Canvas - Troubleshooting Canvas (for Instructors)


Canvas is Virginia Tech's learning management system (LMS). Instructors use Canvas to manage teaching materials like assignments, quizzes, feedback, and student grades. 

  • Official courses are automatically created in instructors' Canvas accounts.
  • Enrolled students are automatically added.
  • Instructors can reuse teaching materials by importing them to a new course site.
  • Canvas provides 24-7 support by phone (833-639-7621) and chat (click Help on any Canvas screen).

Official Canvas sites with automatic instructor and student enrollments appear in instructor accounts prior to the beginning of the semester. You should design your teaching materials and site using a draft course site so you can get started earlier and so you can import the materials into multiple official course shells.

The Canvas Instructor 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 Instructors).



I can't log into Canvas

Is your Virginia Tech PID password working? 

Are you logging into the correct Canvas instance?

  • To access Virginia Tech courses that are on the Timetable, log into Canvas
  • To access professional development courses, log into PDN Canvas.

Are you new full-time or adjunct faculty?

  • If yes, your Canvas account will be triggered on your start date as listed on your HR form P-14. Contact your department administrator for details. 
  • If you want to start learning Canvas before your start date, do a Canvas free trial, then export your materials. You can import them to Virginia Tech's Canvas once your account is enabled. See Get Started with Canvas Free for Teacher

Are you a guest?

  • If you've forgotten your password, use the Passphrase Reset Request Form to reset your password.
  • If you cannot reset your password, your Virginia Tech Guest account may have expired or you've never set up a guest account. Contact 4Help by clicking Get Help on the 4Help portal.

Are you a visiting scholar? 

  • Visiting scholars don't get Canvas accounts automatically. Contact your sponsor and ask them to request an account for you. They can do so by contacting 4Help by clicking Get Help on the 4Help portal.

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I don't see my Canvas site

Official course sites are created using enrollment information from the registrar. Enrollments are updated four times a day. If you expect a Canvas site, but don't see it: 

  1. Check the All Courses menu by clicking Courses -> All Courses to see if your course is there. 
  2. Make sure your course gets a Canvas site. If your course doesn't get an official Canvas site, you can create a draft/manual course site and add your students. Per department request, the following courses don't get Canvas sites:
    • 5904 and 6904 (graduate project and report) courses
    • 5964, 6864, 7864, 7944, X974 (independent study) courses
    • X994 (undergraduate research) courses
    • VTC, VCOM, and REG courses
  3. Check HokieSPA or the Virginia Tech Timetable of Classes and make sure you're listed as the instructor of record (IOR) for your CRN.
    • If you're not the IOR, contact your Banner administrator and ask them to check teaching assignments. After they add you as IOR of the course, wait a half day for it to appear in Canvas. 
    • If you're the IOR and the site does not appear after half a day, your Banner administrator may need to check if they entered you in correctly. 
  4. If you still don't see the site, contact 4Help by clicking Get Help on the 4Help portal.

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Canvas is the wrong color

If Canvas is not Virginia Tech's maroon and orange, the High Contrast UI might be enabled. The High Contrast UI can also prevent some Canvas tools from appearing. To disable the High Contrast UI:

  1. Log into Canvas.
  2. Click Account, then Settings.
  3. Scroll down to Feature Options.
  4. Below Feature Options and next to High Contrast UI, click the checkmark, then click disable to turn off High Contrast UI.

    Image of the above instructions

  5. Refresh your browser.

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External (LTI) tools won't load

Canvas External Tools (LTI Tools) as well as some internal Canvas tools require cross-site cookies or tracking in order for integrations and tools to work properly.  In recent years, many browsers have released new privacy and security features and updates that may prevent third-party cookies or tracking prevention to allow Canvas tools to load properly in your Canvas course sites. See Recommended Browser Privacy and Security Settings for Canvas for troubleshooting steps for your browser.

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Zoom LTI has a 2216 error code

When launching the Zoom LTI integration in your Canvas course site, you will get a 2216 error code if your Canvas email address does not match your Zoom email address. 

Check your Zoom email address:

  1. Go to the Zoom website and log in with your Virginia Tech PID and PID password.
  2. Click on the profile icon in the top right hand corner.
  3. Notate your email address.

Check your Canvas email address:

  1. Go to Canvas and log in with your Virginia Tech PID and PID password.
  2. Click on Account and then Settings.
  3. Locate the Email Addresses section in the right hand column.
  4. Make sure the default email is the same as your Zoom account email. The default email will be starred. If the default email isn't the same as the Zoom email address:
    1. Click + Email Address and add the Zoom email address.
    2. Follow the instructions to confirm the email address.
    3. Go back to Canvas and click Account and then Settings.
    4. Locate your Zoom email address in the email list and click the star next to it to make it your default email address on Canvas.
  5. Go back to your course site to launch Zoom.

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Problems with Respondus LockDown Browser and/or Monitor

Technical Support

Both Canvas and Respondus support Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor.

Policy Questions

See the provost's information on Testing, Proctoring, and Alternative Assessments.

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Course Files ran out of storage

Do not use Canvas Files to store videos and audio files. Instead, use My Media and Media Gallery, which have unlimited storage. See Video Content Management - Using My Media and Media Gallery (for Instructors)

To request more storage space for non-video/audio content, contact 4Help by clicking Get Help on the 4Help portal.

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Course/Personal Files ran out of storage space

Store text-based resources and images in Canvas Files. Do not use Canvas Files to store videos and audio files, instead store these multi-media resources in My Media and Media Gallery. See Video Content Management - Using My Media and Media Gallery (for Instructors)

There are two areas in Canvas where Teachers can store data:

  • Personal Files, accessed by clicking Account in global navigation menu, and then clicking Files.
    • 262.1 MB max storage
  • Course site's Files, accessed by going to the course site and clicking Files in the course navigation menu.
    • 5.2 GB max storage

To request more storage space for non-video/audio content, contact 4Help by clicking Get Help on the 4Help portal. Include your site url, course CRN, and a reason for the storage increase.

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I can't add people to an old site

  1. Go to the People tab on Canvas.
  2. Check to see if the +People and +Guests buttons are grayed out.
    • If it is, the course site is concluded.
  3. Unconclude the course site to add people.

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I accidentally deleted course content

If you accidentally deleted or overwrote content from a course recently, then you may be able to restore the material.

  1. Go to your course's Home page. Then at the end of the course URL, add /undelete.

    Image of the above instructions

  2. Press Enter or Return.
  3. A list of restorable content will appear. If your content is in the list, click Restore.
    • If the content is not listed, then it cannot be recovered.

      Image of the above instructions

  4. The deleted content will be added back to your site.

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Midterm Grades Export Not Opening Correctly on MacOS

On MacOS and Numbers, opening a CSV file converts it to a Numbers file. You can only upload CSVs to HokieSPA. We recommend (A) exporting from Numbers as CSV, (B) opening it in Excel, or (C) changing the default program for CSV files to Excel. 

  1. Edit the file in Numbers and export it as CSV. See: Export to other file formats in Numbers on Mac.
  2. Open it in Excel.
    1. Start Excel.
    2. Click File then Open
    3. Navigate to the downloaded CSV and open it. 
  3. Change the default program for CSV files to Excel.
    1. Right-click your CSV file in your Downloads folder.
    2. Click Get Info.
    3. Click the drop-down for Open with and change the program to Excel.
    4. Click Change all and confirm.
    5. This will now open all CSV files with Excel. This will not change how other (not CVS) files are opened.

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Script Blocker Problems

Canvas uses JavaScript. However, browser security settings or security suite software increasingly block JavaScript by default. If JavaScript is blocked, Canvas will not appear and function correctly, for example: 

  • The Canvas Dashboard shows flashing courses.
  • Clicking Help and Courses do not show the menus.
  • Clicking AssignmentsAnnouncementsDiscussionsGrades go to a blank page.
  • The +Guests button doesn't appear in People.
  • Videos in Files don't automatically play.
  • SPOT doesn't appear on menus.
  • Kaltura videos won't play.
  • Instructors can't add files to Canvas. 
  • Students can't upload files to Assignments.

To fix browser and script blocker problems:

  1. Check/update your browser. We recommend using an updated version of Google Chrome. 
    1. Click [...] in the upper right corner of your browser.
    2. Click Help->About Google Chrome.
    3. An automatic update may start. When it finishes, click Relaunch.
    4. To update, see Update Google Chrome.
  2. Check the Canvas URL.
    1. Click your Canvas bookmark in Chrome. Make sure it links to, not the Instructure URL. If it links to the Instructure URL, update it to link to
    2. If tools are malfunctioning in Canvas, check and make sure the URL is If not, go to
  3. Bypass/clear your browser's cache.
    1. To bypass the cache, go to the Canvas page where you should see the link to the LTI tool. Hold the Shift key while clicking the browser's refresh button.
    2. To clear the cache, see Clearing Browser Cache.
  4. Whitelist Canvas URLs in your script blocker; set your script blocker to allow JavaScript from Canvas and related URLs. 
    1. Go to your script blocker's settings for trusting/allowing/unblocking/whitelisting websites. Instructions for common script blockers: 
    2. Set your script blocker to trust/allow/unblock/whitelist the following Canvas-related URLs:

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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: 

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