Canvas Help: For JMU Instructors and Faculty Members

Canvas is JMU’s learning management system.

For personalized help with using Canvas, contact the Learning Innovations & Design Desk online or in Rose Library. On this page, you’ll find expert advice on effective uses of Canvas for your teaching.

Start using Canvas as a JMU instructor

  1. Log in to to find out if you have a “course shell” already set up for the class you are teaching.
  2. If you do not have a course shell, contact to request a course shell. Include your course number (e.g. EDUC 630) and course title.
  3. Review the Canvas Instructor Guide from Instructure.

Promote a sense of community in an online environment

Frequent communication and low-barrier modes of communication will help build a strong online learning community.

  • Be responsive and communicate regularly to demonstrate your commitment to fostering a trusting and supportive learning environment.
  • Use interactive assignments (e.g. Canvas discussion boards) to help students stay connected with peers.
  • Create activities that foster reflection and experiential engagement when possible.
  • Use teaching strategies that will promote sustainable engaged learning throughout the course.
  • Provide guidance, feedback, motivational support, and direction so that students remain focused on the learning objectives of the course as you monitor their progress.

Facilitate participation when teaching online or in a hybrid mode

  • Use Canvas Discussion Boards for text-based discussion that can take place over a period of time or at different times (asynchronously). 
  • Record your lectures so students can view them online. (Note: For recordings and video conferencing involving observing clinical sessions, telemedicine activities, discussing patient information, etc., please refer to subject-specific HIPAA guidelines.)
  • Use Zoom for live (synchronous) facilitation.

Integrate JMU Libraries’ resources into a Canvas site

As you build your course in Canvas, you may want to include videos, articles, readings, or other library resources in it. You can:

Cross-list requests

You can make a Canvas cross-list request here if you are teaching multiple sections of the same course (or multiple courses you wish to combine).

Get Canvas information and help