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Canvas Reading List tool

How to set up a course reading list in Canvas.

What is the Canvas Reading List tool?

The Reading List tool allows instructors to create and manage course reading lists for their students by searching library resources within Canvas and adding readings to their course. As an external tool in Canvas, Reading Lists also lets instructors search and add content from library databases, instructor-owned files, and the internet. The Reading List tool allows students in your course to see traditional Library Course Reserve items, instructor uploaded files, and internet resources all within their Canvas course. Beginning in Fall 2020 instructors may create new Canvas Reading Lists, in Spring 2021 and beyond instructors will have the ability to either create a new reading list or rollover Reading Lists created in previous semesters. 

Enable the reading list tool in Canvas

Instructors first must add the Reading List tool to a Canvas site. To add the tool:

  1. Log in to Canvas and enter the course for which you wish to create a reading list.
  2. On the left-hand menu click the Settings link.
  3. Click the Navigation tab at the top and scroll down to the list of disabled pages or search the page for Reading List.
  4. Click and drag the Reading List tool to the course navigation or click on the menu for Reading List and click +Enable.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save. 
  6. Reading List should now appear in the navigation menu.

Create a reading list

After you have enabled the Reading List function in Canvas you are ready to create a reading list. To create a new reading list from scratch:

  1. Click Reading List in the navigation menu.
  2. Under Create a new reading list from scratch click Create It.
  3. By default, your new reading list will have the same title as the course. You may rename it if you wish and optionally enter a description. Then click Create.
  4. Select a template.
  5. Click New Section to add a section to your reading list, or skip if you chose a template that already contains sections. 

Add items to your reading list

Now that you have created a reading list and added one or more sections, you are ready to begin adding resources to those sections.

To add resources from the library catalog, or upload files: 

  1. Click Add Items +, a search box will appear to the right.
  2. To add Library owned resources make sure you are on the Search tab and search for items. To add a resource to your reading list drag it to the section you want it to appear in or click it, select a section, and click Add.
  3. To upload a file make sure you are on the Create tab, upload your file, enter any necessary data, and then click Add.

To add resources from other library databases or the internet:

  1. Still in the Canvas Reading List click on your initials in the upper right to bring up the user menu.
  2. Click Cite It!
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the Cite It! button in your browser.
  4. Now, when you are on a webpage or even in OneSearch or a Library database, you can click the button and add resources directly to your reading list without visiting Canvas.

Publish and submit your list

When you are done adding resources to your reading list you need to publish it and send it to the library for review. Most resources will immediately be available to your students, some need the approval of the library first. To publish and send your list:

  1. In the Reading List menu item in Canvas click the Publish button at the top of your reading list, your reading list is now visible to your enrolled students.
  2. Click the Send List button to alert the library to complete any citations that need work, e.g if the library needs to digitize a chapter from a book or put a physical item on reserve.
John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300
323-343-3988