Create a Custom Dashboard to Access Course Syllabi using Canvas API

Summary: Do you need to provide access to all course syllabi for accreditation? Do you want to empower department heads, and market courses to potential or current students? The USU Syllabus Tracker is here to save the day with filtered results and visual analytics by harnessing the power of the Canvas API.

4 Key Features of Syllabus Tracker

Kenneth Larsen and the team in the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI) at Utah State University created this powerful analytics tool for use by instructional designers, instructors, department heads, administrators, students and more.

View the USU Syllabus Tracker Introduction video

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  1. Filter ResultsView results from the entire university comparing each college side by side. Or filter the results by college, department, semester and/or instructor.
  2. Visual AnalyticsHighcharts are used to create visual analytics showing published versus unpublished courses. A second chart shows how many of the published courses have content entered in the syllabus tab of the course.
  3. Course Title & Link to SyllabusThe title of every course with student enrollments in Canvas will load. If there is content on the syllabus page, the course title will become a hyperlink that directly accesses the syllabus content.
  4. Instructor & Link to Canvas Course As an added bonus, the name of the instructor(s) for each course will display, and a link to the Canvas course. Note: Only those with proper permissions in Canvas can access the course.

How do I Create a Custom Syllabus Tracker?

USU Canvas Course Syllabus Tracker Prereqs: To create your own Syllabus Tracker your institution must be using Canvas by Instructure, and you’ll need a webserver that can handle PHP. 

  1. Download the Syllabus Tracker files from CIDIUSU CIDI offers the syllabus tracker as a free open educational resource. There is no charge for downloading or using these files. Access the files here:
  2. Follow the detailed steps in the instructions.txt documentTo follow these instructions you will need to be familiar with coding and have access to your institution’s web server. In addition to adding your own institutional details and codes, you will also need to determine which semesters, colleges and departments you want to allow access to through the syllabus tracker.