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5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Canvas

Using student and faculty feedback, we created five essential tips that will help you create an optimal experience in Canvas. These practical steps will assist you whether you are new to online learning or have many years of experience.

1. Update Your Notification Settings

Canvas enables you to receive important notifications according to your preferences. You can receive notifications for announcements, conversations (the Canvas messaging tool), grades, discussions, and the calendar to your email address or cellular device via text. To do this, you will need to register an email you regularly check with your Canvas account, and you can even add your cell phone number for text notifications, as well. You can also schedule notifications to go out immediately, daily, or weekly.

To learn how to update your notification preferences: read this written tutorial or watch this video.

Pro-tip: Whatever your preferences, make sure you have a regular routine where you frequently check your Canvas notifications so you can stay up-to-date in your courses.

2. Use the Calendar as a Planner

The Canvas Calendar gives you a big picture view of assignments and events for your classes so you can:

  • View upcoming assignments or events from a monthly view, weekly view, or agenda view;
  • Quickly identify calendar items with icons indicating discussion, quiz, assignment or event;
  • Personalize by adding your own events and to-do items;
  • Keep track of assignment and feel a nice sense of accomplishment by crossing out submitted assignments; and
  • Import the Canvas calendar into other calendar apps you use such as Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Outlook.

To learn how to use the calendar as a student: read the tutorial.

Pro-tip: Without the regularity of showing up for a scheduled class time, online classes may slip your mind. Print out calendars and other physical reminders and post them around a space you commonly use whenever possible.

3. Get to Know the Activity Stream

Like the calendar, the activity stream is another tool for keeping up with your courses. Activity stream information includes announcements, discussion posts, grading updates, and assignment notifications such as new assignments and due date changes. Via the global activity stream view, you can also see a to-do list of items that includes assignments to complete and a feedback stream for recently submitted and graded assignments. You can view the global activity stream via your Dashboard in Canvas. You can view activity for a single course via the Course Activity Stream or for all of your courses via the Global Activity Stream.

Pro-tip: Set your dashboard view to the global activity stream so that when you log on to Canvas you always see the most recent course information first.

4. Access Zoom in Canvas

For security reasons, we encourage you to access Zoom through Canvas. To access a Zoom meeting via Canvas take the following steps:

  1. Log into Canvas using your UNT EUID and password.
  2. Select and click on your course.
  3. From the navigation menu on the left, click on “ZOOM.”
  4.  If a Zoom meeting has been scheduled, and it is time to meet, click “Join” on the far right of the screen.
  5. In the new window click on “Open Zoom Meetings.”

5. Have a Back-Up Plan

You can submit assignments in a variety of ways in Canvas including Google Drive, web URL, and Office 365; though your instructor can limit the types of files you can submit. In the event of digital disruption, you will likely want to email your instructor your assignment. However, you will want to take the following steps in order to ensure that you have carefully documented the event:

  1. Take a screenshot of the incident;
  2. Contact the Student Help Desk: it.unt.edu/helpdesk; and
  3. Send a message via email or through Canvas to notify your instructor that an incident has occurred with your ticket number.

After submitting your assignment, you can view the submission details, as well as feedback via the submission details button from the assignment submission menu.

Pro-tip: When submitting assignments, the closer you submit your assignment to the due date (particularly if the deadline is 11:59pm - the most common deadline), the more likely you are to experience digital disruption as the rest of your classmates rush to submit their assignments, too.