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Changes often force us to adapt in ways we’ve never experienced, which can be a major driver of personal (and even professional) growth and development.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find the answer below, please email with your question. 

Try First (Browser troubleshooting)...

  1. Try a HARD Refresh. 
    Safari: Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + R. 
    Chrome: MAC - Hold both the ⌘ Cmd and ⇧ Shift keys and press the R key. PC - Hold the Ctrl key and click on the Reload Button.
    FireFox: MAC - Hold both the ⌘ Cmd and ⇧ Shift keys and press the R key. PC - Hold the Ctrl key and ⇧ Shift keys and press the R key.
  2. Try in a private/incognito browser window
  3. Try a different supported browser (make sure the alternate browser is also fully updated, I recommend Chrome or Firefox)
  4. Make sure your browser is fully up to date
  5. Check your browser version and settings
  6. Clear your cache (here is how to do that on a PC and a Mac)
  7. Try on a different device (if possible)
  8. Try on a different network (if possible)

Chromebook troubleshooting...

  1. Are you using the Canvas APP?
  2. Check the cookie settings
  3. You may have to uninstall and reinstall extensions

My quiz is frozen or I have been kicked out
Leave the exam by closing the browser, do NOT click "Submit". Open the browser again and click on the quiz and "Resume" where you left off. If the quiz is timed, the timer does not stop.

When I open a Quiz, I get this error.
While using Chrome
, you may get this error on the top right of the quiz after you open it. If this happens, you can continue the quiz and email your instructor since you may exceed the time (add full screen image to your email). Next time don't use Chrome - use FireFox, Safari, or Edge browsers. 
 Chrome 97 quiz error

Can't Add file to Discussion - "File upload failed".
Each student only has 54MB of User Storage. Your User Storage may be full. You can check your files/storage in Canvas under Account > Files.
NOTE: You cannot delete graded items. If you want to delete other items, make sure to download to keep a copy before you delete your only copy from Canvas.  

Use the Attach button only on the bottom left to upload your files. If you still can't upload via the Attach button, make sure to try a new browser or Hard refresh the one you are in.  

Attach file for Graded Discussions

NOTE: if you are unable to see the Attach button, please notify your Teacher to enable this tool in their course Discussions

Quiz: Your faculty needs to provide an Upload question for students to upload a file into a Quiz. Only this option will allow you to upload a file without going into your User Storage.  

Upload Choose a File image
Canvas will only allow me to upload ONE file. How do I upload more?
Since Canvas can only allow one file at a time, students can ZIP or Compress a folder of files and then upload the ONE ZIP file. Faculty would need to allow ZIP as a file option first. 
 - How to compress a folder on a Mac
 - How to Zip a folder on a PC
 - How to Zip a folder on a Chromebook 
 - How to use OneDrive to store files and link/embed to Canvas

How will I access Canvas?
Through the Cal Poly Portal ( Look for the Cal Poly Canvas link under the My Apps menu on the left.

I can't find my Courses...
First, your instructor MUST Publish the course for you to see it. If the course is not Publish, please email your instructor. NOTE:  Past Enrollment (OLD) courses cannot be Stared and only viewed via the Courses > All Courses link.
If you have organized your Dashboard with "Stars" to show only Spring, you will have to find your Summer courses via the Courses > All Courses link. 

All courses
On this page click on the Star icon to favor the course you want to see on the Dashboard. Make sure to favor ALL the course you want to see. 

I was moved from the waitlist into a course, but I don't see the Canvas course yet?
waitlist enrollments will be uploaded into Canvas twice a day - 8am and 4pm. If you need access to Canvas before those times, instructors can manually add students to Canvas courses for immediate access.

Students can download assignment submissions from all courses.
If you do not already have a copy of your submission on your computer or cloud storage, you should download your submissions and save them now. You may not be able to access old courses after nine quarters or you graduate.

Pronouns in Canvas
Users can add pronouns in Canvas. Click on your Account > Settings > Edit Settings. From the Pronouns list, choose and Update Settings.
NOTE: pronoun changes in the Portal ( will not transfer to Canvas. Set your pronouns in Canvas separately. 

How do I change my name in Canvas?
Users can change their “preferred” name on the Portal?

  1. log into the Portal
  2. go to the Personal Info tab
  3. Click on Preferred Name - edit

The next day (about 5am), Canvas will get the "preferred" name and it will change how the name appears.

Google - You need to authorize this integration in order to use it...
Please login to Google via your Canvas account so you can use Google to submit your Google files.  

How do I see emails from Canvas?
Canvas doesn’t have a direct email tool, however, the Canvas Inbox function serves a similar purpose.  In addition to messages being accessible from within Canvas Inbox, students are sent email, text, or app-based messages based on their personal Notifications settings. When students take action to modify their Notifications settings (Conversations), they will receive an email with the content of a Canvas Inbox message included. NOTE: A course must be published and the Start Date passed before students will receive any Canvas inbox message or Notification sent to them from that course.
Message settings
Students can also set Activity notifications within the Course so that you can choose when you would receive emails about due dates, grading, or added content/files. 

My quiz answer doesn't include a minus sign?
This bug was discovered in December and is intermittent meaning sometimes the minus signs will display and other times they will not. There are several suggestions to resolve this issue when it occurs:

  1. It looks like the bug fix should be included in Chrome 88, so the last option would be to upgrade Chrome.
    NOTE: Chrome 88: permanently removes the support for Adobe Flash Player
  2. Use another browser. The issues seem to only be related to Chrome so using Firefox or Safari should avoid the problem.
    NOTE: Safari has had issues with quiz images appearing - so try Firefox first. 
  3. If you suspect a minus sign is missing, right-click the equation and open it in a new tab or zoom in on the image
  4. Disable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome. (Apparently, this was the solution to avoid the problem altogether before 4 was an option and you really wanted to keep using Chrome)

Where is the Math Editor in the NEW Rich Content Editor (RCE)?
Since Dec. 29, we have moved to the NEW RCE and you will need to add the MathType editor.

In the New RCE:

  1. Click on Tools > Apps > View All
  2. Click on the Insert a math equation - MathType. Use the pop-up tool and close via the X in the top right Conner. 
    NOTE: the MathTpe is now available in the Plug tool. 

Where is the YouTube in the NEW Rich Content Editor (RCE)?
Since Dec. 29, we have moved to the NEW RCE and you will need to add YouTube.

In the New RCE:

  1. Click on Tools > Apps > View All
  2. Click on the YouTube. Use the pop-up tool and close via the X in top right Conner. 
    NOTE: the YouTube is now available in the Plug tool. 

Images not appearing in Safari Browser
1) Disable cross-site tracking prevention
2) Hard reload the page: 

  • Macs: Command+R (or Command+Shift+R for a heavy-duty reload) 
  • PC: Control+R (or Control+Shift+R for a heavy-duty reload)

3) Clear your cache (here is how to do that on a PC and a Mac)

Images not appearing in Quiz
1) Use Chrome
2) Simply reloading the page at hand in Canvas can help. 

  • Macs: Command+R (or Command+Shift+R for a heavy-duty reload) 
  • PC: Control+R (or Control+Shift+R for a heavy-duty reload)

3) Clear your cache (here is how to do that on a PC and a Mac)

File is Unauthorized - unable to upload or open:
Files within the LMS can not have characters within the file name that confuses the LMS. For Example: "432: Class Notes.#2.docx". 
Characters like:

/ \
? %
* :
| "
< >
. ( )
# @
& +

How will I access PolyLearn or Canvas courses?
Through the Cal Poly Portal ( For Winter 2020 - PolyLearn-Moodle will be just like it has been. Canvas will be a link in the Left My Apps menu on the left.   Please see: Where is my course for more information. 

Where will my school work go after we move from Moodle to Canvas?
We are currently working on a solution. Cal Poly will need to retain at least a year's worth of PolyLearn-Moodle student participation.

Error 500 - Internal Server Error
If you are receiving an “Error 500 – Internal Server Error” message while trying to log into Canvas, you will need to clear the cookies on your web browser to resolve this issue. Please follow the instructions below to clear the cookies for your desired browser.
Chrome | IE | Firefox | Safari

Please make sure that you are using the latest versions of the browsers below. Before you begin troubleshooting, please close all the windows of the particular browser. Once you have gone through all the steps, re-open your browser and log into Canvas.

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