Frequently Asked Questions and Common Mistakes in Canvas

This FAQ addresses the most common questions asked by USU instructors when they use Canvas for the first time.

How do I get my course into Canvas?

When a new course is added to Banner, the course shell is automatically created in Canvas ready for you to add your content. Once you add/import your content (such as reading materials, lecture videos, and assignments), you must publish the course before students can access it. Once published, students cannot access the course until the first day of classes, unless you give them early access.

Spring Semester courses are added to Canvas in late-to-mid October. Fall and Summer courses are usually added in late February. If you need your course shell created sooner, contact CIDI to get a build shell created.

How do I login to Canvas?

All USU students, faculty, and staff have access to Canvas and can login to Canvas at external link icon .


On the USU Login page, type your A-Number and Password


Click Login


If required, authenticate using Duo


Alternatively, go to and login with your A-number and password

Then, click on the General Tools folder in the Tools side navigation and click Canvas

Arrow pointing at General Tools dropdown and box highlighting Canvas

How do I find my course in Canvas?

The Courses menu at the left of any Canvas page lists your favorite courses.

Canvas my course list

If a course that you teach is not in the list, but is in Banner, click on the All Courses link at the bottom of the list, find the desired course and click on the star next to the name of the course. Courses with orange stars are "favorited" and will show on the Courses list and on your Dashboard.

Canvas course dashboard

How do I add students to Canvas?

Due to FERPA law, only students who are registered for your course in Banner are allowed access to the Canvas course. The sync between Banner and Canvas should be relatively quick so that your students have access as soon as they register. You are allowed to add teaching assistants (TAs),  observers, or designers to your class, but those individuals must have an A-number to be able to access the class. 

Common Mistakes when Setting Up Assignments and Grading

  • Failing to specify a total points possible when setting up a required assignment.
    Results in assignment functioning as extra credit
  • Failing to assign students who have not turned in an assignment a zero once the assignment due date has passed.
    Results in students seeing a better grade than they are actually receiving
  • Failing to set and/or edit a custom grading scheme
    Results in no letter-grade calculation or an inaccurate letter-grade calculation
  • Putting assignments that don’t belong into an assignment group with a grading rule
    Results in the grading rule dropping assignments that should not be dropped
  • Putting an assignment rule on an assignment group containing assignments having different numbers of points possible
    Drops by lowest percentage rather than points, but unpredictably affects the total score.
  • When using weighting for extra credit, putting more than one extra credit assignment in an extra credit assignment group
    Results in students receiving more extra credit than they deserve or believing they are receiving a worse grade for turning in extra credit before grades are finalized
  • If publishing grades to Banner, failing to download the gradebook as CSV file and compare final scores with those shown to students in the gradebook
    May result in uncaught discrepancies