Getting Started

Canvas™ is the centrally hosted Learning Management System software used by UBC, available for free to all instructors and students. It lets you post course notes, electronically collect student assignments, do online quizzes, and so much more. Come visit our office in CEME 1214, and we can give you a quick tour of the Canvas™ system.

You can get both faculty and campus level support when you have questions about how to use Canvas™ system. If you are in the Faculty of Applied Science, you should first contact the Centre for Instructional Support with your Canvas™ questions. You can contact us or drop by our office (CEME 1214) during normal business hours. Outside of normal business hours and for more difficult issues you can contact the central campus Learning Technology Hub through email or by phone at 604-827-4775.

To learn more about how to use the Canvas system on your own, you can check out the UBC help resources below.

Are you new to teaching with Canvas? Canvas 101 might be for you. This new self-paced online course is designed to introduce UBC instructors to the ins and outs of using Canvas and building Canvas courses. Learn how design, deliver, and manage your Canvas courses—and make your teaching more efficient.

Canvas 101 is divided into six modules featuring short videos, how-to instructions, and online teaching and learning strategies. Module topics include organizing your course content, creating assignments and quizzes, and grading.

At the end of each section, you’re invited to take an optional self-assessment to review what you’ve learned. Completing all six knowledge checks will unlock the option to generate a Canvas 101 Certificate of Completion.

Get started with Canvas 101.

*Please note that not all tools will work as described in Instructure’s documentation due to the custom integration with different UBC systems.

For issues with your email account and other technical concerns, please contact the IT Services Help Desk

We currently provide custom one-on-one training remotely. Contact us to learn more or request for a support session here.

  • If you are in the Faculty of Applied Science, you should first contact the Centre for Instructional Support with your Canvasä You can contact us at learning@apsc.ubc.ca or drop into our office (CEME 1214) during normal business hours. Submitting requests to the email will automatically generate a help ticket in our system and helpful Learning Tech Rover will follow-up with you.
  • Outside of normal business hours and for more difficult issues you can contact the central campus Learning Technology Hub [lt.hub@ubc.ca or 604-827-4775]
  • To learn more about how to use the Canvas system on your own, you can check out the UBC help pages or Instructure (Canvas parent company) documentation. Please note that not all tools will work as described in Instructure’s documentation due to the custom integrations with different UBC systems.

Common Requests

We can help migrate content from a previous Canvas or Connect course for the next term.

We can help migrate content from a previous Canvas or Connect course for the next term.

We can help migrate content from a previous Canvas or Connect course for the next term.

Students are automatically enrolled to credit course shells in Canvas once they are registered in the Student Information Service Centre (SISC). They MUST be enrolled in SISC course to gain access to a credit course shell in Canvas. We are unable to directly add students to these Canvas courses.

Instructors and Teaching Assistants (TAs) are automatically enrolled through UBC systems through SISC, after the timetable representatives complete and submits the appointment forms.

Please contact your specific department's timetable representatives to get your instructor and TA appointments completed.

In extraordinary circumstances, your timetable representative can make a request to us (learning@apsc.ubc.ca) for temporary 2 week Canvas access while the paperwork is being processed.

Our office can only add Auditors and Course Assistants to Canvas.

Please submit a request below and provide the following details:

  • Approval from the head of unit
  • Course name and number (i.e CHBE 262)
  • Full name and CWL
  • Email/s of user
  • Canvas role: Course Auditor or Course Assistant

Please note only requests with confirmation from the head of unit and from a FASMail account will be processed.


Frequently Asked Questions

More known issues are documented here: Documentation:LTHub/Canvas/KnownIssues

Access Errors

I cannot access Canvas!

Check the server status here: https://status.instructure.com/

Also check the UBC IT Bulletins: http://bulletins.it.ubc.ca/

I'm getting an unauthorized error!

Unauthorized Access error.

This usually occurs when a student or in student view and clicking a link to an unpublished page/file/module/assignment. Re-map the link or publish the item to resolve this error. We recommend avoiding links as they easily break.

Students cannot access the course!

Unpublished course.
Published course!

Check if the course is published from the homepage; pale green indicates it is published.

Students cannot access a tab in the left sidebar!

Disabled tabs (hidden from students).

If the tab is greyed out, there are two possible causes:

  1. The tab is disabled and hidden from students.
    1. Go to [Settings], then [Navigation].
    2. Drag and drop the relevant items.
    3. Don't forget to save at the bottom of the page.
  2. There is no published content in the tab, so Canvas automatically hides it.
    1. Go to the relevant tab.
    2. Publish an item.
Settings -> Navigation.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12933-415257079

Students cannot access an assignment/page/quiz/module/etc!

Check if the page is published; usually indicated by a green checkmark.

Some Canvas features aren't appearing!

Several features are disabled in UBC’s implementation of Canvas because of FIPPA.

Restore Items

I accidentally deleted something! How do I restore it?

From the Canvas homepage, add "/undelete" to the URL

You will access a page containing all your deleted content, and you can restore them.

Files

How do I restrict files to students?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12771-415241391

Links

Links should be avoided as they can easily break. For example, if you upload a new syllabus, it needs to be relinked and the file needs to be published.

How can I create file previews?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12868-415268090

What files can be previewed?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10033-415241392

How do I make links?

Files can be linked to Canvas pages: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12724-415287672

Modules

What is a module?

Modules allow instructors to organize content to help control the flow of the course: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10735

How do I add a module?

Create a new module: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13129-415241424

What can I add to a module?

You can add the following items to a module: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12689-415241427

  • Assignment
  • Quiz
  • File (document and media file types)
  • Page
  • Discussion

Students can't see my module!

  1. Ensure your module is published: https://it.umn.edu/canvas-publishunpublish-content-items
  2. Enable "Modules" in course navigation: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12933

How do my modules connect to my homepage?

To link your homepage "Home" to the modules created in "Modules":

How do I add prerequisites for a module?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13092-415241433

How do I add requirements for a module?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13134-415261967

Pages

How do I set a homepage?

Click the "Pages" tab in the left-hand menu of your Canvas course.

Click the "View all pages" button.

Click the ellipsis (three vertical dots) on the right side of the desired page.

Click the "Use as front page" option from the drop down menu.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13012-4152724499

How do I hide announcements from the homepage?

Click the "Settings" tab in the left-hand menu of your Canvas course.

Click the "Navigation" tab in the top menu.

Click the three vertical dots on the right side of the "Announcements" option in the course navigation.

Click the "x Disable" option

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Save" button

HTML Formatting

Replace the HTML Text editor with a more feature rich one.

Canvas's built in editor removes formatting and is difficult to work with especially when coding in HTML. This script adds an additional editor that maintains formatting and highlights syntax.

Please refer to our guide here: Documentation:CIS/Canvas/Scripts#Canvas Syntax Highlighter

How can I format tables/tabs/badges/columns/etc?

Canvas has a style guide: https://canvas.instructure.com/styleguide

How do I add CSS?

Canvas does not have this functionality.

Assignment Groups

How do I weight assignments to a certain percentage of the final mark?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10059-415267002

How can I automatically drop the lowest graded assignment of a student?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-9880-4152232976

Group Assignments

Group Assignment Settings

Why are grades not applying to the entire group?

Go to the assignment's settings and disable [Assign Grades to Each Student Individually]. You may need to re-save the grades for Canvas to apply them to the entire group.

If you used SpeedGrader and/or rubrics, you will need to enter each assignment. View the rubric and resubmit the grades.

How do I give individual marks to a group?

Go to the assignment's settings and enable [Assign Grades to Each Student Individually].

Peer Review

Note that students only leave comments in Canvas's peer review.

If you would like peer reviews to account for the grade:

  1. Ensure that students leave a grade (ex: 5/10) in the comments.
  2. Create a new assignment column in the gradebook.
  3. View and manually enter the grades into the gradebook.

Set up Intra-Group Peer Reviews.

Currently Canvas does not have this feature, but this script enables Intra-Group Peer Reviews.

Please refer to this guide for instructions: Documentation:CIS/Canvas/Scripts#Assigning Intra-Group Peer Reviews

Rubrics

Setting up rubrics can make marking much faster and easier. You can simply click on the appropriate criterion, and Canvas will tally up the marks automatically.

How do I make a rubric?

This guide shows how to make a Rubric: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12861-4152724129

Canvas is particular about rubrics, it must be highest score on the left to lowest score on the right.

Can I manually enter a mark into a rubric criteria?

Yes, click on the box to edit.

Can students see an assignment's rubric?

Yes, it will appear in the assignment page for a student.

How do I share rubrics?

You can share courses with rubrics in the Canvas Commons.

  1. Create assignments and rubrics in a course.
  2. Export that course to the Commons.
    1. Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12785

How do I import rubrics from a course?

In your desired course, import the course with the assignment and rubric.

  1. Select [Specific items on import] to specify the desired rubric.
    1. Course from the Commons: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12783
    2. Another course you are an instructor of: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12935-415257077

How do I import a rubric from a spreadsheet?

Currently Canvas does not have this feature, but you can download a script that allows importing rubrics.

Please refer to this guide for instructions: Documentation:CIS/Canvas/Scripts#Importing Rubrics from a Spreadsheet

Sort rubrics when searching in the rubrics dialog menu.

Currently Canvas does not have this feature, but you can download a script that sorts rubrics.

Please refer to this guide for instructions: Documentation:CIS/Canvas/Scripts#Sorting the Find a Rubric dialog

Settings

Assignment Submissions.

Can students submit multiple files for an assignment?

Yes.[Download Submissions] will download all files in a student's current submission, you do not have to create multiple dropboxes for an assignment.

If a student submits multiple times, which submission will I see?

When you click [Download Submissions], it will include only student's most recent submission.

In the SpeedGrader, it will default to showing the most recent submission.

How do I view previous submissions (not the most recent)?

Previous submissions will appear in the right sidebar through a dropdown menu.

How can I upload a submission file for a student?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10003-415275096

How do I add an inclass quiz/assignment/test?

In the assignment settings under assignment type, select [On Paper]. This will add a column which you can edit in the Grades page. You can also upload an spreadsheet with an assignment in a column.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12959-4152406523

How do I set assignments to automatically open on a date?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10327-415273044

Quizzes

How can I export quiz results?

You can export quiz results to a spreadsheet.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13094-415263225

Quiz improvements

This collection of scripts add features such as automatically assigning 0 or partial marks to unanswered text entry questions and more.

Please refer to this guide for instructions: Documentation:CIS/Canvas/Scripts#QuizWiz: Enhancements to SpeedGrader and Quizzes

SpeedGrader

SpeedGrader is a convenient tool that allows you to view student assignments and grade them quickly using rubrics. However, it lacks Turnitin integration for checking plagiarism, so you might opt to use Turnitin as a dropbox instead.

How do I leave annotations?

Canvas has a great guide on using annotations: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15081-4152719763

I'm having issues using a stylus for free draw annotations!

Full screen mode in SpeedGrader

When using a stylus (Surface, Yogabook, iPad, etc), the document might jerk around because of the horizontal scroll. A workaround is to enter full screen mode which prevents such scrolling.

How do I access an assignment's rubric?

In the right sidebar, click on [View rubric].

SpeedGrader improvements

This collection of scripts add features such as auto-advancing to the next student, automatically opening Rubrics, and more.

Please refer to this guide for instructions: Documentation:CIS/Canvas/Scripts#QuizWiz: Enhancements to SpeedGrader and Quizzes

Gradebook

I cannot see an assignment in the Gradebook!

Make sure the assignment is published; it must be published to appear in a column in the Gradebook.

What do the icons in the Gradebook mean?

If there is an icon instead of a grade, it means that assignment if not fully graded yet (ie: quiz with text entry question not graded yet)

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10478-4212136679

How do I excuse a student from an assignment?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12938-4152386299

How do I curve grades?

While Canvas provides this functionality, it is irreversible. We recommend manually curving them on a spreadsheet, and then uploading to Canvas.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12832-415255003

How do I set a default grade?

Be mindful about [Overwrite already-entered grades].

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12834-415255002

How do I treat ungraded assignments as zero?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10225-4152181047

How do I give change grading to submitted and unsubmitted?

In assignment settings, select Display Grade as [Complete/Incomplete].

Select Complete / Incomplete in the dropdown menu

How do I mute an assignment?

We recommend muting assignments; so students aren't notified until you are done grading all submissions.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12961-4152724339

How do I manually editing grades?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13081-4152724415

How do I view the Gradebook history?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13024-415295585

How can I organize the Gradebook by student groups?

Canvas does not natively have this functionality, but we can mimic this sorting by creating an assignment that does not apply to grades.

  1. Create an assignment with the settings: and
    1. "Do not count this assignment towards the final grade"
    2. No Submission"
    3. "This is a group assignment" and select the respective Groupset
  2. Go to the Gradebook and mute the assignment (so it remains hidden from students)
  3. Assign one student in each group a grade manually (ex: group one receives 1, group two receives 2...)
    1. Ensure that each group has a different grade
  4. Instructors and TAs can now sort the gradebook by this column and the students will be grouped together.

Uploading and Downloading Files

How do I upload to the Faculty Support Centre (FSC)?

UBC Wiki: Documentation:LTHub/Canvas/UploadGradestoFSC

How do I upload grades from a CSV file?

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12786-415255013

Natively Canvas only supports the manual building of teams/groups. We have developed a process to import/populate your course with teams and another process to export the team rosters.

For importing teams/groups, please include a CSV file as formatted below.

Generating a Token

Tokens allow users to access the Canvas API to integrate external tools and scripts. Many of the scripts below require a user to generate and enter a token.

Canvas Guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10806-4214724194

Browser Scripts

These scripts were created by community members and therefore are unofficial. They add functionality to Canvas and are listed in full here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-8591-canvancements-canvas-enhancements

We have adapted and tested the extensions below to faculty members here for download and use.

Installing a Browser Extension

CIS Canvas Tampermonkey.png

For these scripts to work, you will need to download TamperMonkey for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

  1. Download the relevant scripts in the links below.
  2. Click on the TamperMonkey extension in the browser's menu.
  3. Click on Dashboard in the dropdown menu.
  4. In the top right menu, go to the Utilities tab.
  5. In the ZIP row, click import to install the script.
  6. You can enable/disable installed scripts will appear in the Installed userscripts tab.
Utilities tab
Installed userscripts tab

Assigning Intra-Group Peer Reviews

This script allows for Peer Reviews within student groups in Canvas.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-14465-assigning-intra-group-peer-reviews

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1or0I6otwHdfzw97Hhwjd583VSqJ6u3pJ

Importing Rubrics from a Spreadsheet

This script allows importing Rubrics from spreadsheets, providing an easier means to manage and edit them.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-8844-importing-rubrics-from-a-spreadsheet

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1x3SON7c94DWl2b-HHsDbT8K2MymIC7VM

QuizWiz: Enhancements to SpeedGrader and Quizzes

QuizWiz adds functionality to SpeedGrader and Quizzes, streamlining the workflow for grading assignments.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-8251-quizwiz-enhancements-to-speedgrader-and-quizzes

There are several configurations of QuizWiz; choose and install only ONE version of QuizWiz. They are described below:

Scripts that focus on speed enhancements

All of these scripts enable the automatic expansion of the comment box, duplicate the question headers, and duplicate the footer at the top when not using Grade by Question. Do not install more than one script, regardless of the type. Instead, find the one closest to what you want and then edit the configuration (see the second video).

  • Speed enhancements only contains just the common features listed above.
  • Auto Advance includes the common features and adds the advance to next users buttons, but does not automatically show the rubrics on advance.
  • Math Whiz is the configuration used by Avi Naiman in the first video. It takes the common features and adds automatically assigning 0 points to unanswered questions and full points to answered essay and file-upload questions.
  • Rubrics is a configuration that may be useful for those who grade with rubrics. It includes the common features, the advance to next user buttons, and automatically opens the rubrics when you advance via the save rubric and advance to next user button. It also includes automatically assigning 0 points to unanswered essay questions.
Scripts that focus on regrading

All of these scripts enable the automatic expansion of the comment box, duplicate the question headers, and duplicate the footer at the top when not using Grade by Question. Do not install more than one script, regardless of the type. Instead, find the one closest to what you want and then edit the configuration (see the second video).

  • All or Nothing includes those common features and adds buttons for regrading multiple-answers, fill-in-multiple-blanks, and multiple-dropdown questions as all or nothing.
  • Partial Credit includes those common features and adds a button for assigning partial credit based on the percentage of responses correctly answered.

Better Group Discussion Navigation

This script adds links to provide quick access to individual group discussions.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-9174-better-group-discussion-navigation

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lcrHWm8nKZbibAJ9fz1UAD3U3pRSpP30

Sorting the Find a Rubric dialog

This script sorts the Rubric dialog for better organization.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-11001-sorting-the-find-a-rubric-dialog

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=10nWXJgNBqnLCtIcH_qoniTBj2v022bhP

Sorting the Course Roster

This script allows sorting of the course roster by columns in ascending and descending order.

Instructions: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bMOymZR-HaDcYNsJLXzEKeETR9cQ9fSi

Download here: https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/higher-ed/blog/2015/09/03/roster-enhancements

How to List Items Alphabetically when Adding to a Module

This script alphabetizes items when adding them to a module.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/designers/blog/2015/08/26/how-to-list-items-alphabetically-when-adding-to-a-module

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lyh0_hPSfqcci9a2KUN9G6fwSVAFqpYE

Obtaining and using Access Report data for an entire course

This script compiles the course's Access Report data, where the total number of students and views for a specific page of a course can be derived.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-6061-obtaining-and-using-access-report-data-for-an-entire-course

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FPynKY1vpgb7Mvy_k1GRn2wZ5OiQUd6p

Show student names for Differentiated Assignments

This script shows student names in the summary for multiple due-date assignments.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-6232

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DWVpD8neZx2e2Lyn5WkMvjzpKJAaGUqP

Canvas Syntax Highlighter

This script adds a better formatted HTML/text editor in Canvas.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/canvas-developers/blog/2018/09/11/html-editor-syntax-highlighter

Download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yoONDlPrMrUBn9qBP6l8OyE99_DwOVKb

Python Scripts

Coming soon!

Upload group lists from a CSV file, export group lists, upload grade comments for assignments and more!

Google Docs integrations

Please note UBC's privacy policies and FIPPA: As Google Docs is hosted on external servers outside of Canada, sensitive data such as student information cannot be stored.

We have ensured that these scripts do not host sensitive data and can be used.

Setup

These scripts require a token to be generated as well as a Google account to access a spreadsheet. Please see the above section on Generating a Token.

Adjust All Assignment Dates on One Page

This script allows for bulk editing of assignments in Canvas:

  • Change due dates/times
  • Change available from and until dates/times
  • Change quiz show and hide answer dates/times
  • Publish/Unpublish assignments
  • Mute/Unmute assignments

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-8585-adjust-all-assignment-dates-on-one-page

Make a copy of this sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Mh1e89AuhT92FkxwUjMWH6df6gPm3Ofx7VAgIv7VSp8/edit#gid=1438788560

Bulk Publish / Delete Pages

This script allows for bulk deleting and publishing of pages in Canvas.

Instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-5676

Make a copy of this sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1EZXnDWKcUPIvAHZ91d_UhjFn08xbxp8WcEK0AD2B2VY/edit#gid=1438788560