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Canvas: FAQ

Answers to common questions users have when adapting to Canvas LMS

Frequently Asked Questions about Canvas

Q. How do I publish my course?

Click the publish button found at top right area in your Home page.

Q. How do I build my courses in Canvas?

Please visit our Teaching Resources.

Q. Does Canvas have a tool like Email Archive from OWL Space?

Using the Canvas inbox tool provides access to all of your emails sent using the tool and is searchable by recipients, sections, and classes. This is the recommended email tool for courses.

Q. How do I add TA's (or anyone else) to my course?

Go to People from the course menu, click "+People", select 'Net ID', add one Net ID per line (Net ID only, no, then select the role and proceed. (How to add participants.)

Q. My students can't see XYZ. What's going on?

First, check to see if your course if published. If it is, check to see if your quiz, assignment, module or file is published. 

  • If students can't see a file you connected via a link, make sure you didn't connect a file from another course in Canvas.

  • If students can't see a file in Files, make sure that the parent folder is published.

  • If students can't see an assignment or a quiz, check the release date.

  • If students can't see an assignment or a quiz, and you are delivering it through modules, make sure both assignment/quiz and module is published. Also check the release date of module.

You can also use "Student View" feature (under "Settings") to see what students are seeing.

Q. How do I stop releasing grades as I grade the homework?

You can turn the Grade Posting Policy to manual BEFORE you begin entering grades

Q. Can I customize the front page?

Yes - Most common way is to create a custom page and designate it as your front/home page. Follow some suggestions from Designing User Friendly Home Pages or from Canvas Community docs which explain what layout options are available (links to an external site.)

Q. I don't see my course in my Dashboard

Dashboard is like your browser bookmark. You can customize what shows up by visiting Courses => All courses in the global menu (navy background). Click on the star to place your course in Dashboard. To remove a course from Dashboard, click on the yellow star.

Q. I need help with publishing my syllabus

You can choose to place your entire syllabus in Canvas or just point to your PDF syllabus. Either way, your students will see assignments and calendar events in chronological order below your syllabus. The Syllabus Tool in Canvas.

Q. How do I set up grade book categories & weighting?

Use Assignment Group feature.

Q. How do I add columns in Grades?

Columns in the Gradebook are only created by adding an assignment in Canvas. If you need to create a column in the Gradebook to use for manual grading, you can create a No Submission or On Paper assignment. 

Q. I used to use Resources in OWL Space a lot. Where is it in Canvas?

In Canvas, the area is now known as FILES. You can upload and share any file with your class. There are three settings in each folder and file; published, unpublished and restricted access. In order for your students to access your file, both file and the parent folder must be published. If you want your students to only access files via assignments or quizzes, use restricted access. Read the detailed explanation.

Q. A student needs an extension to take quiz/test or submit an assignment. What should I do?

At the bottom of Quiz or Assignment tool, you will find an area to set the dates. Just below that, you will find +Add button. Use it and designate the specific student to give her/him the custom due date.

Q. How do a give extra time to a particular student for a timed quiz/test?

Use the Moderate This Quiz option once the timed quiz/test has been published.

Q. My students tell me that they can add or edit their own grades. What is going on?

Students can approximate their grades in the Grades tool. The idea is for students to see "what grade I need to make an A in the course"

Q. I can't create a folder in Files tool?

When creating a folder in Files, use "+Folder" button, type the name of the folder then use RETURN (Mac)/ENTER (Windows) key. 

Q. How do I hide course menu items?

In some cases, you don't want your students to see tools in the course menu. To hide them, go to "Settings" first. Then select "Navigation" from the row of top tabs. You can drag down the tools you don't want - just above save button. You can reorder the tools at the top as well. Once you are done, click save.

Q. Can I create a custom menu?

Yes. Go to "Settings," then click on the "Apps" tab. Look for an app called "redirect," click Add App, give name that you want to see in the menu, place URL, click "Show in Course Navigation," then click, "Add App." The change will take place when you click on the Home button.

Q. What is Speedgrader and how do I use it?

SpeedGrader allows you to view and grade student assignment submissions in one place using a simple point scale or complex rubric. You can access it by clicking on an assignment title in the Assignment tool or by clicking on the assignment title in the grade book.

Q. How do I assign different due date to a group or to a student?

In Assignment or Quizzes, you will find date settings at the bottom. Click "+Add" button to create the desired due date for a group or an individual student.

Q. How do I undelete something?

It happens occasionally. We delete something and realize you deleted the wrong thing. Canvas has a nice 'undelete' feature. Read about the undelete feature in Canvas. It's REALLY easy.

Q. How do I create a new course?

Use the Canvas New Course Request Form.

Q. What is Chat?

Chat is a generic text chat. But you need to know that what you type there will be shared with your entire course - not with just one student. Text will be saved as well.

Q. Are there mobile apps I can use?

Yes. Canvas App for Instructors and Canvas App for students will be great assets.

Q. Will my course automatically populated with students?

Yes. Your course enrollment will be automatically updated twice a day.

Q. How do I view my site as a student?

To access Student View, from the home page, click "Student View" from the right column.

Q. Can I have a demo/sandbox site?

Yes. Please send email to and request the site.

Q. How do I set my profile picture?

Click on "Account" link at the top of global menu (with navy background). Choose "Profile". Click on the default avatar to update.


Keywords:"how do I", canvas, instructor, grades, publish, "can't see course", "Can't see", "course not" "grade book", "unpublish" ,"resources", "add column" "extra time" "time extension" "students can't see" "no access"   Doc ID:74007
Owner:Amanda B.Group:Rice University
Created:2017-06-13 08:37 CDTUpdated:2020-05-06 15:38 CDT
Sites:Rice University
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