COVID-19 Resources for Canvas

Need to get started with Canvas in a hurry? These resources might help!

Getting Started Video Series - intended for instructors, these CWRU-specific videos go through the basics tools and features of Canvas.

Using Canvas for Remote Learning - best practices and solutions for replicating in-class activities in an online environment using Canvas.

Start of Semester Guide - information on creating your course, adding co-instructors, merging sections, and reusing course content.

Using Zoom in Canvas - the Zoom integrations lets instructors schedule meetings and make the meeting details easily available to students

About Canvas

Canvas Logo

Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) used at CWRU. Always available online, it provides a location for organizing and distributing course materials and offers built-in learning tools. Canvas helps foster communication and collaboration online, while also allowing instructors the opportunity to perform assessments and provide feedback on student work.

Canvas can be used to supplement classroom-based courses, supply the online component of hybrid courses, or deliver the content for distance education courses.

Canvas provides on-demand access to materials and allows for anywhere, anytime learning. Here's a few of the things Canvas offers:

  • A place to upload and distribute course materials.
  • Communication tools such as announcements and email lists.
  • Collaboration tools, including discussion boards.
  • Assessment options such as tests, surveys and assignments.
  • The ability to collect, annotate, and grade student submissions.
  • An online, customizable gradebook that integrates with SIS.
  • Notifications for upcoming deadlines and important events.

Canvas can be used to do a lot! For example, you can distribute course materials to students, collect assignment submissions, and communicate with your class.

Your colleagues may be using Canvas to do the following:

  • Post the course syllabus
  • Distribute course materials, such as Word docs, PowerPoints, and online resources
  • Send reminders or updates to students about class activities
  • Collect student assignment submissions
  • Grade students and send those grades to SIS

To get started with Canvas, you'll need to visit from any web browser (VPN not required).

We leave the decision on whether or not to use Canvas up to each instructor; if you decide to use Canvas, you will need to create your Canvas course(s) using the Canvas Wizard. From there, you can copy existing course materials or start building from scratch!

Students can access Canvas at and will have access to course sites if their instructors choose to use Canvas.

Teaching + Learning Technologies recommends the following tips for Canvas:

Course Structure

  • Post your course syllabus on the Syllabus page in Canvas. This is a great way to give your students consistency and help them quickly find the syllabus for your course.
  • Use the Modules page instead of the Files area. We have an overview video and a written guide that explain why we recommend Modules... but it all comes down to the same reason: organize and present your content in exactly the way you want students to interact with it.
  • If you're teaching several sections of a class and want to combine them into one Canvas course site, cross-list the section(s). If you're going to cross-list, do this as early in the semester as you can.

Grades and Assessments

  • Build out the gradebook before the semester begins, even if you're just creating placeholders. This gives you a chance to get everything setup before the stress of the semester catches up to you, while establishing assignment expectations for students.
  • If you’re going to use extra credit, give some thought to how it will be done.
  • We'll tell you this in any training we hold: remember to press the "Update Question" button when working on Canvas quiz questions!
  • Use the Canvas Wizard to upload midterm and final grades from the Canvas gradebook right into SIS.

When in doubt, ask for help! You can get assistance in Canvas using the "Help" button, by sending us an email at, or by contacting the [U]Tech Service Desk at or