Getting Started in Canvas


Welcome to online learning at Seattle Pacific University. Our goal is to help you gain confidence in using the SPU Canvas system. We hope to provide the opportunity to focus your attention on the content of your courses rather than the technology. Below we will provide information on how to log into Canvas and how to locate your course with its content.

Course Detail Issues

Canvas creates course shells for all courses listed in Banner up to two quarters in advance. If there are any issues with the sections included in your course or the term dates associated with the course, please contact ETM.

Logging into Canvas

  1. Go to

  2. Click the 'MySPU' button on the top right 

  3. Click on 'Canvas' 

Alternatively, you can bookmark or  

Using the Dashboard

The dashboard can be viewed in two modes: card view and recent activity.

The "Card View" displays a card for each of the courses for which you are actively enrolled or have favorited on your Courses Menu; past and upcoming courses can be found under Courses → All Courses. You can also use the star icons under this menu to adjust which courses appear in your dashboard. Each course card displays the name of the course and up to four icons, representing announcements, assignments, files, and discussions. These cards and names can be modified, but these changes will only be visible to you. 

Canvas dashboard card view

The "Recent Activity" view is a stream of upcoming due dates, events, assignment notifications, discussions, and other relevant items. When in the recent activity stream mode, you can access your courses under Courses → All Courses.

Canvas dashboard recent activity view

In both modes, the right-hand side of the screen (or if your browser resolution is smaller, along the bottom of the window) will display a side-bar that contains a list of upcoming events, and a link to the grade book.

Course Navigation

Once you've configured your Dashboard to work and look the way you prefer, you can go into a specific course. Within your course, you have a course navigation menu, that will include links to the Syllabus, Assignments, Discussions and other tools or vendor content that has been linked within Canvas.  

Certain Roles in a Course have the ability to modify and change the specific course navigation in each course. ETM recommends customizing your course navigation to make it clear to students where they should be going to locate their course content. Navigation settings may also be carried over to future terms or other courses using the Importing Course Content in Canvas functions.

Please refer to Canvas's detailed, step by step documentation for more Canvas how-to documentation or continue browsing the ETM Canvas documentation for more information. 

Additional Resources