At IU, what is Canvas, and how can I get help with it?

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About Canvas

Canvas is a learning management system developed by Instructure, Inc. Canvas is designed to simplify teaching and learning in K-12 and higher education settings. Since launching in 2011, Canvas is used by more than 700 colleges, universities, and school districts around the US. Canvas features a diverse tool set, including mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.

Other features include:

  • A graphic analytics reporting engine for creating customizable dashboard views that provide students with continuous feedback and let instructors measure the effectiveness of their content
  • An integrated multimedia recorder for recording and uploading audio and video content you can use in assignments, messages, and discussions

For more about Canvas features for higher education, see Canvas's Features - Higher Education page. For more about Canvas in general, see Canvas's K-12 and Higher Education pages.

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Canvas at IU

After an extensive evaluation process involving faculty and students, Indiana University selected Canvas to be the successor to Oncourse. Canvas offers several tools and capabilities not available in Oncourse; see In Canvas, what capabilities are available?

All IU students, faculty, and staff can log into Canvas using their Network ID credentials. You can access Canvas at IU from a web browser (on a computer, smartphone, or tablet) or via the mobile apps distributed by Instructure.

Users with IU Guest accounts can log into Canvas via the Canvas gateway page, but cannot use the Canvas mobile apps. You can also access Canvas with an IU group account, but first you must contact the UITS Mission Critical team to request a corresponding Canvas account. For more about accessing Canvas, see How do I access Canvas at IU from a computer or mobile device?

  • Oncourse will be available to the IU community and fully supported through the summer 2016 semester. For more, see About the transition from Oncourse to Canvas.
  • Initially, faculty may find it helpful to teach some courses in Canvas and some in Oncourse. This can provide an opportunity to learn more about functionality in Canvas and to compare various Canvas features and tools to their counterparts in Oncourse.

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Getting help with Canvas

A variety of support resources are available to help you learn how to use Canvas effectively:

Canvas Help Center

A variety of online support resources are available in Instructure's Canvas Help Center:

  • Documentation: To get started using Canvas, see:

    Additional guides intended for students, instructors, instructional designers, and system administrators, as well as guides for using Canvas mobile apps, are available at Canvas Guides.

  • Canvas Community: Visit the Canvas Community Forums for announcements and information about community activities and community-created resources.

    You can pose questions to Canvas community peers, or post solutions based on your experiences, in the Higher Education and K-12 Q&A forums.

    For additional training on Canvas tools and features, check out the CanvasLIVE free webinar series. Each CanvasLIVE webinar includes a brief tutorial, a demonstration, and a short question and answer session. For upcoming webinars, see the CanvasLIVE Schedule. Past sessions are available in the CanvasLIVE archives.

  • Feature discussions and requests: Subscribe to various discussion categories to keep abreast of work on new Canvas features. If you'd like to suggest a new feature, read the Feature Discussion Guidelines, and then submit your request to the appropriate Feature Discussion Category. Canvas deploys a new release every three weeks; for more, see About Canvas releases.

Self-paced tutorials

Several self-paced tutorials are available within Canvas at IU. To complete a tutorial, click Join this Course in the upper right corner of the page:

Additionally, lynda.com offers an Up and Running with Canvas tutorial for learning how to create assignments and quizzes, use the calendar, add rubrics and learning outcomes, build test question banks, communicate with students, and streamline the grading process with SpeedGrader.

Teaching and learning centers

Pedagogical and instructional technologies consulting is available for faculty and instructors on every Indiana University campus through partnerships across the university between the Learning Technologies division of UITS and relevant campus units.

Instructors can get in-person help at their campus teaching and learning centers.

UITS Support Center

For help from a UITS Support Center consultant, fill out the "Ask for Help" form found in the Canvas Help menu. You can also contact your campus Support Center directly.

For help determining which Canvas tool or feature is the functional counterpart of a particular Oncourse tool or feature, see the "Tool Map" table in the Where is it in Canvas? support resource prepared by UITS Learning Technologies.

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This is document bcll in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-04-14.

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