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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, text, 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
    • Screenshot of Canvas notification preferences
  • 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 or cell number, you will need to authorize their use before they 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.

Canvas Community Resources

Canvas Student Guide - Table of Contents

Canvas - Getting Started as a Student

Related Self Help Guides

  • Page:
    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.
  • Page:
    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. 

  • Page:
  • Page:
    Blackboard Ally Accessibility Reports for Canvas — Making course content accessible can be a daunting process. Blackboard Ally, a new tool now available in Canvas, makes the process much easier.

  • Page:
    Submitting a Turnitin Assignment You can submit Turnitin assignments directly in Canvas. Turnitin measures assignment originality and indicates what percent of your assignment matches internet sources.
  • Page:
    Setting up a Blackboard Collaborate Session in Canvas — The Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing tool has been integrated into Canvas, making synchronous communication, collaboration, and presentation easily accessible. Instructors can set up Collaborate sessions for hosting guest speakers, holding virtual office hours, leading test review sessions, and teaching class sessions online.

  • Page:
  • Page:
    myCourses to Canvas Translation Chart — This chart shows common features in myCourses (Angel), what those features are called in Canvas, and how they are different.
  • Page:
    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.
  • Page:
    Start of Semester Checklist for Students — 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.
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  • Page:
    Assignments for Assessment at Geneseo — This guide describes how to create, share, and use assignments that have been created for assessment outcomes. 
  • Page:
    Managing Students - Groups and Sections — This guide has information for faculty regarding organizing students into groups or sections ("teams") for collaborative work and assignments.
  • Page:
    Geneseo Resources in the Canvas Commons — This guide shares information about Geneseo resources for faculty located in the Canvas Commons. You can use Commons to search for and import content into your Canvas courses. You can also share resources to Commons from your Canvas courses.
  • Page:
    Recording and Sharing Lectures PowerPoint Workflow — This workflow describes how to create lectures from PowerPoint for sharing in Canvas.

More Help

For questions about Canvas, contact CIT via our online service desk or email Weekdays between 8am-4pm, you can also contact us via our real-time chat portal.

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....