CANVAS: Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

1. How do I log-in to Canvas?

To access Canvas, please use your CalArts credentials to log-in to and click the Canvas tile. This will take you directly to your dashboard.

2. What happened to Learn?

On June 30, 2022, Learn and Access were officially retired, and all content was deleted. There is no longer any way to access these servers. The CalArts community was repeatedly notified before this occurred. If you were on leave, sabbatical, or are a special faculty member that did not teach during 2021-2022 AY, please email to discuss if your content was backed up.

3. How do I migrate instructional content I exported from Kannu to Canvas?

The manual content import allows you to copy course content from Learn into Canvas. Please note content imported into Canvas is NOT a 1:1 replication of your course. Cleanup is required and some items may need to be re-created. To learn more, follow these instructions on importing content.

4. When do courses need to be on Canvas?

Faculty are not required to use Canvas and there are no mandatory dates. It is encouraged that faculty publish their courses before Course Advising Day to allow students time to familiarize themselves with the course syllabus before the start of classes.

Technical Support

5. What technical support is available with Canvas? How do I get help?

Users will want to take advantage of technical support for Canvas provided by Instructure. If you are unable to solve your issue via Canvas Support or Guides, please reach out to CAIT.

  1. Canvas Support Hotline: Faculty/staff can chat or phone Canvas Support 24/7/365. There is contact information available via the Help button in Canvas.
  2. Canvas Guides: Canvas Guides offer detailed support with written tutorials and screenshots for every user type (Faculty, staff, students, admin).
  3. CalArts Information Technology: If you are unable to answer your question via Canvas resources, you can open a ticket with CAIT. Our Customer Care team and Instructional Technologist will work to assist you.
6. What training is available for faculty and staff to learn Canvas?

Learning about Canvas is easy! Listed below are a series of possible training resources depending on your interests and preferred learning modality.

  1. Hosted Trainings: CAIT holds trainings, workshops, and 1:1 sessions throughout the year. If you are interested in registering for a training, please sign-up here
  2. Self-Directed Online Course: Dont have time to attend a live workshop? These same Canvas introductory workshops are also available in an online, self-paced format. You can sign up for the course here.
  3. Video Tutorials: If you prefer to learn by watching videos, you can start with this quick sheet of the 9 most important aspects of Canvas. For more detailed videos about how to use Canvas, click the Help button and visit the Training Services Portal.
  4. PandaPros: Canvas offers free 45 minutes coaching sessions for instructors every fall. You can schedule a session here.
7. Will students receive any training in Canvas?

Students interested in learning more about Canvas should sign up to enroll in a self-directed introduction to Canvas. Students may also view this tutorial video that covers the basics of Canvas.

8. How does my name appear in Canvas? How can I change it?

Data in Canvas is drawn directly from our Student Information System, Colleague. Current students can change their name by completing the Chosen Name Form on Hub Helper. Faculty and staff should contact either the Office of Human Resources or the Accounting Office to provide updated information.

Course Access

9. When do faculty have access to courses?

Faculty will be enrolled in their courses at least several weeks before the start of a semester. At that time, they may begin preparing their courses for the upcoming semester. Faculty also need to have a current contract and be assigned to the course in Self-Service. Please contact HR with any contract questions and please contact the registrar regarding Self-Service.

10. When do students have access to courses?

Students will be enrolled in courses a couple weeks before the start of a semester but will not be able to view courses immediately. Students will be able to view published courses one week before the start of classes.If the course is not published by their faculty member, they will not be able to see it until all courses are automatically published on the first day of the semester.

11. How long does it take for a student to get access to a course after roster updates?

Roster updates are processed in real-time. Adds and drops that need to be processed by the registrar can take approximately 48 hours to update. When a drop is processed, a student is marked as inactive and immediately lose access to the Canvas course.

12. How long do students have access after the end of a semester?

Students can contribute to courses until the course end date listed in Canvas. After that date, students will haveview-only access to their courses and will not be able to submit assignments, etc.

13. How long do faculty have access after the end of a semester?

Faculty can edit courses until after grades due. At that point, the course will be archived. Content can easily be copied to a new course and will remain archived for at least three years. To modify course access dates, please contact

14. Can I override the term dates to extend access for students?

Allowing students to modify course contributions after a semester concludes is not recommended. However, if you would like to override the term dates to allow student edit access beyond one week after the end of the semester, please contact

Course Publishing

15. How do I publish my course?

You can publish your course via your course card in the Canvas Dashboard or from the home page of the course by simply clicking the Publish button. For more information including screenshots, see How do I publish a Course?

16. Will courses be automatically published in Canvas? How will students know that a course is published?

No, courses will never automatically publish because use of Canvas is not required. When a course is published it will appear on their dashboard when they log in to Canvas but theywill not receive an automatic notification from Canvas. If you wish to send a notification to the students, we suggest using the Announcements feature and they will receive an email notification.

17. What do the students see when I publish the course?

Students will see all content that is marked as Published and any navigation items that have not been hidden. To check the Student View to see exactly what your students see when you publish, follow this guide. Please note you will need to publish the course before it can be previewed in Student View.

18. How much space do I have for my course materials? Can I get more?

Canvas courses are currently provisioned 2000 megabytes of storage. This storage is for course files and does not count student submissions. Faculty are encouraged to take advantage of unlimited video storage on Panopto. If you need more course storage, no problem! Please contact and we will be happy to expand your allocation.

19. How do I hide navigation items that I don’t want my students to see?

You can hide any link in the navigation of the course and unpublish anything you do not want to your students to view by following this guide.

20. How do I add a Syllabus to my course?

Creating a syllabus is easy! Canvas features a special page for your syllabus allowing space for a course description and features an auto-generated course summary based on assignments and events. To edit your syllabus, follow this guide.

21. I don't want to use Canvas. How can I prevent students from seeing the empty Canvas course shell?

Canvas courses are only published at the discretion of the instructor. Students will not see unpublished courses on their dashboards and are not be able to access unpublished courses.

Sandbox Course

22. What is a sandbox?

Canvas courses are only published at the discretion of the instructor. Students will not see unpublished courses on their dashboards and are not be able to access unpublished courses.

23. How do I get a sandbox site so that I can import or create course content for future use?

To request a sandbox, please complete the following form. CAIT is happy to create multiple sandboxes for one user or shared sandboxes for collaborative development. Once you have created content in your sandbox, you can follow these steps to copy content into a new course shell.

Have more questions? Submit a request


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