Canvas - Using Course Sites (for Students)


Canvas is Virginia Tech's learning management system (LMS). Students use Canvas to access learning materials, like assignments, quizzes, feedback, and grades.

  • Official courses are automatically created in students' Canvas accounts.
  • Canvas provides 24-7 support by phone (833-639-7621) and chat (click Support on any Canvas screen).

The Canvas Student Guide has full instructions on using Canvas. These instructions are specific to Virginia Tech. To see other Canvas topics, please see Using Canvas at Virginia Tech (for Students).



Canvas Site States

A Canvas course can exist in three states: unpublished, published, and concluded. See What are the different states of a Canvas course?

  • An unpublished site is visible only to instructors.
  • published site whose start date has passed is visible to students.
  • concluded course is read-only.
    • It is up to the discretion of each instructor to allow access to course materials after the term date has passed.

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Copying a Course Site's URL

  1. Log into Virginia Tech's Canvas and navigate to the course site by clicking Courses and then selecting the course from the menu.
    • If the course is not listed, click All Courses to see a complete course list, and select it from there. 
  2. Select the whole URL listed at the top of your browser.
  3. Copy the URL by right-clicking on the URL and choosing Copy.

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Finding courses

Canvas courses are automatically created for courses students are officially enrolled in. Know that: 

  • Not every instructor uses Canvas. 
  • Instructors must publish courses before students can see them. 
  1. Log in to Canvas. You'll go to the Dashboard
  2. Scroll down, past announcements, to see your courses.
  3. Click any course.

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    Click Courses -> All courses
    • This will let you see CurrentPast, and Future Enrollments.

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Changing course display

You can choose which courses show up on the Dashboard and Courses menu.

  1. Log into Canvas.
  2. Click Courses -> All courses.
  3. Click the star next to a course to show it on the Dashboard and Courses menu. 
    • You cannot star Past or Future Enrollments.

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Missing course(s)

In Troubleshooting Canvas (For Students), see: 

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Dropping courses

Drop courses in OneCampus or HokieSPA, not Canvas. Canvas will update with the drop within a day. 

  1. During the Add/Drop period, log into HokieSPA and click Registration (Add/Drop) and Schedule.
  2. A new window will open, click [Drop/Add] Register for Classes.
  3. Select your current term from the Terms Open for Registration drop-down.
    • You will receive a notification if the term is not open for registration.
  4. You can find the class under Summary. Next to the class you want to drop, select Web Drop from the drop-down.

Drop/Add and Course Request Dates lists the available dates for all semesters in the current school year.

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Using Canvas on Mobile Devices

Check announcements, assignment due dates, and grades on the go using the Canvas mobile app. 


  • Don't install the app on shared devices! Once you download, install, and set up the mobile app, it will stay logged into your Canvas account.  
  • Don't submit assignments or quizzes from a mobile device! Canvas doesn't track mobile submissions, so if something goes wrong, we can't prove you tried to submit. 
  • Not all Canvas features work on the app! Avoid frustration by only using the app to check up on your courses. 

To view Canvas on your mobile device:

  1. Go to the App store.
  2. Search Canvas Student. The developer is Instructure.
  3. Tap Install and open the app.
  4. Tap Find my school and search for Virginia Tech.
  5. Log in with your PID and password.

See Using the Canvas Student App for more instructions.

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Getting Help

For instructions on resolving common issues with Canvas, see:

Instructure, the creators of Canvas, provide 24-7 Canvas support, including live chat and a support hotline.

To get Canvas help, click Support on any Canvas screen and choose from help options:

In Canvas, use the new Help Docs button located near the Support button that will provide quick access to a knowledge base located inside Canvas.

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