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Community Member

Best Kept Secrets - for Students!

While a lot of great ideas have been shared about best kept secrets for faculty, what are your best tips and tricks to give to STUDENTS? I write a newsletter to students at the start of every term with something helpful they might be able to use that they may have overlooked.  Things like the What-If tool, marking courses as favorites, etc.  What are some other tips you have (read: I'm out of ideas for my newsletter).

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Community Member


You may have covered some of these things but here are some tips I've given to our students.

1. Notifications are the life blood of your course. You can choose to receive them "daily" so as not to flood your e-mail. On the left menu, click on "Account" then "Notifications" to set them up.

2. If you have internet filtering software, you might need to add YOUR_CANVAS_INSTANCE_HERE as an exception if you are having trouble loading videos and other files in Canvas.

3. If you get kicked out of an exam, Do Not Panic. If you still have time on your exam, you can simply enter into the exam again and resume your exam.  Canvas auto-saves exams every 5 minutes or so.

4. Have you tried to access your course through the Canvas mobile app (iOS, Android)? If you didn't like it or find it useful, you might want to try again 3-6 months later. Canvas is constantly adding more functions to their mobile apps to make it more full as a class experience and give you the same abilities as if you were using a web browser on your laptop/desktop.

5. The best browsers to use with Canvas (in order from best to worst):  Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge.   Canvas officially supports the 2 most recent versions of each of these browsers. However, because the browsers are created differently, some work better than others.

6. Canvas automatically uses your full name. If you go by a middle name or nickname, you can change the name that is displayed to others. Go to "Account" on the left menu and select "Settings." Click on "Edit Settings" on the middle right, then edit your "Display Name" and click "Update Settings."

7. Clicking on "Help" at the bottom of the left menu will give you several different options for getting help - filing a support ticket, asking a question directly to the professor, e-mailing/calling Student Services, etc.).

I don't tell students this but #6 is because our students are brought in via SIS, hence the default of using their full name as found in our system.

 @canvas_admin  - Out of curiosity, why do you recommend Firefox over Chrome in #5 above? I know browser preference can be a very personal thing but I tend to find that Chrome works more reliably with Canvas than Firefox. Just wondering.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I have to agree with  @canvas_admin  that we normally recommend Firefox first and then Chrome. Our experience is that they both work pretty well, but Firefox (at least for our faculty/students) seems to be a bit more reliable. Personally I'm in and out of both all day long and normally have one open in one screen and one open in the other, and in general Firefox seems to win out during the day.


That is funny because I also am like that! The problem is when you visit a page that you do not bookmark/fav and then you try to find it again and forget which browser I used so I then go to two different histories to find it...only to realize I accessed the page on my phone or iPad!! ugh!

Do you use Delicious ?  You can tie it to your Canvas Profile and you do not have to remember which browser?

One of my favorite things going from ANGEL to Canvas was that I could finally have many many tabs open and not get kicked out!

I agree with Chrome here.  Since we use Google Docs for a lot of our integration and APIs, the browser is far more versatile and useful than Firefox.  However, in every case, we tend to stay clear of IE. 


 @mjennings ​, because I couldn't list them in a way to show them in a tie. Smiley Happy

Actually, like  @kona ​, I keep both open and work in both all day, every day.     I used to have Firefox listed first in my mind, but recently it has seemed (which is hardly a conclusive argument) that Chrome has indeed taken the edge over Firefox when it comes to using Canvas. However, from a student's perspective and need, I think they work equally well and much better than other alternatives out there.