Below are frequently asked questions regarding the new Canvas LMS.


General FAQs

If you can’t find an answer to your question on this page or via MIT Canvas Resources for Instructors or Canvas Guides, you can contact canvas-support@mit.edu.

Please also CC Physics Course Administrator Kim Heatley (kheatley@mit.edu), Physics Course Manager Emma Burns (emburns@mit.edu) on that message.


Yes. Below is a list of Canvas guides in other languages.

Courses will enter a read-only state within a few weeks after the semester ends. Students will be able to view course content after this point, but will be unable to interact with the course site.

Likewise, instructors and course admins will lose the ability to edit their course site after this point. The site will remain available in a read-only state and all course content will be accessible and downloadable by class staff, but no further changes or additions can be made.

Class staff may extend or shorten the time a course remains open in advance. If you wish to set a later end date, make a course site read-only sooner, or restrict student access entirely after the term ends (rather than allowing read-only access), these can be configured via the Settings page.

We highly recommend setting an appropriate end date if you want your Canvas site to remain open beyond the end of the term.

More information on configuring this setting is available from Canvas here.

If your site has closed and you need to make a change to it, please contact canvas-support@mit.edu.


For Students

Canvas includes a set of default notification preferences you can receive for your courses. However, you can change the default settings by setting your own notification preferences.

See “How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as a student?” for more info.

Students can see their section enrollment in the “people” tab if it is also enabled.


If you no longer have access to a past course, please contact that course’s instructor or the relevant department for guidance.

For Instructors/TAs

Canvas course sites are created automatically each semester from Registrar data. Instructors are added to and removed from these sites daily based on the information in the MIT’s Instructor Assignment application so that info should be kept as up-to-date as possible. When necessary, additional instructors can be added manually to a site by anyone with permission to do so, or by request to canvas-support@mit.edu.

Canvas courses are created before the next semester (should you choose to use them), and will display as tiles on lead faculty dashboards immediately upon login. They will also be listed under “Courses” on the left-hand sidebar once you login to Canvas. To start, your course is just a shell with a basic course template; no actual course content or membership has been populated, integrations enabled, and the course will not be visible (outside of your view) until it is published. If you are logging into Canvas, and do not see your course on either the dashboard or in the “Courses” tab, please email canvas-support@mit.edu.

Yes, and the team that is working to launch Canvas available to the MIT community is here to help. A number of students were hired to serve as Learning Technologists to support each academic department at MIT. These Learning Technologists are available to work with you personally to ensure that your course content is imported and displaying correctly. They will also ensure that all integrations are in place for your course site ahead of the start of the semester. You will receive an email from the point person in your department who is collecting requests to opt in to Canvas, and who will help to coordinate the work of these Learning Technologists to ensure that all course instructors receive the help that they desire. If you are not familiar with who the point person for your department is, please email canvas-support@mit.edu.

The team that has been working to launch Canvas to the MIT community has been working tirelessly to make Canvas available for all academic courses that wish to utilize this learning management system, will be initiating a process for the creation of course sites for future semesters. All requests can be submitted via email to canvas-support@mit.edu.

Course membership will begin to populate along in the registration cycle once the data is available in the system, usually within a week of registration changes (add/drop). If you believe your membership should already be populated and it is not, please contact canvas-support@mit.edu.

Pre-Registered students are converted to student status or removed from the course starting on Registration day and the conversion or removals should be complete within one week.

An instructor can navigate to their course “settings” and then to the navigation tab found within. You should see a new tool called “MITSIS Section Import” which once initiated by faculty will sort students into the sections they are in from the registrar (similar to tool in Stellar). Let me know if you have an questions, this system was only rolled out over the weekend and there have been some bugs so far but hopefully no more large ones appear.


To manually add students, instructors can click on the “People” link and then add students by their MIT emails.


Read these Assignment FAQ’s (Assignment not displaying in the Gradebook, delete a student submission?, what are differentiated assignments, exclude assignments from Gradebook) 

Two tools are available in Canvas to instructors, TAs, and admins to allow finer control of section management. A MITSIS section import tool will enable instructors to import student section enrollments based on pre-registration data. A section self-signup tool will enable instructors to set section caps and a signup window for students to select or change their assigned section.

For more information, please read “Section Management in Canvas“.

An instructor can navigate to their course “settings” and then to the navigation tab found within. You should see a new tool called “Section Signup”. Faculty can enable this in their course and then configure student ability to move between sections, enable section caps, etc.


Faculty can manually move students to different sections. Going into the “people” tab and hitting the 3 dots to the right of a student’s name allows instructors to edit their section assignments.


Canvas provides many avenues of communication with students and allows customization of notifications (text, push notif, email). It is up to the student to choose notification settings that work for them but it is highly suggested that students at least keep “Announcements” and “Conversation Message” on at all times.

There are two main communication options once a course is published, announcements and inbox messages:

  • Announcements are site-wide or section-wide rich text editor objects that are located in the core Canvas shell and can be scheduled.
  • Inbox Messages (or “conversations”) are plain text editor messages that are located outside of the core Canvas shell. Inbox messages can be specified much more than announcements down to groups, roles, and individual students.
  • If you do not want everyone to see all recipients and replies in the message, click the “Send an individual message to each recipient” checkbox. This box will be automatically checked for recipient lists of 100+ users
  • As a general rule, consider using Announcements to share time-sensitive, urgent information that does not necessarily require a response (e.g. a class cancellation, or a new Assignment posting), but should be received by every student/member of the Canvas course site. Or for information that requires the complexity of the rich text editor (multiple files, Canvas Objects, pictures, videos, etc.) Conversation messages, however, can be used for lengthier, sustained exchanges between instructors and their students/lab partnerships(e.g. questions about a class discussion, or something that should only be shared individually or on a group level).

For an unpublished course or if there arises some need to use direct email, WebMoira automatically creates Canvas student emails similar to how Stellar did.

For example: For 8.01 students: canvas-2021fa_8.01-st@mit.edu, for 8.286 students: canvas-2021fa_8.286-st@mit.edu.


Students have to opt-in to these notifications by going into their Canvas “account” and then “notifications” and manage what they would like to get emailed or texted about. Faculty will have to ask students to opt-in.


FYI, currently there is no way to import the MIT academic calendar into the Canvas calendar but The Office of Online Learning is working on implementing this function in the future.


For academic courses, total grades are hidden from the student grades summary by default. You may change this setting by unchecking the box “Hide totals in student grades summary” under “more options” in the course Settings page.

Instructions for instructors and others with permission to assign grades in Canvas and OGS can be accessed at “How to Submit Canvas Grades to OGS at the End of the Term.”

Canvas courses change to a read-only state within a few weeks after the end of a term. Instructors and admins may adjust the end date in their course settings if they would like a course site to be open for more or less time. More information about adjusting the end date for a Canvas site can be found here.

After the term ends, past courses will no longer appear in your current course list or dashboard. Past courses are located in “All Courses” via the Courses tab in the main menu. More details are available here.

If you need to add someone to membership for a past Canvas site that has entered read-only mode, please contact canvas-support@mit.edu.