Canvas LMS Info

Upcoming changes to Canvas
Recommendations for Using Canvas
Requests to have multiple sections share the same content
Using Turnitin with Canvas

What you need to know about the June 27th changes to Canvas (NEW DATE!!)

New Canvas homescreen

Sample homepage

Please read the following information carefully so that you know what is changing, what is not changing, and what you need to do.

What is not changing

  • Login process and information will remain the same
  • Navigation inside the course remains the same
  • All tools continue to function the same

What is changing:

The home screen and navigation features are being updated.

  • The global navigation bar is moving from the top to the left side.
  • Your personal settings will move to the Account section at the top of the left navigation bar.
  • Courses that are on your favorites list will become customizable course cards
    • You can change the color, which will also be reflected in the calendar
    • You can create a nickname for the course that only you will see, such as Marketing-Tuesday or Marketing-10 AM. This can be a way to distinguish between two sections of the same course. Their official names will always be visible in the course.
  • Each card has icons that act as shortcuts to new or updated materials in the course.
    • If a tool is not used in your course, the icon will not show

Students will not be able to access your course after the course ends.

  • Currently courses are in a read-only state after the course end date. This will change with the update.
  • Students will not be able to see course materials, assignments, or their course grades after the course ends.

What you need to do

  1. View this video by Instructure for an overview of the new interface.
  2. Review the following Canvas Guides:
    How do I use the new dashboard?
    How do I customize my Course List?
    How do I create a nickname for my course?
    How do I log out of Canvas?
  3. Modify your course end date.
    • Determine the last date that you want students to be able to see course materials, their submitted work and feedback, and their course grades
    • Follow this guide to set your course end date. Make sure to set the time as well.
    • Notify students in your syllabus and in an announcement of the last day to access course materials. Remind them to download and save all work and feedback they want to keep.
  4. On-campus courses only: Our fully online courses include a student support module that provides links to the Canvas guides that students may need. If you would like to add this module to your Canvas shell, please contact Carole Currie for assistance.
  5. Notify your students of the change.
    We will be posting a global announcement in Canvas. In addition you should do the following:

    • Session I instructors: Post an announcement in your course and/or send an email the week before the change so that students are aware. Point them to the global announcement which will include links to useful information.
    • Session II instructors: Include information about the change in your welcoming email to your students one to two weeks before the 27th so that they are prepared for the change when they log in for the first class. Information that you can provide to students will be provided to you.


If you have any questions about the process or how it may impact you or your students, please contact either Carole Currie or Annette Torrey.




Spring 2015 we surveyed our students on their experience with Canvas. The #1 request from students is that ALL instructors use Canvas. Based on their responses, and our experience assisting you in the last three years, we have NEW information and recommendations for setting up your course to make it easier to manage and engage your students.

  1. Every course has a shell. Before a term starts courses are listed as a future enrollment. To see them, hover over Courses and Groups and then click “View All or Customize.”  Scroll down to find your courses for Fall semester. You can also  customize your Course list.
  2. Students are already enrolled in your course shells. For students to see your course:
    1. It must be on or after the course start date.
    2. The course must be published.
  3. Course start and end dates are set by the Registrar’s office. If you would like students to access your course before or after these dates, you can adjust the start and end dates in Course Settings.
  4. Copy your previous course or Import the Course Template.
    1. Copy courseHow to import content into a Canvas course provides instruction on how to copy some or all of a previous semester’s course material. If you used Announcements extensively, you will want to choose Select Content and uncheck Announcements before importing.
    2. Course TemplateImporting the Course Template from Canvas Commons (PDF handout) provides directions on how to import the template into your course. There is a module inside the course template that will guide you on how to customize the template.
  5. Organize your material. The biggest complaint from students in the survey (other than instructors NOT using Canvas) was that it was hard to find materials. Create structure by using Modules and organizing by week or topic. We don’t recommend Files unless you organize it in folders and name your documents clearly. The file structure in Canvas makes it difficult for students to find materials in Files.
  6. Hide tools you are not using. You can customize the navigation bar in a course to show only the tools that students will need to use.
  7. Set your homepage. Canvas offers several options for your homepage. By default it goes to the dashboard, which students in our survey found confusing. You can change what students see when they enter your course. Here are our recommended options:
    1. Modules. This is the best way to organize and structure your information. The template includes basic modules which you can rename and add files, links, pages, and assignments.
    2. Syllabus. If your course is assignment driven, the students will have the basic syllabus information in the heading and links to assignments below.
    3. A customizable home page. This is called Front Page in the template and includes an image you can customize and space for you to convey information to the students, including links to other pages, modules, or files.
  8. Use the Grades feature. This is the #2 request of students. If you are using the Assignments tool for online submissions, columns are automatically created in the Grade book. You can also use the Assignments tool “on paper” submission option to create a column for assignments submitted in class.
  9. Don’t forget to Publish! Both your course, and individual content items must be published in order for students to see them.

If you want to have two or more sections of a course see the same material:

  • Send your request to us at [email protected] and we will manually cross-list the sections. Include the course and section numbers. EX: DPT-100 sections 02 & 04.
  • Be sure to post time and date information for all sections on the home page of the course. Seeing the wrong information was a complaint we heard from students in these courses.
  • You can customize assignment due dates by section.

Integrating TURNITIN into CANVAS Assignments

You have the option of adding Turnitin plagiarism detection to assignments submitted through Canvas. Submissions will automatically be scanned and provide you with an originality percentage along with the student’s file submission in SpeedGrader.

What you need to know about the integration:

  •  It only works with online submissions
  • Students do not need to set up a separate account in Turnitin.
  • You can access the full Originality report to review any alleged plagiarism
  • Grading still occurs in SpeedGrader with Crocodoc.
  • The Grademark features in Turnitin do not import into SpeedGrader, but you can save and download the file with the marks,  and then upload as attachment in SpeedGrader.
  • If you allow students to see their results, they access their Turnitin results by clicking on Grades.

Learn to set up Turnitin assignments here.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how these recommendations could apply to your course, email [email protected] or call Carole Currie x3239 or Annette Torrey x2413.