What the . .?! Canvas FAQs

We’ve scoured the Internet and compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Canvas.

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash



Brette Wilton-Kristoff, Graduate Student , Communications Specialist, GMCTL,

March 26th, 2021



1. Why am I receiving so many notifications from Canvas? 

  • All new Canvas user accounts are set to certain default notification settings.
    • Change your ‘Notifications’ preferences in your Account  settings, accessible from your Global Navigation menu (left-hand side bar) or on a course page, the Course Notifications – in the right-hand sidebar.
    •  To learn more, see setting your notifications

2. Why does Canvas seem slow at times?

  • Many factors can affect the processing speed:
    • Like your wireless connection strength, shared usage and/or bandwidth of your internet connection, and other applications you have open, which internet browser is being used, and the processing power/age of your computer.
  • If Canvas seems slow, try doing these first: 
    1. Close all other applications and browser tabs
    2. Try disconnecting /reconnecting to your wireless network
    3. Try moving closer to the wireless router/access point
    4. Restart your computer

3. Which web browser is most compatible with Canvas?

  • Chrome, then Firefox works best. Currently USask IT Support is identifying issues with using Safari for accessing Canvas. Check to see if your web browser is compatible here.

4. How do I view my grades in Canvas?

  • See your grades and any feedback via the grey View Grades button on your Dashboard’s right-hand sidebar.

  • Locate your grades directly in your course by clicking on the ‘Grades’ tab in the course menu (usually in green at USask). 


5. Can I hide my recent grades from the Canvas Dashboard?



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

We acknowledge that the University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6, traditional Nehiyaw territory, and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another. 


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!

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