Hyperlinks in Canvas pages create intuitive course navigation

May 11, 2017 | Faculty, Staff, and Student Stories

mary ann mengel standing by a gate

By Mary Ann Mengel

One of the features I’ve grown to appreciate about Canvas is how easy it is to design and share instructional content on Canvas content pages. When comparing a page to a file as a method to share course content, I’ve found that the ease with which hyperlinks, images, and even more advanced content can be added to a page opens opportunities for a creating a user-friendly, intuitive course design. Linking to a referenced page, quiz, file, or assignment helps students easily locate the correct resource. For instructors, after the pages are set up, it’s easy to edit the page going forward.

Start simple: Add a hyperlink to a page in your course

I love how a hyperlink can be added to a Canvas page with one click of the mouse. Mix a little creativity with this capability, and instructors can ensure students will easily locate any resource within a course. To add a link from one page to another, simply click another page’s name within the page editor’s Content Selector. (The same process can be used to link to other course content like quizzes, discussions, or modules.)

screenshot showing a page name selected

Figure 1: Click a page name in the Content Selector

When the link is added to the page, the default “hyperlink text” (the link that appears on the page) is the name of the page to which you’re linking. The page name isn’t always the most intuitive or accessible text to serve as the hyperlink. To define more user-friendly wording as the hyperlink, start by typing the desired link text in the page editor, highlight the text, and then click the page name from the Content Selector. The selected text becomes a hyperlink.

screenshot showing text selected for hyperlink

Figure 2: Highlight desired hyperlink text and click the content item to link

Combine a series of hyperlinks to build a menu

After mastering a simple hyperlink, consider building a table of contents or menu to connect a group of related pages within a course. For instance, instructors might split the content from a course syllabus document among multiple pages and create a table of contents on the course Syllabus page. The content within the syllabus enjoys increased visibility and is easier for students to locate. In addition to the table of contents, consider including a link to download a printable syllabus document.

screenshot showing a table of contents on a syllabus page

Figure 3: Table of Contents on Syllabus page

A menu built from a series of hyperlinks can connect related content pages within a course. Create the group of links and paste it in a consistent location on each of the related pages. Students will be able to navigate between the subset of course pages as though they were a small website.

screenshot showing the navigational menu

Figure 4: Navigational Menu on page

Apply styles to hyperlinks

The possibilities for enhancing course navigation don’t end with simple hyperlinks. Instructors interested in visual design techniques for Canvas pages can style hyperlinks to look like buttons, or create expandable accordions, or tab menus.

screenshot showing button links

Figure 5: Hyperlinks styled as buttons

If you’re interested in learning more, begin by browsing https://canvas.instructure.com/styleguide/.