I would not use the equation editor for this unless you need a Greek letter within a mathematical context. Canvas supports Unicode with an UTF8 encoding, so the characters are available in the same font as everything else, you just need to be able to enter them.
This question comes up periodically with international characters -- those teaching Spanish or French often want a way to enter accented characters.
There are several solutions available, but almost all of them involve modifying the question from how to enter Greek letters in Canvas to how to enter Greek letters in Windows (or Mac OS).
- In Windows, there are alternate codes for many of the Greek letters. For example, to get a α, you hold down the alternate key, type 224 on the numeric keypad, and release the alternate key. The supported characters are α ß Γ π Σ σ µ τ Φ Θ Ω δ (alt+224 through alt+235). As you notice, there are several missing and most of those are probably more useful for mathematics than general Greek conversation.
- One trick in Windows (or Mac) is to create the content in Word and then copy/paste it into Canvas. Word allows you to use a symbol palette for the Greek letters. When you go to Insert > Symbol, there is a subset of symbols called "Greek and Coptic" that can get you there quickly. It provides the full range of upper and lower case Greek letters, but you have to click each symbol one at a time.
- Mac users have a character viewer that they can turn on. The videos I watched about it didn't make it sound particularly easy, so there's probably a better way. If there is a lot of text to type, you can change the input mode on the keyboard to be Greek and then just type letters.
- You can copy/paste the codes from somewhere into Canvas. I look them up in Unicode when I only need a few. When I need to repeat a character many time, I'll go into Word or another editor and type them out with a space between them to make it easier to grab just one. Then I copy it from Word and paste it into the Canvas textbox.
- There are some extensions from Chrome that allow you to insert foreign letters.
- You can use an online website such as Lexilogos Ancient Greek Keyboard Online (this is not an endorsement, it's the first one Google came up with for me) and then copy/paste the content into Canvas.
I would not use the equation editor unless it's mathematical content. All of those methods I mentioned give you content that can be read by a screen reader. I don't know how screen readers read equations, but I imagine it prefaces it with "LaTeX" which is going to be really confusing.