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Community Champion

ePub Options

I played around with the ePub option a bit today (See Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-11-30)). Here are some of my findings. I am not an ePub expert but I really love the potential this feature can have so I would love to hear from others on how they may use it. 

I tried three different courses. The first course was a very simple dummy course with some assignments in modules. I send the epub to my email so I could see if I could open in on my phone. Google Books was the only thing I had on my phone and for some reason it didn't load properly. I would love some suggestions for Android epub readers. Also I would love to hear from iPhone/iPad users on how well the epub files work. When I loaded the epub in the programs listed below the assignments only display the details of the assignment (due date, availability dates, etc). I didn't test with a student after they have taken a quiz so I am not sure how that will look.

Next I tried some browser extensions. In Firefox I tried ePub Reader extension. Worked quite well except for the videos. In one course I was using the tab option from this post, Using jQuery without Custom Javascript. The tab links did not work but otherwise the content displayed just fine. This may be that Firefox and Flash is out of date on my office computer. The IT guy is slow getting new stuff pushed out.  It also created a table of contents on left side and you can make adjustments to text size and layout.


In Chrome I tried the Simple ePub reader. The reader will display a window without the browser chrome. It was more simple than the Firefox reader. The videos and tabs links did work here which was awesome. You can also make adjustments to text size and layout. I don't like the double columns so I switch to single column.


6 Replies
Community Champion

I have to wonder how quickly students might get frustrated with it for that reason.  I never even heard of the Azardi program the beta release notes referenced, though to be sure most students will likely be on the Mac-based platforms, anyway.  There is a free program for Windows-based platforms called Calibre (calibre - E-book management ) that I have had some success with at home in converting ePubs to PDFs.  Not sure how it would work with embedded links, though.


Hey Susan just for the fun of it I extracted an epub export and saw that the ePub version is 3.0  I loaded it up in iBooks on my Mac and it worked great- links opened in my browser, all the images displayed, etc...  My course didn't have any embedded videos, but I would not expect those to work anyways.

I also tried side-loading the export on my wife's old (old) nook reader- the e-ink kind not a tablet- and it wouldn't open the file.  That said, here's a list of ePub 3.0 compatible readers:

Unfortunately I don't have a kindle/kindle account so I couldn't try that but it supports ePub as well.


Hello snugent​,

I just tried this out on my Galaxy Tab and it worked great (same process as you, downloaded the ePub and emailed it to myself.) I have used UB Reader for other ePubs and it worked for my Canvas course as well. Links and embedded photos and other are there. I also checked out FB Reader and that one worked, too. I preferred UB Reader because I can easily browse my downloads folder or an SD Card on my Android tablet for ePubs I may have. Open from email worked with either one.

This is one of my favorite new features in Canvas. Really looking forward to hearing how students and teachers use this option for accessing content offline.

Community Champion


Maybe it is the way most of our courses are setup or the way that iBooks generated the epub, but I see this as limited use.   When I pulled the epub into iBooks our embedded media was not included or given as a link. If the embedded media should be there let me know.

Assuming the media is there most of our faculty use very short pages to discuss what is expected in a module and link required assessments and media in those pages.    If you don't have access to the assessments wouldn't the student want to use a connection to their Canvas class through a mobile application?  

I feel I am missing a fantastic reason to use this feature, but just can't think of what it might be.

Community Champion

I've had great success using an iPad mini. The content downloads directly into my ereader and displays like an interactive PowerPoint. I'm able to toggle between pages, content lists, and it automatically built a table of contents. My only issue was displaying:

1) Images- it was very inconsistent. Some .png were and were not loading. If content was captured as an image, it may not display.

2) Videos- don't display at all. Due to offline

3) Choppy content display- sometime the content was listed on 2 pages

4) Tables- don't present well on this

We are still investigating this as an option for possible international students, vacationing students, etc. It would also be great to have printer options, but still in the "figuring it out stage." I appreciate this discussion!


Community Participant

Why would you use this feature?