Following is information about Canvas, Penn State's Learning Management System (LMS). In Canvas, registered students may consult course calendars; communicate with instructors, teaching assistants, and fellow students; submit assignments; receive feedback from the instructor and teaching assistant; take online quizzes and surveys; and check assignment scores and course grades. A link to Canvas appears on every page.
Quick Guide for Students
If you are new to Canvas, it is strongly recommended that you complete the PSU: Canvas Student Orientation.
You may also want to review the Canvas Student Guide to acclimate yourself further, and watch the following video:
Video: Canvas Overview (4:21)
In this video, you will learn about your Canvas Dashboard and Global Navigation links. You’ll also learn about navigating a course and accessing assignments.
When you log in to Canvas, the first thing you see is the Dashboard. It provides a high-level overview of your current courses. You may be able to select from three different viewing options.
Card View displays a course card for each of your favorite courses. Each card can include clickable icons for Assignments, Announcements, Discussions, and Files.
List View displays all course To Do items in an agenda view to help you easily manage tasks across all of your courses. List View opens to the current date. You can scroll up and down on the page to view past or future items.
The last dashboard view is Recent Activity, which displays a stream of recent notifications from all your courses, including announcements, conversations, assignments, discussions, and peer reviews.
Canvas displays a Global Navigation menu that gives you direct access to your courses and other areas of Canvas.
From the Account link, you can modify your user settings, specify your notification preferences, upload personal files, manage ePortfolios, and log out of Canvas.
Click the Dashboard link to return to the Canvas Dashboard at any time.
Click the Courses link to quickly access your favorite courses and to view a list of all your courses.
Click the Groups link to access any current groups in which you are enrolled or to view a list of all your groups.
Click the Calendar link to view your personal calendar and course calendars.
Click the Inbox link to view and send conversations to your instructors and peers within Canvas.
And finally, click the Help link to access help resources for your institution.
Now let’s take a look at the Course interface. Click the Courses link and then click the name of the course you want to visit. Canvas automatically opens courses to the course home page set by your instructor. The course interface consists of four main components. Course content displays in the Content Area. You can use the Course Navigation links, breadcrumb navigation, or the Sidebar to navigate to different areas of the course.
The course home page sidebar includes a To Do list displaying items that you need to do in your course. You can click any assignment name to view the assignment, and to submit the assignment click the Submit Assignment button. Return to the course home page by clicking the Home link in Course Navigation or the course name in breadcrumb navigation.
If your course includes student groups, you can view a list of your groups in Course Groups. Click the group name to view the group homepage.
You can view recent assignment feedback in Recent Feedback. Click the assignment name and view feedback in the Submission Details page.
You may be able to view your course grades by clicking the Grades link in Course Navigation. You can also access the course grades page from the Course Card and Recent Activity dashboard. Click the View Grades button and click the course name. The Grades page displays your current course grade and a clickable list of all the course’s graded assignments and assignment details.
You've now completed this Canvas Overview Video for Students. For additional information on this or any other topic about Canvas, please visit guides.canvaslms.com. You can also ask questions and engage with other Canvas users by visiting community.canvaslms.com.
Supported Browsers and Computer Configuration
The Canvas Help Center provides extensive, up-to-date documentation on making sure your computer is configured properly for Canvas. Failure to follow these recommendations may result in significant issues while viewing materials, taking assessments, and using drop boxes. Use of unsupported browsers is at your own risk.
Your Canvas Profile and Notification Preferences
Your Canvas Profile and User Settings let you control your personal information in Canvas. Take a few minutes to personalize your Canvas profile and set your Notification Preferences, by following the instructions below.
|Personalize your Canvas Profile||
|If you use PSU OneID||
Students who are enrolled with OneID will not receive emails automatically from Canvas due to not having PSU email access. We advise that students set up a personal email address for notifications.
|Set your notification preferences||
You have the option to select how, when, and for what information you would like to receive notifications. This can be very helpful when keeping track of items such as discussion posts, assignment due dates, and exams. Visit Canvas Notification Preference Support and follow the instructions for setting up your notification preferences. The video below this table provides additional information.
To ensure that your Canvas e-mail messages forward to your regular e-mail account immediately, check the "Notify me right away" option (the checkmark) for each item under "Conversations" in Notification Preferences.
|Set your timezone||
|Download the Canvas App||For information on using the app by device, please see the following:|
Video Tutorial: Canvas Notification Preferences (4:28)
Sometimes, questions arise as to whom to contact about a certain issue. Generally, the following are the best options.
Discussion Forums (in Canvas)
- For discussing, collaborating, and asking questions about lessons and general course issues.
- You may find teaching assistants popping into discussion forums from time to time, but you should expect first and foremost your fellow students, and also the instructor, to respond there.
Conversations (in Canvas)
- First, Please make sure you use Canvas to email your instructor (go to the Inbox in Canvas).
- Check the relevant discussion forum first to see if your question might have already been asked and answered!
- Email Instructor with questions regarding a graded assignment, course content questions, or a specific issue unique to a student's situation.
Reporting Technical Problems
If you experience technology problems in Drupal (course content) please contact your Instructor. If you are a World Campus student and experience technology problems in Canvas, please contact the World Campus Help Desk. If you are a University Park or Commonwealth Campus student, please contact the IT Service Desk.
It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delay assistance; try to include information such as:
- the specific course page, quiz question, etc., you were on, what you attempted to do when that failed, and the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen;
- the date and time when your problem occurred;
- any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).
A member of the Help Desk will be in contact with you to offer assistance.
All official administrative communications from the Penn State World Campus are sent to students' Penn State email accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly or forward your Penn State email to your preferred email account, so you don't miss any important information.