Some of our favorite student features in the Canvas app

The Canvas Student app for mobile/tablet is great for viewing or interacting with your courses on-the-go. Using the app rather than the website on a mobile device also means you can take advantage of platform features, such as push notifications and Slide Over multitasking on the iPad. The Canvas Student app is regularly updated by the vendor with new features and bug fixes – the latest version is 6.0 on both iOS and Android.

Here are some features in the Canvas Student app that we like:

General Functionality

  • Tucked inside the hamburger menu (top left), you can go to Settings –> Landing Page to change what screen you would like to see first when you launch the Canvas Student app. Are you a timeline person? The Calendar tab may be best for you. Are you a list person? Then the To Do tab may be a better fit.
  • (Initiated on web) On the Calendar Page on the Canvas web app, you can grab the calendar feed link (bottom right of page) and subscribe to it using a mobile calendar app, such as iOS’s built-in Calendar app (under Settings, Accounts & Passwords, Add Account, Other, then Add Subscribed Calendar).
  • (Also available on web) On the Dashboard tab, did you know that you can change the courses that are shown to you and how they are shown? To show/hide courses, tap the “Edit” icon and select/unselect stars; by default, all of your current courses are shown. If you are a color-coding person, tap the settings icon (3 dots) on a course card to change its display color.
  • The Notifications tab is handy in that it not only shows most of not all activities that take place within Carmen, including inbox messages, announcements, announced changes to course materials and activities, and discussion replies.
  • If you are on a smartphone, the Inbox tool is very handy for sending quick messages to your instructors and/or classmates without needing to remember their OSU dot-number email addresses.

Functionality Inside Courses

  • Want to review course content in full-screen? Use the double diagonal arrow button around the center of the screen to expand the content shown on the right side; by the way, the course navigation menu was freshly updated in version 6.0!
  • Notetakers probably already know this trick, but when you open a PDF files that resides within a course, you can tap the edit icon (looks like pen and a writing surface) to reveal tools that you can use to annotate it without leaving the Canvas Student App! When you are done annotating, use the share icon (looks like a box with an arrow pointing up) to save or send the file to another app … with your annotations!
  • Worrying about forgetting to take a quiz? On the information page of a quiz that is not past due, tap the alarm clock icon at the top right to schedule a notification for yourself.
    • While not all types of quizzes are currently supported by the app, it will prompt you to access the web app if and when needed.
  • Speaking of quizzes, as of app version 3.20 on iOS, the Canvas Student app gained an iOS widget (the left-most screen on the home screen, or swipe down and left from the top of the screen) that shows you your current course grades.

We hope that some of the features that we listed above would be helpful for you with using the Canvas Student app more effectively. As a final bonus, if you are an Amazon Echo user … did you know that there is an Alexa Skill for checking what’s going in your courses? This blew our minds last July when it was announced and has become much more capable since then!

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