Update on transition from SmartSite to UC Davis Canvas

We are writing with an update on the transition to UC Davis Canvas, the new learning management system on campus. As you know, the campus is transitioning from SmartSite to UC Davis Canvas during 2016-17. SmartSite will remain available for teaching through spring 2017. As of Sept. 20, about 570 instructors are using UC Davis Canvas to teach approximately 630 classes enrolling 23,000 students this term; the numbers are likely to rise over the next two weeks.

Getting started 

Getting assistance

  • For help using UC Davis Canvas, call 844-303-8285 When you are logged in to UC Davis Canvas, you can also click on the “Help” link on the left side of the page.
  • We have hired students as Educational Technology (ET) Partners, who are available to come to faculty members’ offices to assist you with learning Canvas and with setting up your Canvas courses. To schedule an appointment with an ET Partner, please send your request to movetocanvas@ucdavis.edu
  • As mentioned to department chairs in a recent email, we will be glad to come to your department to present information about UC Davis Canvas. This could be anything from a short update to a two-hour training session.

Looking ahead

  • If you are not using UC Davis Canvas this fall, please think about when you want to begin. Consider attending a “getting started” workshop listed at http://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu/events/
  • As we make the transition from SmartSite to Canvas, we will continue to discover differences between the systems. We have catalogued some differences in this Knowledge Base article, “SmartSite to Canvas Functional Mapping.” If you find areas where Canvas functions differently than you expect, please let us know. It may be that our team has found the best way to accomplish the task in Canvas. If we do not have a solution, we want to catalogue these cases so that we can find the right solutions.
  • We are focused this fall on supporting instruction. If you have a project site in SmartSite that you want to re-create in UC Davis Canvas, please hold off for now. We will start to address project sites in winter term.

If you have questions or comments, please contact us at movetocanvas@ucdavis.edu. We encourage you to forward this message to colleagues who would appreciate receiving this update.

Student to Student: The Canvas App

By Joey Van Buskirk


Joey Van Buskirk, a student at UC Davis, is writing this blog about UC Davis Canvas during fall term.

Fellow UC Davis students,

Now that Fall Quarter is here, I want to go into more detail about what you can expect from UC Davis Canvas—specifically the Canvas app. The app is available for your iPhone/iPad or your Android phone/tablet. You can also find it by searching for “Canvas” in the respective app store.

Once the app is installed, use your Kerberos ID to log in. You will see your classes listed on the “Dashboard” menu. The Dashboard inside the Canvas app works similarly to the Dashboard on the web-based version—by clicking the three dots on the top-right corner of each class, you can create a course nickname (i.e. “Nutrition” instead of “NUT10”) and choose a color for each tile.

The color you choose for each class will be universal for all of Canvas. For example, if you make the “Nutrition” tile green, that class will appear green on the Calendar tool as well. This makes it easy to keep track of classes with just a glance. The Canvas app also allows you to view assignments, and even turn them in if you have the file on your phone or tablet, as well as many other features.

Overall, I feel that the Canvas app is going to be the best way to keep track of all of your classes–at least the ones that have begun to use Canvas. Check it out!

Joey Van Buskirk is a student employee of Academic Technology Services, which is part of Information and Educational Technology. You can contact him at jwvanbuskirk@ucdavis.edu. For more about UC Davis Canvas, see https://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu

Professor writes 1-page guide to creating a UC Davis course in Canvas

Robert Blake, a faculty member and early user of UC Davis Canvas, has created a one-page guide titled “17 Steps to Create a UC Davis Course in Canvas.” If you’re an instructor looking for a quick way to create a course, these instructions might be exactly what you want.

Prof. Blake is a Distinguished Professor of Spanish Linguistics, and Director of the Davis Language Center. We thank him for writing and sharing this guide with the campus!

Update On Using UC Davis Canvas For Fall 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing with an update on the use of UC Davis Canvas for instruction during fall term.

Fall courses

Course sites, with enrollments, have been created for fall term classes in UC Davis Canvas. Access UC Davis Canvas at https://canvas.ucdavis.edu

To combine all of your course’s sections in one site, contact UC Davis Canvas support at 844-303-8285.

Through the drop/add period, students should have access to their Canvas courses within approximately 18 hours of when they enroll in the course. This is the same as in SmartSite.

Canvas features

 For fall, UC Davis Canvas has baseline features, such as assignments, discussion forums, quizzes, sharing files, grading, and announcements. Some third-party tools have been integrated to work with UC Davis Canvas, and more will be added as 2016-17 advances. This website, https://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu/lti-tools/, lists tools that are available, pending, or requested.

When to get started

 If you are uncertain when to start using UC Davis Canvas, this chart [https://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu/files/2016/08/Canvas-August-2016-decision-chart.docx] might help you decide. SmartSite will remain fully available for instruction through spring 2017.

To follow the transition process, please visit http://movetocanvas.ucdavis.edu for updates, “Getting Started” workshop schedules, drop-in hours, and other general information.


David S. Levin, Ph.D.
IET-Academic Technology Services
University of California, Davis


Upcoming Change to UC Davis Canvas Log-in

Starting later this week, when you log in to UC Davis Canvas, you will arrive on a new intermediary page that asks you to select the type of log-in account you’re using (UC Davis vs. Guest). Once you make your choice, you will then be taken to the respective authentication page that asks for your username and password, and then you will be logged in to UC Davis Canvas. This change is required to achieve the desired functionality for UC Davis’ move to Canvas.


From one student to another: Some things I like about using UC Davis Canvas

By Joey Van Buskirk

joeyBuskirkGreetings UC Davis Students,

I am a fourth-year English major and education minor here at UC Davis. I have been working with UC Davis Canvas for a few quarters now, and I want to take a moment to share some of the benefits it has for you as a student.

The first thing I noticed about UC Davis Canvas is how easy it is to stay organized—which is a big help during assignment-heavy courses. There are multiple ways to keep track of due dates, including a sidebar that shows upcoming assignments so you don’t have to go digging through the syllabus to find out when they are due. Classes are also represented by customizable colors that are integrated into an incredible Calendar tool that can be subscribed to within iCal and Google Calendar.

If you don’t like using the Calendar tool, that’s totally okay! UC Davis Canvas allows you to completely customize how you are notified about updates in your courses.

If you prefer email, you can opt to receive updates immediately, daily, or even weekly—though I would strongly recommend the immediate or daily update setting so you can stay on top of your classes. Don’t like email? Just switch the notifications to SMS to receive text messages instead. You can also select to receive email and SMS text messaging if you’d prefer both.

The coolest thing that UC Davis Canvas has over SmartSite is the Canvas app, which is available on both Android and iOS devices. This means that you can log onto Canvas easily from your phone, check your grades, or even reply to a message that your professor sent to you through the Inbox tool. Simply search for “Canvas” in either the App or Play Store and download the app directly to your device. Once you have it, you can log in with your UC Davis information and you’ll have immediate access to the easy-to-use Canvas app!

The UC Davis Canvas transition will happen throughout the next year—so expect to see many of your classes switch over soon. With that said, keep in mind that some of your instructors may still use SmartSite until the transition is complete after Spring quarter 2017.
To log in on your computer, just follow the ucdavis.instructure.com link. If you have any questions regarding UC Davis Canvas, feel free to call UC Davis’ Canvas hotline at 844-303-8285 (available 24/7), use the LiveChat, or search the Canvas Guides. All of these links and more are available through the “help” button at the bottom left of the Canvas window.

I really hope you are having a great summer, and I am very confident that you will really enjoy using UC Davis Canvas in the fall and beyond.

Joey Van Buskirk is a student employee of Academic Technology Services, which is part of Information and Educational Technology. You can contact him at jwvanbuskirk@ucdavis.edu.