The University of San Francisco: Information Technology Services
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Getting Started

If you have never used Canvas before, start here. Progressing through the online documents in each module will help you get oriented in Canvas and help you configure your first course. 

Getting to Canvas

You can access Canvas via your USFConnect account at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once on the connect page, select the Learning Technologies tab then select the Canvas icon.

Introduction: The Canvas Layout and Making Your Course Available to Students
Course Shells are added through an automated process that syncs regularly with Banner, the student information system. Once you login to Canvas, you will see the Dashboard and be able to navigate to any assigned courses through the Courses menu.

Module 1: Customize Your Canvas Personal Settings
The Settings area is where you can upload your profile picture and specify the manner in which you want to be notified in Canvas.

Module 2: Upload your electronic Content
You can use Canvas to store digital file such as PDFs, PowerPoints, Word Docs, etc. These are uploaded to the Files repository of your course. These files can be later linked to an assignment page, the syllabus page or packaged together and linked within a Module (Week 1, Module 1, Chapter 1 etc) and be released to students on demand or automatically as the Semester proceeds.

Module 3: Upload your Syllabus
Canvas is a great place keep your syllabus. Canvas even has a specialized Syllabus page for this. You can link your syllabus to this page once you upload it to your Files repository.

Module 4: Create Assignments
Instead having your students email their assignments to you one-by-one, you can create a centralized assignment repository or "dropbox" to which students can submit their work . Once you create an assignment, a column is automatically created in the grades area. All content uploaded by students can be assessed through this gradebook. You can also create an "on paper" or "no submission" assignment where assignments are submitted outside of Canvas, but graded through a gradebook column.

Module 5: Grading Your Assignments
Once you create an assignment, a column will be automatically created in the Gradebook. Once you have reviewed student work submitted through Canvas or to you in person, you can enter grades directly in the Gradebook or by using the Speedgrader.

Module 6: Organizing Your Course Using Modules
Modules are used to create course structure for a sequential presentation of course content to your students. They can contain links to Pages and (or) Files, URLs to web pages, and links to other course tools such as Discussion, Quizzes and Assignments.

Module 7: How do I communicate with my students?
You can email students individually through the Conversations Inbox. You can also send out a one-way blast to everyone enrolled in your course using the Announcement tool. Discussions are used to stimulate interaction between students.

Next Steps

Configure a Custom Course Home Page 
By default, your Canvas course shows the recent activity dashboard as the course Home page.  You may wish to create a custom home page which displays a welcome message, links, images or other information for students. Here are a few homepage examples.




Should you have any questions about Canvas, please email us at