Canvas Access and Management
The lifecycle of a Canvas course is shaped from a collaborative process between various departments and systems across UIW. This means, while the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology manages the instructional and administrative side of Canvas, other processes along the course creation pipeline are handled by other departments.
Below are the most frequently asked questions that arise each semester related to Canvas access, permissions, course management, and general logistics surrounding Canvas. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about a question that's not answered below, please submit a ticket with the UIW Help Desk and a member of the Instructional team will connect with you.
Canvas Access and Management FAQ
A user must have UIW credentials to get access to Canvas. When a new student is accepted to UIW through Admissions, or staff and faculty are hired through Human Resources, they'll receive communications providing them access to Cardinal Apps. Canvas is an option to choose in Cardinal Apps, although not everyone will see Canvas as an option right away.
Information Technology provides support for issues with access, passphrases, and Cardinal Apps. Contact the Help Desk at (210) 829-2721, firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the Service Portal to submit a ticket if you have access or UIW credential issues. The Help Desk will ensure your request gets to the appropriate person.
Student access to Canvas depends on their course enrollment.
Faculty and staff have access to Canvas after receiving their UIW credentials, but they will see an empty dashboard with a message they have no courses until they have enrollments. Once faculty and staff are enrolled in Canvas courses, as either Teachers, Students, or another role, their dashboard view will change accordingly.
Note: How UIW users get access to courses in Canvas is covered further along in the proceeding tiles.
People who are not students, staff, or faculty but work with the university for a variety of reasons are called affiliates. An affiliate might include a captionist assisting a student with accommodations or a vendor who is partnering with a program to build course materials.
Affiliates get UIW credentials through Human Resources rather than IT or OTLT. Contact Human Resources for the appropriate form or to check the status of a pending request. After Human Resources receives a request, they enter the person in Banner and send their UIW credentials.
Academic, support, and sandbox courses are the three main types of courses available to faculty. Many faculty use Canvas for more than teaching their academic courses and it’s important to understand the different types as they are managed in unique ways.
- Academic courses are those managed through the Registrar and entered in Banner. Banner feeds information to Canvas several times every day to both create courses and manage enrollments of instructors and students.
- Support courses are not managed through Banner. They are handled manually by the Canvas administrator and the person requesting the course. Support courses are used in a variety of ways to support the academic efforts of the university. If graded assignments and other Canvas features are not necessary for your situation, Microsoft Teams is an alternative to using Canvas. MS Teams allows groups of users to chat, videoconference, share files, and more. You can request a support course through a Help Desk ticket or contact your instructional designer to explore options that best meet your needs.
- Sandbox courses are blank courses faculty and staff use for training, practice, testing features, and building Canvas components outside of courses where students are enrolled. You can request a Sandbox course through a Help Desk ticket.
- A few months before a new term, the Registrar creates the schedule of classes with instructor assignments for the upcoming term and the information is entered into Banner.
- 60 days before the term, Banner begins communicating course and enrollment information to Canvas. Canvas uses the information sent from Banner to create the academic course shells and enroll the instructors with Teacher access.
- If there are changes to the instructor, departments update the information in Banner. Banner continues to communicate with Canvas several times every day to update the course enrollments throughout the term.
If you need to edit or build a course earlier than 60 days out, request a Sandbox space through a Help Desk ticket. The Sandbox course will be empty, and you can import your academic course content to edit it there. Once the next academic term courses are available, you can import the edited Sandbox content to your new academic course and have a head-start
How are users enrolled in academic courses?
Instructors of record and student enrollments must be managed in Banner. Canvas imports Banner information several times each day. Users added through Banner cannot be edited or removed by the Canvas teacher role, these changes must be made in Banner.
Instructors can add roles other than students in their courses manually to share content and collaborate with colleagues.
Banner is an origin system that manages data for the university, while Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) which allows you to provide instruction online. A feed is created to allow Banner and Canvas to communicate. The process runs several times each day to cause changes made in Banner to update over in Canvas. The feed is not an immediate connection. When a change is made in Banner, the update will occur after the next time the feed runs. It may take several hours for your changes to be seen.
Important Note: The Canvas course SIS ID is built with information in Banner. Specifically, the subject code, course number, section code, part of term, semester abbreviation, and 2 digits for the year. If the Banner feed has already ran to create Canvas academic course shells, changes made to these details in Banner will cause Canvas to create a new course shell. Contact the Canvas administrator if you have additional questions.
After a term ends, the feed connecting Banner and Canvas is turned off. Your Canvas course becomes read-only and is retained for the academic record with the enrollments that existed at the end of the term.
Before the term ends, an instructor can edit the Canvas course participation end date in the course Settings to extend the ability for existing enrollments to continue activity in the course.
Read-only is the state of a Canvas course after the participation end date has passed. This date can be proactively changed by the instructor before it passes. After the end date passes, contact the Canvas administrator to request a change.
Read-only for students: Students can see all materials and grades but are unable to post, submit, or interact with the course, teacher, or students in any way.
Read-only for instructors: Instructors can see all materials and copy them to another course, view grades, and manage course files, but are unable to make edits to pages, discussions, announcements, assignments, quizzes, grades, settings, or add new users.
Read-only for guests: This can be setup through the Observer role, another type of read-only role. Enrolling a guest with an observer role allows access to the course without being able to affect any course data or participation. When paired with a student, this role cannot submit work on behalf of the students they observe, but they can see student grades, assignments and events, and course interactions. Instructors can generate a pairing code for a student or link a student to an observer in a Canvas course.
Important Note: If you collaborate with other instructors on courses, add them to your course before the participation end date passes. A course is read-only passed the end date and you’ll need to submit a Help Desk ticket for assistance.
As a reminder, you'll need to submit a Help Desk ticket to request a support course and/or sandbox. When you submit a ticket through the Help Desk for Canvas support, it gets assigned to the Canvas administrator. The Canvas manually creates support courses and sandboxes. If you are looking for a way to manage an organization, program, department, or study group, Microsoft Teams is recommended - contact a software specialist to learn more at email@example.com.
How are users enrolled in Support courses or Sandboxes?
The Teacher role can add all roles to support courses and Sandboxes. Any users you want to add to a course must have UIW credentials beforehand.
For academic courses, the course information your department submits to the Registrar is entered in Banner. That information is used to create the Canvas courses automatically each term. If you have an error in the name, number or some other detail, the change needs to be made in Banner to see the correct information in Canvas.
If you have access to a course that you are no longer teaching or do not see a course you will be teaching, contact your department to have the information corrected in Banner.