Study Smart with Canvas

Tara Million, Ph.D Student, Indigenous Studies – Photo by Julia Million, CC by 2.0

Brette D. W. Kristoff, Graduate Student – Communications Specialist, GMCTL, December 11, 2020

Even the very idea of final exam season is enough to raise a students’ blood pressure! But don’t sweat it…sometimes, opening your books is the hardest part! Study smarter, not harder, with these Canvas Study Tips.

Some USask Study Tips:

  1. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Start by simply immersing yourself in your Canvas course content. Once you’re more familiar, it won’t feel so scary!
  2. Engage in Active Studying. Simply reading and rereading your notes is not studying. Reading and review are important “pre-studying” steps, but you must also actively engage with the material. You also need to connect and give meaning to what you are reading. Here are some active studying tips we like:
    1. Take notes when reading or watching lectures. 
    2. Create concept maps, or other visual aids to help your brain make sense of all the information.
    3. Use a story, an acronym, or a rhyme to help retain names, dates, and ideas. 
  3. Take time for you.
    1. Schedule regular study breaks which includes getting outside, being physically active, and remembering to eat. 
    2. Take some time to call or connect with your loved ones. 
    3. Review these USask remote learning studying tips

Review Canvas Course Content and Panopto Lectures: 

A good place to begin when preparing for final exams is to review the course syllabus before studying. Yes…dust off that old thing and review the course outline, chapter titles, and the course outcomes as described by the instructor at the beginning of the term. Then, go back and highlight the areas most relevant for the final exam: 

  • Questions you might ask yourself include: What topics will be covered on the final exam? Of these topics, which ones do I feel most competent in and which areas or chapters do I feel the least confident in?

Tips for Avoiding Procrastination

  1. Plan out your exam schedule, and pencil in study time. This will help you develop a more accurate plan of how much time you have to prepare for each exam. Creating and committing to a study schedule is a good way to stay organized and be more prepared!
  2. Set time-limits on your social media apps, or keep your mobile phone in a different room while studying to limit distractions. Dividing your study time into reasonable chunks is a good stratgey. Set an alarm for 20-30 minutes and leave your phone in the other room. When the time is up, you can get up and stretch and have a bathroom break, and then set the alarm again. 
  3. Keep your internet tabs limited and organized by using a different window for each of your courses.  Keep related tabs open, close all the rest.

Be Prepared for a Different Experience

   Exams in Canvas will need new strategies.

  1. If this is the first time you’re doing an exam in Canvas Quizzes (or Canvas New Quizzes), know that the quiz tool can be set up to show only one question at a time and prevent you from returning to a previous question. So the exam-taking strategies you used in the past (like looking over the whole exam first, and planning your time and order of doing questions), might not apply for this kind of exam, so you’ll need to be flexible and ‘go with’ the situation.
  2. If you can go back to other questions, look for the question name in the right sidebar, if your quiz looks like this.
  3. You can click the flag next to a question name/number as a reminder to go back to that question. The flag then appears beside the question name in the righ sidebar. . 
  4. Or if your quiz is like the one below, click on the pin icon [1] to bold it, marking that question for review later, and click on the Question Navigator arrow [2], to reveal previous question details.
  5. Collapse the Question Navigator again with the same arrow.
  6.  Watch the “Time Elapsed” or “Time Remaining” below the questions list in the right- hand sidebar to track your time, shown below,          or top – middle for New Quizzes.



Good luck on all your finals!

We acknowledge that the University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 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.

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 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.