Navigating your Canvas course site

First, check your computer specifications to make sure your system is compatible with Canvas. 

Logging In

Log in using your username and password at the UMSystem Canvas homepage.

User Dashboard

After you have entered your username and password, you will be taken to your Canvas user dashboard. From here, you can view announcements, to-do items and upcoming events for all of your Canvas courses. Learn more about using the Dashboard.

Canvas Global and Course Navigation Menus
Fig.1: Navigation in Canvas

To return to the Dashboard from within any course, select the MU logo in the top left-hand corner of your screen.

Global Navigation

The following links, on the far left-hand side of page (against the black background), will be accessible from any page within Canvas:

  • Account—update your profile, settings or notification preferences
  • Dashboard—tiles of active Canvas courses
  • Courses—a drop-down menu that will bring up all of your Canvas courses
  • Groups—will appear if you have access to any Canvas groups
  • Calendar—view all events and due dates for all of your Canvas courses
  • Inbox—view any messages you have received
  • Help—access for help
  • MU Connect—if your instructor has enabled MU Connect, select the link to make appointments, view warnings and kudos, etc.

Course Navigation

There are a variety of tools that may be found in your Course Navigation. This is variable for each Canvas course dependent upon what your instructor has chosen to utilize.


  • Pay close attention to your course announcements in order to receive information and updates from your instructor.
  • Announcements for all of your Canvas courses will also appear under the "Recent Activity" heading of your Dashboard.
  • By default, you will receive announcements automatically via email. 


The Syllabus table lists all of the activities in the course that have due dates. If you have customized your time zone (under Account Settings), the due date and time will appear in your local time (e.g., if you live in California, an assignment that is due at 11:59 p.m. Central time is due at 9:59 p.m. for you). Learn more about using the Syllabus


Your course activities may be organized under the Modules page. Course modules can include any of the following types of content: 

  • Handouts—in Word, PDF or PowerPoint format
  • Multimedia materials (videos, etc.)
  • Links to external websites
  • Discussions relevant to the module topic (see the following section on participating in discussions)
  • Assignments or quizzes to complete (see the following section for detailed information on completing and submitting graded work)

Logging Out of Canvas

To log out of Canvas completely, you must close your browser completely. If you use the Log Out link in Canvas without closing your browser, you will not be logged out. This is of particular concern if you are on a public or shared computer.

Modified on: Wed, Feb 21, 2024 at 10:22 AM

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