Need to log in to Canvas? Follow this link to the Canvas log in portal.

This website and resources are intended for Portland State instructors. For PSU students looking for help with Canvas and general tech support, please contact the OIT Helpdesk.
Additional Canvas resources for PSU students can be found in OIT’s Canvas Resources for Students.

Canvas has many features and tools for teaching a course. But you also need these “under the hood” functions for managing your course site.

Personal Settings

Before getting started in Canvas, be sure to update your personal settings. It’s an important step to make sure you stay connected with your classes. You’ll need to do this only once, unless your preferences change.

The following list outlines the main settings you should consider reviewing and are linked to detailed guides:

Course Import Tool

Copy a course when you want to use or repurpose previously created content — including course settings, syllabus, assignments, modules, files, pages, discussions, quizzes, and question banks. You can also copy or adjust events and due dates. Not all content can be copied as part of a course. (Learn about “Import Limitations.”) Canvas lets you copy all content from one course site to another or select specific content.

Course shells for each new term will be available in the preceding term. For example, winter course shells will be available midway through the preceding fall term. If you need a place to work on your course sooner or just want a sandbox where you can test new ideas, create a new Canvas course shell from your Canvas Dashboard

Student View

It’s always a good idea to check your course from the student’s perspective. This helps you identify what elements a student can access and how the course navigation menu displays for them.

To enter Student View, select “Settings” in the course navigation menu. Next, select “Student View” from among the settings area’s options.

Screen detail of Settings in Canvas, with added arrow pointing to the link that launches Student View.

Student View has a highlighted frame or border.

You can navigate the course as a student, with some slight exceptions:

  • Groups: As an instructor in Student View, all group information will be available to you, while students will only have access to their own group. 
  • Inbox: The Test Student doesn’t have a Canvas Inbox, so you won’t be able to test communications.
  • Other tools: Some other tools (e.g., Panopto, VoiceThread, etc.) may not function as expected.

To exit Student View, select the “Leave Student View” button.

Screen detail from Student View in Canvas, with added arrow pointing to the "Leave Student View" button.

Canvas Link Validator

You can check all external links throughout your course with the course link validator. It finds invalid or unresponsive external links in both published and unpublished content. However, some links it flags as unresponsive (to Canvas servers) will still work for students.

Additional Course Settings

These settings are available only to the course instructor:

Adapted from “Managing Your Canvas Site” in Start Here 102: Best Practices in Online instruction, licensed CC BY 4.0 by Grace Seo, University of Missouri.

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