Canvas Modules structure course content by day, week, unit, topic, or outcome. Modules help simplify student navigation through a course and ensure a sequential flow of content. With modules, instructors can require interaction with content before completing assignments.  

Each Module can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials.  Modules are a great way to start building your course because you can manage everything in one place. 


  • A Module is a way to organize and display course content. They are buckets that hold multiple elements such as pages, assignments, files, links, and other content.   Most commonly, they are sorted by time (Week 1, Week 2) or content, and you can create multiple modules. 
  • Pages, on the other hand, are more like webpages. They have a RCE (rich content editor) that allows you to add text and link to other course elements. It is important to ensure each page has a unique name and to create a consistent naming convention like Resources W1 or Resources – Week 1. 
  • Students only view module content that has been published. Modules can be expanded and collapsed. 

How does Canvas differ from Blackboard? 

Organizing Content

Canvas’ Modules are similar to Blackboard’s Learning Modules in that they only allow you to view one item at a time. Unlike Blackboard Learning Modules, all Modules display on the Modules page. Clicking any Module will then expand it to show its “table of contents.” 

Previous and Next Navigation

In Canvas, once within a Module you can navigate through the content by clicking the “Previous” or “Next” buttons, but there is no Table of Contents within the module for navigation.  

No Cover Content

Unlike Blackboard Learning Modules, Canvas Modules do not have a “cover” on which you can put a description of the content of the module. The closest way to replicate such information is to create a Page as the first item within the module on which you can include the description of the content of the module. 

Drag and Drop

Modules can be easily organized using the drag and drop feature. Elements within the modules can also be reorganized or moved between modules by dragging and dropping.  

Flat Layout

While folders could be nested in each other in Blackboard, Canvas does not allow nesting of modules. This flat approach allows students to track their progress and makes it easier to navigate.  

How to use – Canvas instructions 


Canvas offers an in-depth guide on Modules.

309 – Modules Overview from Instructure Canvas Community Video Guides

Best Practices and Accessibility 

  • Be consistent with course navigation, organization, and naming conventions. 
  • Chunk information into shorter segments. 
  • Allow students to get to content in as few clicks as possible.