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Canvas Quick Overview

This post is designed to assist instructors by providing a brief overview of Canvas–the campus learning management system.

Most of the links below are connected to articles from the extensive Canvas knowledge base which can be found in their entirety by going to

Click on one of the links below to proceed:

Getting Started

Go to the UO Canvas home page ( and sign in using your DuckID and password (Shibboleth authentication)

All courses that have a course reference number (CRN) that are assigned to instructors are accessible to instructors and any associated people (registered students, graduate employees, and course builders).

Canvas Dashboard

The Canvas user interface has a robust dashboard page that users see upon login. Courses are listed into tiles which can have customized colors and nicknames to assist users in identifying the right course. Other features are listed in the image below:

Canvas Dashboard

Setting your course home page

Upon sign-in to Canvas, hover your cursor over the Courses menu along the top then click the course you would like to open.

Along the right-hand side of the screen, click on the Choose Home Page button to proceed.

How to set Canvas Home Page

A dialog box will open with the various options available for the home page. (Syllabus is recommended)

Then click Save to proceed.


From your home page, the instructor can view (along the right-hand column, see the first image in this section):

  • Course Stream (which shows any upcoming date-dependent course information)
  • Course Setup Checklist for setting up your course
  • Create a New Announcement (also available from Announcements)
  • Course Analytics which shows grade trends and other course information pertaining to your students.
  • The To Do list based on date-designated components like Assignments, Announcements, etc.
  • A miniature view of the Course Calendar
  • …and the assignment category weightings (if assignment group weighting has been assigned).

Navigating the primary Canvas features

Once your home page is set up, you can start on any of the options below. Click on any of the links for how to get started.

The links will redirect you to the corresponding article(s) in the Canvas knowledge base. The full knowledge base is searchable and can be found at

Below are links on how to use the different features of Canvas.


  • Messages that can be broadcast to your entire course or all the courses you teach.
  • Additional content (audio, video, etc.) may be embedded within. Each may also be published at a given future date.


  • They can be built in the program or imported from other files.
  • Due dates for each assignment will be linked to the Calendar feature (accessible to faculty and students).
  • Rubrics can also be created with the assignment based upon your pedagogical preference.

Attendance (using Roll Call)

  • Attendance can be tracked for grading purposes
  • Seating charts can be built using the student roster if desired.
    Note: The initial setup of this tool requires permission to access your Canvas course


  • Populated based upon dates assigned to various class components throughout Canvas (Assignments, Discussions, Modules, etc.)
  • Events can be edited from the Calendar via drag-and-drop which then will automatically update in their appropriate area.


  • This feature allows for instructors (and students if enabled) to create a virtual office hours space or workspace for collaboration using BigBlueButton, an integrated audio/video communication software.
  • Each session can be recorded and stored for up to 14 days (Click here for setup)
  • It also features an instant messenger with one-on-one and whole group chat available.


  • This feature allows students and instructors to reply to one another in a discussion thread. Instructors may use this to assign a discussion to a particular reading done for a class.
  • Parameters are customizable for assigning posts and replies.


  • Your media library for all files: images, small audio/video files, PDFs, Word, Powerpoint, etc.
  • Files can be linked to assignments, discussions, modules, etc.
  • Drag-and-drop capable while building assignments as well.
    Note: Each course only has 2 GB of space. Therefore, it is not recommended to store large video files. Videos can be embedded in Assignments and Discussions using YouTube or Microsoft Stream.


  • Fully integrated with the Calendar, Syllabus, and Assignments features (once dates are assigned).
  • Features SpeedGrader which allows for in-browser readability of assignments with in-line comment features (similar to commenting via Microsoft Word) and rubric integration (see Outcomes section below).
    Note: Columns cannot be added from the Gradebook. Each column correlates with an assignment.


  • Allows instructors to build course materials around a certain topic or date.
  • Links materials from assignments, discussion threads, quizzes, tests, and external links.


  • Allows instructors to create and manage rubrics for assignments.
  • Rubrics can be used in conjunction with SpeedGrader.


  • Similar to a wiki-style page or WordPress page.
  • General content about a topic, file, or assignment can be written here (can also be linked to Modules)

Panopto Recordings

  • Part of the UO Canvas instance that grants instructors access to the creation, editing, and storage of video content
  • Audio within the video can be transcribed automatically through Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) generated captions feature
  • Videos created in other software can be uploaded to Panopto using the MP4 file format


  • Allows instructors to view the class roster and any student groups created for a course.
  • In order to add people to the course, instructors have to request their addition through the UO Service Portal
  • Note: Students that are enrolled will auto-populate from Banner.


  • Allows for management of test questions and question banks.
  • Quizzes created using the Respondus plug-in with Blackboard will import into Canvas perfectly.
    Note: For those who imported tests and quizzes to Canvas, the question links should carry over without incident regardless of using Respondus. However, if there was a linkage issue, click the Quizzes link.


  • Fully interactive with all assigned materials. Changes in real-time to any due date modifications made.
  • It can be set as your course home page (recommended).

Links to Additional Content