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Enhancing the TAMU Template

TAMU Canvas Template

The Texas A&M University template in Canvas has been designed and updated for ease of use by course instructors to enhance the student learning experience.  The template is automatically applied to all courses in Canvas to enhance the student experience. 

New! The Summer and Fall 2023 template includes:

•    Updated Syllabus page to allow faculty to stay up-to-date using the minimum syllabus requirements as approved by Faculty Senate.  
•   Refreshed look and feel for the Student Resource buttons on the homepage.   
•    Brand new Mental Health Resources button linked to a Page with quick access to mental health resources for students.
•    Removed the Week navigation buttons from homepage based on usage data and student feedback.  
•    Removed prompting text for the welcome message to allow faculty to easy adopt the homepage with efficiency in mind.

Enhancing Template Buttons

Included in the template are buttons, graphics, and assets that are added to enhance the student experience based on best practices in instructional design. If you would like to instead create enhanced buttons to personalize your course, we have also included editable templates to enhance the template even further.

Homepage Banner

The Homepage Banner is the first graphic a student views when entering your Canvas course. We have provided a Homepage banner that can be enhanced with your course name. Modifying this banner can be the first step to making your homepage a unique experience for students. This enhancement will help students orient themselves with which course they are in and sets the tone for engaging them in the digital learning environment.

Student Resource Buttons

The Student Resource Buttons include five frequently used buttons designed to provide students with quick and efficient access from within the Homepage that link to important resources students rely on such as Syllabus, Office Hours, University Resources, Canvas Resources, and Mental Health information. 

Navigation Buttons

Navigation Buttons were designed in five colors to select from to provide students quick access to their learning materials directly from the Homepage. The Navigation Buttons can be enhanced based on your course structure, such as by week or module.

Student View

You can view a course the same way that your students view it using the Student View feature in Canvas. Enabling Student View creates a Test Student in your course. You can also activate Student View in your Course Settings.
To access Student View, click on the Student View button located on the top right of most pages. 

You will know that you are in Student View because of the magenta bar at the bottom of a page. This will remain on each page as you stay in Student View.

We recommend using the Student View feature for the following: 
  • View course content 
  • Post and reply to Discussions
  • Submit Assignments
  • View Grades
  • View People
  • View Pages
  • View the syllabus
  • View and submit Quizzes
  • View the Calendar and the Scheduler (if enabled)

Resetting vs Leaving

Reset Student button
If you would like to reset the Test Student data, use the Reset Student option. Prior to doing this, keep in mind that Test Student activity that involves interactions with other students cannot be removed, such as discussion replies. Test Student data that involves interactions with other students are retained even if the Test Student is reset. 

Reset Student button
If you would like to only leave Student View, but retain the data in your course, you can leave Student View by clicking on Leave Student View on the banner that appears on the bottom of the screen. Examples of why you would consider keeping the data is if you would like to manipulate it from the Teacher perspective, such as grade an assignment submitted by the Test Student.


Student View Considerations

The table below illustrates limitations of using the Student View feature in Canvas.

Student View at Texas A&M University 

Each Canvas course has a separate Test Student account. Whenever you move to a new course you will need to enable Student View for that course.
Submissions and scores for the Test Student do not affect course analytics.
You can only view the course layout as it is seen by your students. You cannot view student-specific information, such as conversations between students.
Once you activate Student View, the Test Student is shown at the end of the Gradebook and SpeedGrader and is automatically added to every section in your course.
New Quizzes assessments should be previewed in New Quizzes and not taken as the test student. Test Student attempts cannot be reset and will affect analysis reports.

As a note, you are unable to use the Student View feature to preview:
  • Attendance
  • Inbox
  • Collaborations
  • Differentiated assignments
  • External third-party tools
  • Groups
  • Peer reviews
  • Profiles
With these features, you will see only what you, as the instructor, allow your students to see.

Accessibility and Mobile Friendliness

Consider designing your courses with mobile friendly guidelines in mind. Some students will access your Canvas course and materials from a computer at school or home. Other students will use their mobile device, standing in line at a local coffee shop, or while commuting from class to class. Students will have a slightly different experience whether accessing Canvas from a browser or using Instructure's free Canvas app.


Additional Resources









Spring 2021 Canvas Template Update


Canvas Spring Template 2021



TAMU Canvas Template Demo -Syllabus Page



Customizing the Course Menu Navigation Bar​


Adding Buttons to the Course Homepage in Canvas


Using the TAMU Spring 2021 Template in Different Teaching Modalities