How Canvas Organizes Content
Penn State uses Canvas to deliver most of its courses to registered students. (For more information about Canvas, visit the Getting Started with Canvas page). Canvas organizes content using different sections as follows:
Main Menu in the gray left-hand pane:
- Courses - This section provides links to all courses you are enrolled in.
- Calendar- This is the official record of assignment due dates. Refer to this page to see when you are instructed to begin working on readings or assignments and when you are instructed to complete quizzes and projects.
- Inbox - Here is where you can send messages to your instructor, grading assistant and other students in class. Please try to utilize this section for most course communications.
- Account - This is where you can customize your personal profile, Canvas settings, and how you want to be notified about activity in the course (e.g., email forwarding).
Menu of links once inside a course:
- Home / Syllabus - This is the front page of the course giving you a brief overview and rundown of scheduled course activities in the chronological order
- Announcements - This section lists the main announcement from the course Instructor
- Modules - This section contains the main depository of the course materials. Each module corresponds to a particular lesson (week) of the course, and the last module contains materials related to the course project. Contents of each module include:
- Lesson readings
- Additional supporting materials
- Discussions - This section lists all the course discussions in one place (for convenience), but you can also access same exact discussions through the Modules.
- Grades - This page allows you to view your assignment grades.
- People - This section list all of the members of the course and provides a link to each individual's profile page so you can learn more about them.
- Library resources - This section contains the library reserves - books and articles assigned for reading in different lessons.
For a more complete introduction to Canvas please see the Getting Started with Canvas page.
Configure Your Canvas Account
To get the most out of Canvas, registered students should configure their Canvas profiles as follows:
- Update your "Profile" for Canvas to make sure that the rest of us have current information about you.
- Click "Account" in the main menu and follow the "Profile" link. Click the "Edit Profile" button to enter biographical information about yourself, your interests, etc., that you want to share with others in the class. Please upload your picture so that we can "see" each other in discussions and communications. Provide links to other sites that are relevant to you and share any social media outlets you'd like people to know about.
- Set up your course email preferences. It is very important that you specify a personal email address in your Canvas account.
- Click on the "Settings" link. By default, your Penn State email address is included; be sure that any other preferred email address(es) are listed on this page. If you would like to have information sent to a different or additional account, click the "Add Email Address" link and provide the address.
- Click on the "Notifications" link. On this page you can specify what kinds of communications you want sent to any of your email address(es). To forward all Canvas email messages to your regular email account, change the settings for each of the items under "Conversations" to "ASAP". This will forward all messages in the Inbox section of Canvas to your external email account.
- Feel free to configure the other items on this page as you see fit. We recommend that you enable email notifications for other items, such as discussions and announcements so you don't miss important information.
- NOTE to registered students: All official communications from the Penn State World Campus are sent to students' Penn State email accounts (your @psu.edu email account), not the Canvas Inbox. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State email to your preferred email account, so you do not miss any important information. You can control the forwarding (recommended, easy) of your @psu.edu email account by going to www.work.psu.edu.
- There is more information concerning this in the "Communication" section of the Orientation.
Need Help with Canvas?
When in Canvas, at the bottom-left corner of the screen you will see a round icon with a question mark. Click this question mark icon for a list of options, including "Search the Canvas Guides", which provides lots of information about how to operate in the Canvas site.