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Privacy FAQs for Students and Parents

Welcome! We’ve created this page to provide answers to questions that students and parents might ask about our privacy policies and practices for our Canvas Learning Management System. If you're a university student, visit the “Institutions & Educators” page for more information. You can review our detailed Product Privacy Policy here:

What is Canvas and who is Instructure?

Canvas is a Learning Management System (software) that has been purchased by your school, or teacher to provide you with online learning tools. You can access Canvas on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet. Instructure is the company that develops Canvas and operates the software.

What information do we collect and where does it come from?

Canvas receives information about students from a few different sources which are all related to your school’s use of Canvas. Canvas receives information directly from your school when your school sends Canvas information to create your user account in Canvas. This can include: your name, email address, level, and school name, date of birth (if provided by your school), gender preference, language selection, and country. This is considered “personal information”.

Canvas also receives information directly from you when you use Canvas to participate in your classes. This can include class assignments, test & quiz responses, discussion group comments, homework assignments, and conversations with teachers and other students. Canvas also receives information from your teachers such as grades for your assignments and tests, or when your teacher sends you messages.

How do we use your information?

Canvas uses your information inside of Canvas to to support teaching and learning and to help educators drive student success. Beyond enabling Canvas to work, your information may be used to...

  • Communicate with you and provide support
  • Create and administer user accounts.
  • Improve Canvas functionality: For example, identifying what features are useful to our users.
  • Develop and maintain security and performance of Canvas.
  • Exercise, enforce and comply with legal rights and obligations

Who else has access to your information?

Instructure only uses your information to provide our Canvas service to you and your school. We do not sell your information to other companies. We do not use your information to advertise to you. We do not share your information with companies or people that do not have explicit and known permission to see or access your information. Your user information is accessible to your school, teachers, and administrators. Your submitted content information (for example: assignments, projects, discussion group content) is accessible only by your teachers and approved institutional administrators. Your scores and grades are accessible by your teachers and approved school officials.

Instructure works with a limited number of companies to help us provide underlying services to operate Canvas. For example, Canvas is hosted on Instructure’s servers at Amazon Web Services (AWS). However, AWS does not have direct access to your information.

What about other tools that are connected through Canvas?

Your school or teacher may choose to connect their use of Canvas to other tools or services, such as a Student Information System or a video conferencing system, in order to support teaching and learning. In these cases, your school or teacher may decide if any information needs to be exchanged with Canvas.

For example, a teacher may connect a math practice tool to their Canvas course, which might need student names or IDs in order to recognize individual students and send scores back to Canvas.

These tools or services will have their own privacy policies for schools, teachers, or students that don't involve Canvas. With most tools, users will be able to review or change the permissions that they give these tools from within Canvas.

Cookies in Canvas

A cookie is a small data file that is sent to a user’s browser when the user visits a website. Instructure uses cookies to improve your experience while using Canvas. Cookies can last only for the duration of a session (session cookies) or for several days, months, or years (persistent cookies). Cookies are browser specific which means that the cookie is attached to and stored in a specific browser. Cookies are used by Canvas for functional and analytical purposes. These cookies are classified as either “functional cookies” or “analytics cookies”.

Functional cookies are used by Canvas to operate web pages, keep you logged into Canvas when you want, and display web pages correctly.

Instructure uses analytics cookies (provided by Google) to collect information about how you use Canvas, such as what pages you click on, or what functionality you use the most. The information collected does not contain personal data about you. But it helps us improve Canvas and your experience using it.

How to access your information?

Canvas believes in empowering students just as we empower teachers, and so we provide several ways that students can access their own information and related data that is stored in Canvas (subject to permissions given by your institution). For example:

Note that you will only ever have access to information you are supposed to see in Canvas.

How to delete your information or account?

Occasionally a student may want or need Canvas data permanently deleted. You can request that Instructure delete your information from Canvas, or delete your user account, or profile. If your account was set up by your school, we may need to ask your school for permission to delete your account and data since we don’t own any of your data. To delete an account or information, students and parents can submit a helpdesk ticket in Canvas , or contact their school directly.

If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected]