Student to Student: Customization, plus the Canvas Calendar


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

By Joey Van Buskirk

Hello friends,

Today I want to share some tips on staying organized with UC Davis Canvas.

First, you can customize the look of any of your courses from the Dashboard. If you click on the pencil-and-paper icon in the top-right corner of the respective course tile, you will see a customization menu. Here you can rename your course, or change the color to anything you like. If you don’t see a course that you are enrolled in on your Dashboard, remember to look in Courses > All Courses menu. … Continue reading

Faculty workshops added on gradebook, assignments

Faculty can learn more about creating assignments in Canvas, and using Canvas as a gradebook, in two new advanced workshops that will be offered nearly a dozen times each this fall.

The sessions are meant for instructors or TAs who have at least a basic knowledge of UC Davis Canvas, the new campus learning management system. The workshops will be led by one of the instructional technologists who work for Academic Technology Services in Information and Educational Technology. … Continue reading

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
  • 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
  • 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 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 For more about UC Davis Canvas, see

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

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,, 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 [] might help you decide. SmartSite will remain fully available for instruction through spring 2017.

To follow the transition process, please visit 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