Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Comprehensive Course Search Tool (Searching Course Content for a Topic)

Comprehensive Course Search Tool (Searching Course Content for a Topic)

I always find it useful to search for content using an index or an actual search tool rather than just scrolling through all of the pages one by one to find what I need.  I can see many uses for this:
  1. As a student, I know that a particular topic was covered but I'm not sure where.  I can search the course for the keyword and the page hits will come up.
  2. As an instructor, I want to know where else these students have seen a particular concept.  I can search a bunch of courses for a keyword and the courses and page hits will come up.
  3. As a student, as I am trying to integrate information from multiple lectures within a course or within multiple courses, it would be useful to see where a particular concept has been covered.



Community Member

Adding my vote for a search feature too. This would be so very, very helpful.

New Member

Agree with the comments about needing this feature. Now that I've been investing a ton of time and content creation in Canvas due to distance learning (pandemic), it is very difficult to find things--for students and teachers. A course-level search would be useful and something that is offered as a basic feature of all content management systems like this. The search should look at files, announcements, pages, assignments, quizzes, modules and present a consolidated list of results with links to the items.

New Member

These comments about having an in-course search tool are from 2015 - six years ago. Has anything been done with the idea of an in-course search tool? For instance, we converted our courses from Blackboard 9.1 to Canvas last year (2020). We are still finding instances where the LMS ("Blackboard") is mentioned; it would be helpful to be able to do a global search of all our courses to make sure that "Blackboard" is replaced with "Canvas," as just one example. It also would be helpful to find-n-replace authors of a no-longer-used textbook with authors of the replacement textbook, etc. 

The best option would be a *global find-and-replace tool*; the next best option would be an in-course search tool.

Community Member

I have so many classes and need to be able to search for modules, assignments, pages or files, etc.. 

Community Member

Hoping Instructure sees this as a priority sometime soon. Adding my vote!

Community Member

At UBC Sauder School of Business, this would be extremely useful to our students and instructors. We get requests often for this function.

Community Contributor

This would be super helpful for students! It isn't always easy to find where within a course specific information lives.
Tim Kato, UBC LT Hub

New Member

After the year of remote teaching that many teachers have had, a search bar within Canvas would be a top feature. Teachers and students (even parents) would greatly appreciate being able to search for specific things within Canvas. This is such a fantastic idea, and Canvas already does so many wonderful things. Why has this one taken so long to become a reality?

Community Participant

I am doing more content creation than ever, across several courses. Right this moment, I am thinking of something I used in one course (which?) last semester (but exactly when?) that I'd like to repurpose for a current module. Manually scanning modules and opening individual pages and assignments is very time-consuming. A search function could help me narrow that down and save time.

New Member

We had a situation come up yesterday that affects "permalinks" from our library. This means that the URL to any e-book or article in our course is now broken. This means we will have to go through every online course (220 of them), trying to remember which courses used permalinks. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to search the HTML of a course (or multiple courses at once) to find particular URLs that contain "michlib"?

Community Champion

@erica_hill, you're right that business and professional schools, in particular, need a search tool for our document-centric education modes.

At Wharton, we're still extremely happy with Atomic Search as an LTI tool in our Canvas instance providing comprehensive search. I don't know whether they have plans for a PIPEDA-/FERPA Canada-compliant version; here's a Community link with more information.

Partner Listing: Atomic Jolt: Atomic Search

New Member

A search function would be great to easily locate material for our instructors!

New Member

The ability to have a search tool to search canvas modules would be time-saving and assist in finding pertinent information. 

New Member


We were expecting to see the course search functionality on canvas as a default built-in functionality.

It would definitely help lectures and students to find something specific in a course quickly.

There is an App for Canvas called Atomic Jolt that offers this functionality but it costs minimum two grands. Here is the link to it:

Community Participant

I'd just like to add my vote for this feature. We are using Canvas so much more extensively now with the pandemic and not having a search is a really significant disadvantage. We want students to easily find resources, and teachers and admins to easily locate pages. A search would be a huge benefit.

New Member

Student feedback indicates that a search function would make access and navigation much easier. 

New Member

I would like to find something within a course and I don't know whether it is in a discussion, page, etc. It would be great to be able to search all content within a course or an account. For example, if a student wants to find where the teacher mentioned Socrates, and it is just once, buried in one of the film assignments, then the student could find that without knowing in advance where to look. It would also be great to have this for the whole account. For example, I could then search for late policies, open all the hits in separate tabs, and then write out my master list for myself.

New Member

Please also add Replace function!

New Member

How is it that Atomic Search LTI can search a course, but Instructure can't? Hmmm....

Community Participant

I would love to see this implemented.