Canvas Use Guidelines

Weber State University - Canvas Scope

Canvas by Instructure is a Learning Management System intended to support the instructional mission of WSU and is available for all faculty members and course delivery methods (online, face-to-face, virtual, hybrid, etc.). Canvas hosts official university courses provided by WSU via the Registrar. Faculty and student enrollments are updated before and during the semester. 

The following acceptable use document was created to protect the core functions of the LMS, and to ensure that administrators of the LMS can provide a secure and stable system for students and faculty. 

Acceptable Use of Canvas 

Academic courses 

  • All academic courses are hosted in the LMS. Each course must have an associated CRN (e.g., 20514) and a unique course ID (e.g., 521448)
  • Banner is the authoritative source of start and end dates for courses. Changing these dates should be done through the registrar or department in Banner.
  • If a student qualifies for an Incomplete, submit the Incomplete form (provided on the records website) to your department and contact WSU Online for further assistance.
  • Course participation is managed by registration in Banner. Students must be officially registered to be added to a CRN-based Canvas course.

Sandbox courses

  • Sandbox courses may be used to support course content development, course templates, and test new features. Users may request a sandbox by completing this form. Additional considerations include: 
  1. A limited number of sandboxes are assigned per user
  2. Faculty with course lists that are too long may experience system errors.
  3. Sandboxes must be manually removed from a faculty member's course list by an administrator.  
  4. Course development sandboxes are meant to be used before a course section is available in Canvas (e.g. begin development on a summer course in early spring) 
  5. Sandboxes can be reset and reused as many times as needed
  6. Sandbox courses are not meant for matriculated students. Any student activity needs to be tied to a CRN in an active semester.

Non-credit courses

  • Non-credit courses may be requested through the Division of Online & Continuing Education.

User accounts in Canvas

  • All students and faculty that have a WSU account will automatically be given a Canvas account
  • Nicknames are not allowed (usernames must match Banner)
  • Official (legal) name change (e.g., after getting married) requests will automatically update display names in Canvas
  • Unofficial name change requests are reviewed by the Office of Equal Opportunity and must be approved in order to be processed
  • Please choose an appropriate profile picture to represent yourself. WSU reserves the right to remove pictures that are not appropriate for a classroom setting.
  • Active Faculty accounts are marked as Instructors and student accounts are marked as Learners in the Canvas Account Permissions. A student account should not be granted Instructor permissions in any course unless they are assigned to teach a course in Banner.

Canvas Bulletins, Calendars, and Announcements 

  • Global system announcements are restricted to issues related to the Canvas LMS, its integrations, and emergency situations where student, faculty, or staff wellbeing may be at risk. We pride ourselves on providing an ad-free experience so students can access their course content without interference.
  • Our announcements and calendar events are restricted in length to 3-4 sentences but may contain links to additional information
  • Announcements and events must only contain text and screenshots (no banners, images, gifs, etc.)
  • Text may be stylized (bolded, italicized, etc.) but we have a universal font in Canvas that is required
  • Global calendar events are managed by Student Access and Success.

Data Requests

  • The data housed within the Learning Management System is owned by the users who interact with the system.
    • Users with protected data include students, faculty, and administration.
  • There are many levels of approval to consider when trying to access this sensitive data, please work directly with the Office of Student Success Analytics or the Chief Data Officer, to request LMS data from the official university data warehouse.

Common requests that are NOT within the Scope of Canvas

Faculty / Staff Training and Development

As of 12/11/2020, Human Resources and IT procured a faculty and staff training platform named Bridge. New faculty and staff training workshops will no longer be hosted in Canvas. 

Advertising / Marketing 

WSU's instance of the Canvas learning management system isn't set up for marketing products or services. Individual instructors can create course announcements for their students if there are upcoming events related to their classes. We also have a Student Resources global menu item in every course that links students to a website maintained by Student Access & Success.


Public conferences and events cannot be hosted in Canvas. Reference policy on External Users for more information.

Academic Program Information

Basic information about a program including resources, tracks, requirements, events, etc. can be listed on a University website

Student Clubs and Academic Groups

Student-run clubs, academic groups, and events work better in a forum/discussion-focused setting. Teachers in the WSU Online instance of Canvas are given extra permissions that are normally unavailable to students. Try using Canvas Free-for-Teachers, Discord, or similar collaboration tools.

Record keeping

Past courses are stored in Canvas in a read-only state in order to preserve records. Data storage limits may impact the length of time in which individual courses may be stored. The storage of sandbox and non-banner course material is not a core function of the LMS, so it is highly recommended that backup files are stored in Google Drive and/or BOX.

External Users*

External users and guests are not permitted into Weber State University's Learning Management System unless they are faculty/staff member from another institution serving on a WSU program accreditation committee.

*External users reviewing courses for accreditation purposes will be restricted to a limited access period and monitored by the WSU Online Canvas administrator.

* Guidelines Updated as of 1/17/2024 *