The Focus Is You

 Canvas Student FAQs

Logging In To Canvas

What is Canvas?

Canvas is a web-based course management system designed to create a rich online learning environment for students. D2L includes features such as an electronic dropbox, automated gradebook, discussion boards and quizzes.

Are there any browsers that you recommend for Canvas?

Yes, Internet Explorer 6 or higher and Firefox 2.0 are currently recommended for the Windows operating system. The most current version of Safari or Firefox are recommended for Mac OS X (up to 10.4) systems. AOL is NOT a recommended browser. If you are using AOL as your Internet Service Provider, minimize the AOL screen after you have connected to the Internet, and open one of the recommended browsers.

Browser Check

Test your system settings to see if it is compatible with Canvas requirements. A browser check is required for Canvas to work properly, but it will not catch everything. Failure to perform a browser check may result in errors with Canvas. You may access the Browser Check from the login screen or by clicking this link.

A new page will display the results of the browser check. An example is shown below that passes all the checks. If your browser fails to meet any requirement, the display will show "failed" in red to indicate a failed check.

D2L Test 

If you fail any of the Required System Checks, please make sure your system meets the minimum below requirements.

Windows Requirements

Operating System (OS): Win98 - Win2000 - WinXP - Windows Vista
Browser(s): Internet Explorer 6.0 or 7.0, Firefox
Other Requirements: Java - JRE Java - JRE v 6.0.xx
Java and Cookies Enabled

Mac Requirements

Operating System (OS): Mac OS X
Browser(s): Firefox or Safari 1.2
Other Requirements: Java - JRE Java - JRE v 6.0.xx
Java and Cookies Enabled

Linux Requirements:

Browser(s): Mozilla 1.3 - 1.7.x
Other Requirements: Java - Java - JRE v 6.0.xx
Java and Cookies Enabled

JavaScript Check

If your browser fails the JavaScript check, you may need to download and install Java on your computer. Visit http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp and look for the download button. Save the file to your computer and after it downloads, run the program to install Java. This should then allow you to run Java on your computer.

Note: If you pass the JavaScript check and are having Java related problems, change your Internet security settings to allow Java to be run on your computer.

Cookies Check

Enable Cookies Internet Explorer

  • Open Internet Explorer, click Tools, select Internet Options
  • Click the Privacy tab
  • Slide the privacy bar to Medium setting

Enable Cookies Safari

  • Open Safari and click on the Safari tab on the menu bar
  • Click on Preferences
  • Click on the Security tab
  • Make sure that Enable Javascript is enabled
  • Select Only from sites you navigate to or Always in the cookies bar

Enable Cookies Mozilla Firefox

  • Click on Tools on the menu bar and select Options
  • In the Options window, select Privacy
  • Under Cookies select Accept cookies from sites to Set Cookies

Display Options

For D2L to display properly, your display settings should be at least 1024 x 768 and running at least 16 bit color.

Change Display - Windows 98, 2000, and XP

  • Right click your desktop and select Properties
  • Select Settings tab
  • Slide Screen Resolution to 1024 by 768
  • Change Color Quality to Medium (High if Possible)
  • Select OK to save your changes

Note: It is normal for your screen to flicker or shut off for a second while the display settings are updated.

Change Display - Mac

  • From the Apple menu, click System Preferences. Double-click Displays
  • From the Colors drop-down menu, verify the current setting. To change the setting, click Thousands (Millions if possible).
  • From the Resolutions menu, verify the current setting. To change the setting, click the 1024 x 768 option.

Note: It is normal for your screen to flicker or shut off for a second while the display settings are updated.

Final Note: If you are running antivirus software such as McAfee or Norton, these programs have built in firewalls. If you are still having problems logging on to Canvas, disable these programs temporarily and see if this fixes the problem.

Pop-Up Blockers

The primary issue with Pop-Up Blockers is the inability to use the Compose button in Canvas Email and Discussions. Pop-Up Blockers are found in many types of software including: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Toolbar, Yahoo Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, Windows Firewall, Safari Preferences, Leopard Preferences, McAfee, Norton Anti-Virus.

If any of this software is installed on your computer you may need to turn off Pop-Up Blockers in each of them. Furthermore, you may need to add Canvas to your "Trusted Sites" (sometimes referred to as Authorized or Exempted Sites). The trusted Canvas site is http://learn.swosu.edu.

Do I need to perform a Browser Check each time I log on to Canvas?

No, you do not need to perform a Browser Check each time you log on to Canvas if you have not changed any system settings from the time of your first Browser Check.

I am not using one of the recommended browsers, will I be able to use Canvas?

Yes, you will be able to log on to Canvas, however, we cannot guarantee that Canvas will function properly. We recommend that you download either Internet Explorer or FireFox if you use a PC and FireFox or Safari if you use a Mac.

How do I log into Canvas?

A link to Canvas is provided from the Current Students page on the SWOSU Web site. All students receive a Canvas user account when they are admitted to SWOSU. You may or may not see courses listed when you log in, depending on if your instructor chooses to use Canvas or not.

How do I know what my Canvas username and password are?

Username is  your ‘DawgTag’.  Your ‘DawgTag’ will be your first initial + last initial of your legal name + your SWOSU ID #. Your initial password is your SWOSU default password. You will be required to change the password the first time you log in to the Canvas system.  If you do not know or remember your password, please contact the ITS Helpdesk at helpdesk@swosu.edu or 580.774.7070 for assistance.

How do I change my password?

After you have logged into Canvas, select the Password link in the My Settings area in the Welcome Box found on the left side of the screen. Enter your old password, your new password and enter it again to confirm it. Click the “Change Password” button to process the change.

I'm having password or login problems, what should I do?

Passwords are case-sensitive, meaning you must enter them exactly as they appear in the welcome letter or registration confirmation sent to you. Usernames are not case-sensitive. Please ensure you are typing the information correctly. Also, make certain you are logging into the proper machine address of http://learn.swosu.edu/ and not the commercial site for Canvas.

What if I can’t remember my password?

If you have forgotten your password, click on the “Forgot Password?” link on the login screen below the username and password boxes. Fill in your username and click on the “Retrieve My Password” button. A message will be sent to your SWOSU email account containing your username and current password.

Can I access my Canvas account from anywhere?

You may log in to your Canvas account from any computer with a Web browser and an Internet connection by accessing the SWOSU home page or the Faculty & Staff page and selecting the Canvas link.

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Inside Your Canvas Account

Can I customize my Canvas account?

The links under ‘My Settings’ allow you to change your font settings, paging preferences, discussion room layout, and password. You can also build a personal profile that will be viewable from the Classlist link from your course page. Filling out your profile is optional, but this feature is a great way to get to know your course participants. If you are not comfortable revealing information about yourself, simply leave the profile blank.

Can I change my Canvas email address?

No. Your default email address in Canvas MUST be a SWOSU email address due to University regulations. You may, however, set your SWOSU email to send a copy of your messages to your other email program (e.g. Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.).

Under Email Settings, you’ll want to set your 'Reply to' Email address to be that of your SWOSU email address so that if someone replies to any message you send, the reply will be delivered to your SWOSU email account.

How do I access my courses in Canvas?

Once you have successfully accessed the Canvas MyHome page by logging into your Desire2Learn account, look for the blue box labeled My Courses at the bottom of the screen. Make sure to scroll down toward the bottom of the screen, past the news announcements that appear at the top of your screen. The names of the courses that you are enrolled in will appear. The names will be underlined and in blue type. Click the name of the course that you wish to view. You may navigate through the course by clicking the tool links in the top navigation bar.

Once inside my Canvas course, how do I access the course materials?

Use the navigational tool bar along the top of your course homepage. The links located on this tool bar are specific to the course you are taking and will allow you to access materials within your course. Some tools that your instructor may be using include:

  • Content which may include your course syllabus, reading material, or homework instructions.
  • Grades where you can see your grades on assignments throughout the semester.
  • Dropbox where you can submit electronic copies of your homework to your instructor.
  • Quizzes where you can complete course quizzes.

I need to drop my class. How do I unenroll through Canvas?

You can NOT drop your class through Desire2Learn. To withdraw from an individual class, students must complete an add/drop form, including signatures from the instructor and advisor, and submit it to the Registrar’s Office in the Administration Building. Once you have officially withdrawn from a class, the instructor will remove you from the roster in Canvas.

Where do I find my grades once my instructor has posted them on Canvas?

The Grades tool will enable you to view grades and feedback that have been released to you from your instructor. To access the gradebook, select the grades link on the course home navigation bar. You will only be able to view your own grades. Please note, not all instructors use the Canvas grade book to post student grades, so this option may not be available depending on the course.

When I put my course CD in my CD drive and click on the link to the movie clip in Canvas, it doesn't work. How do I view links to a movie clip within Canvas from my class CD?

If you have trouble accessing the movie clip, you may need to change your CD drive letter in the Preferences section under ‘My Settings’. Under ‘Course CD-ROM’, select the CD-ROM drive for your computer. If you are unsure of your CD drive letter, double-click on the My Computer Icon on your desktop to locate the CD drive letter. If the movie clip is a Quick Time Movie, the Quick Time Player must be installed on your computer to view the movie. You can download a free Quick Time Player at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/

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The Discussions Area

When I try to add a comment to our class discussion board, it isn't working, but if I go to the college's computer lab or use a friend's computer I seem to be able to post without any problems. Any ideas on what's causing this?

This is pretty unusual behavior. However, since you are able to post from other computers, then the problem would seem to be with your computer, not the Canvas system.

You should check your computer for viruses and spyware. Either of these types of problems may cause you to not be able to post to your discussion board. You should first ensure you have good antivirus software and that your virus definitions are updated. Then scan your whole disk to look for viruses.

You should also scan your disk for spybots. There are two good programs you can download and use for free to help find and remove spybots: Spybot Search and Destroy and AdAware.

If you continue having problems posting, you may need to turn off all pop-up blockers while you are posting.

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I'm trying to take one of the quizzes in my class, but the quiz screen is blank.

This problem is usually caused by a "Pop-up Blocker." If your instructor has created the quiz so that it pops up in a new window and you have a pop-up blocker installed, it may permit the quiz window to open but the window will be blank. Try disabling your pop-up blocker and see if that helps.

I took a quiz and was able to scroll down until I reached question #10 and then I just couldn't go any further. I then removed all the browser buttons and such (even my bottom status bar), but it just wouldn't go. I tried my optic mouse's scroll wheel, reduced text to minimal, stretched the quiz out as big as I could. No matter what I tried, I could not scroll down to the last question. What do I do now?

Ensure your browser window is maximized. If you are using Internet Explorer, click on the middle button at the top-right corner of the window (it's the button next to the "Close" button). That button should maximize your window and solve the scrolling problem.

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Other Canvas Tools

How do I send my instructor my paper using the Canvas Dropbox?

Click on the Dropbox button on your Canvas navigation bar then choose the appropriate folder to submit your file to. Click the “Add a File” button, browse for the file you wish to send, add any comment you would like, and click Upload. If you choose to use the ‘Add a File’ option, it will not be sent to your instructor until you also send the file.

My instructor wants me to use the Canvas Chat, but it doesn't start after I click on the link.

There could be a couple of reasons for this problem. First, if you are using some sort of "Pop-up Blocker" software on your computer that could be interfering with the chat process, disable that software for a few minutes and then try starting the chat tool again. If this works, check to see if your Pop-up Blocker software permits you to specify a Web site as "OK" and add the chat to that list. If your Pop-up Blocker does not permit an "OK" list, then you'll have to disable it every time you want to access the Chat tool.

Second, the Chat tool relies on a recent version of the Java Virtual Machine, which you can download for free from Sun Microsystems (http://java.com/en/index.jsp). You need to install that software on your computer before the Chat tool will work.

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Miscellaneous Questions

The font on my screen is tiny. What can I do to fix that?

Internet Explorer permits you to set the font size for your convenience. For some reason, yours got set to "Tiny." To reset your font to a legible size, try one of these:

  • Hold the Control button and scroll up with the mouse wheel. This lets you adjust the displayed font size in Internet Explorer.
  • Check the accessibility options to see if they have been set for tiny fonts.
  • Set the font size at View -> Text Size -> Medium (or larger).

My instructor said she updated one of the pages on Canvas, but it still looks the same to me. What's happening?

Web browsers "cache" (keep a local copy of) web pages in order to make browsing faster. It is likely that you are looking at an old copy of the page that's actually on your computer rather than in Canvas. You can force your browser to update the page from the web by clicking the "Reload" or "Refresh" button at the top of the screen. You can also force Internet Explorer to reload the page by holding down the Control key and tapping "R."

I have a lot of classes listed on my Canvas home page, most of which are old classes I have already finished. I do not need to see those classes listed every time I start Canvas. Is there any way to remove them?

Unfortunately, you cannot delete those classes from your home page. Only the instructor or system administrator can make courses ‘inactive’. Once the course status is changed, you should not see the courses listed in your account. Every attempt will be made to keep only current courses active.

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Helpful Tips

  • The browser 'Back' button does not work well in the Canvas environment. Get in the habit of using the links located on the navigational tool bar to move around inside your course.
  • When exiting your Canvas course, be sure to click on the Logout link AND close the browser window. This is especially important if you are using a computer in a public lab.

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The Focus Is You