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TechHelp - MCLA's Technology Help Center β

Getting Started for Students


Logging in

As with most services that you log into at MCLA, you must login with your MCLANET User ID and Password.

Navigating Canvas

When you first log in to Canvas, you will see a Dashboard screen that looks like this:


When you first enter a course in Canvas, you will see a slightly different screen that looks like this:


Setting Up Your Profile and Notification Preferences

After you have explored the Canvas interface a little, click on the Profile link in the upper right-hand corner of the page. There are several things you can do here. You may want to...

1. Add additional email addresses or a text messaging number to receive notifications from Canvas via the channels that are most convenient for you. 2. Click the Edit Profile button in the right Sidebar and change your time zone or check the box next to Change Password to create a more secure password. 3. Register with web services or social networks outside of Canvas that you already have accounts for. For example, you may be required to create a Google account and register with GoogleDocs in Canvas if your instructor plans to assign those types of Collaborations during the course. 4. Click on Notification Preferences on the left hand side of the page to adjust the channels and frequency for all of the many types of Canvas notifications. These preferences can be changed at any point during the term. 5. You will also see links to Files and ePortfolios in your Profile. We will cover those further on down the page. Keep on reading!

Communicating with Instructors and Peers

There are many different ways to communicate with your instructors and peers in Canvas.


The Global Activity Stream is what you see on the left side of the Canvas Dashboard when you first log into Canvas. The Global Activity Stream shows you the most recent communication across all of your canvas courses, including course Announcements and Discussions. You can comment on these conversations from within the Dashboard.

The Course Activity Stream aggregates the most recent communication in a specific course. You can also comment on discussions directly from the Course Activity Stream:

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Inside the announcement menu, you'll see an option for commenting on Announcements that have been made. For instance, if your teacher has made an announcement about an assignment, it will take you there to ask questions or leave a comment.

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Discussions are meant to be just that—discussions. These are informal and formal conversations about specific topics. Discussions can be created and graded by your instructor. They can also be created by you and your peers to ask questions or receive additional clarification about the course.

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Assignments can be commented on either before, during, and after submissions. Comments you make before the submission deadline will be included for the teacher to see during the grading process.

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Canvas Messaging (Inbox)

For communication outside the scope of daily activities in Canvas, teachers and peers can use Messaging to send private messages. To access the inbox, click on the Inbox link in the upper right-hand menu, to the left of the Profile link.

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Once in the inbox, you will see some mailbox configuration options on the right hand side. Adjust these to view only the messages that you need.

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When creating an new message in Canvas, you'll see the Rich Content Editor. Enter the relevant information and select your recipients.

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When selecting recipients, you are able to quickly filter by group (all students, all teachers, etc) or check individual names. These messages will be private messages kept in Canvas. Your recipients will be notified about these messages according to the Notification Preferences they've set in their profiles.

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Taking Quizzes

Taking a quiz in Canvas is simple and straightforward.

1. Start by clicking on the 'Quizzes' link in the menu.


2. Here you'll see a list of quizzes for the course. For each of these quizzes you'll see a due date (if there is one) as well as the point value and some other details about it.


3. Find the quiz you'd like to take and click on the title of the quiz. Here you'll see more details related to the quiz. Below the details is a link that says 'Take this Quiz.' This will start the clock to the quiz (if it's timed) and you will be actively taking the test.


4. At any point during the quiz, you'll see a high level look at what's happening with your quiz. Questions you've answered will be greyed out, unanswered questions will be represented in bold. You'll also see a timer showing you progress on the test.


5. There are several different question types in Canvas that your professors may choose to employ, from True/False to Essay format. Each question will show in the top right corner the point value of the question. Each question will be divided from others by a box surrounding the question and answers.

6. When the test is complete, don't forget to hit the 'Submit Answers' button.


Viewing Quiz Results

Depending on how your professor has set up the quiz, you can usually see the results immediately upon completion. For objective results questions, such as an essay question, scores will be posted later as your professor grades them. They will show up as a 0 on your score until graded.


An overview of your results can be seen on the right hand side of the page.


Checking Grades

As a Student using Canvas, accessing your grades is simple and easy. Follow these simple steps below to access your gradebook.

1. In the left hand menu, select 'Grades.'

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2. Here you'll see a list of your grades on a 'per assignment' basis. First is the name of the assignment, second the due date, third is your score and the 4th item is the score that the assignment was worth.


3. At the end of the rows, there are a few extra icons:

Grades04.png - This icon notifies a student their teacher has left comments on the assignment.

Grades05.png - This icon will show scoring details.

Grades06.png - This icon indicates a rubric.

4. On the right hand side of the gradebook, there is an overall snapshot of your course, the breakdown and how you're doing.


You can also quickly access a global summary of your grades from the Global Navigation Menu at the top of any page in Canvas:


This summary view uses the same icons as the gradebook.


  1. This icon means the teacher has left you some feedback on that assignment. Just click on the icon to see all the feedback.
  2. Click this icon to see the scoring details of your graded assignment.
  3. This shows that you have submitted the assignment, but it has not been graded yet.

Hypothetical Grades

Canvas will help you answer that age old question - "What do I need to do to get an 'A' in this course?"

Watch this video to see how:


Creating and Sharing ePortfolios

Canvas allows students to create and maintain their own ePortfolios. These ePortfolios can be private or public and can be shared with others that do not have access to Canvas.

To access ePortfolios, start by clicking on the 'Profile' link at the top of Canvas.

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In the profile menu, select the bottom link for ePortfolio.


Once in the ePortfolio, there are several options for creating your portfolio, including a wizard that will walk you through your creation, step by step.


Uploading Files

Each student has their own file repository inside of Canvas. To access your personal files, click on your Profile link in the upper right hand corner. Then click on the Files link on the left hand side. You will see a new screen that looks like this:


Click on "Add Files" to upload and preview your own personal files.

Click here to learn more about Files.

Submitting Feedback and Getting Help

In the same top menu bar as the Inbox, there is a feedback button.

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When you click it, you'll be presented with the option of submitting a feedback ticket to the help desk or the professor of the course you are taking. Make sure to remember to switch the button or you'll be submitting tickets to the help desk.

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If you have an idea for how to make Canvas better, please click on the IDEA button. And if you have a COMPLIMENT, well then, by all means....

Some of this original content courtesy of Utah Education Network Consortium and Utah Valley University