Canvas for Students

About Canvas

Canvas is the online space for all current UM-Dearborn courses.  In Canvas, you may have access to the course syllabus, assignments, discussions, files, conferences and more.  The content and features available for each course are determined by the Instructor, so some courses may have almost all material available on Canvas while other courses may not utilize Canvas at all.

Getting Started With Canvas

Students who are new to Canvas should review the UM-Dearborn Canvas Quick Guide for Students and the Instructure Canvas Overview video to get familiar with essential functionality of Canvas.

For questions or help using a specific Canvas feature, the Canvas Guide for Students (arranged by Canvas Tool) may contain the information you need.  Some of the most important topics include how so I submit an online assignment, how do I take a quiz, and how to submit a Canvas video assignment with MiVideo.  In addition to the web guides, there are also some Video Guides available on select common topics.

Using a web browser on a desktop or laptop computer (not a tablet or mobile device) is highly recommended for taking quizzes or submitting assignments in Canvas.

Instructors can see information on what pages students accessed in Canvas and integrated tools, what videos were watched and when, timestamps for assignment submissions, and answers to quiz questions.  Canvas support personnel can also see more details on items students access in Canvas, including IP addresses and browser information.  Canvas support personnel may communicate those items to instructors if a request is received concerning academic integrity or other issues related to UM-Dearborn’s educational mission.

Being a Successful Online Student

There are a variety of strategies students can use in order to insure their success in an online class.  Many of these strategies would help insure success in an in-person or hybrid setting as well.

One of the first things you can do is assess your readiness to participate in an online class by taking the Student Readiness for Online Learning survey.  Completing this survey will give you a sense of your preparedness for online learning.  Once you decide to take an online class, consider the following strategies in order to have a successful and positive educational experience.

Strategy #1: Read the syllabus

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but reading over the syllabus and becoming familiar with the classroom policies, procedures and deadlines is critical in an online class.  In addition to common things such as course objectives/goals and contact information for the instructor, they syllabus should explain things such as:

  • how instruction will be provided
  • how assignments should be submitted
  • expectations for participation in discussion threads and other synchronous/asynchronous activities

Make sure you have a system for recording due dates for assignments, threaded discussions and any other class commitments listed in the syllabus.  It doesn't matter if you use a paper-based calendar or an electronic one as long as it is a system that works for you.  Check your calendar regularly to see what upcoming due dates need your attention.

Strategy #2: Establish a Weekly Routine

Time management is critical in an online class.  It is important to establish a weekly routine for studying, completing course readings, participating in threaded discussions and working on other course related activities.  With a face-to-face class students have a weekly routine that is established for them since they know when class meets and can manage their work around that schedule.  With an online class you need to create that routine for yourself.  For instance, if you know you have to post a response to the class discussion thread by Tuesday at 5:00 each week then you should create a schedule that allows you to complete any readings and prepare your posting in time to meet that deadline.  Similarly, you should schedule regular time blocks each week to work on assignments and go through new course content or modules.  Creating a routine that you follow each week will help insure you are devoting the necessary time to each class.

Strategy #3: Log into the course site a minimum of three times per week

Logging onto the course home page consistently each week is associated with higher grades for students according to several studies on online student behavior.  When you check into the class on a regular basis it is easier to keep up to date on discussion posts, announcements, assignments and course content.  In addition, logging into your class regularly will help you feel like you are more engaged in the course as you interact with your classmates and the instructor.  You might also want to explore the notifications settings within the course so that you can receive regular notices when new content is made available or when postings are made to a discussion thread you are following.  Having these notifications set can help you stay more connected to the class and will also help guide your attention to new content each time you log in.

Strategy #4: Ask questions

One of the primary differences between online and face-to-face classes is the mode of communication between students and instructors.  With a face-to-face class students have the chance to ask questions, and hear their classmates ask questions, during class.  The students and instructor also benefit from non-verbal feedback they receive during a lecture or class discussion, which is not available in an online format.  That's why it is imperative that you ask questions as an online student.  Find out how your instructor prefers to be contacted and be sure to communicate any questions and concerns you have as the course goes along.  Many online instructors hold online office hours and this can be another great opportunity to get your questions answered.

Strategy #5: Be an Active Participant

We use a wide range of social networking tools in our daily lives and these same tools can be utilized to actively connect with your classmates in an online course.  Reach out to your classmates to create study groups, create a Facebook page for the class, meet online via Skype or Google Hangouts to prepare for upcoming tests or collaborate on assignments.  Just because you don't meet face-to-face in a classroom doesn't mean you can't actively engage with your classmates.  The more active you are in the class the more connected you will feel to the learning experience.

Strategy #6: Expect/Demand Feedback

Just because you are enrolled in an online class doesn't mean you shouldn't expect to get regular feedback from your instructor.  This feedback can come in the form of comments on an assignment, responses to discussion thread postings and regular course announcements.  If you aren't getting this kind of feedback you need to feel comfortable requesting, albeit politely and respectfully, it from the instructor.

Strategy #7: Develop Technical Proficiency

Making sure you are competent with the technology you need to use to participate in an online class will go along way toward insuring a successful learning experience.  The Canvas Student Guide is a regularly updated resource that provides extensive information about how to use the LMS.  Finding the tutorials and guides you need for the other technology you might be expected to use will be important.  A quick Google search can often uncover all the help you need.

Quick Help for Students

Course Content: If you have any questions about the content in a specific Canvas course, please contact the instructor.

Can't see courses or receive a "no account found" error: Either of these problems mean your registration or account info has not yet been passed to canvas. Please be aware that it can take up to 48 hours after you register for a class for access to Canvas to begin (this can be even longer for newly admitted students, as your login account and other settings have to be created and distributed among multiple systems before Canvas can function correctly). In addition, information is only transferred starting 8 weeks before the start of a semester (so students registering in May for the Fall semester may not have their Canvas account available until Mid-July).  Once you have access to Canvas, you still will not be able to get into an individual course until the week before the semester starts (at the earliest).

Password Problems: If you are having username/password issues logging in to Canvas, please contact the ITS service desk.

Other technical issues: If you run into any technical problems using Canvas, please refer to our Canvas Help and Support page.

Winter 2021 Important Canvas Dates

January 6 2021 - Some Canvas courses may become available to registered students at the discretion of the instructor of record.

January 13 2021 - All Canvas courses will be become available to students by the end of the day.  Students on a waitlist will be able to view most course content, but will not be able to submit assignments or participate in discussions (in addition to some other features) until they become fully registered.

January 27 2021 - Students formerly on a waitlist will no longer have access to the course in Canvas.

April 30 2021 - All assignments or other work in Canvas must be done by 11:59pm. After that point, courses will become read-only and moved to the "past courses" area (they can still be accessed by clicking the "view all courses" link in the Canvas courses menu). Professors may have earlier due dates, but no later than 11:59pm on this date. Always consult the course syllabus for accurate due dates.  Course notifications also end at this time, check your courses often for any updated assignment comments or grade changes.

Digital Education

1100 -
Social Sciences Building (SSB)
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