Canvas: The Basics

Logging in

To log in:

  1. Open your browser and go to
  2. Click the Canvas login button in the upper-right corner of window.
  3. Type your U-M uniqname and password and hit return.

Finding your course

When you first log onto Canvas, you will see the dashboard with colored cards showing recent activity for some or all of your courses.

You can see all of your courses by clicking the Courses link in the left-hand menu and then clicking All Courses in the window that opens.

To make a course appear as a colored card on the dashboard, click the star next to its name on the All Courses page.

Canvas courses of an official academic nature are automatically provisioned(created) 6 months in advance, usually once the setup is completed by the college's curriculum coordinator on M-Pathways.  As instructors get assigned to courses the update is reflected in Canvas. All courses in M-Pathways along with their enrollment data is loaded into Canvas twice a day.

Instructors can request a practice sandbox course site or project site by contacting 


Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release. (At this time, Firefox Extended release, which may be installed on some MiWorkspace computers, is not supported by Canvas.) See a full list of supported browsers.

Mobile devices

Most Canvas features are supported on mobile devices. Mobile apps are also available free for download on both smartphones and tablets.

Profile and user settings

You can change your profile and personal settings at any time.

Notification preferences

You can set notifications to email you when you send out an announcement or make and assignment.


Your dashboard summarizes what's happening in all your courses. To open your Canvas dashboard while you're in your Canvas course, click the yellow Michigan block M in the upper-left corner of the Canvas window.

  • Using the dashboard
  • Create a course nickname - to better organize your view. A course nickname only changes the name of the course for the individual user who created the nickname, hence the name will not appear on other's dashboards.

Course navigation

Primary navigation areas for courses are the menus on the left and, at times, on the right.

Global navigation

The global navigation feature is found along the left side of the Canvas window. It's a fast way to switch between your courses, groups, grades, and calendar.

Roles and permissions

Information about the permissions for Canvas roles (PDF) at the University of Michigan.

Last Updated: 
Wednesday, August 19, 2020