How Does Canvas Work?

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canvsa icon no linkUW Seattle automatically provisions course sites for all courses being taught, by all faculty, as soon as the time schedule for each quarter is released. This means that you may already have a course site for your class on Canvas that you can begin to develop.

Get Started Checklist

  1. Login to with your NetID and Password

  2. Check to see if your course sites are listed in the courses drop-down menu (*see note below).

  3. Schedule an appointment with the Office of Digital Learning or visit the "How to..." pages to learn about common Canvas tools and how to use them.

  4. Build your Course site or...Import the content of another Canvas course site into your new course (if desired)

  5. Publish your course site when ready and send an announcement to your students.

*Note: Upcoming course shells are available as soon as the Time Schedule is released. You should see them in your courses drop-down menu when you login to Canvas. If you do not see your course in the drop-down menu, click on the "view all courses" link in the drop-down box to see if your course is hidden. If you find it, click on the star to the left of the course name and it will add it to your drop-down menu. You may request a development shell, which you will never publish if working on a new course months before the quarter to be offered.  If you desire a development-only course site for a future quarter, contact the Office of Digital Learning and we will create one for you.

What else you need to know...

Course Roster Sync Issues

Occasionally there may be sync issues between the registration system and Canvas. Always double check your Canvas "People" area against your official MyUW Course Registration. If there are discrepancies, email your name, the course ID and details of the issue to

Don't have a NetID yet?

If you need to start building a course site but you have not been completely processed by your department yet, we can set up access to a Canvas Development Shell for you. All we need is an email from the Director/Dean of the program and your GMail address (which you can create for free if you don't have one). Then once you are set up with your official course sites in Canvas, you can just import the content from your Development Shell over to the official course site.

Course Access

Students are automatically provisioned to your Canvas course site through the registration system. Faculty approval will be sought if access to a course is requested from another faculty member or program staff unless the request comes from a program Dean. Deans will be given access upon request. 

On-Campus Canvas Support

The Office of Digital Learning provides support for faculty and students using Canvas. We are just an email away and would love to meet with you!