Canvas - Storing Data Outside of Canvas

This document describes alternatives to storing course files in Canvas.

In Canvas, each course is allocated 2GB of storage. This is a temporary increase during the COVID-19 campus closure, but will be reset to 1GB at a future date (to be determined).

In addition to keeping things below the Canvas course quota, there can be other advantages to storing content outside of Canvas. These include being able to link to materials from multiple courses, as well as easily retaining your materials in the event that courses would be purged from Canvas in the future.

Please consider the following options for storing content outside of your Canvas course.

Storing Canvas files on Google Drive

For general file storage, please upload your files to Google Drive and link them to Canvas. 

Uploading and sharing content to Canvas with Google Drive

Create and share a folder in Google Drive

  1. To open Google Drive with your UW-Madison account, launch Firefox or Chrome and go to https://drive.google.com/.
  2. Click Go to Drive if you're not already signed in. 
  3. Sign in with your NetID and password credentials. 
  4. If you don't have a folder already created in your Drive account, create one by clicking the + New button on the left and selecting Folder
  5. Select the folder where you will store the content you're going to embed in your Canvas course. Click the Share Embedded Content icon (a little person with a plus sign next to it) in the upper-right corner of the Drive window. A "Share with people and groups" window opens. 
  6. On the bottom under "Get link," make sure it indicates that "Anyone on the internet with this link can view." If not, click the Change link, then from the drop-down list, select Anyone with the link.

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  1. Click the Done button.

Upload content to your shared Google Drive folder and copy link

  1. Drag a file from your computer to the shared folder open in Google Drive. Your content will upload to Google Drive. A progress indicator will be visible in the lower right. After your file is done uploading, Google Drive will display an "upload complete" message.  

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  1. Double-click your uploaded content in Google Drive. You may see a message indicating the file is still processing--if so, wait until it is done.
  2. After you're able to open the content, click the three-dot menu in the upper-right side of the screen, then select Share

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  1. Click the Copy Link button to copy a link to the content.

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Add content to Canvas 

There are two options you have for adding a content link to Canvas: 

  • Option 1 - Adding a content link to a Canvas Module
  • Option 2 - Adding a content link to the Canvas rich content editor

See below for instructions for each of these options. 

Option 1 - Add a content link to a Canvas Module

  1. Open and log in to the UW-Madison instance of Canvas: https://canvas.wisc.edu and access your Canvas course. 
  2. Click Modules.
  3. Find the module where you'd like to link your Google Drive content, and select the Add Item icon (a plus sign). 

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  1. Click the Add drop-down menu and select External URL. An "Add Item" screen appears. 
  2. Paste the URL you copied from Google Drive into the URL field, add a page name in the Page Name field, then select the Load in a new tab option. 

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  1. Click the Add Item button to save your link. 
  2. Click the circle with a line through it to publish the link in your module. 

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  1. Click your link to test it. A page will load, warning the user that a new browser/tab will load with the link. 
  2. Click the link to open the content in a new window/tab.

Option 2 - Add content to the Canvas rich content editor

  1. Open and log in to the UW-Madison instance of Canvas: https://canvas.wisc.edu and access your Canvas course. 
  2. Go to any Canvas item in which you can use the Canvas rich content editor: a Page, Quiz, Discussion, or Announcement, for example. 
  3. Click the Edit button (typically in the right margin of what you're trying to edit).
  4. In the rich content editor, highlight the text that you want to use to link to your content in Google Drive, or add new text and highlight it. 
  5. Click the Link to URL icon at the top of the rich content editor (chain link icon). A "Link to Website URL" window opens. 
  6. Paste the content link URL you copied from Google Drive into the URL/link field.


  7. Click the Insert Link button.
  8. Click Save to save your text entry and your content link. When you view your new content, clicking on the linked text should open your Google Drive content in a new tab.

Using Kaltura Mediaspace for videos

Videos take up a large amount of space in your course, so please consider moving them to Kaltura Mediaspace. From there, they can be linked or embedded in the course. For detailed instructions, please see the guides below:

Uploading and embed a new Kaltura Mediaspace video in a Canvas page

Kaltura MediaSpace is UW-Madison's media streaming service and is integrated with Canvas. Kaltura media can be embedded wherever Canvas allows you to use the rich content editor. 

Note: to embed an existing Kaltura Mediaspace item in a Canvas course, please see Canvas - Embedding an existing Kaltura MediaSpace video in a Canvas Page

We recommend instructors new to using media with their Canvas course start here. Uploading and embedding Kaltura media in a Canvas Page or other Canvas tool is an easy way to make your Kaltura media available to your students. Embedded media provides more context and keeps the student in Canvas rather than sending them to an external link outside of Canvas. It also allows Kaltura to collect more detailed analytics.

  1. In your Canvas course, go to the Canvas page, discussion post, or quiz discussion you want to embed Kaltura media in. Click Edit.
  2. Move your cursor to the point in your Canvas item where you want to insert Kaltura media.
  3. Click the Embed Kaltura Media button which looks like the colorful Kaltura logo. If your browser is not of sufficient width you may need to click the three dot button on the right to expand the menu to see the button:
    A screenshot of the new Canvas rich content editor. The "Embed Kaltura Media" button is outlined in orange to help highlight it.
  4. A window titled Kaltura Media will open showing the media content associated with your Kaltura account.
  5. To upload media at this point click Add New and select Media Upload to upload a new video to your account:
    A screenshot showing the "Add New" drop-down menu opened. The cursor hovers over "Media Upload" which is outlined in orange to help point it out.
  6. Read and click the "I agree to the above terms and conditions" disclaimer.
  7. Scroll down to click + Choose a file to upload or drag your MP4 file onto the window:
    A screenshot showing the "Kaltura Media" window. The user has clicked "I agree to the above terms and conditions" and has scrolled down to see the "Upload Media" portion of the window. The "+ Choose a file to upload" button is outlined in orange to help point it out.
  8. A window will open allowing you to select the video file to upload. While Kaltura can process a wide range of video formats, we find MP4 videos generally work well. We recommend 1280 x 720 video as a good balance between file size and quality. We also recommend you try to keep your video files under 2 GB - the larger the file the longer it will take to upload and process.
  9. Your file will upload. While it uploads you can edit the name, description, and tags. 

    Even when Kaltura MediaSpace is running smoothly other internet service providers may experience slower ervice which could limit your upload speed. Test your speed by going to speedtest.net, and click Go to run the test. Upload speeds and Kaltura's upload performance varies, but an upload speed of 10 Mbps should be able to upload a 250 MB file to Kaltura in about 4.5 minutes. After your file is uploaded, Kaltura MediaSpace will take additional time to initially display your video in your "My Media" area. When it does appear in My Media an icon indicating it is still processing will display until it is done processing. The amount of time it takes Kaltura MediaSpace to process a file is dependent on its complexity, file size, and duration.

    Generally it takes about 2-3 times the video's duration for Kaltura MediaSpace to display an initial lower quality version of your video. For example a 15 minute video will usually take about 30-45 minutes to initially process. The other higher quality versions will take longer to process. When Kaltura MediaSpace is being heavily used, processing times will lengthen and could take up to 24 hours. If your video takes longer than 24 hours to process, please call the DoIT Help Desk. More detailed information is available in Kaltura's document involving transcoding times and quality of service.

  10. You can edit your file name, description, and tags as it uploads. After your file is done uploading you can:
    A screenshot showing the "Upload Media" screen after an upload has completed. Numerical callouts show (1) Where you can edit the name, description, and tags, (2) where the find the save button by scrolling below - the number callout has an arrow pointing below the captured screen, (3) the gear icon to edit your embed details, and (4) the </> Save and Embed button.
    1. Edit the file's name, description, tags, and add collaborators. More information on the collaboration feature is available in Kaltura - Media Collaboration: Changing media ownership, adding co-editors, co-publishers, and co-viewers .
    2. Save button on the bottom will simply save your changes to the metadata while your video uploads. 
    3. </> Save and Embed button in the upper right will embed your video using the default settings in your Canvas Page or other area the Canvas rich content editor is available. 
    4. Gear icon to edit your embed settings. An Embed Settings window will display:
      A screenshot showing the Kaltura "Embed Settings" screen. There are options to (1) choose the player, (2) choose the max embed size, (3) turn thumbnail embed on or off, (4) turn autoplay on or off, (5) set these settings as the default settings for this media type, (6) set the start time, (7) set the end time, and (8) the </> Embed button.
      1. Choose Player: Choose your player based on the type of media you are embedding. For video users can choose between: 
        Default playerPreviously known as the "Main player", this player is setup with the most commonly used options. Most users use this player.
        A screenshot of the Kaltura video "default player".
        Download player -  Use the download player if you want users to be able to download the original source media file locally to their computer. This can be useful if you have students without reliable high speed internet connections. They could go to a library or coffee shop to download your media to view later. If you choose the download player, viewers can download the original version of the video you uploaded to Kaltura by clicking the Download video button in the upper right of the video:
        A screenshot of the Kaltura video "download player". The "Download video" button is outlined in orange and zoomed in to help point it out.
        Transcript player - The transcript player adds a transcript widget below your video if you have captions uploaded and displayed on your video. The transcript widget allows users to search the transcript for a specific word or click on a specific part of the transcript to jump to that part of the video:
        A screenshot of the Kaltura video "transcript player". The trasncript widget underneath the video is outlined in orange to help point it out.
      2. Max Embed Size: Users can choose how large the media is displayed within the Canvas rich content editor.
      3. Thumbnail Embed: Turning thumbnail embed on renders an image that will display instead of the video player. The student needs to click on the image to load the player. Generally we recommend keeping this option turned off.
      4. Auto Play: Turning auto play on plays the media immediately when the student loads the page with the embedded media. We recommend you keep auto play off and let the student choose to play the media by clicking the "Play" button.
      5. Set as my default settings for media type: Video (or Audio, or Image): If you like the settings you have selected you can check this box to make future embeds use them without having to set them every time.
      6. Start at: Set the start time for the media item.
      7. End at: Set the end time for the media item. Note that users can still play the entire video!
      8. </> Embed: When you have set the options you want, click the </> Embed button to embed the media.
        If after embedding your Kaltura media you decide you'd like to change the options you selected it is easiest to delete your embedded media from the page and re-embed.
  11. After embedding, you will see an icon indicating it is still processing. Once done processing the video will show up on your Canvas page. You can continue to edit the page and add text if you'd like. Once you're done click the Save button:
    A screenshot showing a Canvas Page being edited. An embedded Kaltura MediaSpace video is visible on the page. The "Save" button in the lower right is outlined in orange to help point it out.
  12. Canvas will display your page with your embedded Kaltura video:
    A screenshot showing a Canvas Page with an embedded Kaltura MediaSpace video.

Embedding an existing Kaltura MediaSpace video in a Canvas Page

Kaltura MediaSpace is UW-Madison's media streaming service and is integrated with Canvas. Kaltura media can be embedded wherever Canvas allows you to use the rich content editor. We recommend instructors start here if they already have media in Kaltura MediaSpace

Note: to upload and embed an new Kaltura Mediaspace item in a Canvas course, please see Canvas - Upload and embed a new Kaltura Mediaspace video in a Canvas page

Embedding Kaltura media in a Canvas Page or other Canvas tool is an easy way to make your Kaltura media available to your students. Embedded media provides more context and keeps the student in Canvas rather than sending them to an external link outside of Canvas. It also allows Kaltura to collect more detailed analytics.

  1. In your Canvas course, go to the Canvas page, discussion post, or quiz discussion you want to embed Kaltura media in. Click Edit.
  2. Move your cursor to the point in your Canvas item where you want to insert Kaltura media.
  3. Click the Embed Kaltura Media button which looks like the colorful Kaltura logo. If your browser is not of sufficient width you may need to click on the three dot button on the right to expand the menu to see the button:
     A screenshot showing the new Canvas rich content editor. The "Embed Kaltura Media" button is outlined in orange to help highlight it.
  4. A window titled Kaltura Media will open showing the media content associated with your Kaltura account. By default it is on the My Mediatab. These directions assume you are embedding a video you already uploaded. You can also:
  5. If you are embedding a piece of media you already uploaded, scroll to or search for the media you want to embed. Click the </> Embed button next the media you want to embed:
    A screenshot showing the "Kaltura Media" window. A video named "Test - Very basic Kaltura video" is displayed. The cursor hovers over the "</> Embed" button.
    Optional: If you would like to customize how your media is embedded in Canvas, instead of clicking the </> Embed button, click the gear button:
    A screenshot showing the gear button in isolation.
  6. An Embed Settings window will display:
    A screenshot showing the Kaltura "Embed Settings" screen. There are options to (1) choose the player, (2) choose the max embed size, (3) turn thumbnail embed on or off, (4) turn autoplay on or off, (5) set these settings as the default settings for this media type, (6) set the start time, (7) set the end time, and (8) the </> Embed button.
    1. Choose Player: Choose your player based on the type of media you are embedding. For video users can choose between the "Default player", "Download player", and "Transcript player" which are described  above. 
    2. Max Embed Size: Users can choose how large the media is displayed within the Canvas rich content editor.
    3. Thumbnail Embed: Turning thumbnail embed on renders an image that will display instead of the video player. The student needs to click on the image to load the player. Generally we recommend keeping this option turned off.
    4. Auto Play: Turning auto play on plays the media immediately when the student loads the page with the embedded media. We recommend you keep auto play off and let the student choose to play the media by clicking the "Play" button.
    5. Set as my default settings for media type: Video (or Audio, or Image): If you like the settings you have selected you can check this box to make future embeds use them without having to set them every time.
    6. Start at: Set the start time for the media item.
    7. End at: Set the end time for the media item.
    8. </> Embed: When you have set the options you want, click the </> Embed button to embed the media.
      If after embedding your Kaltura media you decide you'd like to change the options you selected it is easiest to delete your embedded media from the page and re-embed.
  7. The video will show up on your Canvas page. You can continue to edit the page and add text if you'd like. Once you're done click the Save button:
    A screenshot showing a Canvas Page being edited. An embedded Kaltura MediaSpace video is visible on the page. The "Save" button in the lower right is outlined in orange to help point it out.
  8. Canvas will display your page with your embedded Kaltura video:
    A screenshot showing a Canvas Page with an embedded Kaltura MediaSpace video.

     

Increasing a Canvas Course Quota

If you have a specific need where your Canvas course quota must be expanded, you may request an increased quota through the DoIT Help Desk.

See Also: