Canvas Instructor Guide

Canvas is UBC’s primary learning platform for delivering online course content.​ In Canvas, you can share materials (text or multimedia), enable student collaboration and discussion, manage assignments and quizzes, and assign grades. Canvas can also be used with many other UBC learning technologies.
Cost Yes Free
Bandwidth Yes Low demand
Canvas Integration Yes n/a
Privacy Yes Canvas is FIPPA compliant and data is stored securely in Canada.
Similar UBC-Supported Tools edX Edge, UBC Blogs, and UBC Wiki are other centrally-supported tools that can deliver course content.

What can I use it for?

You can use Canvas to run any aspect of your course online:

  • Sharing course content
  • Hosting lectures
  • Giving assignments and quizzes
  • Administering exams
  • Facilitating discussions and group work
  • Managing grades

How are other faculty using Canvas?

Robert Russo uses Canvas to create a highly interactive course for students

As with most law courses, the subject matter lends itself to a great deal of exposition, i.e., creating an online environment that is very text-intensive. I wrote the course so that the modules build on each other with practice quizzes and activities following most modules. There are also weekly assignments that make good use of the discussion forum platform. I have received very good feedback from students. Read more »


Nadja Kunz uses Canvas in a simple way for key course activities

I’ve kept things simple and used Canvas for three main purposes: (1) online quizzes, (2) posting lecture material, and (3) contacting students. I plan to take advantage of additional functionalities in later iterations of the course. The system makes it very easy. Read more »

What do I need to use Canvas?

A supported web browser

Canvas runs in your web browser and supports using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari. For which versions work, check the Canvas supported browser page. Canvas will not work with Internet Explorer.

A UBC course you are teaching / have taught in a past, present, or upcoming term

All UBC courses have matching courses in Canvas automatically created, with the enrolled students added, even if you have never used Canvas. Canvas courses are available approximately two weeks after the UBC course calendar has been published, which is typically several months before the start of term. This schedule allows you time to set up your materials and activities.

Tips

  • You and your students can log in to Canvas at canvas.ubc.ca using your Campus Wide Login (CWL). If you don’t have a CWL, please sign up for a CWL first.
  • You and your students can also access Canvas using the Canvas mobile app, which allows everyone to view content and interact in their courses.
  • Lab and tutorial sections are not automatically created in Canvas, but you can request them by contacting your faculty’s Instructional Support Unit or contacting us.
  • You can enrol in Canvas 101, a self-paced course with a basic overview of the features and functionality, which will help you build your course with confidence.

How do I use Canvas?

To use your Canvas course, you will first need to make it visible for students to find when the term starts, then you can customize and use the course for a variety of learning activities.

Click any bar below for instructions and tips for using Canvas.

Set up your Canvas course

  1. Log in to Canvas from canvas.ubc.ca using your UBC CWL (Campus-Wide Login). This action will open your Canvas Dashboard.
  2. On your Dashboard, you will find all the courses you are teaching. Click any course to open it.
  3. Once inside a course, you can start adding content, creating assignments and assessments, and setting up discussions and communications.
  4. When you are ready, make the course available to students by clicking Publish, located on the course home page in the right-hand sidebar under “Course Status”.
  5. If your course starts before the general term start date, publishing will not make the course visible to students. To give students early access, you will also need to follow these instructions:
    • Click Settings in the Course Navigation.
    • In the Participation section, click the drop-down menu and select Course.
    • Enter the date/time that you wish to make your course available as the "Start" date.
    • Enter the date/time that is 8 weeks after the last day of class as the "End" date, so it aligns with UBC copyright requirements.
    • Scroll down and click Update Course Details to save your changes.

Tips

  • UBC Vancouver offers an optional UBCV course syllabus template that can be used when creating syllabi in or outside of Canvas. You may find the template useful, as the automatically-generated syllabus in Canvas does not satisfy the UBCV Senate's syllabus requirements.
  • Keep accessibility in mind as you put course content online. You can read the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology's quick accessibility tips for guidance.
  • You can make your Canvas course content available to download for offline viewing, which improves access for students with limited Internet connections. Click "Settings" in your Course Navigation, select the "Feature Options" tab, and toggle on the item for "ePub Exporting".

Set your Canvas name and pronoun

Edit your name

Your Canvas name is set by the preferred name you have on record with UBC's Human Resources. You can add or change your preferred or legal name by logging in to the Workday system and using the "Personal Information" application.

Edit your pronoun

  1. Click Account in the Global Navigation (the menu in navy blue) and select Settings from the options.
  2. Click Edit Settings, which may appear on the right-hand side or at the bottom, depending on the size of your screen.
  3. Choose your pronouns from the drop-down list.
  4. Click Update Settings.

Tips

  • A preferred or chosen name is a name that you commonly use – it is what you want to be called, not what other people prefer to call you.
  • Your students can also follow a similar process to update their Canvas name and pronoun.

Understand your options for building courses in Canvas

Modules

Modules in Canvas allow you to organize course content and direct the flow of your course. Modules can be set up to require students to complete materials in a sequential fashion (e.g., Week 1, Week 2, Week 3), and each module can contain files, assignments, assessments, discussions, and other learning materials.

In adding content to your modules, please avoid copying text directly from a Word document, because the headings are not pasted consistently with the right format in Canvas. Using the right headings in your course content is important for accessibility.

Announcements

Announcements in Canvas allow you to broadcast information like course activities and logistics to students. Students can receive these announcements by email, if they keep this default on in their Canvas notifications. You can include links, files, and images in announcements, as well as allow students to reply to them.

Use announcements to keep students on track, share news and resources, and celebrate student success.

Groups

Groups in Canvas come with private collaborative areas for each group to work in, which contain announcements, pages, discussions, and files that are shared only within the group. You can create groups for students automatically or manually as well as allow students to make their own groups.

You can also use groups to create group assignments for students to collaborate on and be graded on collectively.

Assignments

Assignments in Canvas refer to a wide range of learning activities, including traditional assignments that invite students to submit a completed work (text, multimedia, file, link) and assignments that are completed using the Canvas discussion board feature, the Canvas quiz feature, or a learning tool external to Canvas.

Assignments may be completed for grades or not and can be submitted by a group or an individual.

Discussions

Discussions in Canvas are discussion boards that invite interactions between two or more people. You can assign discussions to the entire class or to smaller groups of students and optionally add grades for students' participation.

You can use discussions to pose and answer questions for the class and facilitate class-wide conversations.

Quizzes

Quizzes in Canvas are used to create and administer online quizzes and exams that assess students' comprehension of course material and understanding of course concepts. Quizzes can be graded or ungraded and can be set up to work with tools for remote proctoring (Proctorio) and restricted browser settings (LockDown Browser).

Settings

Settings in Canvas allow you to change or view details of your course, including the course status. You can also hide, show, or reorder your Course Navigation. Additionally, the right-hand side bar on the Settings page gives you options to import/export course content and view the course as a student.

Tips

Review other tools that work with Canvas

Other UBC-supported learning tools integrate with Canvas, meaning they can work in or in coordination with your Canvas course to give you more flexibility in the learning activities you can provide for students.

Current status of integrations with Canvas

Canvas IntegrationIntegration InvestigationResultsDetails
Collaborate UltraCompleted
Works in Canvas
This video/audio web-conferencing and collaboration tool has been integrated into Canvas. However, it will be discontinued starting in summer 2021.
ComPAIRCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This peer review tool, which adds comparing to the process of students reviewing one another’s work, has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with ComPAIR and pass participation grades from ComPAIR to Canvas assignments.
CrowdmarkCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This application for grading online, designed to ease the challenges of grading collaboratively with a teaching team, has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with Crowdmark and manually pass grades from Crowdmark to Canvas.
Gradescope
Active Investigation
Testing is currently underway to more fully integrate this application for grading online with Canvas. Currently, you can only use your Canvas course registration with Gradescope.
iClicker CloudCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This online student response system, which allows you to collect and grade responses to in-class questions, has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with iClicker Cloud and manually pass grades from iClicker Cloud to Canvas.
iPeerCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This peer review application for having students assess their team members’ contributions to group assignments has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration and Canvas groups with iPeer and manually pass grades from iPeer to Canvas.
KalturaCompleted
Works in Canvas
This media platform, where you can create, store, and share multimedia content, has been integrated into Canvas.
Lockdown BrowserCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This web browser that “locks down” what students can do during a quiz has been integrated with Canvas. You can enable LockDown Browser for Canvas course quizzes (note that quizzes in Canvas can be used for any type of assessment).
Library Online Course Reserves (LOCR)Completed
Works in coordination with Canvas
This application for managing your course reserves at UBC has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with LOCR.
OnTaskCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This learning analytics tool for sending targeted feedback to students has been integrated with Canvas. You can manually pass Canvas learning analytics data to OnTask and use OnTask to send Canvas messages to students.
peerScholarCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This peer review application for facilitating highly customizable student peer assessments of other student work has been integrated with Canvas. You can manually pass grades from peerScholar to Canvas.
PiazzaCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This online Q&A discussion application has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with Piazza.
ProctorioCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This application that allows you to give an remotely proctored quiz or exam has been integrated with Canvas. You can enable Proctorio for Canvas course quizzes (note that quizzes in Canvas can be use for any type of assessment).
Respondus QuizCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This assessment-building software for creating exams or quizzes offline on Windows computers has been integrated with Canvas. Respondus Quiz assessments can be imported into a Canvas course as Canvas quizzes (note that quizzes in Canvas can be used for any type of assessment).
Student Time ZonesCompleted
Works in Canvas
This tool for visualizing your students' availability based on their time zone has been integrated into Canvas.
ThreadzCompleted
Works in Canvas
This learning analytics tool that allows you to visualize and better quantify student discussions has been integrated into Canvas. You can use Threadz to analyze outcomes of your Canvas discussion boards.
TurnitinCompleted
Not available in Canvas
The integration with Canvas of this plagiarism-prevention tool is not currently compliant with BC data privacy laws.
UBC BlogsCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This interactive website-building platform has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with UBC Blogs, allowing students to join websites as collaborators or subscribers.
WebworkCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This online assignment and quiz tool​ for numeric problems and equations has been integrated with Canvas. You can use your Canvas course registration with Webwork and pass grades from Webwork to Canvas assignments.
ZoomCompleted
Works in coordination with Canvas
This video/audio web-conferencing and collaboration tool has been integrated with Canvas. You can schedule Zoom sessions and share session links and recordings in Canvas.
AbacusCompleted
Works in Canvas
This research library database application has been integrated into Canvas.
Achieve (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
Achieve publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
BadgrCompleted
Works in Canvas
This tool for recognizing and tracking course achievements has been integrated into Canvas.
CLASSCompleted
Works in Canvas
This scheduling system for chemistry labs has been integrated into Canvas.
Connect (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
Connect publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
InQuisitive (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
InQuisitive publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
LaunchPad (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
LaunchPad publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
MasteringPhysics (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
MasteringPhysics publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
MindTap (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
MindTap publisher content is available by request in Canvas.
Pearson (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
Pearson publisher content is integrated into Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
Roll Call AttendanceCompleted
Not available in Canvas
LT Hub Leadership has considered the request to enable this attendance-taking tool and decided not to enable the integration in Canvas, based on the current functionality. We recommend attendance continue to be taken via traditional means.
Rover (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
Rover publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
Sapling Plus (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
Sapling Plus publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.
Wiki Embed
Active Investigation
Testing is currently underway to integrate this means of embedding content from the UBC Wiki with Canvas.
Wiley Plus (publisher content)Completed
Works in Canvas
Wiley Plus publisher content is available by request in Canvas through Willo Labs. Willo Labs enables UBC to provide publisher content in Canvas without having to share student data back with the publisher company.

Upload a file to your Canvas course

Modules in Canvas are used to organize course content. Each module can contain files, assignments, assessments, discussions, and other learning materials. The following steps will walk you through uploading a file, but you can pick something other than file when you reach Step 4, to add other content to the module.

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Modules in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the +Module blue button in the upper right side of the screen.
  3. Add a title for the module. Consider a descriptive title such as "Lecture Slides" with an identifier like "Week 1". Click Add Module.
  4. You will see the new module on the page. Click the plus sign in the upper right corner of the module and select File from the "Add" drop-down menu in the pop-up window.
  5. Click Choose File or Browse (depending on your browser) and locate the lecture file on your computer.
  6. Click the file, then click Open.
  7. Click Add Item to add the file to your module.

Tips

  • Try to be strategic and clear in naming and organizing material. How you structure files and modules in your course makes a big difference in how easy it is for students to find and study content.
  • Files you upload should be reduced to the smallest practical size to make it easier for all students to view and download, regardless of their Internet connection speed.
  • Keep in mind not all students have access to special software, like PowerPoint. Before you upload, transform your file into a more transferable format, like PDF. You can learn about creating PDFs from PowerPoint on Microsoft's website.

Communicate with your Canvas course

One of the fastest ways to reach all students in a course is using announcements in Canvas. Alternatively, you can message students through the Canvas Inbox, which is like a personal email tool within Canvas.

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Announcements in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the +Announcements blue button in the upper right side of the screen.
  3. Add a title and content for the announcement. You can also add links, files, and images.
  4. If you like, you can delay the posting of your announcement to schedule it for a future date.
  5. Click Save. Unless you are delaying, your announcement will immediately be posted in the course.
  6. Students can change their preferences to delay or turn off receiving email notifications of announcements. As a final step, you may want to encourage them to keep these notifications on.
  1. Log in to Canvas, and choose Inbox from the left-most Global Navigation.
  2. Click the pencil compose icon on the top bar.
  3. In the "Course" drop-down menu, select your course.
  4. Search for individual student(s) to add to the "To" field or send to all.
  5. Type your message. Note that all content is sent in plain text. You can also include an attachment or media file.
  6. When you are finished, click Send.

Tips

  • Share weekly communications to maintain a regular teaching presence in the course and remind students of the focus and expectations for the week.
  • Use messages rather than announcements when you want to reach specific individuals or smaller groups of students and/or want to start a two-way communication.
  • You can send custom messages to students based on their performance using OnTask. OnTask is a learning analytics tool that lets you create custom feedback for students meeting specific learning criteria in Canvas. Students will receive these messages as individual feedback from you, in their Canvas Inbox.

Use groups in your Canvas course

One way to organize student group work, projects, and assignments online is to use groups in Canvas. Each group will have its own private group area to work in, which contains announcements, pages, discussions, and files that are shared only within the group.

Canvas has two types of groups: group sets that are managed by you and student groups that are organized by students. You can use both simultaneously in a course. But groups sets are the only group type that you can use for grading purposes.

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click People in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click +Group Set blue button in the upper right side of the screen to create a new group set.
    • Give your group set a name. It's important to include the course name in this name to make it easier for students to find.
    • Allow self sign-up, if you wish. This allows students to move between groups.
    • Choose to automatically split students into x number of groups or to create groups manually.
  3. Save your group set.
  4. You can now manage which students are in which groups for this set.
  5. Once groups are populated, students will be able to access the private group area.
  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Settings in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the Course Details tab.
  3. Click more options at the bottom of the tab.
  4. Click the checkbox for "Let students organize their own groups".
  5. Click Update Course Details.
  6. Students will be able to set up groups by clicking People in the Course Navigation. When new student groups are created, you will be able to see them on the "Student Groups" tab on the People page.

Tips

  • Use group sets anytime you want to assign grades to groups of students.
  • Group sets can house different group arrangements within a course. For example, if students will work on Assignment 1 and Assignment 2 in different groups, create two group sets: "PSYC 101 - Assign 1" and "PSYC 101 - Assign 2".
  • Allowing student-created groups in your course is a powerful way to help students collaborate on projects, discuss topics, and schedule meetings with each other. Refer your students to learn more about using Canvas student-created groups in UBC's Canvas student guide.

Create an assignment in your Canvas course

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Assignments in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the +Assignment blue button in the upper right side of the screen.
  3. Enter the assignment name and provide any instructions using the text editor.
  4. Indicate the number of points, the assignment group (i.e., the group of assignments this should belong to for grading purposes), and submission type(s) allowed.
    • By default, Canvas will assign the assignment to everyone in your course. See the group assignment tab for assigning to groups.
  5. You can add a due date for the assignment, which allows for late submissions. Alternatively, you can add availability dates and students will only be able to submit during this time frame, with no late submissions allowed.
  6. Click Save & Publish. You will be able to edit the assignment until students start submitting.
  1. Before creating a group assignment, set up group sets for your Canvas course, if you haven't already.
  2. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Assignments in the Course Navigation.
  3. Click the +Assignment blue button in the upper right side of the screen.
  4. Enter the assignment name and provide any instructions using the text editor.
  5. Indicate the number of points, the assignment group (i.e., the group of assignments this should belong to for grading purposes), and submission type(s) allowed.
  6. Click the checkbox for "This is a Group Assignment". You can assign an assignment to a group set (which contains multiple groups) or to a specific group in a group set:
    • To assign to a specific group, click the x icon next to the "Everyone" label.
    • Start to type the name of the group in the "Assign to" field. Click the group's name when it appears.
  7. You can add a due date for the assignment, which allows for late submissions. Alternatively, you can add availability dates and students will only be able to submit during this time frame, with no late submissions allowed.
  8. Click Save & Publish.
  9. A warning message will pop up indicating that not everyone will be assigned this item. Click Continue to confirm.

Tips

  • You can let students submit links or file uploads (including multimedia like images and videos) for their assignments.
  • Other specialty tools are supported at UBC for facilitating assignments, including tools that enable student peer assessments aka peer review assignments.
  • You can add student peer review to a Canvas assignment; however, this peer review is limited in what you can customize and is best for only streamlined uses of peer review.
  • All members of the group will receive the same grade for the submission by default, when you create and grade a group assignment.

Set up a discussion board in your Canvas course

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Discussions in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the +Discussion blue button in the upper right side of the screen to add a discussion topic.
  3. Create a title and description for your discussion. You can also add links, files, and images.
  4. Set your discussion options:
    • By default, discussions are created as "focused" discussions. To create a threaded discussion that allows nested replies, click the checkbox for "Allow threaded replies".
    • To make your discussion available only during a specific dates, enter dates in the availability fields.
  5. To create a graded discussion, click the checkbox for "Graded". Once selected, additional options will be added to the page for assigning the discussion.
  6. Once you are ready, click Save & Publish.

Tips

  • Focused discussions are best for quick topics and only allow replies to the original post, while threaded discussions are best for in-depth topics, as they allow for infinite levels of replying.
  • Get additional insights into how discussions are used by enabling Threadz. Threadz is a learning analytics tool that allows you to visualize and better quantify student conversations that happen in threaded Canvas discussions.
  • To reduce your email load, set up a topic where students can ask questions and you can respond to everyone at once.

Create an assessment in your Canvas course

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Quizzes in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the +Quiz blue button in the upper right side of the screen.
  3. To create a quiz, choose the Classic Quizzes option and click Submit.
  4. In the Details tab, enter the name of your quiz. In the text editor below, you can introduce your quiz.
  5. Set the quiz options, which include the following:
    • Quiz Type - Graded or Practice (ungraded)
    • Assignment Group - The group of assignments this quiz should belong to for grading purposes
    • Shuffle Answers - Randomize answers
    • Time Limit - Time allowed to complete the quiz
    • Allow Multiple Attempts - Allow more than one attempt at answering
    • Let Students See Their Quiz Responses - Show students what they answered and any feedback you add, immediately or at a later date
  6. You can add a due date for the quiz, which allows for late submissions. Alternatively, you can add availability dates, and students will only be able to submit during this time frame, with no late submissions allowed.
  7. Click Save. You are now ready to add questions to your quiz.
  8. Click Edit in the upper right, then click the Questions tab.
  9. Click +New Question.
  10. Select the question type from the drop-down menu.
  11. To set a point value for the question, enter the points.
  12. Enter the question text using the text editor.
  13. If applicable, add the answers for each question and select the correct answer by clicking it.
  14. Add any feedback to individual answers and/or the overall question.
  15. Click Update Question to save.
  16. Repeat the steps to add more questions. When you have finished, click Save & Publish.

Tips

  • Canvas will always call your assessments a “quiz”, whether you want to assign a quiz or exam to your students.
  • With a Canvas Classic Quiz, you can choose from ten question types: multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, multiple answers, multiple drop-down, matching, numerical answer, formula, essay, and file upload.
  • Quizzes in Canvas can be used for graded or ungraded assessments. Creating a graded quiz automatically adds a column to your online Canvas Gradebook spreadsheet.
  • By default, grades in Canvas will be visible to students as soon as they complete an auto-graded quiz. If you want to control grade release instead, follow the steps in the grading section below to enable manual posting.
  • For synchronous assessments—especially exams—in large courses, stagger student start times to avoid overloading your tools. For example, group students into blocks of 200 or less, with five minutes between the start time for each block.

Accommodate UBC exams in Canvas

If the UBC Vancouver Centre for Accessibility or the UBC Okanagan Disability Resource Centre has contacted you regarding a student who requires exam accommodations, you can add time extensions and allow multiple attempts on Canvas exams for that individual.

Tips

  • You can export a Canvas quiz to use in Respondus Quiz, a tool which lets you download the quiz as a Word document. This feature is particularly helpful if you need to accommodate students who are unable to take an online assessment. However, it is only available for Windows computers.

Add time extensions

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Quizzes in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the 3 dots to the right of the quiz, and select Edit from the drop-down menu.
  3. Scroll down to "Assign to", and click + Add.
  4. Type the name(s) of the student(s) who will need extended time.
  5. Adjust the "Due" and "Until" dates for the student(s) to a later date/time to match the time extension provided.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Click Moderate This Quiz in the menu on the left-hand side. (The Moderate This Quiz link will appear once you have published the quiz).
  8. In the table that opens, click the pencil icon to the right of the student you want to give more time to.
  9. In the "Student Extensions" pop-up, use the "Extra time on every attempt” field to enter the number of additional minutes to provide for this student.
  10. Click Save, and repeat this for any other students who require accommodations.

Allow multiple attempts

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Quizzes in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the name of the quiz.
    • If the quiz is not published, please publish it first.
  3. Click Moderate This Quiz in the menu on the left-hand side.
  4. In the table that opens, click the pencil icon to the right of the student you want to give more attempts to.
  5. In the "Student Extensions" pop-up, enter the number of attempts.
  6. Click Save, and repeat this for any other students who require accommodations.

Add time extensions

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Quizzes in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the 3 dots to the right of the quiz, and select Edit from the drop-down menu.
  3. Under "Assign to", click + Add.
  4. Type the name(s) of the student(s) who will need extended time.
  5. Adjust the "Due" and "Until" dates for the student(s) to a later date/time to match the time extension provided.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Click the Moderate tab at the top.
  8. Find the student you want to give more time to, and click Moderate to the right of their name.
  9. Under “Time adjustments,” select Give additional time and enter the additional hours/minutes to provide for this student. Repeat this for any other students who require accommodations.

Allow multiple attempts

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Quizzes in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the name of the quiz.
  3. Click the Moderate tab at the top.
  4. Find the student you want to give more attempts to, and click Moderate to the right of their name.
  5. Enter the number of additional attempts.

Grade with Canvas

Choose from the available grading features

You have three main options for grading with Canvas: grade in a spreadsheet (Gradebook), grade while viewing student work (SpeedGrader), or grade offline (export to a spreadsheet).

  • The Gradebook is a spreadsheet in Canvas that helps you input and distribute grades for students based on their work in the course. Each column represents a published assignment, graded discussion, or graded assessment. Grades can be calculated as points, percentages, complete or incomplete, pass or fail, GPA scale, and letter grades, with optional weighting applied to groups of learning activities. You can access the Gradebook by clicking Grades in the Course Navigation.
  • The SpeedGrader enables looking sequentially at each student’s work and entering grades as you go. You can also provide comments directly on student PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoints. You can access SpeedGrader from any assignment, quiz, or graded discussion, or directly from the Gradebook.
  • To grade offline, you can export grades from the Gradebook in an editable spreadsheet. When grading is complete, you can upload the spreadsheet back to Canvas to post the grades for students. You can access the Gradebook for importing and exporting by clicking Grades in the Course Navigation.

Tips

Manually post grades in Canvas

By default, grades will be visible to students as soon as they complete an auto-graded assessment or you enter a grade for the item in the Gradebook, but you can change this default.

  1. Log in to your Canvas course, and click Grades in the Course Navigation.
  2. Click the settings gear icon on the right-hand side.
  3. Click the Grade Posting Policy tab, and choose Manually Post Grades.
  4. Click Update. The word “Manual” will appear next to all the column titles in your Gradebook.
  5. Enter grades using any relevant approach above.
  6. Once all the grades have been entered for a column, hover over the column heading, click the column option menu (the 3 vertical dots), and choose Post Grades.
  7. Students will see their grades for this item.

Canvas FAQ

Find UBC-specific answers to frequently asked questions by clicking any bar below.

New courses

All new course sections in the UBC course calendar are automatically created in Canvas approximately two weeks after the UBC course calendar is published, which is typically several months before the start of term. If your course has been added to the UBC calendar but does not appear in Canvas after this time period has passed, please contact us for assistance.

Labs, tutorials, and courses offered through UBC's Affiliated Colleges (e.g., Carey Theological College, Regent College, Vancouver School of Theology) need to be created manually in Canvas. Please contact your Instructional Support Unit or contact us to get courses and sections manually added to Canvas.

Old courses

At the end of each term, Canvas automatically sets courses to close and converts them to a read-only archival state. At UBC, Canvas courses using the default start and end dates are set to close eight weeks after the last day of class.

If you did not "favourite" your course before it closed, it will no longer appear on your Canvas Dashboard when you log in. However, you can still find all your Canvas courses by clicking "Courses" in the Global Navigation (dark blue bar on the left) in Canvas, then clicking the "All Courses" link at the bottom of the list.

Canvas course default start and end dates

This table shows when your course will be accessible by students during the term, if you use the default start and end dates.

TermStart DateEnd Date
2020W1Sep. 8, 2020Jan. 28, 2021
2020W1-2Sep. 8, 2020Jun. 9, 2021
2020W2Jan. 11, 2021Jun. 9, 2021
2020WASep. 8, 2020Jan. 28, 2021
2020WBSep. 8, 2020Jun. 9, 2021
2020WCJan. 11, 2021Jun. 9, 2021
2020WDJan. 11, 2021Oct. 7, 2021
SD-2020WSep. 8, 2020Aug. 23, 2021
2021S1May. 10, 2021Aug. 12, 2021
2021S1-2May. 10, 2021Oct. 7, 2021
2021S2Jul. 5, 2021Oct. 7, 2021
2021SAMay. 10, 2021Oct. 7, 2021
2021SBMay. 10, 2021Oct. 7, 2021
SD-2021SMay. 10, 2021Dec. 25, 2021

Canvas offers a number of roles for people in your Canvas course, including but not limited to Student, Instructor, and Designer—each of which is associated with its own permission settings, meaning things each role in Canvas can access and do.

Who has access to your course in Canvas and what role they are assigned is handled automatically based on course registration, teaching appointments, and the staff who need to support you. But you can request additional access for people, if you have a reason to include another person in your course.

Who is registered automatically

Students are automatically added to your Canvas course, once they are enrolled in your UBC course. Students can access your Canvas course on the first day of the term, as long as your course has been published.

Instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) are automatically added to a Canvas course once they have an active appointment to teach in the course. Note that instructors and TAs first need official appointments with UBC, before they can be added to any course.

For courses to be accessible to you and your TAs, your teaching appointments also need to be recorded by your faculty’s timetable representative. You can find your representative in the timetable spreadsheet directory from Student Services (look under "Resources").

How to add other people

You may request to add other people in additional roles (Observer, Designer, or Test Student) to your Canvas course by contacting us. Please make sure to clearly list what you need the additional people to do, so that the appropriate role can be assigned in a timely manner.

If you wish to add another person in a traditional role (Instructor, TA, or Student) or if you or a TA don't have access to a course you think you should have access to in Canvas, please contact your faculty or department directly. If you aren't sure who to contact, find your representative in the timetable spreadsheet directory from Student Services (look under “Resources”).


  1. Click Settings in the Course Navigation.
  2. In the Participation section, click the drop-down menu and select Course.
  3. Enter the date/time that you wish to make your course available as the "Start" date.
  4. Enter the date/time that is 8 weeks after the last day of class as the "End" date, so it aligns with UBC copyright requirements.
  5. Scroll down and click Update Course Details to save your changes.


At UBC, Canvas courses are set to close eight weeks after the last day of class, but students with ‘Standing Deferred’ status can be granted extended access to your Canvas course. To request an extension, please contact us and provide information about the nature of the extension, so we can determine how to best manage it in Canvas.


If you will be teaching the same course in a future semester, you can copy existing course content into a new course.

If you need to make grade changes to an archived course, please contact your Instructional Support Unit or contact us to see if this option is available.


Yes. UBC is legally required to perform a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) on all systems that collect or use personal information. The UBC PIA determined that Canvas is a secure system and is privacy-compliant. It is also used by many other educational institutions across Canada.

The information in Canvas is stored and backed up in secure data centres run by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Quebec. AWS is a very secure storage service that is used by many public bodies in BC and across Canada and is at least as secure as UBC's own data centres. Information in Canvas is not stored outside Canada at any time.


The following types of personal information may be automatically collected and stored in Canvas's logs:

  • internet protocol address (the number assigned to each device connected, which may identify the general location of the device)
  • device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of access, and any referral URL (links that send you to Canvas)
  • on-page clicks including but not limited to login events, viewing content pages, launching tools, uploading files, posting to forums and discussions, authoring calendar items, and submitting quizzes
  • user-assigned or calculated records including but not limited to grading rubric scores, grades, and badge and outcome achievement awards

Personal information is also transferred from UBC’s Student Information System (SIS) into Canvas, including student names, numbers, email addresses, and course enrollment information.


UBC is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), a privacy law that governs all government bodies in British Columbia. FIPPA protects personal information (recorded information about an identifiable individual) and allows UBC to collect and use this information only for purposes connected with its programs or activities and only if UBC keeps this information secure and confidential.


Unlike private sector privacy laws, FIPPA does not require UBC to ask for consent before collecting or using personal information; it allows UBC to collect personal information that directly relates to and is necessary for academic programs or activities. UBC does have to notify students about the data collection. The data collection notice for Canvas can be found in the "Acceptable Use and Privacy Policy" in Canvas, which is linked from the footer of the Dashboard.


No. It is important for all students to use Canvas to ensure that UBC can deliver its courses and programs effectively. Most similar services provided by public bodies do not allow for opting out.


Under FIPPA, personal information can be used for the purpose it was collected or for a consistent purpose. That means students’ personal information in Canvas is used for the purpose of facilitating the delivery of courses. Personal information may also be used in providing course support, in investigating suspected occurrences of misconduct, and for tools that support the quality of teaching and learning (such as dashboards for monitoring progress or tools that provide student feedback). Additionally, personal information may be combined for statistical analysis purposes, but only after anonymizing it by stripping out identifiers so it is not tied to a specific individual.


On the request of or approval by a Dean’s office, information about individual students’ activities in Canvas such as logins, on-page clicks, assignment submissions, and IP addresses may be shared with the Dean’s office as part of misconduct investigations. This information may also be combined with data received from third-party sites where misconduct may have taken place.


Under FIPPA, UBC can make identifiable information available to faculty or staff only on a need-to-know basis. UBC enforces this legal principle by restricting UBC employees' access to information within Canvas with role-based access controls (wherein different roles have access only to what each needs to know). Students cannot view information about other students, with the exception of the names of students enrolled in their courses.


FIPPA does not allow sharing any personal information with third parties outside UBC without the consent of the individuals the information is about. There is an exception to this rule, however, that allows public bodies to share personal information with service providers, i.e., companies or consultants they hire to perform services for them.

Employees working for service providers sometimes require access to the systems they support for installation, troubleshooting, and data-recovery purposes. In these instances, service providers are permitted temporary access to information for these limited purposes, but they are forbidden from retaining any personal information or using it for any other purposes.

In the case of Canvas, the above means information is accessible when necessary by service providers who support Canvas and other tools that integrate with Canvas.


Under FIPPA, service providers are treated the same as employees. That is, they are subject to the same restrictions on use and disclosure of personal information as UBC employees. They are also subject to investigation by the provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner and can be charged with an offence if they violate the rules—and violations can result in large fines. In addition to these legal restrictions, UBC ensures that all service providers sign strict confidentiality agreements that require them to notify UBC if there are any security breaches.


Limits to what you can upload and store in Canvas apply on three levels: each course has a 4GB storage limit, each group has a 100MB storage limit, and each person’s account has a 250MB storage limit. To maximize your available storage, consider where and how you upload content in the course.

Not counted as Canvas storageCounted as Canvas storage
  • Kaltura video uploads, shares, and embeds in your course do not count against the limits. Kaltura videos are uploaded and accessed through the “My Media” and “Media Gallery” areas of your course.
  • Zoom cloud recordings that are saved in the “Zoom” area of your course do not count against the limits.
  • Uploads using the "Upload/Record Media" tool in Canvas do not count against the limits. The tool is accessible from areas of the course that have a Rich Content Editor such as Pages, Assignment instructions, and SpeedGrader.
  • Files your students submit to graded items in the course (assignments, quizzes, discussions) do not count against the limits.


  • Files uploaded as part of the “Files”, “Announcements”, or “Pages” area of your course will count against the course limit.
  • Files uploaded as part of assignment instructions, discussion instructions, or discussion replies will count against the course limit.
  • Files your students upload to a student group’s “Files”, “Announcements”, or “Pages” area of the group, and files they upload as part of a group discussion’s instructions or replies will count against the group's limit.
  • Files attached using the “Attach” button for ungraded discussion replies will count against the person’s account limit.
  • Files uploaded to your personal account’s “Files” area as well as attachments added using the Canvas Inbox tool will count against your account limit.

To check the storage available in your course, groups, or account, you can follow the instructions below: 

  • For course storage: Access your Canvas course and click Files in the Course Navigation. At the bottom of the page, you can find the amount of the 4GB storage that has been used. 
  • For group storage: Access your Canvas course and click People in the Course Navigation. Click the tab for the group set you want to view (you’ll need to have group sets built first). Click the three dots beside the group name, and select Visit Group Homepage. From the group homepage, click Files in the navigation. At the bottom of the page, you can find the amount of the 100MB storage that has been used. 
  • For personal account storage: In Canvas, click Account in the Global Navigation (the navy-blue bar), and select Files from the pop-out menu. At the bottom of the page, you can find the amount of the 250MB storage that has been used. 

If you are running out of storage, you can consider using tools in the course that do not count against the quotas. For example, videos in the “Files” area of your course can be moved to Kalturaor you can share files with your students using the “Upload/Record Media” tool in an announcement rather than attaching files in inbox messages. 

Where can I get more support with Canvas?

Technical support

If you have trouble with Canvas:

  • You can also use self-service troubleshooting by clicking the "Help" link in Canvas's Global Navigation (the navy blue menu).

For supporting your students:

Learn more


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