How do I prepare my in-person course?

Familiarize yourself with Canvas

Canvas is the Penn State learning management system (LMS). Learn how to use Canvas at the online Canvas Learning Center.

If you are assigned to teach a course and have not yet been added to LionPATH, Penn State’s academic records system, you may not see the Canvas space for your course. For help with this issue, contact

Get to know your course

Course webpages, course committees, faculty colleagues, and faculty leadership can help you get to know your course. Visit the what belongs in my course page, where you can find request forms, email addresses, and guidance to complete the following basic steps:

  • First, consult past syllabi and course documentation.
  • Second, connect with those who have responsibility for managing the course content.
  • Third, request Canvas course shells, content templates, and learning design support from the Learning Design Team.
  • Fourth, read the official course description in the Penn State University Bulletin.

Plan your course

At a minimum, a published Canvas course should include the following on the first day of class:

  • Syllabus that meets the Penn State University Faculty Senate’s requirements
  • Description of assignments (including exams, quizzes, papers, projects, discussions, labs, and/or any other types of assignments), including point values and due dates
  • Materials required for student activities in the first month of the semester

When you are ready, publish the course in Canvas. Send out a Welcome Announcement to students as soon as possible.

Know important dates in the semester

Penn State’s Office of the University Registrar Academic Calendars page lists these dates and additional information.

Familiarize yourself with academic policies

Prior to the semester, review information on academic policies and procedures for actions such as academic integrity, course drops, deferred grades, and the grading system. In addition, be sure to consult information on SRTEs and syllabi.

Identify and test the technology

If you are teaching in a College of IST-supported classroom in Westgate Building (i.e., E165, E202, E203, E208 and E213):

Check out the College of IST Classroom Portal, and email if you have questions about standard hardware and software.

  • Visit the room prior to teaching. You can schedule a time to visit your classroom by contacting
  • Test technology that you will use.
  • For on-call support, contact the College of IST Helpdesk at 814-863-8803 or

If you are teaching in a General Purpose Classroom (GPC) in Westgate (i.e., E201, E205, E206, E210, W201, and W219) or in other buildings on campus: