About

What is Canvas?

Canvas is a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) by Instructure. Canvas is a modern, easy-to-use, reliable and adaptable LMS that supports current and evolving teaching and learning needs.

You can use Canvas to:

  • organize your course using an integrated calendaring and syllabus system, content modules, and communication stream
  • stimulate active learning, critical thinking and reflection with discussion forums
  • leverage built-in faculty and student audio and video recording functionality (in assignments, quizzes, discussions, web conferencing) to maximize interaction outside the classroom
  • save time grading using SpeedGrader
  • access your course using a mobile app (iPhone, iPad and Android devices)
  • easily set up assessment tools that track, grade, and communicate student outcomes

Why Canvas?

Although Stanford had used CourseWork (Sakai) LMS since 2005, over the last ten years there have been many changes in LMS technology. Modern learning management systems offer exciting features and functionalities to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences. After conducting a review of the current learning management system landscape, an analysis of Stanford’s needs as well as input and feedback from the 2014-2015 Canvas pilot, Canvas was selected as our new learning management system.

When are we moving to Canvas?

The transition to Canvas is now complete. In September 2015, Stanford began transitioning to Canvas as our primary LMS. As a part of this phased implementation, we supported courses in both CourseWork and Canvas. CourseWork was retired on December 21, 2016. See our Transition Timeline for more detailed information.

Canvas Transition Timeline

CourseWork was phased out at the end of Fall Quarter 2016. Beginning Winter quarter (January 2017) all courses will be created in Canvas.

CourseWork Archive

The CourseWork Archive site is now available at courseworkarchive.stanford.edu. Access to the archive site is by request only. Contact us to request access to the CourseWork archive.

Canvas courses have been automatically created for all Winter 2017 classes. Instructors can get immediate access to their Canvas courses to start adding content or can request that the VPTL team copy CourseWork course content over to Canvas before the January 23, 2017 deadline. Instructors can just login to Canvas to get started.

Login to Canvas

Note: Instructors need to click the “Publish” button in Canvas for students to be able to see their Canvas courses. A Canvas course will not be available to students until published.

Publish Course Button

Once your course contains a graded submission, you can no longer unpublish your course. [more]

If you’d like help getting started with Canvas, please contact us or check out the Canvas documentation in our resources section.

Project Team

The Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL)

Engineering and Production Group
Platform Team
Software Development Team

Pilot

How was Canvas evaluated?

After a review of the current learning management system landscape, an analysis of Stanford’s needs as well as input and feedback from the 2014-2015 Canvas pilot, Canvas was selected as our new learning management system.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) hosted an open pilot of Canvas, a new cloud-based learning management system by Instructure. Canvas proved to offer functionality and workflows that faculty, students and instructional support staff have long wanted in CourseWork. After a successful pilot, Canvas has been adopted as Stanford’s primary LMS as a replacement for CourseWork.

Who is using Canvas at Stanford?

During the VPTL Canvas pilot from Fall 2014 through Summer 2015 approximately 2000 faculty and students used Canvas in over 100 courses.

In 2014 the Stanford Graduate School of Business moved to a separate Canvas instance, and the Stanford Graduate School of Education has made a locally hosted Canvas instance available to its members since 2013.

How can I learn more about Canvas?

Check out our resources for links to helpful tutorials, easy-to-use documentation, answers to Frequently Asked Questions and other materials designed to make it easy to get started with Canvas. Or contact us to arrange an appointment to discuss your course and get one-on-one help.