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Canvas Faculty Guide: Canvas Engagement, Communication & More

Canvas Information page with resources on the basics, grading, organization, engagement and communication, and a student section

Canvas Guide

Engagement, Communication, & More


  • Add an announcement to a course to share important information with all users of a course
  • View all course announcements in the Index Page (and create or modify announcement settings) 
  • View and sort announcement replies (or disable announcement replies); you can allow students to "like" replies in an announcement even if students cannot reply 

306 - Announcements Overview from Instructure Canvas Community.


  • Notifications are applied to all courses in Canvas; you cannot change notifications for individual courses 
  • You can choose how and when you want to be notified about events (right away, daily summary, weekly summary, or never) 
  • You can enable push notifications on the Canvas App

102 - Notification Preferences from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.


  • Canvas Collaborations allows users to work on documents at the same time, are saved in real time, and can be assigned to groups
  • You can create collaborations through Google Docs or OneDrive (Office 365, which is supported by Western IT

318 - Collaborations Overview from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.

Conferences and Zoom

  • The Canvas Conferences tool can be used for virtual lectures, office hours, adn student groups
  • Conferences offers similar tools to Zoom (real-time audio and video, screen sharing, etc.)
  • Cons: Conferences can be recorded, but are automatically deleted 14 days after the conference ends
  • Pros: Unlike Zoom, Conferences cannot be accessed by external parties (no "Zoombombing") and Conferences allows students to remain in Canvas (no external links)
  • Students can collaborate in conferences or practice presenting in student groups 
  • Read: How do I create a conference in a course? 
  • Western has purchased a campus-wide Zoom license (sign in or download Western backgrounds here
  • To review more detailed Zoom tips, including securing a room, recording sessions, and more, check out our library guide

Canvas Commons

Commons is a repository for instructors to share whole courses, modules, assignments, quizzes, and more. You can easily add modules you find in Commons to a course, or create and publish your own educational content to help other instructors. 

  • You can limit your sharing to just yourself (create a private repository), the institution (only Western access), or all of Canvas Commons (anyone at any institution) 
  • Read: What is Canvas Commons?
  • Read: How do I use Commons? 
  • Watch: Commons Overview

325 - Commons Overview from Instructure Canvas Community.


Questions? Contact your Instructional Designer!

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Tiffanie Wick

Library 209

Course Importing

  • Course import tool allows you to select portions or all of a course, adjust events or due dates (or remove them completely), and copy your own course content from term to term 
  • Import from another Canvas Course that you have access to (your own courses, courses you have access to as a department, etc.)
  • Import from Blackboard to Canvas 
  • Import from Canvas Commons (import entire courses, or modules, assignments, quizzes, discussions, pages, or files from a shared area) 

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