Canvas Guides


Timeline  | External Tools | Canvas Updates  | Scheduled Maintainance | Feature Idea? | MigrationInstructional Continuity |  Sandbox  |  Workshops & Events  |   Announcements

One Stop Shop: Things to know/Common issues/Tips & Tricks
Current FAQ's - HELP & Info
Canvas Down?

Update/Change: Canvas is enforcing their NEW Rich Text Editor in their 1/16/21 update. We will turned on the New Editor on Dec. 29 so that you will have the option before Winter quarter starts. Video/audio uploads are not available since these files are not accessible (captioned). If you use the MathType, YouTube, Office 365, Follett Discover, Google, Screencast-O-Matic, or will need to add them to the tools

PolyLearn-Moodle Fall 2018- Sum 2020 courses shells are still available for content and student assignments/grades review until August 29, 2021.

Current Canvas Usage (01/19/21 - 9 am)

Courses Faculty Students
2,556 1,395 21,545



Moving to the new Canvas Learning Management System

  • Starting Dec. 9, 2019, faculty can begin to develop Winter 2020 courses. 
  • The "Instructor of Record" will have a Course Shell in Canvas only - starting Fall 2020.
  • All of PolyLearn-Moodle's 3rd party tools are now available within Canvas. Please check the list to see which tools have been integrated into Canvas.
  • Faculty and students will access Canvas via the Portal ( > App Center (top left) "Cal Poly Canvas" link or the Portal's > My Classes Portlet. 
  • Users may prefer to use the Mobile app to access Canvas. Please choose "Cal Poly" as the source.
  • 24/7 support is available within Canvas > (?) Help.

Canvas courses will remain within the Cal Poly Canvas system for nine quarters. Winter 2020 is the first quarter instructors can teach with Canvas. Once Spring 2022 starts, sometime in late April 2022 - Winter 2020 courses will be deleted from Canvas. 

Instructional Continuity

Anyone of an array of events can disrupt faculty’s ability to teach courses via on-campus, in-class sessions. Cal Poly’s commitment to students includes making sure that we provide students an opportunity to complete courses despite disruptions, whenever possible. 

Canvas Resources
CTLT Resources
Alternative Final Exams

Submit a Feature Idea

Canvas is an LMS created and managed by If you have ideas for changes, improvements, and fixes, please send them to Instructure so that they can review your request and possibly make changes to the LMS.


From May till Nov. 22, 2019, the CTLT provided access to the Cal Poly Canvas Sandbox server. This allowed instructors to work on their course redesign before Winter 2020. If you used the Sandbox server, you can move your courses to the Production system

The Production system started Dec. 9, 2019. Sandbox shells have been created for each instructor within the "Sandbox" sub-account (folder). If you would like an additional Test (Sandbox) shell, you can request one via the Additional Test Shell Request form.

3rd Party Tools

You can request that Instructure add features to Canvas. This would be toolsets that Canvas doesn't have. For example, a graded survey option in the New Quiz tool. This is not a 3rd Party Tools or LTI's like the ones listed below.

You do NOT need to request a Canvas Shell to use Winter 2021 for teaching. All Course Shells are created in Canvas.

Not all 3rd Party Tools/Plugins/LTI's will be in Canvas. You can still use the applications and link to them from your course. You can also use the SCORM tool that allows you to connect your tool within Canvas.

Available 3rd party tools within Canvas: 

More about enhancements or publisher integrations

Not available yet:

Not available in Canvas  / Need to determine if there are other options to support these features:

  • Wildcard question types
  • Calculated Multiple Choice question types


Starting Fall 2020, only Canvas will be available. We recognize that this effort requires time and energy, and we are providing support to help ease the transition. Thank you for your support in this campus-wide endeavor. During this time, the CTLT has provided online resources, workshops, face-to-face consultations, synchronous video consultations, email, and phone support. Additionally, we also have 24/7 email/phone support by Instructure (Canvas) and automated migration of PolyLearn-Moodle courses into Canvas.

After Sept. 9, 2020, the Portal's ( > My Classes Portlet will change to provide Canvas buttons for faculty and students. PolyLearn-Moodle will still be available via the blue PolyLearn Home box below. Although you will not be teaching in PolyLearn-Moodle in the Fall, you will have access to your courses to backup, download, and save information. 

Timeline Table

Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Fall 2020
Moodle & Canvas Moodle & Canvas Moodle & Canvas Only Canvas

Why Canvas?

Cal Poly will begin the transition from its Learning Management System, PolyLearn-Moodle, to Canvas starting Winter 2020. The two systems will run alongside one another during Winter, Spring and Summer, with Canvas fully implemented next Fall 2020. Canvas will position Cal Poly for the future by supporting its pedagogical needs, mobile features, and complying with accessibility requirements. For a quick Canvas overview, view the Instructor video. You can also learn more about the Gradebook (video) and the Speedgrader (video) tools.

Canvas Release Notes

Canvas is an LMS created and managed by and they perform regular updates and enhancements to Canvas monthly. The Release Notes are available for anyone to see. 


Please email if you have any migration questions, questions about Canvas, or general questions about the LMS.


Update - System issues: Please see the email sent by ITS for more information.

Message from Provost Enz Finken re: Cal Poly's Next Generation Learning Management System ( PNG  |  TXT)

Message from Provost Mary Pedersen re: Update on Cal Poly's Transition to Canvas (JPG | TXT)

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This page will be updated on a regular basis. Please return to this page for future updates.

last updated: 12/15/20


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