Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the most frequently asked questions about Canvas.

Don't see the answer to your question? Search the Canvas Instructor, Student , and Video Guides or ask an Ed Tech at edtech@pugetsound.edu .

 

 

How do I access Canvas?

You can access Canvas directly with this link:

https://pugetsound.instructure.com

How do I get help with Canvas?

You can get help with Canvas by clicking the Help button in the Global Navigation Menu (on the left while logged into Canvas). Faculty may contact Canvas support directly through email, live chat, or phone.

Canvas Help

Instructor Canvas Help:

Are there online tutorials for learning Canvas?

Should you prefer to learn Canvas on your own see the Canvas instructor guide and this self-paced Canvas video tour.

Canvas also offers a Quick Start Checklist and Getting Started Tutorial.

There are also Canvas training webinars offered every day that faculty have access to, and CanvasLIVE online events open to the public.

You can also search for answers to any questions you may have on the Find Answers page in the Canvas community site.

How can I see my course like a participant?

You need to use "Student View."  Go to Settings in the left-hand navigation. Then choose theStudent View button in the right-hand panel.  For more information see the following Guides:

What is the difference between Moodle and Canvas?

Please see "Transitioning from Moodle to Canvas" for a chart on converting Moodle materials to Canvas.

Are there any template courses I can use?

Puget Sound currently has two templates instructors can import into their courses and modify to fit their needs. Search "Puget Sound" in the Canvas Commons and import the template into your course.

How do I create a sandbox course space? What is a sandbox?

A Canvas sandbox is an empty course space which you can use to play around with and learn Canvas or build a course before copying it over to the actual course space.

Contact edtech@pugetsound.edu to request a sandbox. Specify the course ID to use and your name.

Will Canvas work with my browser and computer?

Canvas is compatible with pretty much all major browsers and devices, provided you have updated them. See Which browsers does Canvas support? for a specific list of browser versions that are compatible with Canvas and What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas? for minimum computer requirements.

Note: If you are using features that require Flash, such as media submissions, media commenting, or BigBlueButton videoconferencing, you may need to enable Flash in your browser for these features to work. In Chrome, if Flash is not working, click on the "Secure" button to the left of the URL box and set Flash to always run on your Canvas site. If Flash is still not working in Chrome, see Adobe Flash isn't working. The default BigBlueButton videoconferencing tool in Canvas currently also requires Java to be installed if you want to share your screen, although eventually Java will no longer be required. Neither Flash nor Java features will work on mobile devices. Canvas and BigBlueButton are in the process of moving from Flash to HTML5 to address these issues. See How do I use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor? to try the new beta version of BigBlueButton.

Does Canvas work on my phone?

You can access Canvas using your mobile phone's web browser, but there are also Canvas apps for Android and iOS primarily designed for students.

Teachers can use the Canvas Teacher app for Android and iOS. You can find documentation for mobile apps in the Mobile Documentation page.

Can students see my course before the start date?

Only if the course is Published (button on top right of course) AND you have unchecked the course setting: “Restrict students from viewing course before start date.” See How do I restrict student access to a course before or after the course dates? for more information.

What do I need to do to get my course ready at the start of the semester?

See this Start of the Semester Checklist by Kona Jones and this Semester Start Checklist for some items to check before your course starts, such as making sure everything is published in your course that needs to be published. Kona Jones also made an End of Semester Checklist.

How do I email my students?

You can post an announcement in your course that will go out to your students, or click the People link in your course to contact a student individually. Otherwise, click the Inbox link on the left, and you can compose an email to your class or any individuals using the Conversations tool in Canvas. See How do I use Conversations as an instructor? for more information.

How I do combine sections into one course?

Cross-listing allows you to move section enrollments from individual courses and combine them into one course. This feature is helpful for instructors who teach several sections of the same course and only want to manage course data in one location. Instructors can allow students to view users in other sections or limit them to only view users in the same section. Section names do not change when they are cross-listed; the section is just moved to another course.

Cross-listing should be done while courses are unpublished. Coursework is retained with the course, not with the section enrollments, so if a published course is cross-listed, all cross-listed enrollments will lose any associated assignment submissions and grades.

See How do I add a section to a course as an instructor? and How do I view enrollments in a course section? and How do I cross-list a section in a course as an instructor?

How do I add or change a link in the left-hand navigation menu?

In Canvas, you cannot add new links to the navigation menu, you can only remove, hide, or reorder the links. If an item is grayed out, it means you can see it, but students can’t. See How do I reorder and hide Course Navigation links? for more information, and use the Student View (see above) to double check how your course and navigation looks to your students.

What is the difference between Pages and Modules?

Pages are static web pages. They are meant to hold content, like text, embedded videos, links to outside resources, etc. Modules let you sequence and organize your content and activities. A module might contain one or more pages, plus an assignment, a pdf file, a quiz, and so forth. With a module, you can set the sequence and whether or not students are required to view or complete an item in a module. Modules help students understand what they need to do in your course.

Here are different examples of ways to organize a module.

How do I check for plagiarism?

For instructors:

For students:

How can I use math equations and formulas in Canvas?

When editing text in Canvas, click the square root icon in the rich text editor toolbar to open the math editor and insert math equations and chemistry formulas. You can click on 'Switch View to Advanced' in the math editor to paste in LaTeX. For more details and examples, see How do I use the Math Editor in the Rich Content Editor?

Additionally, Canvas quizzes have a type of question called Formula Question that lets you enter variables and formulas that will be varied from student to student, to handle homework copying. See How do I create a Simple Formula quiz question? and this video presentation: Using Mathematical Formulas in Canvas Quizzes to Improve Formative Assessments.

How do I manage and access my test banks?

If you click on Quizzes in the navigation for your Canvas course, you can then click on the settings gear icon on the top right and select "Manage Question Banks" to see the test banks. See also How do I create a question bank in a course? and Creating and Using Question Banks.

And if you bookmark a question bank, it will be accessible in other courses. See How do I bookmark a question bank in a course?

How do I give bonus points or extra credit?

You can add more than the maximum points to an assignment in the gradebook or SpeedGrader (example: 105/100). If you use assignment group weighting, however, and you create a zero point 'bonus' assignment, make sure it is in a group with at least one other non-zero point assignment, or the bonus points will not be counted (because zero points times percentage weight equals zero).

See How do I give extra credit in a course? for more details and more techniques for bonus points and extra credit.

What third party apps work with Canvas?

There are hundreds of apps compatible with Canvas listed on EduAppCenter. You can add them by going to your course -> Settings -> Apps. One example third party app is the Piazza question & answer forum tool. To add some third party apps, you may need a consumer key, shared secret, and launch URL (for example, see these instructions for adding Piazza to Canvas). If you cannot find these through a search or through contacting the third party vendor, please contact Ed Tech.

For any third party software you use, you may wish to check 3 things and share this information with your students: their minimum software requirements, their privacy policy, and information about accessibility (such as a VPAT).

What are some sample Canvas courses and templates?

See Example Courses by Subject for some sample courses. You can also enroll in public Canvas courses (MOOCs) on Canvas.net or import and test out courses from the Canvas Commons repository. 

You can also search and find several Canvas course templates and resources in the Canvas Commons repository, including:

  • University of Puget Sound has two templates, a Modules- based template and a Pages based template.

  • Humboldt State has a detailed 16 week course template (preview) aligned to their Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) Best Practices: download template in Canvas Commons

  • Oregon State University also has a Canvas Template (preview): download template in Canvas Commons

  • This Visual Design in Canvas course has some tips on creating your own visual page and module designs.

 

How do I make my course accessible?

Canvas recently added an Accessibility Checker to the Rich Content Editor that will check your pages and other text for accessibility issues such as images without alternative text and insufficient color contrast. See How do I use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor?

The General Accessibility Design Guidelines page has tips for making your Canvas content and pages more accessible, such as:

  • Adding alt tags to images

  • Checking color contrast

  • Captioning videos

  • Making Word, PowerPoint, and PDF documents accessible

Accessibility within Canvas describes how the Canvas interface itself is accessible, including MathML support with the equation editor.

Join the Accessibility Canvas Community group for more tips and resources.

What new features are in Canvas? How can I stay up to date?

Canvas updates their production version regularly. Here are the notes for each Canvas release on the Canvas Community site. Click the Follow button on the top right to subscribe to release notes.

How can I join the Canvas Community?

You can join and follow several groups on the Canvas Community site, such as groups dedicated to Accessibility, Canvas Migration, etc. To follow and contribute to the site, you need to be logged in with your Canvas account. See How do I log into the Community with my Canvas Account?