3 Canvas Tips to Stay Organized

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

October 1, 2020

Staying organized and on top of your coursework is easier with Canvas. Here are a few tips to help you use Canvas tools this term!

1. It’s important to keep all your deadlines together, in one place. This is the function of the Canvas Calendar—all your important Canvas course dates will be synced to your Calendar when your instructors update the course schedule to Canvas.

    • Visually, this will help you map out the flow of the term. Take note of all major deadlines and assignments (Any weeks where you have multiple things due? If so, prioritize, and plan ahead accordingly!)  

2. One time I couldn’t get my computer to turn on 3 minutes before a timed final exam. To avoid this stress, I recommend you give yourself some time (15 minutes at least!) to secure your web connection and platform access before any remote learning sessions, MEETS, or online exams (worst case, you’ll have more time to review your notes). 

Here’s a list of web browsers supported by Canvas. 

  • Tip: Unsupported browsers such as Internet Explorer will not run Canvas properly. Most other major Internet browsers will work just fine for most Canvas functions.
  • For troubleshooting tips and IT help, go here.

3. Try out the What-If Grades function on Canvas to predict your grades and averages: 

  •  Under your Grades tab, select the course and assignment and enter a hypothetical score to see the What-If result (sorry, this won’t change your actual grade – only instructors can do that). So feel free to plug in any numbers at first to get the feel for it! 
  • Canvas will show you how this new hypothetical score would affect your overall grades. This can be done with all upcoming or completed assignments or tests.
  • Predicting your grades like this will give you a better sense of your overall grade standing in each of your courses.

Click the arrow beside your What-If grade to revert to your original score.

Remote learning is an adjustment for everyone but Canvas is designed to streamline our student experience. What’s been your biggest adjustment in transitioning to remote learning?

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

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 nsid@mail.usask.ca email and will send all notifications to this email.

        • If you use a USask alias email (jane.doe@usask.ca) 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 nsid@mail.usask.ca 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!

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

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.