Canvas - Frequently Asked Questions for Students

This document answers frequently asked questions for UW-Madison students using Canvas.

Canvas is UW-Madison’s learning management system (LMS). You will use Canvas to view course materials, submit assignments and quizzes, and view grades for many of your UW-Madison courses.

Log into https://canvas.wisc.edu with your NetID credentials.

If you are a UW-Madison student, your Canvas account will be created automatically and linked with your NetID. If you are unable to log into Canvas:

  • Allow a waiting period of up to 24 hours if you have a new NetID. Canvas accounts for new NetIDs are created in an overnight process, so if you have just activated your NetID, you may not be able to access Canvas for up to 24 hours. 
  • Confirm that you are able to access other UW-Madison resources, such as My-UW (https://my.wisc.edu). If you can’t log into other services, the problem maybe with your NetID account. Try resetting your NetID password or contact the DoIT Help Desk for assistance. 
  • Make sure your computer or mobile device meets the minimum operating standards for Canvas and that you are using a recommended browser
  • Check the DoIT Outages page. If there is a widespread problem with Canvas, it will be posted as an outage.

If you are an applicant or an external student, you may not have a NetID or your NetID may not be automatically eligible for Canvas. If you need to access a course in Canvas, your course instructor or program administrator may need to request a Canvas account for you. 

By default, your current courses will appear on your Canvas Dashboard

To access past courses, select the Courses item from the main menu and go to All Courses. See “How do I view all my Canvas courses as a student?” for more information.

Alternatively, you can access your courses through the Courses app in MyUW. In addition to a link to the Canvas course sites for your courses, the Courses app contains information such as required textbooks and meeting locations for in-person courses.

You may not be able to access your current semester’s courses in Canvas if:

  • You recently registered for the course. It may take up to 24 hours for new enrollments to be added to Canvas.
  • Your instructor has not published the Canvas course yet. As a student, you will not be able to see a course before it’s published. Your instructor may be waiting to publish the course because they are still making content updates or for a variety of other reasons.
  • Your instructor is not using Canvas. Contact your instructor to confirm whether or not they are using Canvas to post online course materials.

For any other problems with accessing your course, contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Instructure, the company that makes Canvas, has extensive documentation. Check out the Canvas Student Guide or search the Canvas Community for answers to specific questions.

Visit the Learn@UW-Madison KnowledgeBase for information about Canvas issues that are unique to UW-Madison.

Contact the DoIT Help Desk for assistance.