Canvas Tips

2024 Canvas Workshops Instructure trainers will offer two Canvas workshops to the Allegheny community on August 15, 2024:
– The first workshop will take place via Zoom from 10:00am to 11:30am and will focus on Content Creation. This workshop is aimed at new Canvas users and anyone who would like a refresher on the basics; sign up here.
– The second workshop will take place via Zoom from 1:00pm to 2:30pm and will focus on Outcomes and the Learning Mastery Gradebook. Sign up here.

2023 Canvas Workshops On Thursday, August 17 at 10am, Instructure trainer Cory Chitwood led a virtual, 90-minute Canvas Essentials workshop, aimed at new Canvas users or anyone who would appreciate a refresher on the basics of Canvas. See the recording here.

Cory also ran a virtual, 90-minute Q&A session at 1pm on August 17. See the recording here.

You can view the full listing of upcoming and recorded webinars on the Global Priority Services Hub in the Canvas Community.

Canvas Resources and Support

Allegheny has purchased Tier 1 support from Instructure, which entitles instructors to 24/7 help via phone or chat. Both are available through the Help link that appears at the bottom of the left-hand menu bar in Canvas.

In cases where Tier 1 support does not resolve the issue, instructors should email; one of Allegheny’s Canvas support team will respond to your issue.

At various times throughout the year, Instructure provides one-on-one coaching through their Panda Pro program. This is a free service available to all instructors.

New Canvas Users
If you’re setting up a course on Canvas for the first time, take a look at the Set Up Your Canvas Course in 30 Minutes or Less video series. You may also want to work through Growing with Canvas, a self-paced course for instructors, which is available in your Canvas account. This course walks you through setting up your Canvas course, creating content, managing student submissions, and grading. To access the course from your Canvas account, click on Courses in the left-hand menu bar in Canvas. If you don’t see it listed there, click on All Courses, which appears below your list of published and unpublished courses, and scroll down. If you prefer, the same material is also covered in the August 2023 Canvas Essentials workshop.

Note: an updated version of the Growing with Canvas course will be coming soon!

Your Sandbox
Each instructor has a sandbox course, a course shell that does not contain any students. This sandbox can be used to build content, experiment with features, etc. You can easily transfer modules and assignments that you build in your sandbox into your future courses, once those courses have been loaded into the system. To find your sandbox, click on Courses in the left-hand menu bar in Canvas. If you don’t see it listed there, click on All Courses, which appears below your list of published and unpublished courses, and scroll down.
Other Resources
Links to videos and other resources from Canvas workshops that have been held at Allegheny can be found in this document.

Instructure provides a variety of Canvas Instructor Guides on their website. This is a great place to start if you have a specific question about a Canvas feature.

Doing a Google search for “Canvas” plus the question you have is also a quick way to find resources. For example, you could search for “Canvas speedgrader” if you wanted to find out how to use the SpeedGrader feature.

Course Set-Up Reminders

Course Availability
You can adjust the course availability dates by adjusting the Participation option in the Settings for your course. Choosing “Course” (the default) gives the instructor the option to adjust the start and end dates manually. Choosing “Term” means the course will be visible as soon as you publish it and will be available until the last day to submit work for an Incomplete for that semester.
Course Mergers
Faculty who are teaching more than one section of a course can request that the sections be merged into a single Canvas course, provided the merger meets the following criterion: students will have occasion to see each other in the same classroom or collaborate (physically or online) with each other for educational or pedagogical reasons related to the course during the semester. To request a course merger, please complete this form.
Storage Limits
Each Canvas course has a limited amount of file storage allotted to it. For this reason, videos, recordings, and other large files should not be stored in Canvas courses. Instead, store files in a course folder in your Google Drive and add the files to the Canvas course via links. (See further instructions.)


Immersive Reader
Select the “Immersive Reader” button in the upper right hand corner of Canvas Pages to display the text in a more immersive and accessible format. From the Immersive Reader, you can also have the content read aloud, adjust voice settings, text preferences, grammar options, and reading preferences. Note that:

  • The Immersive Reader is only available in Pages, not Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, or the Syllabus.
  • The Immersive Reader only interacts with text–not images, videos, or embedded documents.


If you’re experiencing a Canvas issue, you can check for broad outages and issues on the Instructure Status page.

Accidental Deletions
If you accidentally delete a Page, Assignment, Module, etc., it may be possible to recover it. Click on the Home button for your course, type /undelete at the end of the URL in the address box at the top of your browser, and hit Enter. You should see a list of deleted items. Click the Restore button next to any item to recover it.
Blank Pages
Follow these steps if you find that a Page or your Gradebook is suddenly blank:

  • Clear your browser history. (See instructions for Safari or Edge and for Chrome or Firefox.)
  • Close your browser before going to any other websites, making sure you close all windows.
  • Shut down the computer completely and leave it off for 30 seconds or so.
  • Turn the computer back on and open up Canvas.
Canvas Won’t Load
If you encounter issues with accessing Canvas, please try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Make sure your operating system (e.g. Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS) is up to date.
  • Make sure your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari) is also up to date.
  • Try clearing your browser history.
  • Make sure that you are not logged into a Gmail account other than your main Allegheny email, such as a departmental account or a personal Gmail account.
  • Try an incognito window.
  • Try disabling extensions in your browser, if you have any that are active.
  • Try rebooting your device.
Students Can’t Access Page
If students are having trouble accessing a Page, Assignment, etc., check to make sure that the page is published. If the page is part of a Module, check that the Module is also published.
Students See Locks Instead of Images
When you upload images to your Course Files, they won’t automatically be visible to students. If you find that you can see an image but students only see a padlock, it means the image isn’t published. To fix this issue, go into Files, locate the file that you are using, and then click on the icon on the far right of the file row. You will then have the option to publish the file or set other levels of access.