How to: Get Started with Canvas – 5 First Steps

Cathy LeahyCanvas, Context, Current thinking in learning design, Examples of practice, Getting Started, How to, Instructor, Learning Management Systems, LMS, Professional development, Project types, Resources, Strategic alignmentLeave a Comment

What is Canvas?

Canvas is a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS). Developed by the US-based company Instructure in 2008, it is now used by more than 2000 schools and institutions.


  • Preview student submissions and provide feedback in the same frame

  • Incorporate multiple content and activity types into a single simple learning pathway

  • Integrate external tools for use within the Canvas space

  • Students can create and share audio, video, and more within assignments, discussions, and collaborative workspaces.

  • Canvas Analytics help you turn rich learner data into meaningful insights to improve teaching and learning.

For a full list of features, see the Canvas website.

There are many ways to get started with Canvas. Below we’ve outlined 5 first steps you can take to get you on your way. We highly recommend taking a little time before diving in to understand the different structural elements of Canvas so you can make the most of the functionality. Check out the introduction we’ve added to the blog as a starting point.

  • Visit and use your RMIT login credentials
  • Select your course from Courses in the Global navigation

Once you have imported and/or uploaded your existing content, you can go ahead and build any extra elements that you need, and arrange everything into a structure or flow that will work best for your students and content. More about that shortly.

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