How To Customize Your Canvas Dashboard

The Canvas dashboard shows your active courses for the current term and/or academic year. The beginning of a new term is a good time to review and customize your dashboard to fit your preferences for how you view your course information.

Before You Start 

You will need the following things to customize your Canvas dashboard:

  • An active PennKey
  • Membership in a course site on Penn Canvas

Change the Dashboard View

The Dashboard is your landing page in Canvas. Depending on your institution, your dashboard may default to one of three views: Card View, List View, or Recent Activity View. (Recent Activity View is described in detail later.)

View Course Card Details

The Course Card is the individual card in Card View that holds information about the course.

Add a Course Card Nickname

Since course nicknames appear in the dashboard, course navigation menu, course breadcrumbs, and notification emails, we recommend creating a nickname for courses that have long and/or potentially confusing names. This is particularly helpful for courses that might be mistaken for other courses with similar names. Course nicknames do not affect the course name at the account or course level; they only change the name of the course for the individual user who created the nickname. 

To add a course nickname: 

You can find additional information on how to customize a Canvas dashboard using the student guide. If you have any questions, contact

Customize Your Course List

If you are enrolled in more than one course, you can customize which active courses you’ll see first by designating them as a Favorited CourseYou can make any published course that appears in the My Courses section a favorite.

Here are the steps to select a course as a favorite:  

You can change your dashboard view by selecting the dashboard icon on the navigation bar and by organizing the Course Cards by nickname or with a custom image or color. Card View tiles are drag-and-drop, so you can move and arrange Card View to suit your preferences.

View Recent Course Activity

Recent course activity can be found on the Recent Activity dashboard.


Contact the Courseware team: