Your Canvas e-Reserves

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Canvas makes it extremely easy to give students direct access to licensed, Fair Use, and public domain content via your course site. Materials such as articles, e-books, chapters, images, and streaming media may be made available directly from within your Canvas course - whether added as a direct link or uploaded in diverse file formats into Course pages or Modules.

The Office of Digital Learning has created this page to help you easily add chosen e-reserve materials to your course site. You can always contact us if you need additional assistance by sending a request to

Linking e-Reserve materials

Instructors are responsible for copyright compliance but it has never been easier to direct students to online resources. There are a number of options:

  1. Digital materials in the Library's collection: The UW Libraries license a variety of electronic materials for course use. To find out if your readings are licensed:
    • Search the UW Libraries Catalog
    • If it is available electronically, learners may access individual articles and books directly from within Canvas. Find your content via the UW Libraries Catalog.
  • Some databases provide direct access to stable URLs or "permalinks." When you are accessing an article in a database, look for keywords like "permalink," "document URL" or DOI in order to create durable links to the item. After clicking on the "permalink" copy the URL and see instructions below for Adding a URL (Link) to a module or page in Canvas.
  • If you do not see a permalink, the best way to provide access to the online e-reserves material is to copy and paste the URL directing them to the article page within the database. Students can then navigate to the article themselves depending on access options provided for that resource.
  1. Materials in the public domain can be scanned and used for Canvas e-reserves without copyright restrictions. In general, government publications and older materials are in the public domain. The UW Tacoma Library offers scanning services that allow you to upload a pdf into your Canvas course site. Once you have your PDF, see instructions below for Adding Files to a module or page.
  2. Fair Use: Materials that comply with Fair Use can be scanned and uploaded to Canvas in accordance with copyright law. Columbia University has a useful checklist to help instructors make informed decisions about fair use. See instructions below for Adding Files to a module or page.  
  3. Copyright: If material is not licensed by the Library, and not in Fair Use or the public domain, instructors should get permission and pay fees to the copyright holder.  The easiest way to do this is to put the reading in a course pack, where cost of the copyright royalties is included in course pack fees when purchased by the student. Contact the UWT Copy/Mail Center.

Adding a course file to a Module

You may want to create a single Module to house all of your course-related readings or electronic resources or you might just add these materials throughout topic or time-based modules in your course. Whatever option you choose, follow these steps to add files to your Module area.

Create a Module in Canvas

Add a file to a Module in Canvas

Adding a course file to a page

Pages are where you can put subject content and educational resources that are part of your course. This is a place where you can include text, video, and links to your files. An example of a page in Canvas is your Syllabus Page.

Create a New Page in Canvas

Add a file to a page in Canvas

Adding a URL (Link) to a Module

Once you have the URL's for the electronic resources you want your students to access, you can add them as linked objects within a Module for easy viewing.

How do I link to external URL's in Modules?

Adding a URL (Link) to a Page

Adding a hyperlink to a Page is easy to do in Canvas.

Edit your Canvas page 

Create a hyperlink on the page