Faculty Resources
Canvas FAQ

If you don't see the answer to your question below, please see Getting Help.

Canvas Transition
Assignments and Quizzes
Course Sites
Combine/Cross-List/Copy Courses
Course Management 

What are the differences between Blackboard and Canvas?

Why are we moving to Canvas? 
In Summer 2016, Georgetown piloted Canvas as an alternative to Blackboard for faculty on all campuses. Since that time, use of Canvas has increased significantly. In fall 2017 semester, close to 1,300 Georgetown faculty used Canvas and nearly 14,000 students had at least one course in Canvas. 

In Fall 2016, a survey was sent to faculty and students who were using Canvas to better understand the use of the tool. A majority of both faculty and students who responded to the survey indicated comfort with the features of Canvas, with students indicating they would welcome Canvas in all of their courses.

After piloting Canvas for a full year—and in an effort to transition to a more modern course management system—last month the Main Campus Executive Faculty voted unanimously in favor of a motion to transition the Main Campus and SFS-Q course management system service from Blackboard to Canvas.

The Law Center has already adopted Canvas for its course management system and the School of Medicine has started the transition to Canvas in Fall 2017.

In October 2017, the Main Campus Executive Faculty voted unanimously in favor of a motion to transition Main Campus courses from Blackboard to Canvas over the next two years.

When will I no longer have access to Blackboard?
The transition to Canvas for the Main Campus and SFS-Q will take place over the course of two years, during which time Blackboard will continue to be available. 

Beginning in the Fall 2018 semester, courses will only automatically be provisioned in Canvas; Blackboard will be available by request only. 

By December 31, 2019, all faculty will need to complete the move to Canvas and Blackboard will no longer be available.

What will happen to my course content on Blackboard?
Course content will remain on Blackboard until December, 31st 2019.  During the transition time you can migrate content from Blackboard into existing Canvas courses and/or choose to archive your Blackboard course content.

Can I migrate course content from Blackboard to Canvas?
Yes!  However not all Blackboard course content will migrate (or migrate well) into Canvas. Please see the following page for more information: Moving from Blackboard to Canvas

There is no automatic migration of Blackboard course sites/content into Canvas.  Instructors are asked to move their Blackboard content to Canvas according to the steps outlined at the link above.

How can I get help with migrating my Blackboard content to Canvas?
Please review Moving from Blackboard to Canvas.  In some cases, instructors will need to rearrange or clean-up imported course content. 

You can sign up for a migration workshop, request one-on-one consultation, or contact support for assistance:

What Canvas training options are available for faculty and staff?

How do I get help using Canvas?
To get help using Canvas, check out the following options:

Which Learning Management System (LMS) is my instructor using: Blackboard or Canvas?
Please contact your instructor directly and inquire about which LMS (Blackboard or Canvas) they will be using for their course. You can look for your instructor's contact information in the Georgetown University online directory.

In the meantime, you can login to both Blackboard and Canvas and see if you can find your course site:
Things to note: 
  • Not all instructors will use a LMS (Blackboard or Canvas), so you may not see all of your courses listed here.

How do I add users / people to my course?

Can I organize the Photo Roster by section?
Yes.  Please access the Photo Roster in your Canvas site and select the section number from the drop down menu at the top of the page.  If there is no option to select a section, then there is only one section in the Canvas site.

Can consortium students access Canvas?
As a consortium student at Georgetown, you may need to access Canvas in order to fully participate in your coursework. To establish your access to Canvas, you will need the following:
  • As soon as your registration is processed at Georgetown, you will receive a very important email from Georgetown's consortium coordinator, in which you will be informed of your NetID and NetID Password.
    • If you are missing this information, you can send an email to consortium@georgetown.edu OR you can find your GU NetID by searching for your name in the public online directory: http://contact.georgetown.edu
    • Please note: You can only see your NetID from an on-campus computer.

  • Change your password. Once you have your NetID, you must reset your temporary password (which will be provided to you by the consortium coordinator). You can reset your password here: https://password.georgetown.edu

  • Set email routing. After resetting your password, you should set up email routing to your home school’s email account. Review the following page on setting up email forwarding from your GU email (Gmail) account to another account: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/10957?hl=en
Once email routing is completed, you will be able to access Canvas the following business day or after 48 hours.

Click here to see how to identify if your professor is utilizing Canvas or Blackboard.

How do I change my Canvas notifications?

Can an instructor send an email to students in an un-published course?
No. The course will need to be published before an instructor can send students email via the Canvas Inbox. Alternatively, instructors can use MyAccess to send emails to students until the course is published in Canvas. 

    Things to note: 
  • Canvas will allow instructors to send email to TAs and other instructors when a course is unpublished-- just not students.

Does the Canvas "Inbox" tool have formatting options?
No. When formatting is essential, it's recommended instructors use the Canvas Announcements tool located within a specific course. Students will receive an email in their Georgetown inbox when an announcement is sent and, when they access the course site in Canvas. 

    Things to note:
  • Canvas Announcements may not instantly arrive in a student's Georgetown inbox; this depends on each student's notification setting in Canvas.

Can the home page display a list of announcements like in Blackboard?

How do I create groups in a course?
Students enrolled in a course can be grouped together for projects, presentations, and other assignments in your course.

How do I share my Canvas course with non-Georgetown users?
There are two options: 
  • People not affiliated with Georgetown can obtain SUA (Sponsored University Associate) status. This process will result in the person obtaining a NetID and thus, access to Canvas. For more information on the SUA process, please see the Georgetown SUA FAQ page.

  • You can make your Canvas course visible to the public. We do NOT recommend this option. Opening up your Canvas course to the public will allow anyone to view to your course and materials online. The public will not be enrolled in the course and certain Canvas tools (e.g. Quizzes, Assignments, Discussions, ect.) will be unavailable for the public to use.  

How do I create group assignments?

How do I combine or cross-list  course sections?

How do I copy content between Canvas course sites?
An instructor can copy course content such as files, assignments, quizzes, modules, pages, and discussions.  
Please note that the Canvas course copy process starts in the "destination" course site, and NOT in the source site. 

How do I show or hide items on my course menu?

How can I add the University Policies page to my course?

What process should I use to open my course to students at the beginning of the semester?
By default, course sites in Canvas are "unpublished" and hidden from students. When you are ready for students to view and interact with your course, simply Publish the course site.

See here for instructions on how to publish a course in Canvas.

How I do temporarily prevent students from accessing a Canvas course site?

What process should I use to close my course to students at the end of the semester?

Coming soon.

Is Canvas integrated with MyAccess?
MyAccess is the system used by students, faculty, and deans to view and update student records. It is the system faculty use to record final grades.

Currently, there is no automated upload/feed of final course grades from Canvas to MyAccess.  Instructors must manually input the final grades into MyAccess. 

It is possible to batch upload student grades into MyAccess. See the Registrar's instructions here for more information.   

What is the file size limit for my course?
  • Course site: A Canvas course site can contain 10 gigabytes (GB) of course content (this includes the course Files area). 
  • File uploads: There's a 2 gigabytes (GB) limit on an individual file upload into Canvas. 
  • User files: Canvas offers a user files area (not associated with a course) where the size limit is 50 megabytes (MB). 
  • Group files: The file size limit for a Group is 50 megabytes (MB). 
  • Course imports: Course Import files (typically zip files) cannot exceed 5 gigabytes (GB). 

When you attempt to upload a file that will push the course over its size limit, you will receive an error message indicating that the file exceeds the file quota. Please contact Canvas Support to request a course quota increase.

What if students cannot access certain Georgetown Library e-reserves or resources off-campus?
Certain library electronic resources will be inaccessible to users when accessed from off campus locations. 

Since the Georgetown library subscribes to many electronic resources, on-campus access to these journals works without any issues and does not require a GU affiliation (e.g. NetID login) to be established. Off campus access to these journals, however, will need to be authenticated first by logging in to the service with the user's Georgetown NetID and password.

Off-campus users need to access the content via the Library's EZproxy service, which rewrites the requests and proxies them through the GU network. The EZproxy service is NetID-enabled and requests credentials when the user first tries to access content via a "proxied" link.
  • We suggest adding "http://proxy.library.georgetown.edu/login?url=" to the existing library resource. 
  • This will prompt users to log in to Georgetown services and will provide access to the resource for both on and off-campus users. 
For example: 
  • Here's the existing library resource URL: "http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=6964985"
  • And here's the recommended change to the library resource URL: "http://proxy.library.georgetown.edu/login?url=http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=6964985" 

How do I add Library e-reserves in my course?
Georgetown University Main Campus Libraries have migrated to a new Integrated Library System. While the new system will not affect the process for placing physical items (books and DVDs) on Course Reserve or the process in providing streaming media reserves, there will be a new system in place for providing electronic reserves (e-reserves).

Beginning in Summer 2018, the Main Campus Library will provide e-reserves via Box, which can be added directly as files to your course in Canvas.  

You will have three options for posting e-reserves in Canvas: 
  1.  If you would like the Library to post e-reserves to your course in Canvas they would be happy to help. They have limited access to courses Canvas and do not have access to any confidential or sensitive information posted by instructors and students. They can post Box folders housing any number of PDF’s or post PDF’s as stand-alone documents. 

  2.  The Library can provide e-reserves to instructors via email and/or Box. Instructors can then post the content in their course and tailor each semester’s readings as needed.

  3. Some combination of one and two, whichever works best at any specific moment.

You will need to fill out an Electronic Reserve Form for all new e-reserve requests. 

For assistance, please contact:  

 Jeff Popovich
Circulation/Reserves Coordinator
202 687-7403
 Dan Clapper
Weekend Supervisor and Access Services Specialist
202 687-6119

What quiz question types are available?
Click on each question type below to learn more:

How do I track a student's interaction with a quiz?

Can I see question details in a quiz?
Yes, you can currently preview up to 25 quiz question details (including questions and answers). 

What are quiz Question Banks and Question Groups?

How do I share Question Banks with another instructor?
There are a few ways to do this, but one way is to make a quiz in your course that contains all the questions from the question bank. Then export this quiz as a QTI file, share it with the other instructor, and have them import the QTI file into their Canvas course. Here’s how:
Alternatively, you can add the instructor to the course that contains the question bank you want to share and have them "bookmark" the question bank. This will allow the instructor to access the "bookmarked" question bank in their own Canvas courses. Here's how: 

Can I assign letter grades?
Yes. We recommend you first read the following documents on grade schemes in Canvas: 

Can I hide grades from students?
Yes, it is possible to hide specific assignment or quiz grades as well as the final grade or "total" column in your Canvas course.  Hiding grades in Canvas is called "mute" and can be accomplished through the columns in the "Grades" section of your course. Instructors can "mute" and "un-mute" grades as necessary. 

    Things to note: 
  • Simply hiding (or disabling) the "Grades" button from students on the course menu does not hide grades from students, since students can still view their course grades from their Canvas Dashboard. 

Can I temporarily hide grades from students?
Yes, it is possible to temporarily hide specific assignment or quiz grades as well as the final grade or "total" column in your Canvas course.  Hiding grades in Canvas is called "mute" and can be accomplished through the columns in the "Grades" section of your course. Instructors can "mute" and "un-mute" grades as necessary. 

    Things to note
  • Simply hiding (or disabling) the "Grades" button from students on the course menu does not hide grades from students, as students can still view their course grades from their Canvas Dashboard. 

How do I sort columns in the Gradebook?

Can I make changes to quiz questions after students have submitted their answers?
Yes. However, any changes to quiz questions will require the quiz to be regraded. Canvas can automatically regrade quizzes that have Multiple Choice questions. All other question types cannot be automatically regraded and will require the instructor to manually regrade the question(s) for each student. 

    Things to note:  
  • If a student starts the quiz before an instructor is finished revising the questions, the Canvas will not load the revised questions, even if students are in the middle of taking the quiz. 
  • Questions are locked based on when the student started the quiz. 
  • Any updates made to questions during the live quiz will not be visible to students.  

How do I upload an Excel (CSV) file into the Gradebook?

Can I control when students are notified about their grades in Canvas?
Yes. Use the "mute" button on each column in the Gradebook or when in the Speedgrader.  When muting an assignment or quiz, students will not receive notifications based on the following:
  • Posting a grade
  • Grade or score changes
  • Submission of comments 
  • Curving grades

What course sites will I find in Canvas?
When you log in to Canvas, you will find the following course sites: 
  • Sites for any courses you are teaching in the current semester including enrollments
  • Additional course sites for courses you taught in previous semesters going back to Fall 2014
  • A test "sandbox" course site for all faculty (if you don't see a sandbox course when you log in to Canvas, use this form to request one)

When will my Canvas course site be created?
Canvas course sites are created prior to the beginning of each semester according to the following schedule:

    •    November 1:  Spring course sites are created
    •    March 1:  Summer course sites are created
    •    May 1:  Fall course sites are created

For example, on November 1, Canvas course sites will be created for the upcoming Spring semester.

    Things to note:

  • Course sites added to the registrar's system after the dates above will appear in Canvas the following business day.
  • Once students begin to register for courses using the registrar's system, it can take anywhere from six to nine hours before their enrollments are reflected in Canvas.
  • Please access the Registrar's Academic Calendar for specific dates for each term, school, campus or program.

I am teaching a course but it's not listed in Canvas. What should I do?
Canvas relies on course listing and enrollment data from the University registrar offices. Courses and enrollments must first be added through the registrar's system (Banner/MyAccess) before they automatically appear in Canvas.

    Things to note: 

  • Changes to the registrar's system are not immediately reflected in Canvas, and will be present by next business day. 
  • Instructors in Canvas can manually add co-instructors to a course. 
    • This is handy for "unofficial" enrollments. For example, when a co-instructor does not need to report final grades in MyAccess, but needs instructor access to the Canvas course site.

    Check to verify your enrollment through MyAccess: 

    If you cannot login to MyAccess, or your course enrollment is missing in MyAccess please contact: 

Is there a site I can use to test Canvas features?
All faculty should see a "sandbox" course in their list of Canvas courses, which they can use to try out and explore features. Note: Sandbox courses are only available to faculty and staff.

How do I request a Canvas course site?
All courses listed in the University registrar's system (Banner/MyAccess) will automatically appear in Canvas for faculty with student enrollments.  

Courses in Canvas that are excluded from the registrar's system (Banner/MyAccess) can be requested through the link below for the following purposes:
    • Examples: An eight-week-long course for incoming freshmen; MASTER course sites.

    • Example: History departmental meetings and documents. 

    • Example: Staff members wanting to learn and experiment with Canvas.