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Salisbury University BW
A Maryland University of National Distinction
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Instructional Design & Delivery
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Canvas FAQs For Instructors

Learn a lot about MyClasses Canvas with the following Instructor Frequently Asked Questions.  If you don't find an answer you need - search the Canvas Instructor Guides or contact ID&D by email suidd@salisbury.edu or by phone at 410-677-6585.

Basic Overview

  1. When are courses created in MyClasses?

All credit bearing courses will be created automatically in MyClasses Canvas on a regular schedule.  Winter/Spring courses will be created in November and Summer/Fall courses will be created in April.  Changes to courses and sections are updated approximately every four hours, including faculty enrollments.  Faculty will need to request any cross-listed or multiple sections to be combined using the Combine Section Request form.

  2. I have a cross-listed course or multiple sections of the same course, can these be combined?

Yes, faculty may request for course sections to be combined by using the Combine Section Request form.  However, course sections can only be combined prior to student activity within the course.

  3. Do I have to use MyClasses Canvas for my course?

Online and hybrid courses are required to use MyClasses Canvas for delivery of instruction.  Faculty wanting to use other Instructional Software, such as Panopto or Turnitin, must use MyClasses Canvas.  Beyond that, faculty can elect to supplement their traditional courses with MyClasses Canvas.  Courses are not available to students until the faculty member Publishes the course.

  4. When are students added to courses in MyClasses?

Student enrollment based on rosters in GullNet are added on the following schedule:

  • Fall Regular, Session 1 and 2 sessions - August 1
  • Winter Session - December 1
  • Spring Regular, Session 1 and 2 sessions - December 1
  • Summer Regular, Session 1 and 2 sessions - May 1

During the current semester updates to courses, sections and instructor/student enrollments occurs every four hours (i.e. 4 AM, 8 AM, 12 PM, etc.).  Future semesters are updated on a daily basis.

  5. When do students have access to courses?

Student enrollment is added to courses approximately one month prior to the semester start date.  However, this does not mean that they can see the course.  Course dates are setup for students to access courses one week prior to the semester start date to two weeks after the end of the semester.  Online and hybrid courses are expected to  open for students one week prior to the semester start date.  This allows students to review the course syllabus, become familiar with the MyClasses course, and to complete any pre-week activities.

With that said, courses do not display to students until the faculty member Publishes the course.  If a faculty member would like to allow students to see the course beyond these dates, please contact ID&D.

  6. If I publish my course before the term start date, will students have access to the course?

No, student access to courses is based on the start and end dates of the course sections, which are one week prior and two weeks after the official semester start dates.  Publishing a course early does not automatically provide students access to the course.  However, publishing a course early is helpful in preparing for the start of the semester - as this is often forgotten by instructors.

  7. How can I receive training on MyClasses Canvas?

Instructional Design & Delivery offers regularly scheduled workshops on MyClasses Canvas.  In addition, faculty can use the MyClasses Canvas - Online Training to work at their own pace.  Additional resources to learn Canvas are available by selecting Search the Canvas Guides from the Help menu in MyClasses Canvas.  Additional events are sponsored throughout the academic year where faculty can share experiences with each other - such as the monthly MyClasses User's group meeting and the annual Teaching and Learning Conference. Appointments can be made in person and virtually with our campus Instructional Designers.

  8. I am in my course but do not see my course navigation, where is it?

The new interface of MyClasses Canvas automatically adjusts to computer screen sizes and mobile devices.  If you do not see your course navigation, the look to the left of your course title at the top for an icon with three lines.  Click this icon to display your course navigation.  

Display of three line icon before course title to click and expand course navigation

  9. How do I customize the courses on my Dashboard?  How do I locate all of MyCourses?

The Dashboard displays courses in which you are enrolled.  You also have access to all of your courses, by clicking on Courses from the global menu and then selecting All Courses.  When in the All Courses area, you can favorite courses to only have those courses appear on your Dashboard.  This is useful for faculty who will be using only certain courses in MyClasses Canvas (such as using on the lecture section of a course and not using a lab section).  Refer to the Customizing the Course List guide for step by step instructions.

10. If I need assistance setting up my course in MyClasses Canvas, who do I ask?

Instructional Design & Delivery provides pedagogical and technological support for faculty and staff in the use of MyClasses Canvas.  In addition to our workshops, faculty can stop by our Faculty Development Studio in TE 213G, email suidd@salisbury.edu or call (410) 677-6585 for assistance.  Appointments can be made in person or virtually with our campus Instructional Designers.  Students should contact the IT Helpdesk for assistance.

Getting Started

  1. How do I import content from a development course or a previous semester?

Faculty can import content from another Canvas course by using the Import feature under Settings.

  2. How do I set my Course Home Page?

The Home Page of your course makes the first impression on your students.  Instructional Design & Delivery recommends faculty to set their home page to the Syllabus.  The Canvas syllabus tool allows a faculty member to create a welcome message for the course; add a link to the syllabus document or other areas of the course; display grading information; and automatically display a schedule of graded activities for the students.  See the How do I change the Course Home Page? guide for step by step instructions.

  3. Can I change the names of the items on the Course Navigation?

No, faculty cannot change the names of the items on the Course Navigation.  The consistent names of the course navigation provides students with consistency as they switch between various courses within MyClasses Canvas.  Equally, this reduces the learning curve for students and faculty as to where various elements are found within a course.  

However, faculty can reorder the course navigation as well as hide links to tools that they will not be using within the course.

  4. How do I setup my gradebook in MyClasses Canvas?

Columns in the gradebook are created automatically based on the graded activities and assignment groups that you create within the Assignments area of your course.  Assignments in MyClasses Canvas is defined in a broader spectrum to include all graded activities to be completed by students.  An assignment should be created for each activity submitted online or in the classroom, as well as graded online discussions or assessments.

By default the gradebook calculates grades by points.  Faculty who use weighted percentages for final grade calculations will need to create Assignment groups and then organize those assignments under those groups for proper grade calculations.  Faculty are encouraged to attend the Mastering the MyClasses Canvas Gradebook workshop or work with a campus Instructional Designer.

It is imperative for faculty to communicate with their students how they intend to use the MyClasses gradebook in relation to the final course grade.  Students should be encouraged to calculate their own grades based on the course syllabus.  Faculty can also hide the totals from students in the student grade view.

  5. If a MyClasses Blackboard course was converted for me, what should I do in Canvas to clean-up the course?

Faculty who requested ID&D to convert their MyClasses Blackboard course on their behalf, should review the following areas in their course:

  • Assignments (remove any unwanted Assignment Groups)
  • Pages
  • Modules
  • Files

Watch the video on course conversion or review the conversion checklist for tips on how to clean-up your course.

  6. How can I view my course like a student?

The Student View allows you see the course as a student views it.  While in the student view a Test Student is created for your course to allow you to participate in assignments, quizzes and other areas of the course just like a student.  At the end of the session, you can choose to keep the student data of the Test Student in the grade center or reset it to allow you to complete the activity again.  Refer to the How do I view a course using a test student? guides for more information.

  7. Can I add other users to my course?

Faculty can add other users into their course in various roles, except for the student role.  Students are automatically added into courses via a report between MyClasses Canvas and GullNet that runs every four hours.  Please see the Enrolling Users handout for an explanation of the various MyClasses Canvas roles and instructions on how to add users.

  8. Why can't I add students to a course?

Enrollment of students in courses is based on the official class roster within GullNet.   All faculty and student enrollments for credit bearing courses MUST be performed using the custom report developed to update MyClasses data. Enrollments cannot occur directly within MyClasses due to the need for the internal tracking database to be updated. Enrollments occurring outside of the custom report process will cause the tracking database to become out of sync with actual MyClasses data.  If a faculty member has a unique need, please contact ID&D.

Course Management

  1. How do I give a student extra time on a quiz?

Based on official student accommodation documentation from Student Affairs, you can add additional time to a published assessment using the Moderate this Quiz feature.  The extra time you enter is added to the original duration of a quiz.  If you setup your quiz to be completed within 30 minutes and your student receives time and half, you would add an additional 15 minutes to this student.

  2. How do I give a student an extra attempt to a quiz?

To allow a student an extra quiz attempt, an instructor can locate the quiz within MyClasses and select the option to Show Student Quiz Results.  Then locate the desired student and review the student quiz attempts.  Select the Allow this student an extra attempt option on the right to provide the student the opportunity to take the quiz again.

  3. Can students access files within the Files area?

Yes, by default the Files area is available to students to see all files uploaded within a course.  For MyClasses Canvas courses that supplement a traditional course, faculty can organize the files area for easy distribution of information or handouts.  For courses with content organized with Modules, faculty often will hide the Files area or restrict files or folders from students view.

  4. How can I assign different due dates for a graded activity?

Yes, faculty can assign the same graded activity to different students on different dates.  The same is true for assigning due dates by section within a combined course.  MyClasses Canvas refers to this feature as Differentiated Assignments.  When establishing the due and availability dates for the activity, the faculty member selects either Everyone, individuals students, and/or the desired section.

  5. How do I setup my gradebook for percentages?

In order to use percentages for the final grade calculation, faculty must organize all graded activities in the Assignments area into Assignment Groups.  Once the Assignment Groups are created, faculty turn on the weight final grade option within the assignment settings.

  6. How can I add a column to the gradebook?

Columns cannot be manually created in the gradebook in MyClasses Canvas. There are two options for creating a new column:

  1. Creating a No Submission assignment (recommended)
  2. Adding a column by importing a text delimited (.csv) file and importing this file into Canvas. To create a new column using a .csv file, you will first need to download the pre-existing grade book. Then after adding the new columns, upload the changes to Canvas.

  7. How do I hide grade statistics from students?

By default, MyClasses Canvas provides box and whisker plot (grade distribution) for graded activities.  In small courses, this could lead to students knowing other student's grades for assignments.  See the How do I hide the box and whisker plot? guide for instructions on turning this feature off.

  8. I plan on using other methods to calculate the students final grades. How can I hide the totals in the MyClasses gradebook from students?

Refer to the How do I hide totals in my students' grade summaries? guide for information on removing the total and assignment group subtotals from the students grade reports.

  9. How do I allow attachments in discussions?

By default, discussions do not allow students to attach files.  You can modify this, along with these other discussion features, by editing the course settings:

  • Let students create discussion topics
  • Let students edit or delete their own discussion posts

10. How do I restrict students from commenting on my Announcements?

Announcements in MyClasses Canvas works similar to "wall posts" on Facebook, where students can comment on a announcement created by faculty and then notifications are sent to the entire class.  Faculty who wish to disable this feature should refer to the How do I disable comments in Announcements? guide.
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