Canvas is an easy-to-use learning management platform used extensively by USF faculty on main campus and at the law school. USF’s Educational Technology Services team automatically creates a Canvas site at the beginning of each semester for every School of Law course. Canvas allows faculty to post documents, create and grade quizzes, and message students. For teaching courses remotely, Canvas provides several advantages over TWEN: additional functionality allowing for more interaction with students; comprehensive training materials; and a 24/7 support system.
Because it is web-based, most computers will be adequate for Canvas use as long as you have a fairly up-to-date browser and access to the internet. Transfer of very large files can be bandwidth intensive and could tax some home internet connections.
You can learn how to use Canvas online at the USF ETS Canvas page. This page includes helpful training materials, including the following:
USF Canvas Orientation Course — This orientation provides an overview of Canvas and walks through setting up a basic course.
Canvas Essentials Workshop Handout (a recording of the workshop session is available here: link to workshop recording) — These training materials supply step-by-step instructions on basic Canvas features, including how to:
upload your syllabus, PowerPoint, Word, and PDF files;
email your students;
editor your course home page;
create a discussion;
view your course as a student sees it using "Student View";
create and grade assignments;
create course modules (modules allow you to organize your course by weeks or topics).
Accessing & publishing your Canvas site
Go to https://usfca.instructure.com/ and log in with your MyUSF credentials.
Once you’ve logged in, you will be at the Dashboard. Click the colored square that corresponds to the course(s) you are currently teaching to go to that course site.
Students enrolled in your current courses have already been added to your Canvas site. To view students, click “People” on the left navigation pane.
The first time that you access a course, Canvas will state that your course is not published at the top of the page in a red box. This means that your course is only visible to you and high-level USF Canvas administrators. In order for Canvas materials to be available to students, you must first publish your course. We recommend that you wait to publish your course until you’ve added your initial course content.
Once you’ve added your content, click “Publish Course” at the top of your home page. This will make your course visible to the students enrolled in your course.
Adding content to your Canvas site
Follow the Canvas Instructor Guide to add the content you want. Guides to frequently used features are linked below:
How do I create a discussion as an instructor? — You can post discussion questions for students to discuss among themselves online. You can also use discussion forums for Q&As.
How do I create a quiz with individual questions? — Create multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and multiple answer questions that are automatically graded by Canvas. Canvas allows you to create essay or free-text quizzes as well.
How do I add an announcement in a course? — Announcements posted in Canvas will be sent to all students via email and their Canvas Inbox.
Warning: As described in the Canvas Essential Workshop Handout, don’t forget to publish all course content and individual course modules by clicking the grey “No” icon to change it to a green checkmark.
Sending messages to your students:
The Announcements tool is a useful way to send out a blast message to the whole class but the Inbox allows you to send an email to an individual, a group, or all the participants int a Canvas Class. View the following video for instructions on how to use this tool:
Instructure, the makers of Canvas, supports USF faculty and students with 24/7 customer support.
There are two ways for faculty to access Canvas support:
Live Chat: On the Canvas home page, click the “Help” link on the left-hand navigation menu. Next, click the “Chat with Canvas Support (Faculty)” option to be connected to a live customer service representative via chat.
Phone: Call (833) 668-1666 to talk directly to Canvas support for faculty.