Skip to main content

The Study Hall

How Do You Implement Canvas?

You might think Dora the Explorer is for kids. And yet you would be missing some of life's more profound questions: Where am I going? How do I get there? Where is my talking purple backpack? Just like Dora's faithful sidekick Map shows the steps she needs to take to reach her destination, your transition to Canvas is a Dora-like journey that leads to a fully implemented Canvas instance—and possible happiness ever after.

Da da da da da Dora.

Throughout the implementation process, you'll interact with many of our teams, including Implementation, Account Management, Training, Support and Professional Services. You'll have a specific plan to follow, with help all along the way.    

Your Canvas Buddy: the Implementation Project Manager

From the start, you'll be led by your own personal Canvas sherpa—an Implementation Project Manager (IPM). This is your primary contact and the person who will answer (or find answers for) all your technical questions. Our IPMs are committed to making your implementation successful. During the entire process, you should feel comfortable contacting your IPM with any questions you have, or just to chat about the latest news or weather. They're that awesome!

The Kickoff Call: Let's Get to Know Each Other

The process all starts with a kickoff call. Think of it kinda like a first date. You meet your IPM with the goal of getting to know one another—familiarizing him or her with your account and putting a plan in place to move forward. 

The kickoff call is also a great time to talk about goals, hopes and dreams for Canvas. Our IPMs have helped a lot of schools implement Canvas and can often share tips and tricks from the trenches to help get you where you want to go.  

The plan is simple.

The Plan: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

After helping develop a plan during the kickoff call, it's time to jump into action. There are several tasks your IPM wil help with that are standard to any implementation.  Some of these include integrating your campus' systems, like an SIS, with Canvas, scheduling training and setting up support.  

There are also items that you may or may not choose to do, like setting up authentications, branding your Canvas instance and migrating content.

This chart describes the typical implementation milestones and who does what.

The Implementation Project Manager ... Your team ...
  • Verifies the creation of Canvas instance
  • Provides access to branding instructions and configuration
  • Helps test SIS integration, authentication mechanisms and course migrations
  • Coordinates Instructor, Admin and Support training
  • Provides access to and assistance with content migration tools
  • Provides access to information about CSV import and APIs
  • Provides assistance with configuration of identity provider
  • Provides assistance with other standard integrations
  • Writes scripts to do SIS integration or engages us to develop an integration
  • Sets up and tests an authentication mechanism
  • Writes branding CSS and Javascript, arranges hosting for them and configures Canvas with this information
  • Attends training sessions
  • Completes needed migrations

Transition to Account Management

While your Account Relationship Manager (ARM) plays a minor role during the implementation phase, at some point all of the implementation milestones will be completed and you will bid an emotional farewell to your Implementation Project Manager. But good news—at this point your Account Relationship Manager steps in as your primary contact and you are fully on your way to Canvas success and glory.  

Having embarked on more than 250 customer implementations (including higher ed, K-12 and corporate), we're confident in our ability to give any type of institution the best chance of success with Canvas so you can say, "We did it!"

Keep learning, 

Kevin Hansen
Implementation Team Manager