Getting to Know Your Canvas Dashboard

Welcome to your Canvas Dashboard! The Canvas Dashboard is the first thing you or your students see when logging in to Canvas, and it’s designed to help you organize your current and upcoming courses.

Your friends in OLS conducted a faculty survey to see what you’d like clarity or more information on, and the Dashboard was one of the most-cited areas of confusion cited. We created this short video to help you understand the way the Dashboard works. If you like reading better than watching, keep scrolling for more information.

Courses in Canvas are given term dates, which means that once the term is over, your courses will move out of the Dashboard into the All Courses page, to make room for the new term’s courses.

During the transition from Blackboard, we suggested that you mark certain courses as “favorites” by clicking the star icons next to course names from the All Courses page. We suggested this so that you would be able to find specific versions of courses you liked for copying and cleaning up, but now that the transition is over, all those starred courses aren’t going to leave your Dashboard. Customizing your course Dashboard by manually “starring” courses will cause your Dashboard to only display those starred courses, and ignore the term code “flow” – Canvas will automatically add new course enrollments, but it will never remove anything. This means that at the end of the term, you’d have to un-star the courses you don’t need anymore. At this point in the transition, we don’t suggest favoriting courses – so unstar the ones you have starred and just let the system roll courses in and out for you!

To find an old course, you can click on Courses, then scroll through your current courses, then click the All Courses link at the bottom of that menu. This page will display all current, past, and upcoming courses that exist in Canvas.

For course copying, remember that unlike in Blackboard, you start the course copy from the new course. Old courses in Canvas go into “read-only” mode, which means you can’t do much with them in terms of editing. The expectation is that you would just copy content into the new course shell and make any edits you need to there.

The Dashboard displays up to 20 course cards, organized alphabetically by name and your role in the course. However, you’re free to organize as you see fit by dragging and dropping. You can also set nicknames or custom colors for course cards, but these will only show on your own Dashboard – your students will not be able to see them. If you need to remember the original name of the course, you can hover your cursor over the nickname and the original name will appear as hovertext. Setting a nickname will not change other Dashboard elements, like the To Do list – these will always have the original name. If you want to change the version of the course name that your students see, go into the course, then the Settings page. You can modify the name and/or the course code (something like ENG-105-201820-123) there. Keep in mind that students see both of these values, so be clear about the name you use – especially if your course is cross-listed (merged).

For more information about your Dashboard, Course Cards, favoriting/starring courses or other Dashboard settings and options, please see the Canvas Guides or ask Canvas Support through the Help button.