Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I obtain a copy of a lecture video?

    Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide a separate copy of any lecture videos.  These videos are strictly regulated and making additional copies of a lecture video is disallowed by the Harvard Office of General Council.

    Can I have a Canvas site?

    Maybe.  Canvas is primarily used to host course websites associated with Harvard degree programs, however Canvas can also be used for Informal Learning Experiences. 

    Informal Learning Experiences are defined as a time-bound, non-credit learning experience provided by Harvard faculty or staff for Harvard affiliates that contains learning facets such as communication, content creation, content delivery, content collection, assessment.

    Here are a few potential examples of informal learning experiences:

    •  ...
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    How to edit your course list

    Not all of your courses will appear in your Canvas dashboard, the landing page when you log into Canvas. In fact, upcoming courses will likely not appear. You probably want to prioritize seeing current courses over past ones. Here's how to customize which courses appear on your dashboard.

    Click on Courses, then click on All Courses.


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    Getting Started with Canvas

    In this module, we'll cover how to create and edit the basic content types in Canvas.

    Content Types

    Canvas has many useful content types built in, and many more can be added using external tools. This module covers the content types built in to Canvas. Here's a brief overview; we'll dive in deeper later on in the module.

    1. Pages

    These are the building blocks of a Canvas site. You're looking at a page right now! A page can be as simply text-only, or can include embedded images and multimedia. It's possible to create wiki...

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    Students: Will I have access to my readings after the course is over?

    Access to readings, following the conclusion of a course, will be dependent on where each specific reading is hosted. There are four ways that course readings can be hosted on Canvas:

    Readings hosted on Canvas

    Any files or resources that are hosted on the Canvas site itself will always be accessible, even after you graduate. To know if a course reading falls under this category, look for these icons: ...

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    What is the difference between Availability Dates & Due Date?

    Availability dates define when students are able to view assignments and when the last date and time to submit to an assignment is. Availability dates are not required, but may be useful in limiting access if desired.

    Available From: The date and time for when assignments will become accessible by students.

    Available Until: The date and time for when students can no longer submit to an assignment.

    The Due Date defines the date and time when a submission to an assignment is considered late. If...

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    How do I message/email the entire course?

    Option One: Canvas Inbox

    Messaging through the Canvas Inbox is quick and efficient. No extra configuration is necessary, all that is needed are:

    • Course Name(s)
    • Name of recipient(s), role(s), group(s), or section(s).

    Messaging via Inbox allows teachers and teaching staff to message all members within a course, and is also useful when there are specific users to message in addition to any other groups, sections, or role types (...

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    Harvard-built tool: Manage Course

    The Harvard-built course tools Manage People and Manage Sections have been streamlined, along with a new tool, Import iSites Content. These three valuable tools have been integrated into Harvard's new Manage Course feature.


    The Manage Course link can be found on the left side course navigation in any Canvas course. The link will appear grayed out, since it is visible only to admins and teaching staff. Let's look at each of the tools contained therein.


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    Creating Assignments

    Assignments: an introduction

    Assignments are one of the most important components of Canvas.  Assignments are where students will submit work for grading.  Papers, projects, presentations, and even class participation will be graded using assignments.  In the most basic configuration, Assignments allow students to upload their documents to a place where teaching staff can view them and provide feedback.  In more complex configurations, Assignments use integrated rubrics for grading and allow Canvas to calculate each student's final grade.

    Creating a...

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    When are course notifications sent out to users?

    Course notifications are sent out to all members of a course. Notifications are sent out when a specific action has been completed which will trigger a notification to be sent out. For instance, if a new graded assignment was created and saved and published all at once, this would trigger a notification to be sent out to members of the course.

    Note that before a notification can be sent out, the following conditions must be met:

    1. Course is published
    2. User has not disabled notifications to be sent out (same may be...
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