Course Readiness Checklist

Prior to the start of each quarter, faculty must review and complete each item on the Course Readiness Checklist.

If you need assistance or have questions about anything on the checklist, please contact Distance Learning staff at For technical issues, contact the SPS IT Helpdesk:


  1. Log into Canvas with your netID to ensure you have access to your live course site.
  2. Copy content into the current quarter course shell. Follow the onscreen instructions for importing content when you first access the course shell. If you need additional help, please view this how-to video, consult the Canvas guide, or call the 24/7 Canvas support line at 855-680- 0126.
  3. Test your Northwestern Zoom web conferencing account through your Canvas course site. If you encounter any issues with Zoom in Canvas, contact
  4. Remove any old/outdated information (announcements, discussion posts, recorded live sessions with students, student data, sync sessions, etc.).
  5. Update all dates in the course site.
  6. Prepare and review course materials:
    1. Request materials through the library’s eReserve and Digital Collections units. In the course site, these services can be found under the Course Reserves link. You can review instructions for copying items from a previous course or for requesting new items on the library website.
    2. Test all links in the course site to make sure they are functioning and lead to the correct websites.
    3. Open all attached files in the course site to make sure they are functioning.
    4. Verify that the textbook(s) listed in the Abbott Hall bookstore are correct.
    5. If needed, set up student software or online access to third-party tools.
  7. Verify that students have correct information about their grades by reviewing graded items (assignments, quizzes, etc.), rubrics, and points/percentage values.
  8. Set up the Turnitin plagiarism tool in Canvas.
  9. Create, review, and/or update your instructor profile in Canvas, syllabus bio, and contact information.
  10. If you have a TA, contact them, provide them with access to the site, and consider adding their biographical and contact information to the course site.

At any time, you may consult your contact on the SPS Distance Learning team to discuss your course – syllabus, instructional activities, assessments, grading and feedback, online discussions, online teaching best practices, setting up group exercises, synchronous meetings, and use of learning technologies to support student learning.