Canvas Features

SIS Integration

Connect Canvas with your SIS.

Canvas supports custom integration with various student information systems (SIS) via its API. One of the greatest technological challenges facing school districts is fragmentation of tools and services. With a variety of services relying on SIS for student data—from learning management to transit to cafeteria systems—interoperability is paramount, not only within each school but across districts and state departments, as well. Canvas’ SIS integration is built on the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), an industry initiative that promotes data compatibility across a variety of applications and products. Championed by Bill Gates and Microsoft as a digital nervous system for schools, many states require all solutions to be built on this standard, which essentially enables the Canvas LMS and SIS applications to talk to one another. Instructure hosts the SIF standard for all its customers, which allows them to access and use the standard for free. Don't worry. Our Implementation team will guide you through this process, but for now just know that Canvas makes this as flexible and painless as possible.

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Create learning-centered ePortfolios that aggregate both new and past work.

Any Canvas user can create learning-centered ePortfolios that aggregate both new and past work. As a showcase of student work, ePortfolios can be publicly shared or tied into a course.

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Help students think deeper about the content they're learning through Discussions.

Discussions help you to engage learners in both broad and deep discussions by making navigation easy, allowing threaded views, and adding the human element through easy multimedia. Discussions can easily be assessed with outcome-aligned rubrics through the SpeedGrader.

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Dashboard and Activity Stream

See the latest, most relevant course information right when you log in.

The Canvas dashboard gives every user a customized view of the latest, most relevant course information. That makes it a whole lot easier to stay on task and focus on learning.

Customized Navigation

Canvas intelligently adds course navigation links as teachers create courses.

We know that one size doesn’t fit all for course navigation. When you create a new course, Canvas automatically hides links to empty course elements, then turns them on once you add content. You can reorder navigation links or decide yourself which ones to hide simply by dragging and dropping from the course settings page. And by allowing designers to choose different homepage layouts and customize the standard toolbar, course navigation is made easy for students, too, because it keeps relevant content and activities close to the surface.

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Course Creation

Create courses manually or one at a time.

Courses can be created manually (either one at a time or based on CSV upload) or programmatically (via integration with an SIS). Users can be added manually, by open enrollment, or via SIS integration.

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Course Copy, Migration, Import/Export

Easily import your courses into Canvas.

Canvas uses Common Cartridge as its native import/export format. It also supports the import and migration of entire courses from most major learning management systems so you don’t have to worry about losing all the courses (and hard work and finely combed details) you’ve created just because you’re switching to a new and better LMS.

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Collaborative Workspaces

Work together seamlessly by using the right technologies in the right ways in Canvas.

Two heads are better than one, right? When student groups come together in Canvas, they share a toolset for collaborating on assignments, completing peer reviews, uploading files, creating Wiki pages, starting threaded discussions, and “gathering” for real-time chats and Web conferencing. Integrated tools like Google Docs and Etherpad make group learning more productive and help minimize the obstacles of distance and time.

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Chat with other students or teachers in real-time.

The Chat tool allows more live interaction in courses where real-time collaboration and discussion are possible. Instructors can view chat history and enable or disable this feature.

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Keep track of important dates and events with the Canvas Calendar.

Our Calendar creates and reflects any date-related information for courses, groups, or personal activities or events. The Calendar is both a design tool and an info-sharing tool. It lets users access course events from Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, and other tools.

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Customize and award badges for attendance, behavior, and participation.

Canvas Badges let you award badges to students in your class based on performance or completion of modules. You can even insert a manual approval step that requires your final sign-off before the student receives the badge. Badges are great ways to motivate students and reward them in an online environment.

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Learning Mastery for Students

Empower students to take control of their learning.

Empowering students to take responsibility for their own learning is one of the most important ways to eliminate loss from the learning process. With Learning Mastery for Students in Canvas, students can quickly see and understand their own progress toward mastering key outcomes. This gives them the information they need to focus their time and efforts and helps ensure they don’t lose sight of academic goals.

Graphic Analytics and Reporting

Turn student performance and usage data into meaningful insights that can inform instruction and help teachers differentiate when needed.

With dashboard views customized for students, teachers, and administrators, Canvas Analytics take course data to a whole new level. Students get continuous feedback on how they’re doing in the class, and teachers can easily measure content effectiveness, view learning outcomes, and intervene when students need extra help. And with side-by-side comparisons of classes and subjects, administrators have a bird’s eye view of the whole institution.

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Students can share, collaborate, and discuss ideas as part of a Group.

Canvas allows users to collaborate, share, and discuss as part of a Group. The Canvas Groups feature allows members to share files, discuss asynchronously or live, and collaborate on documents. Groups can also have their own Events on the Calendar.

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Learning Mastery Gradebook

Measure and track student performance and make informed instructional decisions with the Learning Mastery Gradebook.

The Learning Mastery Gradebook provides a dynamic, powerful, fast, and easy-to-understand view of student performance. It supports fast filtering by sections, sorting of columns, setting scores, auto-saving, inline feedback, individualized messaging, revision history, and more. Scores are collected from various tools in Canvas (e.g. SpeedGrader, Quizzes, Attendance, and other external tools), and teachers can quickly enter, track, and provide student feedback directly from the standard Gradebook. The student view allows students to see their own performance and progress, which allows them to take control of their learning.

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Canvas comes with a 99.9% guaranteed uptime.

As a mission-critical part of your instructional delivery, your LMS must be reliable. Well, Canvas is more reliable than any other LMS. For you, this means speed, security, scalability, uptime, and low-risk. That’s partly because Canvas is hosted on the world’s most robust hosting platform (Amazon Web Services), ensuring no slow loading or wait times. And it’s also because our unique, automated peak load management ensures that capacity scales automatically with demand so your LMS doesn’t crash during high usage times. Since the very beginning, Canvas has featured a 99.9% guaranteed uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA) to all customers—the highest guaranteed uptime in the industry. And since Canvas is native to the cloud, that means no versions, upgrades, downloads, or migrations to worry about. It all happens automatically.

Language Support (Internationalization)

Make sure Canvas speaks your (and your students’) language.

Canvas allows teachers or administrators to designate the language for a Canvas course or account, resulting in the translation of all Canvas components. Supported languages include English (localizations for Australia and United Kingdom), Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (localizations for Brazil and Portugal), Russian, and Spanish with more languages in the works.

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Student view

Teachers can preview assignments and other course elements as students see them.

With Student View, teachers can view their course as a student sees it. In just one-click, teachers can view and navigate through a course and all its components from the student’s point of view, allowing the teacher to be sure the course not only makes sense but is visually appealing.

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Grade assignments in half the time.

Once you use SpeedGrader, you won’t know how you ever survived without it. You can view, score, and provide audio, video, or written feedback on assignments—all on the same page. Not only does it cut down unnecessary steps and make grading faster, it provides built-in rubrics and learning outcomes, so you can focus on what really counts. Canvas’ SpeedGrader converts documents automatically, so teachers can preview and annotate student submissions—all without having to download or upload files. Beyond standard text-based feedback, an in-line annotation tool enables highlighting, strikeout, and freehand drawing. And because grades are transferred automatically from SpeedGrader to the Gradebook, you can use the time you save on data entry to provide even more student feedback.

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Roles and Permissions

Canvas admins can set role-based permissions for admins, teachers, students, and parents at the account and sub-account level.

Canvas admins can set role-based permissions for admins, teachers, students, and parents at the account and sub-account level.

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Rich Content Editor

Build rich, engaging content through text, images, equations, videos, and more.

Canvas' Rich Content Editor lets teachers and students easily embed audio, video, and images anywhere in their course, including new videos recorded on the fly or third-party content. Because the Rich Content Editor is available throughout Canvas, nearly any part of your course can easily become a media rich experience.

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Canvas facilitates online quizzes, exams, and surveys via Quizzes.

Teachers can create and administer online quizzes, exams, and surveys using the Quizzes tool. In addition to providing feedback on quizzes (general, correct, or incorrect answers), teachers can set availability periods by date, time, or number of attempts allowed. They can also provide individual students with extra attempts, extra time, or access to the quiz on next attempt regardless of its lock date. Teachers and admins can create question banks with multiple types of questions (multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, matching, or essay) that can be aligned to standards/rubrics. There are also multiple options to combat cheating, as well as ways to intervene when a student is struggling.

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Preview tool

Quickly preview documents without downloading or being redirected to another page.

Canvas provides document previewing with one-click, allowing users to view documents in-line, without downloading them or being redirected to another page. Users can search, zoom in and out, select and copy text, print, and see all pages in full-screen, tile view, as a book, or by scrolling.

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Parent Co-Enrollment

Connect parents to students’ classes automatically—giving them the insight to help their child(ren) be successful.

Parents can co-enroll in Canvas with their child automatically, allowing them to view grades, upcoming assignments and due dates, missing work, and teacher communication. Teachers can send individual, group, and course-wide messages to students and parents, and students can communicate safely with teachers and each other.

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Create wiki-like pages to share content or information.

Pages supports wiki-like content creation and resource linking through the Rich Content Editor in any Canvas course or Group. Just like a wiki, Pages in Canvas can be set to be editable by the teacher, teachers, or students. Pages shows a revision history that allows you to revert back to an earlier version.

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Notification Preferences

Receive course updates when and where you want - by email, text message, even Twitter or LinkedIn.

For each type of course notification—announcements, due date changes, discussion replies, and more—you decide how and when you’re alerted. You can choose from email and text message or stay connected via Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Web services. You can also control how often you receive notifications, so important messages never fall through the cracks. *Bonus: parents who are co-enrolled in their child’s classes also receive updates!

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Stay better organized and direct learning based on prerequisites with Modules.

Canvas Modules help teachers organize and sequence content, learning activities, and assessments. Modules allow teachers to direct progress through the use of prerequisites and other conditions, and to track student work.

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Quiz Stats

Analyze and improve individual assessments and quiz questions.

Quizzes provide a quick, interactive way to gather feedback about student learning. But if you’re asking the wrong questions in the wrong ways, you’re losing valuable insights about what’s really getting through to students. Using student performance data, Canvas’ Quiz Stats feature allows you to assess the effectiveness of your quiz questions, so you can identify and address knowledge gaps resulting from “lossy” learning.

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Track in real-time how students are performing and demonstrating their learning.

For F2F assessments that require a visual inspection or evaluation of individual performance (like research posters and class presentations), teachers lose time—and more importantly, they lose the context of the live presentation—when they assess work in class and transfer assessments to the gradebook later. With MagicMarker, you can assess student competency and understanding related to specific learning objectives or outcomes on-the-spot using your mobile device. Your assessments are instantly transferred to your Canvas Gradebook, ensuring that nothing is lost in translation.

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Canvas Polls

Gauge comprehension and incorporate formative assessment without the need for “clicker” devices.

If your instructional pace is too fast or too slow, you’ll lose students to confusion, boredom, or both. The solution is Canvas Polls, which allows you to instantly assess student comprehension with live, in-class polling. Canvas Polls is free, easy-to-use, and leverages students’ own smartphones or tablets, making it more accessible than off-the-shelf devices. It provides the core features needed for active teaching models like peer instruction. And because Canvas Polls integrates with Canvas courses, participation and performance data is saved for every student, so you’ll never lose touch with student understanding.

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Automated Tasks

Course management is fast and easy with automated tasks.

Repetition has its place in the learning process, but who needs practice rescheduling due dates? When you create or update an assignment in Canvas, it automatically populates the syllabus, gradebook, and calendar, so you can maximize your time by minimizing repetitive tasks. And with the Canvas files repository, you’ll save even more time by easily sharing documents between courses.

Mobile Annotation

Open, annotate, and submit an assignments directly within the Canvas mobile app.

The annotation feature within the Canvas mobile app allows instructors and students to annotate documents directly inside Canvas, eliminating the need for a separate digital annotation tool. This functionality allows instructors to spend less time demonstrating procedures for moving and transitioning digital assignments and more time teaching lessons and describing the expectations of assignments.

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Connect each learning outcome to a specific goal, so results are demonstrated in clearly measurable ways.

Integrated learning outcomes reduce the effort and expense of accreditation. Outcomes connect coursework with competencies defined at any level of the institution, so assessing student learning has never been easier. And when aligned with rubrics, outcomes help improve teacher feedback—and may even inspire better student performance.

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Integrated Media Recorder

Record audio and video messages within Canvas.

What if you could easily include audio or video comments as part of a course discussion or when grading student work? With Canvas, you can. All you need is a computer or mobile device with a microphone and camera—and Canvas does the rest. Multimedia messages can be attached to personal messages, assignments, discussions and even graded work.

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Canvas Commons

Canvas Commons makes sharing a whole lot easier.

Canvas Commons is the learning object repository (LOR) that will actually get used. Why? Because it makes sharing unbelievably easy. Searching for content is more intuitive and more rewarding. Importing and exporting content is super easy too. Create your own personal LOR. Share widely or specifically. Canvas Commons will change the way you think about LORs.

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Canvas Data

Canvas Data parses and aggregates more than 280 million rows of Canvas usage data generated daily.

Canvas Data parses and aggregates more than 280 million rows of Canvas usage data generated daily. Once extracted from Canvas, your data is purposefully optimized for easy integration with any ODBC-compliant analytics tool. So, you can use tools you know and prefer to easily generate custom queries and reports that allow you to access, analyze, and understand complex learning data. Basic access to Canvas Data is available to all Canvas institutions at no additional cost. Premium services are available for an additional fee.

RSS Support

Pull feeds from external sites into courses and push out secure feeds for all course activities.

Teachers can create announcements that feed directly from external Web sites, allowing the flow of new course information to run on autopilot. Announcement feeds can even be limited to select keywords, so students only receive the most relevant updates. Teachers can also turn on an RSS podcast feed, allowing media posts to be picked up by programs like iTunes.

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Download and Upload Files

Work in Canvas or work offline—it’s up to you.

If you prefer to use external tools or need to work offline, Canvas gives you the flexibility to download a zipped collection of files from your course. Then, when you’re ready, you can easily upload the revised or graded files back to Canvas. Your LMS should accommodate your workflow—not the other way around.

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Grade assignments in half the time.

Once you use SpeedGrader, you won’t know how you ever survived without it. Within one frame, you can view, score and provide audio, video or written feedback on submissions. Not only does it cut down unnecessary steps and make grading faster, it provides built-in rubrics and learning outcomes, so you can focus on what really counts. And because grades are transferred automatically from SpeedGrader to the gradebook, you can use the time you save on data entry to provide even more student feedback.

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LTI Integrations

Use the tools you want with LTI integrations.

Canvas lets teachers “plug out” to a variety of external services and tools through LTI integrations, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to building a better learning experience. Extend Canvas with online textbooks, instructional videos, blogging tools or just about anything you can think of to make your course more functional and engaging.

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Browser Support

Connect to Canvas from any Web-standard browser.

Canvas is accessible from any computer or mobile device with a Web-standard browser. Canvas supports the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. This means no end-user software—and no installation or compatibility headaches. Just open your browser, log in, and Canvas is ready to go.

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Open API

With its open API, Canvas easily integrates with your IT ecosystem.

In the same way that Canvas makes it easier for students and teachers to interact, its open API facilitates “talking” with other software programs. Institutions use Canvas’ open API for a wide range of custom integrations and information sharing, like SIS integrations or exchanging information via a campus portal. It’s even possible to create custom tools for assignment processing, course copying or whatever you need to make life easier at your institution.

Web Conferencing

Engage in synchronous online communication.

With real-time audio, video, and whiteboard capabilities, Canvas’ Web conferencing tools help students and teachers stay connected. For fully online and blended courses alike, Web conferencing enables group collaboration, office hours, and real-time presentations—so distance students feel a lot less distant.

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Engage students in learning anytime, anywhere from iOS or Android, or any mobile device with a Web-standard browser.

Learning happens everywhere. That’s why Canvas mobile apps for iOS and Android give students and teachers the tools they need to make it happen whenever and wherever they are. From SpeedGrader for iPad to multimedia discussions that allow you to upload videos recorded on your phone or tablet, Canvas takes learning way beyond the classroom.

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Multimedia Integrations

Insert audio, video, text, images, and more at every learning contact point.

If you know how to cut and paste links from a Web browser, you’re ready to create a rich media experience in Canvas. Videos from YouTube, images from Flickr, and more can be embedded easily into announcements, assignments, discussions—or just about anywhere. Integrated multimedia makes the difference between a boring course Web site and an engaging learning environment, so go ahead—engage!

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Audio and Video Messages

Give better feedback and help students feel more connected with audio and video messages.

With audio and video messages in Canvas, students and teachers get more from their interactions. Not only does talking instead of typing save time and effort, it also adds a human element to online courses. Believe it or not, many Canvas students say online video messaging makes them feel more connected than in-person courses.

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Introduce yourself to classmates with a Canvas profile.

Canvas users can create customizable profiles to share a little about themselves—and to get a head start building meaningful connections with peers and colleagues. Profiles can include a short bio, favorite links, preferred contact methods, and a photo. Anywhere a user’s name appears in Canvas—in collaborative workspaces, discussions, and more—other users can click to access their public profile. It’s way more interactive than nametags.

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