Getting around in Canvas

This article provides faculty and staff an overview of how to access and work within Penn Canvas. Students should see Canvas Access and Course Sites. 

Before You Start 

Before you start, you'll need:

  • A working PennKey and password
  • Access to the Internet

Getting to Canvas

Log in to Canvas at: with your PennKey and password. PennKey Help website if you do not have a Pennkey, or if you need help logging in.

Canvas Dashboard

  • Once you've logged in, you'll see your Dashboard, which contains one "card" for each of your current course sites, along with To Do, Coming Up, and Recent Feedback in the right sidebar. 
  • The count shown next to the megaphone icon on a course tile are the announcements you haven't yet read. Click the megaphone to go directly to course announcements.

Navigating a Canvas Course Site

Here is an example of a course site home page:

As you can see, the page is split into several different sections.

  • Section A is the Global Navigation Menu, from which you can access many Canvas features. Here you can get to your account (where you can change your preferences or adjust your notification settings, etc.), access Calendar, find a list of your past and current courses with All Courses, and open your inbox.
  • Section B is the "breadcrumbs bar." If you find yourself a few layers deep in a site, you can always use the links here to go up or return to the course home page. You can click the "hamburger" (parallel-lines icon) to hide Section C on narrow screens, or show it if it is usually hidden (for example, in the Grade Book).
  • Section C is the Course Navigation Menu, which allows you to navigate through the various sections of a course site—People, Files, Grades, Pages, etc.
  • Section D is the main content area, where the material contained in the Canvas site—such as announcements, assignments, or files/folders— will appear.
  • Section E is the sidebar, which will help you find certain features or catch up on what you need to do next for a course. On the course Home page, depending on instructor preferences, the sidebar may include To Do, Coming Up, and Recent Feedback sections. (This section does not appear on every page.)

Help using Canvas

  • For general questions, visit the Canvas Guides or Ask the Canvas Community
  • The Help link in Penn Canvas's Global Navigation Menu launches a popup with links to these resources. Our website and contact information will also be listed as Wharton Courseware Support.