Getting Started with Canvas

What is Canvas?

Canvas is IU's new learning management system and has replaced Oncourse. It is an open-source product offered by Instructure through an agreement with Unizin. With a full set of migration tools available in Oncourse, now is an excellent time to start your transition to Canvas. Make use of the many resources available to learn Canvas and avoid the stress of transitioning in a short timeframe close to Oncourse's retirement date.

Moving course content from Oncourse to Canvas

The Canvas migration tool can copy content to Canvas from the Oncourse Assignments, Resources, Forums, Gradebook, Tests & Surveys, Modules, and Lessons tools. You are also welcome to contact the Center for Teaching and Learning and we would be happy to help you.

What will happen to all my course content in Oncourse after the summer 2016?

Oncourse will continue to be available on a read-only (cannot create new content) basis until August 2017. However, if you need the Canvas migration tool you should import everything to Canvas before February 2017 as the license for that tool is set to expire.

All data in Oncourse will be stored until August 2021. If data is needed after August 2017, you will need to contact the UITS Support Center.

Learn more about the Oncourse retirement 

How do I access my courses?

  • Go to, then click the Login button.
  • Once you have logged in, view your course(s) in the “Courses & Groups” dropdown menu at the top.  
  • Canvas works great on desktops, laptops and mobile devices.

A course I’m teaching in the future is not yet available. Can I still get started in Canvas?

Yes! First, you will want to create a practice site in Canvas (aka “Course Shell). Once you create the practice site, you can add in all your future course content here. Once the official course becomes available, you can easily import all content to the new course.

How will students know where to find my course?

Students will not be able to access course sites in Canvas until they are published. If you are not using Canvas, you do not need to take any special action to prevent your students from accessing your Canvas course—they will only be able to access the Oncourse course sites.

How will students learn Canvas?

Students have had very few issues with using Canvas due to its intuitive and easy-to-use design. Canvas has an excellent student guide and a large support community online. Student can also contact the UITS Support Center for additional help.

Where can I get additional help as an instructor?

Center for Teaching and Learning

phone: (317) 274-1300
755 West Michigan Street
UL 1125
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5146
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