A Comprehensive Guide to Canvas LMS

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that has been adopted by all of the schools of Harvard University. Canvas provides tools for teaching staff to develop and administer course websites. In this guide, we will provide an overview of what canvas is, how to use it, and some of its features.

What is Canvas?

Canvas is a cloud-based LMS that supports online learning activities such as uploading assignments, participating in discussions, and taking quizzes. It also includes a mobile app so you can access your courses on the go. professors can use Canvas to create and deliver course content, track student progress, and enable collaboration between students and instructors.

How to Use Canvas?

Logging in to Canvas

To log in to Canvas, go to https://canvas.harvard.edu and enter your HarvardKey credentials. If you are having trouble logging in, please contact the Harvard Education Technology Services (HETS) Help Desk at 617-495-0722 or [email protected]

Once you have logged in, you will see your dashboard, which is a list of all the courses you are currently enrolled in. To access a course, click on its name.

Creating Content in Canvas

The first thing you need to do when creating a course in Canvas is added content. This can be done by clicking on the “Add Content” button located in the left-hand sidebar of your course homepage. From here, you can add modules (i.e., units of content), files, pages, assignments, discussions, quizzes/exams, and more. For more detailed instructions on how to add content to your course website, please see our guide on How to Add Content to Your Canvas Course Site.

Communicating with Students in Canvas

Canvas provides several tools that you can use to communicate with your students. The main tool is the announcement feature, which allows you to post announcements that will appear on your course homepage and will be emailed to all students enrolled in the course. You can also send individual messages to students through Canvas’s inbox feature. Finally, if you need to conduct a live class session or office hours, you can do so using Zoom, which integrates with Canvas. For more information on how to use these features, please see our guides on Communicating with Students Using Canvas Announcements, Sending Messages through canvas Inbox, and Conducting Live Sessions Using Zoom.


In conclusion, Canvas is a powerful LMS that can be used by instructors to create and deliver engaging online courses. It offers many features for educators including the ability to add content, track student progress, enable collaboration, and communicate with students. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform for delivering your courses online, then we highly recommend checking out Canvas.

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