This self-help guide walks Geneseo learners through the essential items to address at the start of a semester. This guide is also particularly useful for users who are new to Canvas.

Have the Right Tools

Review Notification Settings

  • Notifications can be sent to several destinations (i.e., Geneseo email, personal email, etc.) based on different events in Canvas
  • Go to Account→ Notifications to customize how and when you receive notifications
    • Notifications can be received immediately, via daily or weekly summary, or never
  • We recommend you receive Daily or Immediate notifications of Announcements, Due Date changes, and Conversation Messages to ensure you do not miss important information from your professors
  • If you add a secondary (non-Geneseo) email address, you will need to authorize its use before you will receive notifications

Canvas is accessible as a link off of myGeneseo. You can access Canvas directly at

Course Enrollment Updates

Did you just add/drop a class? Enrollments in Canvas are updated every 2 hours.

Our Canvas Student Guides offer additional assistance as a curated and topical list of resources.

Click the image above to download a PDF for handy reference.

Canvas Community Resources

Canvas Student Guide - Table of Contents

Related Self Help Guides

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    Create a Grade Column for Assignments Outside of Canvas — This guide shows how to create a grade column for assignments delivered, collected and graded outside of Canvas – for grade display and overall grade calculations only. This method is also typically used for entering class Participation grades.
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    Customizing your Canvas Dashboard — The Dashboard is your landing page in Canvas and displays information about your current courses. The Dashboard also contains global announcements, an activity stream that shows recent activity in all your current courses, and a sidebar, which contains the To Do list, upcoming events, and access to grades.

    By default, course cards are automatically added by Canvas and display up to 20 courses. However, you can manage courses on the Dashboard by customizing the course list and manually selecting your favorite courses. 

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    Adding Open Learning Initiative (OLI) Content to your Canvas Course SUNY has a partnership with Lumen Learning and Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) that provides access to courses at no cost for all SUNY campuses and students. Course adoption is as easy as filling out a request form in our Ready-to-Adopt catalog at

    When you adopt an OER course, it can be easily integrated into a Canvas module.

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    Using Geneseo Outcomes for Assessment — This guide was created in collaboration with Melanie Blood, Interim Associate Provost for Assessment and Curriculum. For questions regarding the assessment process at Geneseo, please contact her office directly.
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    Turnitin Originality and Plagiarism Service — Turnitin is an originality and plagiarism service that is available for faculty and students directly in our Learning Management System – Canvas. 
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    Re-open a Completed Course For a Subset of Students to Manage an Incomplete — Allow access to one student (or a small group) to complete work in a Canvas course after the semester has ended.
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    TopHat Canvas Integration & Grades Sync Linking Top Hat and Canvas together gives you a ton of amazing features! Automagically sync grades, and keep your student roster up-to-date.
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    Creating a Turnitin Assignment (Geneseo Guide) — Turnitin is an originality and plagiarism service that is available for faculty and students directly in Canvas. This guide will provide the basics to help you get started with creating a Turnitin assignment in your course(s).

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    Creating a Home Page with Auto-open Syllabus Preview — The Course Home Page is the first view your students will see when they enter your course. For the Course Home Page, you can customize a page from your course Pages and have it display as the Course Home Page. You can also include your Syllabus in an auto-open inline preview.
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    Managing Students - Groups and Sections — This guide has information for faculty regarding organizing students into groups or sections ("teams") for collaborative work and assignments.
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Still Need Help?

Ask CIT! Email us or submit a request and we'll be happy to assist you.   Submit a request

For tips, tricks, and updates on learning technologies at Geneseo, visit our Educational Technology ChatTo explore Canvas Guides (created by Instructure), visit


  1. This is super helpful! I also introduce them to the "what if" grade feature. I know it's kind of pandering but it also cuts down on the "where does my grade stand" questions that ultimately I can't answer anyway. If anybody suggests not using that feature or using some kind of alternate, let me know!

    Of course that only works if your grades stay up to date in Canvas but if you don't use Canvas to keep a current grade book then you're probably not reading this anyway because you're off somewhere perusing a hand typeset manuscript by candlelight....

  2. Thanks Lee Pierce! The "what if" feature is incredibly valuable, you're right. I'm adding it to our index of student self-help pages, within the Grades category. 

  3. Hi Becky- For your second heading, you might consider changing it to "Review Notification Settings in Canvas" or something similar–I can envision some students looking for some global notifications page....