Click on a link below to take you to the corresponding walkthrough.

All links open in new tabs.

Course Navigation

  1. How do I use the Course Home Page as a student?
  2. How do I use the Course Activity Stream as a student?
  3. How do I drop a self-enrolled Canvas course?
  4. How do I use the Syllabus as a student?

Global Navigation

  1. How do I use the Dashboard as a student?
  2. How do I use the Global Navigation Menu as a student?
  3. How do I view course cards in the Dashboard as a student?
  4. How do I use the To Do list and sidebar in the Dashboard as a student?
  5. How do I view grades in the Dashboard as a student?
  6. How do I customize my Courses list as a student?
  7. How do I get help with Canvas as a student?
  8. How do I log out of Canvas as a student?
  9. Why can't I access my Course as a student?

For additional tutorials on Global Navigation, select this link.

Click one of the following links for more information. 

Certain tools have to be activated before you can use them. This tutorial will show you how to activate tools.

Step 1

Open the course in which you want to activate a tool and select Settings at the bottom of the tools on the left side of the window.

Screenshot of the Settings tool.

Step 2

Select the Navigation tab at the top of the page.

Screenshot of the Navigation tab.

Step 3

Select and drag the tool you want to activate from the bottom section of the page to the top.

Screenshot of dragging a tool up.

Step 4

Select the Save button at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot of the Save button.

This tutorial will introduce you to the features of the User Dashboard, which is the first page that users see when they log into Canvas.

The User Dashboard consists of three main parts:

1) global navigation

2) course list

3) sidebar

Screenshot of the User Dashboard.

Global Navigation

Use the buttons in the pane on the left to navigate to multiple locations in Canvas.

Select Account to access your personal profile, settings, notifications, files, and ePortofolios. You can also log out in this pane.

Screenshot of the Account button.

Select the arrow at the bottom of the pane to collapse the global navigation.

Screenshot of the arrow.

Select Dashboard to return to the User Dashboard after navigating away from it.

Screenshot of the dashboard.

Select Courses to view a list of your courses for the current semester. Select All Courses to access all of your other Canvas courses from past semesters.

Screenshot of the All Courses button.

If you are a member of a group, you will see the Groups option. The Groups tab will appear once you are added to a group. Select Groups to view the groups of which you are currently a member. Select All Groups to view past groups.

Screenshot of the Groups button.

Select Calendar to navigate to the calendar that organizes all of the events and assignments in all of your courses.

Screenshot of the calendar.

Select Inbox to navigate to the Canvas messaging system.

Screenshot of the inbox.

Course List

1) Select a square to navigate to that course.

2) Select the pencil icon in the top right corner of the square to give the course a nickname and change the color of the square.

3) Select and drag a course to rearrange it.

Screenshot of the courses.

The options at the bottom of the square vary depending on which tools are activated in the course. The following are possible options:

1) Megaphone: view announcements for that course.

2) Paper icon: view assignments for that course.

3) Speech bubble: access the discussions for that course.

4) Folder: access the files for that course.

Screenshot of the megaphone, paper, speech bubble, and folder.

Select the button in the top right corner of the User Dashboard to switch the course list to the Recent Activity list.

Screenshot of the Recent Activity list.

Screenshot of the Recent Activity list.


The Sidebar helps you see what you need to do next across all your courses and can contain up to three helpful sections.

1) The To Do section shows assignments or events that require your attention. If you are enrolled in a course as a student, the list shows assignments you need to turn in online. If you are enrolled in a course as an instructor, the list shows assignments you need to grade. The red number on the instructor view shows how many submissions are ready for grading. Items remain in this section for two weeks.

2) The Coming Up section shows assignments and events coming due in the next seven days (including assignments without an online submission).

3) The Recent Feedback, if you are enrolled in a course as a student, the section shows assignments with feedback from your instructor.

Screenshot of the side bar.

To remove an item from the To Do list, select the X in the top right corner. INSTRUCTORS: The item will reappear once a new submission is available for grading.

Screenshot of the ignore options.

Recent Activity

Recent Activity contains a stream of recent notifications from all of your courses, including announcements, discussions, assignments, and conversations. This activity stream helps you see all recent activity in your courses and easily ask questions and post to discussion forums.

Activities are indicated by activity type and display an icon (1) for the activity. New or unread activities are shown by the red indicator dot (2). Recent Activity items remain for four weeks.

You can view the details of each activity by selecting the (3) Show More link. To collapse recent activity, select the (4) Show Less link.

You can directly access your recent activities by selecting the (5) course link. To remove a notification, select the (6) remove icon.

Screenshot of the Recent Activity.

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