Customizing Your Canvas Experience: Managing Your Account and Inbox

Brette D. W. Kristoff, Graduate Student – Communications Specialist, GMCTL, September 25, 2020


Ever feel like managing your Inboxes and email is a full time job in itself?

Here are a few insider tips to help you stay on top of it with Canvas.


Setting Up Your Profile and Notifications

Taking a few minutes to customize your Profile and Notifications can help simplify your Canvas experience, and will help avoid potential headaches down the road.

Some Canvas Tips to get you started:

Find your Account tab on your Global Navigation Menu (the grey bar on the far left of your screen, shown below in red) where you can fill out your Profile by adding a picture, bio, and other info.

  • The Menu will be visible from anywhere in Canvas, so you can easily navigate to the key areas.

In your Account under Notifications, you can decide how often Canvas notifies your NSID (USask) email about assignments, conversations, grades, and more!

        • By moving the green icons, choose if you want to be notified immediately, daily, weekly, or not at all when something is updated in one of your courses.
        • Because instructors will try and contact you through the Inbox (called Conversations in the Notifications) and by Announcements, it’s likely best to mark those Notifications to be sent to you by Canvas.

Remember, Canvas will recognize your email and will send all notifications to this email.

        • If you use a USask alias email ( you need to add it under Ways to Contact in your Account Settings to receive Canvas notifications.

Go into your Account Settings to Download your Submissions and Course Content.

        • This will allow you to take your work offline if you need, or save any documents for future use.


Inbox Features

Think of your Canvas Inbox as a conversation portal that allows you to interact with your instructors and classmates inside the app. It’s an internal, private messaging system, independent from your NSID email account.

Access the Canvas Inbox from your Global Navigation Menu.

When you receive a message through the Inbox, the icon on your Global Navigation shows the number of messages waiting to be read – and a notification regarding the Conversation is sent to your email.

        • A Conversation notification from Canvas will be sent to your NSID email about a new message is in your Inbox.
        • While you can respond to these notifications from your email account, it’s best to reply to Canvas messages directly from the Canvas Inbox.

The Canvas Inbox looks similar to an email set up with a drop-down option where you can select the specific course, instructor, or student you want to message.

        • Only the recipients of these messages can read them – in other words, it’s not a public forum.
        • For more detailed instructions on how to send a message using the Canvas Inbox function, follow these steps.

It’s easy, private, and keeps all of your Canvas course related messages in one place!

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For more support options with Canvas, see the USask Student Canvas page.


Think clean slate. Think new opportunities. Think Canvas.

USask campus sculpture. Photo by B. D. W. Kristoff, CC by 2.0

Brette D. W. Kristoff, Graduate Student – Communications Specialist, GMCTL, September 9, 2020

As USask students begin an unprecedented academic year from remote locations across the globe, the U of S is transitioning to a new learning management system (LMS), Canvas. What does this mean and how will this impact USask students?

Concern over the functionality of Blackboard, our long-time LMS, was the impetus for this change. Canvas was selected as a superior LMS to support USask student learning. 

 Canvas offers a streamlined and user-friendly platform that integrates various learning tools and resources. Comparatively, features of the new system include: 

As we navigate this exciting new platform from home, it’s bound to feel intense at times, but Canvas Tips for Students is here to help. 

Watch for regular blog posts about how to navigate and customize your Canvas experience and more!

For more support options with Canvas, see the USask Student Canvas page.