Canvas: Terms of Use FAQ

Does the company that owns Canvas, Instructure, obtain any intellectual property ownership rights of the content I upload to Canvas?

No. You retain full ownership of all of your intellectual property uploaded to the site.

There is a paragraph in the Canvas Terms of Use that tells me I am giving Instructure the right to, among other things, modify, adapt and publicly display my content. Although I retain full ownership, am I giving Instructure the right to use my content in any manner they see fit to support their business objectives?

No.  This phrase is granting Instructure the right to maintain the content you post on your course site and make your content available to Iowa State University students.

Does ISU own my course materials developed in Canvas?

ISU Policy statement about educational materials provides information about educational materials and intellectual property.

Do I have to use Canvas?

No, however, it is recommended. Consistent use of Canvas improves the overall experience for students as they have one place to access course materials and their grades.

What is the ISU Course Template?

The ISU Course Template contains all essential components for a high-quality online course.

Do I have to use the ISU Course Template?

No, but it is recommended. Consistent use of this template across campus will improve the overall experience for students and ensure that best practices for online teaching are implemented in all of our courses.

Do I have to share my course syllabus?

Yes, it is the expectation that you share your course syllabus with your department and/or college. Contact your department chair for specific information.


Exploring the ability to associate pronouns with your Canvas profile at ISU

Oct. 18, 2021 – Update

The Canvas update allowing a user to associate their profile with their pronoun in Canvas continues to only impact an individual’s Canvas profile. This means that the associated pronoun would not be connected with the many integrated learning applications (Learning Tools Interoperability, LTI) we use at ISU. It remains our intent to implement this inclusive practice, and will share further updates as they develop. For those who have a name or sex marker change, you may stay up-to-date on the Name and Sex Marker Change policy through the Office of the Registrar. 

Aug. 28, 2020 – Original Post

ISU is exploring the best way to enable a recent Canvas update that includes users’ ability to associate their profiles with their pronouns in Canvas. This update is currently only for the Canvas profile, and not associated with the many integrated learning applications (Learning Tools Interoperability, LTI) we use at ISU. In the meantime, we will continue to share our progress with the intent to implement this inclusive practice soon. Additionally, if you have a name or sex marker change, review the Name and Sex Marker Change policy page.

Questions about the implementation process? Email


Canvas: Bulk Page Delete, People Interface, Global Announcements Page

Implementation Date: August 15, 2020

Canvas Release, the updates below became part of the main Canvas environment.

  • Pages
    • Bulk Page Delete: Multiple pages can be deleted at once in the Pages Index page.
  • People
  • User Navigation
    • Global Announcements Page: When a user clicks their profile picture, the User Navigation Menu that opens will now include a link to the Global Announcements page. This displays a list of both current and previous university-wide messages which have appeared at the top of the Canvas Dashboard.

Canvas: Extended Wait Times for Support

Users are experiencing extended wait times when contacting Canvas Support. To help Support Representatives quickly assist you, please prepare the following information while you wait:

  • The link to the Canvas course experiencing the issue
  • Your role in that course
  • The time the issue occurred
  • Which browser you were using
  • Who is impacted by the issue
  • Detailed description of the issue
You may also contact your local support unit for assistance.

Canvas: Direct Share, Bulk Edit Due Dates, Submission Attempts, File Uploads, Notifications, Rubrics

Implementation Date: July 18, 2020

n this Canvas Release, many features released during the spring became part of the main Canvas environment.

  • Assignments
  • Modules
    • File Upload Enhancements: Instructors can drag and drop multiple files to add them all at once on the Modules page.
  • Notifications
    • Course Notifications: Instructors and students can mute all notifications for a course where the user is enrolled. The Course Notification Settings page allows users to mute all notifications for a course where the user is enrolled. Additionally, users can enable or disable specific course notifications.
  • Rubrics
    • Course Navigation Rubrics Link: Instructors can now access Rubrics through the course navigation. Students will still only see rubrics associated with an assignment.

Canvas News & Updates (Archived)


[March 27, 2020]

Other schools have reported that some Zoom and Webex users are experiencing what is being called ‘Zoombombing,’ in which non-students join a Zoom or Webex session for the sole purpose of disrupting class.

Note: Using Webex inside Canvas will prevent this issue.

See CELT’s Best Practices to Prevent Zoombombing and be sure to stay up-to-date with Known Issues during this period of online delivery.

New Canvas updates

[January 21, 2020]

Canvas released an update over the weekend:

  1. Rich Content Editor — Includes an improved user experience  and several updated features.
  2. Attendance Checkbox — Instructors may now choose to not count attendance toward the final grade.
  3. Gradebook — For assignments with a manual posting policy, comments can be posted without requiring a grade (Links to an external site.). Additionally, the Student Name column includes additional sorting options.

Updates to MyCanvas Teacher at ISU

[January 2, 2020]

A new version of the MyCanvas Teacher at ISU website will be released on January 6, 2020. New features include an FAQ and easier access to information.

October updates in Canvas

[October 21, 2019]

Canvas released an update over the weekend:

  1. Course menu — A visibility icon now displays next to standard Canvas links which are visible instructors but hidden to students (Links to an external site.). LTI links were unaffected. No changes were made to the functionality of any links.
  2. Gradebook — Visual indicators associated with the grade posting policy (Links to an external site.) have been simplified. Columns with a Manual Posting Policy will now include the word MANUAL in the header and be marked with a gray visibility icon when grades need to be posted. The orange visibility icon has been removed.
  3. Course and User Analytics — Available as a feature that must be enabled, the improved analytics are still in Beta. Data is now available on students’ weekly online activity (Links to an external site.), and individual student’s course grade, participation, and communication (Links to an external site.).

Reports of Gradebook issues

[October 2, 2019]
Students have reported that they are unable to see grades or feedback for some assignments after the Gradebook updates late this summer. Inspect each of your Gradebook columns —if you see a visibility icon (an eye) in a column header of your Gradebook, use the ISU AdminTools End-of-course Checklist to determine if any items are hidden from students. Follow the Canvas guide to view and post hidden grades (Links to an external site.) to resolve any issues.

SpeedGrader can be filtered by student groups

[September 16, 2019]
Starting September 21, 2019, instructors will be able to filter the SpeedGrader by student groups via an option in Course Settings. When enabled, SpeedGrader will only load submissions from a selected group when the submission is accessed via the Gradebook or the assignment details page.

Expanded Top Hat features and support

[August 14, 2019]
Top Hat users will see some expanded functionality in Fall 2019:

  1. Top Hat Test (Links to an external site.) is now included with all Top Hat Classroom subscriptions.
  2. All users will now login with their ISU credentials (Links to an external site.).
  3. Improved Top Hat Gradebook (Links to an external site.) functionality.
  4. Professors can receive weekly insights reports (Links to an external site.), keying them into students’ performance.

Internet Explorer 11 no longer supported

[August 12, 2019]
Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported by Canvas or ISU AdminTools. Using this browser may result in reduced functionality and readability, as well as missing content.

New version of ISU AdminTools

[July 25, 2019]
ISU AdminTools has been updated with improvements to the Prepare to Teach tool. See the Prepare to Teach page and the Start of Semester and End of Semester checklists in MyCanvas Teacher for more information. Additionally, courses can now be concluded to reduce clutter in your Inbox, Calendar, and Courses list. Courses will automatically conclude at the end of the Fall 2019 semester. This setting can be changed in each course through Additional Course Settings.

New Gradebook Features

[July 16, 2019]
Changes to the gradebook mean instructors may now choose to hide (Links to an external site.)/post  (Links to an external site.)assignment grades rather than mute/unmute. This may be specified on a per-assignment (Links to an external site.) basis or through a course-wide grade posting policy (Links to an external site.).

Arc becomes Studio

[July 2, 2019]
Canvas has changed the name of their video platform from Arc to Studio.  It is still in the global navigation panel and your existing videos will still be there.  Only the name and icon changed!

Respondus Update

When logging into the Respondus assessment tool there is a new update available for install.  The easiest way to do this is to start Respondus 4.0, go to the “Help” menu, select “Check for Update” and then click “Get Update”.  Users installing for the first time will automatically get the updated version of the software.

Too much on your Dashboard?

Don’t forget that you can clean up your Dashboard by choosing which course cards are your favorite.  Those that you do not favorite will still be available under the courses menu.  Clean up of your Dashboard is explained in this webguide (Links to an external site.).

Trouble sorting custom columns in the gradebook

Since our move to the New Gradebook in Canvas we have found a bug in sorting the custom columns (Added through ISU AdminTools/Additional Course Settings).  There is a workaround until this issue is resolved.  Click on the top of the column and then click on the letter S.  If you would like to reverse the sort, do the same steps again.

Add Custom Columns in your Gradebook

Inside ISU AdminTools in your course, you can go to Additional Course Settings and choose which custom gradebook columns you would like to see.  We have recently added the ability to choose the Groups you have created in your Course.  You can also choose to allow students to collaborate across sections in the same course.  You will see this option under Extra Options.

Additional Course Settings.png

Drag and Drop Course Cards

You now have the ability to move your course cards around on your Dashboard.  You can either drag and drop them where you want them or click on the three dots in the upper right of the card and choose move to make the change.

Canvas Commons Preview

For those of you using Canvas Commons (Links to an external site.) (a learning object repository that enables educators to find, import, and share resources) you can now choose an item and see a preview of that item without importing it into a course.

Canvas Commons Preview

Arc Video Quizzing – (Beta)

Video Quizzing is now available in our Arc video platform.  Because it is still in Beta form the Solution Center will need to add this tool for each instructor that wants to use it. Please call 515-294-4000 or email For more information see the Arc Video Quizzing webguide (Links to an external site.).

While in Beta, grading does not appear in the gradebook and will either need to be used for low stakes quizzing (ungraded) or added individually by the grader.

New Gradebook

The New Gradebook was installed over Winter break for all ISU Canvas users.  The New Gradebook User Guide (Links to an external site.) has some helpful tips.  CELT is offering a course on Grading and Student Data in your Canvas course in our Upcoming EventsLinks to an external site., if you would like more information.

Analytics (Beta)

Analytics Beta allows instructors to track average course grades for student submissions using an interactive chart graph or table. For more information on this tool see the Analytics Beta Webguide (Links to an external site.).

Other things to note:

  • Data is refreshed every 24 hours.
  • This tool is only available for instructors right now, students do not have access to any information.
  • Data is for viewing only and cannot be directly changed.
  • Data is only for active enrollments and will not include those students that have dropped the course.

Grade Submission

The following pages are available to help with how to Calculate Grades for Submission, how to Submit Grades in Canvas and where to find Grading Policies at Iowa StateLinks to an external site..  If you need assistance regarding Canvas, please call 515-294-4000 or email

Start of Semester Checklist

Have you created your Fall courses yet in Canvas?  Check out our Start of Semester Checklist to help you through the process.

Update to Roles in Canvas (effective 7/5/18)

A Co-Teacher Role has been added and the Reviewer Role has changed to Peer Reviewer.  For more information see Role Changes in Canvas.

Calendar Event and Module Duplication (effective 6/23/18)

Users will be able to duplicate Calendar Events (Links to an external site.) and Modules (Links to an external site.) following the 6/23/18 release.

Restrict Student Access

Students remain in canvas courses unless the instructor sets the end date and limits user participation.  See details here (Links to an external site.) for restricting student access.

End of Semester Checklist

Ready to Submit Final Grades?  Check out our End of Semester Checklist to help you through the process.

CELT Course Design Institute

CELT Course Design Institute was offered on May 21 through May 24 and focused on course design and development with Canvas. Participants learned about practical and flexible ways to plan student-centric courses and how such courses feel and look in Canvas.

Need help with Grading in Canvas?

Need help figuring out grading in Canvas?  Individual appointments with the CELT instructional specialists can be made via online scheduling on MyCanvas Teacher.

Canvas News: Grading Tips in Canvas

  • Review the Calculate Grades for Midterm Submittal webguide.
  • Activate the grading schema in your course to convert midterm scores into letter grades.
  • All assignments that are part of midterm scores in Canvas must have a score. A dash in the gradebook means that an assignment has not been submitted and will not count towards the grade. You must either:
    • Change the dash to zero for missed assignments by entering the value of zero into each appropriate cell.
    • Automatically populate zeros for un-submitted grades in each column, use the Default Grade option. Hover your cursor over the title of the column. Click on the blue action menu and select Set Default Grade. If you enter zero as the default grade it will automatically update all dashes in that column.

Set Default Grade

  • Unmute Muted Assignmentthe muted assignments. Muted assignments do not count towards the score in the Total column. Muted assignments do not show assignment scores and feedback to the students.
  • If you use weighted assignments, be mindful of how weighting works:
    • If you weight multiple choice quizzes very heavily, you disadvantage those students who might not be great test-takers.
    • Weighted total scores might appear less transparent to your students, especially if they are accustomed to the idea that more points equals more value, as in the case of unweighted total scores.  With weighted assignment groups (categories) the points possible associated with each group (category) do not matter, as the weighted groups (categories) determine the impact on the midterm score, not the points.
  • When you feel confident about your midterm letter groups, submit them using the ISU AdminTools in your course-specific menu.

Canvas Release Notes: Student View Button


The Course Home Page now includes a Student View button. This change allows instructors to access student view without having to open Course Settings.

Student View Button

Canvas News: How do I set Notification preferences?

Whether or not students and instructors receive messages and notifications in (and from) Canvas depends on the configuration of their notification preferences. Such preferences may be set in Notifications.

You can change the default settings by setting your own notification preferences. View the How do I add contact methods to receive Canvas notifications as an instructor? (Links to an external site.) web guide.

Things to consider:

  • Students have the ability to personalize their notifications. This includes to not receive Canvas messages! You may wish to discuss this with your class.
  • These preferences only apply to you; they are not used to control how course updates are sent to other users.
  • Notification settings apply to all of your courses; you cannot change settings for individual courses.
  • Notifications are sent as one of four delivery types: notify me right away, daily summary, weekly summary, or don’t send. If you change a setting, the change is made immediately to your account.
  • Learn more about the icons, each notification, default settings, and notification triggers, by downloading the Canvas Notifications PDF (Links to an external site.).
  • The Canvas by Instructure app supports setting notification preferences. However, setting preferences inside the app will override preferences in the browser version of Canvas, and daily and weekly preferences are not supported.

Known Technology Issues (Archive) — Resolved


March 26, 2020

Some Zoom users are experiencing what is being called ‘Zoombombing,’  in which non-students join your Zoom session for the sole purpose of disrupting class.

To address this problem, Zoom has recommendations for avoiding Zoombombing and CELT has compiled a page of Best Practices to Prevent Zoombombing.


March 26, 2020

Zoombombing is possible if you are using the Webex tool (not the Canvas Integration) and can be deterred by locking the meeting once everyone has joined.

NOTE:  Using Webex inside Canvas will prevent this issue.


March 23, 2020 - Resolved April 7, 2020

Some Canvas-Webex users are experiencing an error when trying to schedule office hours. Participants who are unable to use Webex inside Canvas should email with the link to the Canvas course, the time the error occurred, and which tool they were using.

Note: Webex cannot be tested with the “Student View” feature and will result in an error message. This error does not need to be reported.


March 26, 2020 - Resolved March 26, 2020

We are currently experiencing issues with the Webex App within Canvas.  If you login to with your NetID and password you can create a meeting or send your personal room information to  students via the Canvas Inbox or an Announcement.  Webex is working on the issue, no uptime is known.

Canvas is implemented, Now Submit your Grades!

Spring semester 2018 grades are due by May 9th at 2:15pm. Follow this end of semester checklist to guide you through the end of the semester process in Canvas via the End of Semester Checklist website. You may also submit grades through AccessPlus.
Spring semester marked the implementation of Canvas as the centrally-supported learning management system at Iowa State University. Over 30,000 students were enrolled in nearly 3,000 courses taught by 2,200 instructors. In a survey CELT conducted earlier in the semester, students commented that the modules, the mobile friendliness, the list of upcoming assignments, and the calendar features helped them learn and kept them on track.
Finally, CELT Open Labs will be ending this Friday (April 27). You may schedule individual consultations with the CELT instructional designers for all your course development needs via the MyCanvas Teacher at ISU website.
Best wishes for finals week.
Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
P.S. The CELT Teaching Tip resumes August 2018.

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Canvas is implemented, Now Submit your Grades! (April 26, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the Teaching Tip for April 26 (PDF)

Fight the Fear: Confessions of a Procrastinator

As Interim Director of CELT, I have participated in CELT-led workshops, sat in on implementation team meetings, and spoken all over campus about the transition from Blackboard to Canvas. However, I still have not built my spring 2018 course in Canvas.

Sure, I thought about the wonderful features that Canvas would let me do, such as the media rich editor that will let

me and my students post video and audio comments and how the speed grader will let me grade student work side by side course rubrics. But, it is still not built!

Do you relate to my confessions of a procrastinator?

If so, here are a few tips that might help:

1. Log into Canvas

Go to the Iowa State University website. Then, locate the “Sign Ons” link found on the upper right corner (above the search box), and then select “Canvas” from the menu (Figure 1).

Use the sign-ons link to access Canvas
Figure 1. Use the Sign-ons link found on the Iowa State University website

2. Check for your Spring 2018 courses

To see what courses you have in Canvas, view the How do I view my Canvas courses as an instructor? web guide. If your spring 2018 course shell(s) do not appear on the Canvas dashboard or in your course list (Figure 2), contact your departmental representative using the Registrar’s Course Offering Department Contacts website.

Canvas course list with an arrow pointing to the Courses icon, and another arrow pointing towards the All Courses link
Figure 2. Courses list on Canvas

3. Build your course

On June 7, 2017 course materials were exported from Blackboard and imported to Canvas (Figure 3). Since Canvas is a different system, you’ll want to spend time learning which course materials you keep and where you put them. Many instructors have decided to re-use aspects of their Blackboard courses. Other instructors have decided to start new within Canvas.

Blackboard course materials are found under the Past Enrollments header
Figure 3. Locate Blackboard course materials under the Past Enrollments heading in the Courses list

Additionally, this article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2017) article “Fight the Fear/ Procrastination Cycle With Small Tasks ” fits perfectly: the notion that by delegating small tasks you could move forward on a high priority project. To help you (and I) get over the fear of starting in Canvas, CELT has created the following How-to Build a Simple Course in Canvas YouTube video.

To accompany this brief video CELT has developed a How-to Build a Simple Canvas Course web guide on the MyCanvas Teacher at ISU site. For face-to-face help, CELT will be hosting Open Labs until December 8 and CELT-led Workshops until December 22.

As the Blackboard countdown clock informs us, Blackboard access ends soon (January 5). However, those with the instructor role will be able to view their previous courses in a Blackboard Archive (More information to come soon).

In closing, Early Adopter Rose Martin’s advice for those new to Canvas is: “Keep the big picture in mind [which is] providing students access to your course content quickly and easily. Keep an open mind about how you can reorganize course content and steps or tricks used so your course flows as intended. Also, keep Canvas help desk number handy, 515-294-4000, then press 2, then 1.”

And if you are not a procrastinator, thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge with fellow instructors!

Let’s get going!

Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Fight the Fear: Confessions of a Procrastinator (November 30, 2017 – Constant Contact) website.

Print Version?

Prefer a Print version? If you would prefer to view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip December 1, 2017 (PDF)