Canvas Access and Course Sites

This is a quick overview of logging in to Canvas, finding your course sites, and adjusting notifications.

Before You Start 

You need the following: 

  • An active PennKey account (or authorized email address)
  • Enrollment in a current course site

Logging In

Log in to Canvas with your PennKey at

Please visit PennKey Support if you encounter difficulty with your PennKey login. If you need to reset your password, you can do so by selecting the "Forgot Password?" option.

If you are a Canvas user without a PennKey, and you have already established a password to use with your email address, find the Using email to log in? box and click the provided link to reach an alternate login dialog for invited non-PennKey users.

This method will not work for those who have PennKeys, and will only work by prior invitation from a course instructor or Wharton academic program.

You can also try to access by going directly to the canvas site url.

Finding active course sites

If your instructor is using Penn Canvas, you can find the course site by viewing your course list.  

Note: There is a slight delay between registration and access to Canvas, and you cannot access any course site until the instructor has published it.  Not all University of Pennsylvania courses use Penn Canvas.

You can customize your view on the Dashboard by designating current courses as "starred" or favorite courses. After that, they will appear on your dashboard.

If you are unofficially auditing a course, or if you want access to a site before you enroll, you will need instructor permission.  Please forward any emails of permission to the Courseware team, who can enable your access to the course site. 

Finding concluded course sites

Old course sites remain available, in a read-only state, for up to five years after they began. 

To access them, select Courses in the left navigation bar, and click All Courses. Past course sites will appear beneath Past Enrollments. Note that:

  • Class recordings are generally not available in Canvas after the end of a semester; instructors determine whether any extensions will be provided, such as for students taking make-up exams.  Your instructor may contact to request extended student access for recordings.
  • Instructors may also choose to close course sites earlier than five years afterward. Also note that Study.Net readings, library reserves, and other licensed materials typically expire within 1-2 months, even if the Canvas site itself remains available. Therefore, it is wise for students to download desired materials from Canvas as soon as possible.

After you graduate, you will use alumni computing services, many of which will continue to use your PennKey. Be sure to sign up for the PennKey Recovery Service so that you can easily reset your PennKey password after graduation.

Adjusting your notifications

Use Notification Preferences to tell Canvas when to notify you – ASAP, daily, weekly, or never – about course events.

Notifications will go to your University email address, but you may also receive notifications via other email addresses, text messaging, or other web services.

The following notification settings are recommended.

  • Course ActivitiesDue Date: Daily or ASAP
  • Course ActivitiesFiles:  Daily
  • Course ActivitiesAnnouncement:  ASAP
  • Conversations → All Categories: ASAP
  • Scheduling → All Categories: ASAP

Note: The grading notification preference Include scores when alerting about grade changes does work at Penn. Grade information will never be sent through insecure channels like email.

Changing your preferred name in Penn and Wharton platforms

While users cannot directly edit their name in Canvas Account Settings, your preferred name can be changed in a separate University system which will normally update other Penn and Wharton platforms:

  1. Vist Path@Penn.
  2. Under My Profile, select Update my personal information.
  3. Select Edit and update the Preferred First Name field.
  4. Select Update.

If it has been more than 24 hours since you edited your Preferred First Name in Path@Penn and it has not updated in Canvas, please feel free to report that issue to the email address shown below (under Questions?).

Setting a time zone in your user account

Use Account Settings to set your own time zone for your user account and have your local time zone display throughout Canvas.

Additional Resources

Please check the following: