Canvas: Enabling and Using the Tools


Groups are like a smaller version of a Canvas course site. They're used as a collaborative tool for students working together on group projects and assignments.

Creating Student Groups and adding students

Video and other media in Canvas

MiVideo is U-M's content management service. It helps organize, catalog, share, search, and publish multimedia content.

Publish each Module, Quiz, Assignment, Page, File, and Discussion, as well as your course site

In Canvas, you will publish your course site to make it visible to students, and you must also publish any modules, quizzes, pages, assignments, files, and discussions in your course site. To publish these items, click the little gray circle icon to toggle it to green.

Publishing content toggle

Enabling and hiding tools

You can choose which tools are visible to students in the left navigation menu.

  1. Click Settings at the bottom of the menu.
  2. Click Navigation along the top. 
  3. Drag items between the upper and lower lists to hide (disable) or make them visible (enable) to students. 
  4. IMPORTANT:  Click Save.  You may need to scroll down to see the Save button.

Navigation links in blue text are displayed to students. Navigation links in gray text are hidden from students.

You can also change a feature’s position within the menu: click an icon to the right of a feature and then use the “Move” up-down arrow.  Then click Save.

More about reordering and hiding tools

Using Canvas tools

Tool by tool in alphabetical order


Announcements allow you to communicate with your students about course activities and post course-related topics.


Assignment creation sequence: add an assignment group, create an assignment shell, edit the assignment details, and add content.


The Calendar automatically syncs with other features in Canvas, such as Assignments, Syllabus, and Grades.

Canvas Course Manager

The Canvas Course Management tool allows U-M instructors and users in specific roles to:

  • Add sections to an existing Canvas course
  • Add non-UM external users to a Canvas course

Using the Canvas Course Manager


The Chat tool allows students and teachers to interact in real time.


Conferences are used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups.


Doc Viewer is a tool in the Speedgrader that allows the instructor and peer review annotations on online assignment submissions.


Conversations is a messaging system within Canvas. The Inbox is split into two windows and displays messages chronologically.


Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions.


The Files feature is where you upload course files, syllabi, readings, or other documents. Instructors can lock folders so students cannot access the files.

Grades and the Gradebook

The Gradebook stores all information about student progress in the course, measuring both letter grades and course outcomes.

i>Clicker and Canvas

To use i>Clicker with Canvas, you will need to install a version that has been configured specifically for U-M.  

LinkedIn Learning

Integrate LinkedIn Learning content (full courses or individual videos) into your Canvas course by setting up an External Tool in an assignment or module.


Modules allow you to organize your content to help control the flow of your course.


Pages are where you can put content and educational resources that are part of your course but don't necessarily belong in an assignment, or that you want to refer to in multiple assignments.


With Quizzes, you can create a graded or ungraded quiz, exam, homework assignment, or survey.

Redirect tool

With the Redirect Tool, you can add a link to the left-hand navigation that will open an external webpage in Canvas. It serves the same purpose as the CTools Web Content tool.

Rich Content Editor

The Rich Content Editor allows you to create new content (assignments, announcements, discussions, blogs, etc.) within Canvas. It supports embedding any video content, math formulas, and other rich media.


Rubrics are a way to set up custom or outcome-based assessment criteria for scoring.


SpeedGrader allows you to quickly access and efficiently grade student work. You can view, annotate, comment on, and grade submissions without downloading and re-uploading files, all from a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Anything graded in SpeedGrader is automatically recorded in the grade book.

Student View

The Student View allows instructors to see the course as a student views it.


The Syllabus has three parts: description, calendar and table.

Tips and troubleshooting

External apps to use with Canvas

Instructors can add apps to their course in two ways:

Last Updated: 
Thursday, March 11, 2021