Canvas Help

This page is a curated collection of Canvas tutorials for users at the University of Notre Dame, compiled by Notre Dame Learning and the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) Teaching and Learning Technologies unit. These tutorials provide quick directions on how to add content and utilize the tools in your course.  

If you have questions while using Canvas, click the Help icon found in the bottom left corner of Canvas’ global navigation menu to connect with help resources, including ND’s virtual assistant and the OIT Help Desk.

For pedagogical questions and considerations, please contact Notre Dame Learning at

Getting Started with Canvas 

Canvas boasts a robust collection of documentation and resources to support its users. Below are some to consider bookmarking. 

  • Canvas Student Guide: We recommend sharing applicable tutorials from this guide with students in your course to help them optimize the user experience from their perspective. 

Video and Other Resources: 

Canvas Instructor Video Guide: A collection of video tutorials for Canvas instructors.  

CanvasLMS on YouTube: Frequently added livestreams, demos, and more. 

Canvas Navigation

Using the global navigation menu

What navigation features will be most useful? Why would I use that feature? How do I use the global navigation features?
Account  You may want to edit your user settings (add a profile picture, display name, language, etc.) or change the default notification settings. 
Dashboard The dashboard is a landing page where users can view their courses, a to-do list, and more. 
Courses This tab allows you to see courses without being at the dashboard. You can also customize your course list. 
Calendar Canvas automatically creates a calendar with due dates, events, etc. Add events to your personal calendar and events to classes like major deadlines, midterm dates, end of term, special events, etc. for students to view. When you create an assignment it will automatically populate on the course calendar. 
Inbox See “Communicating with Students in Canvas” section. 

Course Navigation 

Edit course navigation to maximize accessibility. Suggested navigation links have already been set up in your course and displayed as they are below. 

What pages are already enabled? Why have this page? How do I use it?
Home  This is a landing page for the students in your course to view important contact information, a schedule, etc. 
Announcements  Update students with announcements weekly or before or after each class meeting.  See “Announcements” in the “Communicating with Students in Canvas” section below. 
Assignments Students will be able to view all course assignments. 
Discussions Students will be able to view all course discussions. 
Grades All grades are visible here and can be arranged in a few different ways for students to view. 
Library Reserves Access to the university library reserves if applicable for your course. Add the Library Reserves tool to your site for access to the Hesburgh eReserves page.
Modules Your course can be organized by week, topic, class meeting, etc. for students to work through. Use modules to take advantage of more content release features.  See “Modules Items” in the “Adding Content” section of this document. 
People A list of others enrolled in the course. 
Quizzes Create and manage all quizzes for your course. 

We recommend using Quizzes when possible. Canvas offers a tool called New Quizzes, but it has not reached parity with the current Quizzes tool, particularly in regards to question banks. If you are unsure about which quiz function to use, please contact OIT by emailing

Syllabus  Upload or embed your syllabus for students to view and any other helpful resources. Canvas creates a full listing of all course due dates on this page. It is a helpful way for users to stay organized.

Publish vs. Unpublish 

Not quite done making edits or there’s something you do not want students to see right away? Leave it unpublished. Similarly, remember if you want students to see a page, assignment, discussion, etc. make sure the green “published” button is illuminated. Publish or unpublish with ease. 

Adding Content

Using the rich content editor 

If you do not find a resource below, you can access more information about the Rich Content Editor using the link below. 

What are some elements I can add besides text? How do I use that feature?
Images and Videos  

Use the built in Accessibility Checker as a starting point for adhering to accessibility standards. 

Module Items 

Using the Modules Index Page

Once new modules are created you can add to it, edit it, rearrange, etc. Canvas makes it easy to drag and drop entire modules and module elements. 

What can I add to a module? Why would I use that feature? How do I use that feature?
Assignment Use assignments when you want students to submit a product to Canvas.  See “Assignments” in the “Course Navigation” section
Quiz A built in quiz / testing feature for assessments.  See “Quizzes” in the “Course Navigation” section
File Upload and attach files for students to use as resources. 

*Files can be disabled from the course navigation so students cannot see a file unless it is in a module.*

Page Create a page with content for students to view and work through. Great for presentations and videos. 
Discussion Host and facilitate discussion boards.  See “Discussions” in the “Course Navigation” section. . 
Text Header Keep modules organized with additional text headers 
External URL Instead of including a URL in a page, you may want to have a URL on its own. Consider using this for frequently used websites or helpful resources. 
External Tool Integrate popular apps like Panopto, Turnitin, Zoom and more. 

Communicating with Students in Canvas

Canvas has a few built in ways to stay in touch with your students without cluttering your email inbox. 

Video Resource: How to Use Canvas to Communicate with Students  (35 minute webinar)

  • Video Segments Timestamps 
    • Creating an announcement (2:15 – 4:16)
    • Example of users engaging with announcements if commenting is turned on (4:40 – 5:40)
    • Inbox messaging with built in media recorder (6:15 – 9:50
    • “Message students who” from Gradebook (11:03 – 13:23
    • Authentic feedback with media recorder in SpeedGrader (19:06 – 21:26
What communication features are available? Why would I use that feature? How do I use that feature?
Announcements  Push announcements out to all users. You can schedule an announcement for a later date by delaying the posting date. 

Not ready to post, but want to save what you have? By delaying the posting date you can come back and edit whenever and update the posting time accordingly.

Inbox Inbox is a built-in messaging center. If you do not wish for students to communicate with you this way, please make sure that is explicitly stated in your course syllabus so they know to default to your gmail. 

View and Grade Student Work

Use the Gradebook and SpeedGrader to view student work, provide feedback, and input grades. 

Video Resource: How to Use SpeedGrader (20-minute webinar with some great university examples)

Gradebook SpeedGrader

Enter and edit grades