an immense help to the students.

Just as students are expected to be timely and on top of their work, instructors need to be held to the same standard. If our Canvas pages are uploaded early, we will be able to start the semester off strong.

Rose is an English sophomore from  The Woodlands.