Cidi Design Tools

Cidi Design Tools is open source software that simplifies the way instructors build course shells and style content in Canvas. Design Tools also improves the quality, consistency and accessibility of Canvas courses. Cidi Labs (Cooperative Instructional Design Innovations), a USU spin-out company and certified Instructure partner, hosts, supports and maintains the Design Tools software.


Utah State researchers developed the Design Tools software to support instructors who rely on Canvas to create an increasing number of online courses at the university. Course design in Canvas can be time-consuming for instructors who teach multiple online courses and frustrating for instructors who want to develop engaging learning portals. Cidi Design Tools was built to reduce the time it takes to develop a course in Canvas and to provide design support for online course development.


Cidi Design Tools is a Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) tool integrated with the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) using the Canvas API. Design Tools is made up of three basic tools that are part of a single software subscription. The tools can be made widely available or limited to specific users or specific roles.

Content Editor Tools augment the native Canvas rich content editor, enabling instructors to easily create, customize and style content on any front, content, discussion, assignment and syllabus page without using code.

Multi-Tool helps instructors quickly design a course shell. There are three main parts to the multi-tool.

  • The template page tool creates home and template pages.
  • The module builder designs a module pattern and uses the Canvas API to create quizzes, assignments, discussions and pages.
  • The due date modifier manages assignment dates from a single screen.

Upload/Embed Image Tool allows instructors to upload, crop, resize and embed images anywhere in a Canvas course. This means course designers no longer have to leave Canvas every time they need to manipulate an image.


The Utah State Academic and Instructional Services team created the unique Design Tools software to provide an easy way to build the module structure of a course in Canvas. Design Tools significantly reduces the time it takes instructors to create online courses. On an institutional level, saving time on course design means more courses can be supported without increasing instructional design staff. Institutions can also leverage Design Tools to improve continuity across online courses.


Since 2013, numerous colleges, universities and school districts have implemented Cidi Design Tools. About 600 colleges and universities and 700 K-12 districts are currently using the Canvas LMS. With Canvas being the fastest growing SaaS-based LMS, the market of institutions that could benefit from Design Tools will continue to grow.


Questions about this technology including licensing availability can be directed to:

Christian Iverson, MBA
Executive Director, Technology Transfer Services 
(435) 797-9620

Inteum ID C16020


Kenneth Larsen, M.S., Academic & Instructional Services

Development Stage

TRL 7 

Copyright Status