Tips for Canvas to Get Your Semester off to a Great Start

Help Desk
As Canvas use has grown in the past year, the university added a dedicated team of technical professionals to the Help Desk trained in providing support for any learning management system issues the Rutgers community faces.
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Tips for Canvas to Get Your Semester off to a Great Start


Wondering how to share recorded lectures with a class? Need help using Zoom in your course? The learning management system Canvas can do all of this, and it is now a familiar fixture at Rutgers, following a major transition that made it Rutgers’ official learning management system.

The university recently reached a major milestone in the transition to Canvas – the migration of more than 20,000 Rutgers courses to Canvas, effectively completing the course migration phase of the project. “This is an impressive achievement, and it would not have been possible without the dedication and support of our entire community,” Michele Norin, senior vice president and chief information officer, noted in an email to faculty and staff. “As of the Spring 2022 semester, Canvas will be the sole learning management system (LMS) at Rutgers.”

As Canvas use has grown in the past year, the university added a dedicated team of technical professionals to the Help Desk, in addition to local support, trained in providing support for any LMS issues the Rutgers community faces.  

Bill Olson, Office of Information Technology Help Desk Manager, spoke to us about the sorts of questions that typically lead instructors and students to the OIT Help Desk searching for answers, especially at the start of the semester. “There’s definitely a lot of questions around now, as instructors are preparing classes and students are getting back into the swing of things,” said Olson.

Check out a few tips to help you get your year started on the right track. If you have any questions about Canvas, visit the Canvas Help webpage for contact information.  

Tips for instructors

I am teaching a class, but I am not assigned in Canvas. What do I do?

If your name is not listed as the instructor of a course in the Rutgers Schedule of Classes or RBHS Banner, you will need to reach out to your department administrator or course editor to be added to the course. Go to “Getting Access to the Live Course Site” on the Live Course Sites page for instructions on how to add instructors.   Department administrators can follow the instructions for Banner and REGIS to ensure instructors have access to other tools used by instructors.

How can I move content from a previous course to a new course?

Instructors re-using course materials in a different term or duplicating existing content can add these materials to a new course using the “Import Course Content” feature under settings. Learn more about the feature and get step-by-step instructions for copying content to a new course.

In order to copy content from one course to another, you must be listed as the instructor for both courses. 

How can I cross-list or merge courses into one course?

Use the default cross-listing feature in Canvas or the Rutgers “Crosslist Courses” tool to cross-list or merge courses. Before using the “Crosslist Courses” tool, check out the differences between courses and sections.

What is Kaltura and how is it used?

Kaltura is integrated with Canvas and allows you to create, capture, edit, and publish videos. Kaltura Personal Capture allows you to record lectures, screen recordings, and narrate PowerPoint presentations. These files can be shared with your course site. Learn more about using Kaltura in Canvas.

How do I use the announcements feature in Canvas?

You can add announcements, attach files to an announcement, schedule an announcement or reply to an announcement as an instructor, and more.  Please note that announcements posted before the course start date or if the course is unpublished will not be received by students.  Learn all about using announcements in Canvas.

What external applications can I use with Canvas and how do I integrate them?

Accessibility tool Ally, cloud storage service Box, plagiarism detector Turnitin, and web conferencing application Zoom can all be used with Canvas, among many other external applications. See what you can integrate with Canvas and how to start using it for your class.

Support varies for each external application. Rutgers services such as Zoom, Webex, and Box are supported by the OIT Help Desk and other IT staff at Rutgers. External applications like Cengage Learning and Pearson have support through the publisher, as the OIT Help Desk does not have tools to troubleshoot these accounts. Additional training may be available from the vendor or local educational support group

How do I access recorded Zoom lectures?

You may want to provide students with a recorded lecture in Canvas. Zoom can be integrated with Canvas to make accessing Zoom recordings easier for students.  

If you have previous Zoom meeting recordings that you would like to include in your course, they can be imported into your course.  If you recorded your meeting or webinar locally to your computer, you can access the local recording files on the computer that recorded the meeting. If you recorded a meeting or webinar to the cloud, you can manage your cloud recordings in the Zoom web portal. Learn more about finding and viewing your recordings.  

Once the recording is located, simply follow the guide Zoom – How to Transfer Recordings into Kaltura My Media.  

Tips for students

How do I find my class if it doesn’t appear in Canvas?

Follow instructions here to find your class. It may take some time to appear in Canvas after registering. Note that not all instructors at Rutgers use a learning management system.

What is Respondus LockDown Browser and how do I use it?

It is a locked browser for taking quizzes and exams in Canvas. It prevents you from printing, copying, going to another URL, or accessing other applications during an assessment. Learn how to download it and take a quiz or exam with LockDown Browser.

How do I view announcements in Canvas?

You can see a feed of announcements by clicking on the “Announcements” tab in the course navigation. These announcements can be opened, replied to, and more. Learn about viewing announcements.

Where can I find tips and support options for Canvas?

Learn about what browsers are supported, what apps are available, navigating your courses, changing your profile settings, getting help, and more by checking out the Canvas Student Guide.

How do I activate Zoom to use for virtual classes in Canvas?

Some instructors use the Zoom integration to host lectures in Canvas. A Rutgers Zoom account can be created by logging in with your NetID at the Service Activation page and selecting “Rutgers Zoom.” Get step-by-step instructions for creating your Rutgers Zoom account. Once Zoom is activated, navigate to Zoom – Getting Started for Students to learn more about the Zoom in Canvas integration.

How can I find out more information about First Day?

More information about First Day, Barnes & Noble College’s option for digital course materials, can be found by going to the First Day FAQ.  Additional contact information is listed below

Rutgers Newark Barnes and Noble: (973)-353-2200

Rutgers New Brunswick Barnes and Noble: (732) 246-8448