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 (3:30)
In this video, you will learn how to navigate your Dashboard, courses, and Global Navigation Menu in Canvas.
When you log in to Canvas, the first thing you see is the Dashboard, which provides a high-level overview of your current courses. The Dashboard can be displayed in 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 an agenda view of graded items from your courses, as well as any non-graded items your instructors designate for a course To Do list. You can also add your own items to the agenda.
Recent Activity View displays a stream of recent notifications from all your courses, including announcements, conversations, assignments, discussions, and peer reviews.
You can also access the course grades page from the Course Card and Recent Activity Views by clicking the View Grades button. The Grades page displays grades for all of your courses. To view grade details for a specific course, click the name of the course.
To view a course, click the Courses link in Global Navigation and click the name of the course you want to view. The course opens to the home page set by your instructor.
You can use the Course Navigation links, breadcrumb navigation, or the sidebar to navigate to different areas of the course.
The sidebar includes a To Do list that displays links to announcements and other items that require action in your courses, such as assignments, quizzes, discussions, and pages.
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. View recent assignment feedback in Recent Feedback. Click the assignment name to view feedback in the Submission Details page.
Canvas displays a Global Navigation Menu that gives you direct access to your courses and other areas of Canvas.
Click the Account link to log out of Canvas, specify your notification preferences, upload and view personal files, modify your user settings, manage ePortfolios, obtain a QR code to log in to the Student app, view global announcements, and enable a high-contrast user interface.
Click the Dashboard link to return to the Canvas Dashboard. Click the Courses link to quickly access your favorite courses and view a list of all your courses. Click the Groups link to access groups in which you are enrolled or 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 messages to your instructors and peers within Canvas. Click the History link to view a list of course content and content areas you have viewed within the last three weeks.
Click the Help link to access help resources for your institution.
Thanks for watching this Canvas overview video. To learn more about Canvas, ask questions, or engage with other Canvas users, please visit 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 Inbox 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 (2:56)
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 the 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 IT Service Desk. If you are a University Park or Commonwealth Campus student, please contact Penn State's IT Help Portal.
It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delays 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.