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Canvas - Overview (UW-Madison)
This document outlines resources for instructors on how to get started with Canvas at UW-Madison.
Select this link to list all Canvas documents from the Learn@UW-Madison Knowledgebase at the bottom of this page.
Credit-based courses in Canvas
All credit-based courses from the UW-Madison Course Guide (sometimes referred to as "timetable" courses) are available in Canvas prior to the start of each academic term and can be accessed at https://canvas.wisc.edu. For details on the Canvas automated creation schedule each term, refer to Canvas - Automatic Course Creation Schedule. For information on how courses and sections are created, based on the configuration in the Student Information System (SIS), refer to Canvas - How Automated Course and Section Creation Works.
Currently, UW-Madison does not remove past Canvas courses or restrict instructor's access to to past courses. This policy may be revisited in the future as needs change.
Non-credit courses in Canvas
In addition to traditional credit-based courses, Canvas can be used to deliver non-credit courses. This includes the following:
- Continuing Studies/lifelong learning "L3" (enrichment or ongoing education) courses for external audiences
- Compliance or institutional training courses primarily for UW-Madison employees and/or students
To use Canvas for these purposes, you must request a Canvas course (see the next section).
Request a Canvas course
Credit-based courses cannot be requested because they are automatically generated prior to each term from information provided by SIS (Student Information System).
Canvas courses for other purposes can be requested through the Canvas Non-Credit Course Request form.
Five types of non-timetable courses are available:
Sandbox: Course to experiment with Canvas and/or develop content outside an official course.
- Development: select Sandbox if you would like a Development course; used to assemble a complete course to be exported into a timetable course shell.
Continuing Studies/Lifelong Learning (L3): Used for Continuing Studies or Lifelong Learning (L3) audiences.
Compliance/Institutional Training: For courses used to deliver online training material; to UW-Madison faculty, Staff, and/or students.
Supplemental: These courses run alongside a Course Guide (timetable) course or for-credit program, and house tangential course materials.
Blueprint: Template for sharing course components across multiple courses.
Canvas support and training
Technical support of Canvas at UW-Madison is provided by the DoIT Help Desk. So if you have questions about Canvas, or are experiencing issues with Canvas, the Help Desk is the best resource.
Canvas Tech ModulesThese modules, developed by DoIT Academic Technology's Learn@UW-Madison team, are designed to help instructors introduce centrally supported learning technologies to their students. For more information, see Canvas - Student Tech Modules in Canvas Commons
See Canvas Community for even more documents: from educators around the world and Canvas's parent company, Instructure.
Continuing Studies/Lifelong Learning "L3"
For general questions about delivering a Continuing Studies/lifelong learning "L3" course for external audiences to Canvas, please contact:
- Alan Ng (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Outreach Technology, DCS
For questions about using Canvas to deliver employee/staff and training courses, large-scale training and compliance courses for employees, and compliance courses for students, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.
Canvas system requirements and supported browsers
- Please see Instructure's guide: What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas?
Canvas release schedule
Instructure releases updates to Canvas monthly. Please see "Canvas Release Notes" for information on new releases. New releases also generally contain a short video summarizing changes in a release. Check the release notes often to stay informed on bug fixes or new features coming to Canvas.