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Canvas Quick Start

Multiple street signs on single pole, reading "Lost, Confused, Unsure, Unclear, Perplexed"Canvas is generally considered intuitive and user friendly, but the fact is that any learning management system is highly sophisticated software with a wide variety of tools, settings, options, and possibilities.  

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “How do I use Canvas?”

But there are some good places to start.


Where to begin?

The best place for faculty to learn how to use Canvas is by completing the Online Readiness Training, or contacting TMI. 

Do you have the skills?  Find out if you are well prepared to use Canvas:

How To Access Canvas

Canvas for Butte College faculty and students can be accessed from the Butte College home page.

Or canvas.butte.edu .


Overview Of Canvas Interface

This video provides an overview of all the components in the Canvas interface, and is a good introduction for instructors new to Canvas..


The Dashboard

The Dashboard is the first thing you see when accessing Canvas.  It serves as an entry point to your courses, provides a selection of updates on activities occurring within the courses, and includes an option to make new courses for your own experimentation and development.

See the Canvas Guide:


Customize Your Course List

Know how to show/hide your courses on the Dashboard, and Courses menu!  

Be sure to put the courses you use most in the Courses menu for easy access.

See the Canvas Guide:


Add Your Syllabus

One of the most fundamental elements of a course is the syllabus. This is a good starting point for faculty just learning Canvas, and an essential asset for students.

Per the Academic Senate, all faculty are strongly encouraged to post their syllabi in the District learning management system (Canvas).

Instructors should add the course syllabus as text pasted directly into Canvas (e.g. from a Word document)

Alternately, a syllabus can be added as a file (PDF, Word), but this entails more steps, is difficult to maintain, and does not display well on mobile devices.

See the Canvas Guide:


Import Content From Another Course (course copy)

If you have already developed content in a “sandbox” course, or would like to use content from a previous semester, you will need to copy the content into the current course for use with students.

Students are only enrolled into official Butte College courses, which are created automatically.

See: Preparing For A New Semester: Copy Course Content

See the Canvas Guide:


“Publish” Your Course

A course can either be “Published” or “Unpublished,” as determined by the instructor.  


Courses are not published automatically.  You must publish your course to make it available!

See the Canvas Guide:


Explore The Canvas Guides

The complete list of fundamental Canvas Guides for teachers.

Other critical information for new users:



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