Office of Digital Learning & Innovation (DLI)

Canvas FAQ

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about UW Canvas. If your question is not listed here, please contact UW Bothell Office of Digital Learning & Innovation at

This page is subject to change as different issues, features and common questions arise.

How did all of our courses get into Canvas?

All courses are automatically created in Canvas. UW Seattle has created a process that uses information from the time schedule to upload your courses of record into Canvas.

Do I still need to put in a course request with UWB DLI?

If the course you are teaching is a credit course and appears on the time schedule, you will not need to request a course from UWB Office of Digital Learning & Innovation. For those who need non-course sites or "shell" sites for moving content over from Blackboard should request a course using the UWB Office of Digital Learning & Innovation: Course Request Form.

What is the time frame for new classes to show in Canvas?

As soon as the time schedule for each quarter is released, your courses will show up in Canvas.

How do students enroll in the course?

Students are automatically enrolled in the course when they enroll through the University course registration system. Students will not have to self-enroll in Canvas courses.

How can we add multiple sections to one course?

In Canvas, you can manually cross-list sections, meaning that you can have multiple sections of the same course in one Canvas classroom. This allows you to use only one course for content and instruction, rather than multiple Canvas classrooms. Our tutorial for combining courses will take you through this process.

How do I set a page I created as my course home page?

On your Canvas course's main page, click on the "Change Home Page Layout" link and in the drop-down menu select the "a Page I'll Design Myself" option. This will set the Front Page as your course's home page.

Note: You cannot set a specific page in Canvas to be your home page, other than the Front Page. Only this page will be usable when changing your home page layout. If you want to change how your home page looks, be sure to only change the Front Page.

If a course is made public, does it show in the Courses menu for everyone at the university?

No. If you make a course public, you will need to share the link to your course with those who need it.

Can I make some content public but keep other content private?

No. All content in a course is either all public or all private.

How do I move files within the Files area?

Files in Canvas are organized in alphabetical order. While you can still move files into folders, you cannot rearrange the alphabetized structure of the files and folders.

For more information on the files section of Canvas take a look at our Files tutorial.

What should I do with my Canvas course after the quarter ends?

First, put your course in "Read Only" mode. "Read Only" mode means that students can still access the course and download documents, but they can no longer interact with the course in the form of submitting assignments or posting on the discussion board. To do this:

  1. Click Settings
  2. Click Edit Course Details
  3. Enter an End Date for your course

To remove access to parts of your Canvas course after the quarter has ended, simply remove links from the navigation menu (such as those to Files and Assignments). To do this:

  1. Click Settings
  2. Click the Navigation tab
  3. Drag navigation items below the line that says "Drag items here to hide them from students.

For more information on ending your Canvas course, take a look at our ending a Canvas course tutorial.

When I click on the view all courses in the course and groups tab, I see two versions of the same course. How do I know which one to use? How can I remove one?

This is known as a bug in Canvas in which all courses are duplicated, but only one course is the one which students are enrolled in. Instructors (or TAs) only see the duplicate course if they click on the View All Courses in the Course and Groups tab or if they view sections in the Settings menu.

Students only see the correct course list and don't see the duplicate because they're enrolled in one section. Instructors can know which is the correct course by simply viewing only the courses viewable in the Courses and Groups tab, or if there is another section, viewing the course that has a SIS ID number in the Sections tab.

UWS and Canvas are currently working on a solution. If you would like to remove the duplicate sections, you will need to contact UWS Canvas Help,

How can I add someone once my course is concluded?

In order to add someone to a course that has been concluded, it will first need to be started again. To do this go to your course settings and change the end date to some time in the future. Once the course is open again you can go to people and add any users that you wish.

What are conferences?

Conferences are primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups. It can also be used to demonstrate technologies or troubleshoot technology issues online. For more information on conferences and how to set one up, take a look at our conferences tutorial.

What is the inbox at the top of the page and how does the messaging (Conversation) system work?

In Canvas, the internal messaging system is called Conversations. The conversations tool provides a way for faculty and students to engage in a private conversation.

The inbox you see at the top of the page in Canvas is where you will find all new and existing messages or conversations. You can think of this inbox in the same way as an email inbox. For more detailed information on Conversations and how they work in Canvas, take a look at our tutorial on Conversations.

If my course goes over the 500MB storage limit, can my course get more?

Yes. You will need to request additional storage from UWB DLI.

How do we best add library eReserve items?

You can do this in a variety of ways, as it is simply a web link to the eReserves page. You can do any one of the following to add the link to your course:

  1. Create a page with the link and link to the page from a module or assignment
  2. Add the link directly to a Module
  3. Include the link as part of an assignment

In SpeedGrader, can you comment on plain text, .rtf, older versions of Word (.doc), or Open Office documents like you can with .docx files? Are there any issues with Macs?

No. The annotation tools for SpeedGrader do not work on plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), or Open Office (.odt) files. Howver, you can still preview rich text and Open Office documents in the SpeedGrader.

Annotation tools do work for the older versions of Word/PowerPoint/Excel (.doc/.ppt/.xls). There did not appear to be any issues with using a Mac to upload files as long as they are in these formats.

Am I able to remove the comment function in SpeedGrader, so students can't comment?

No. This is a feature of the SpeedGrader.

What is the Peer Review function? How does it work?

A peer-review assignment enables students to comment on a peer's submitted assignment. Peer reviewers can be manually assigned or you can have Canvas automatically assign a peer reviewer to an assignment. Only those who have turned in the assignment will be assigned to be a reviewer.

For more detailed information on Peer Review and how it works, visit our tutorial on enabling peer review. We also have a tutorial for students on using the peer review function.

Additionally, here are a few things we have learned about the Peer Review function:

  • Students can't complete a peer review of another student until they submit their own assignment.
  • Students can review more than one student. You can assign them multiple reviews either manually or by using the automatic peer selection and choosing a number more than 1.
  • Peer review is not (and cannot be) built into the gradebook as an assignment, so assessing students' peer reviews is difficult in Canvas.

Will I be able to submit my grades via Canvas?

If you use Catalyst to submit grades, we have a video tutorial that will take you through the process of submitting finel grades from Canvas to Catalyst.

Is there a way to submit all assignment grades at one time, rather than submitting one at a time?

Yes. You can mark an assignment as muted, which means that grade notifications and instructor comments will not be sent out until the assignment is unmuted, then proceed to grade each student's submissions. Once you have finished grading submissions for that particular assignment, unmute the assignment and all grade notifications will be sent out to the students at once.

This can also be done in SpeedGrader, where in the SpeedGrader interface, you can mute/unmute an assignment at the top of the page. This functions similarly as Canvas' grading feature described above.

Can I download all assignment submissions as a zip file, or do I have to download each submission individually?

Yes, you can download all submissions to an assignment as a zip file. In your course's Gradebook, hover your mouse over the assignment's title and click on the arrow. Click on "Download Submissions" in the drop-down menu. The submissions for that assignment will be consolidated into a zip file and can be downloaded to your computer. Take a look at our Canvas Gradebook Interface tutorial.

Is it possible for students to submit multiple files for an assignment?

Yes. Students are able to submit multiple files for an assignment. All they need to do is click on the add another file link below each submission in the assignment.

Can students turn in a zip file of multiple files?

Yes. Students can submit a zip file for an assignment. However, an instructor will not be able to preview the files in Canvas. To see the files, they must first be downloaded.

Can you download all of the zip files for a particular assignment in a similar way to how you can download individual assignments?

Yes, you can download all zip file submissions for a particular assignment into one zip file. In your course's Gradebook, hover your mouse over the assignment's title and click on the arrow. Click on "Download Submissions" in the drop-down menu. The zip file submissions for that assignment will be consolidated into one zip file. Take a look at our Canvas Gradebook Interface tutorial.

What is the maximum file size for a file upload to Canvas?

The maximum file size for a file upload to Canvas is 2 GB, this includes video uploads as well.

Copyright Questions?

Contact the Library Reserves Staff at

Streaming Media Questions?

Contact the Library Reserves Staff at