When signing into canvas it always opens to a page where I must choose either the calendar or view grades. How can I set it to open directly to the dashboard?
You are always navigated to the Dashboard when you first login to Canvas, unless your institution is self-hosting Canvas and has made deliberate changes to this behavior; however, the Dashboard does have two view, and I suspect yours has been set to the "Recent Activity" view. You can learn how to change these views here How do I use the Dashboard as a student?
However, if your Canvas instance has been modified and this does not help, then I would suggest talking to your school's Canvas Admin.
I'm not aware of any default page setting that can be set for user profiles.
By chance are you using a browser bookmark to access Canvas? It's possible Canvas would redirect you to the bookmark after logging in.
Do you have the same issue if you just type and go from the address bar? yourschool.instructure.com
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