#TechTipThursday: Canvas’ New User Interface


The summer semester brings with it some new changes to Canvas. Starting May 16th, Canvas will have a new user interface and will look different but will still function similarly. The new user interface will be very similar to that of the mobile Canvas application. It is important to note that this change will affect everyone. We’ll review the most visible and impactful changes below. For our visual learners, please scroll to the end of this post for a short (~2 minute) video demo of the new UI.




nav barIn the left hand navigation menu, the Account tab can be used to access your Profile, Settings, Notifications, Files, and Logout buttons.

The Dashboard tab is the default tab, and can be used to access the course card menu.

The Courses tab can be used to access and favorite courses.

The Groups tab was added to quickly access groups you are in.


The Calendar, Inbox, and Commons tabs have not changed with the new user interface.




The Help button can be found at the bottom of the left hand navigation menu and provides the same help options available before this change.



The biggest changes in the new UI can be found on the Canvas Dashboard. Classes are now displayed using a card system, as shown below.


The switch highlighted in the top right (in red) can be used to switch between the card style dashboard and the more familiar Recent Activity Feed.

card exampleEach card represents an individual course which you have added to your course menu. The course title, course code, and semester are all displayed on the card.

Each card also has up to four tabs at the bottom. These tabs mimic the visibility and order of course navigation, and act as shortcuts to specific parts of the course. The megaphone symbol  represents the announcements tab, the text bubble symbol represents the discussions tab, the folder symbol represents the files tab, and the paper symbol (with “A+” on the page) represents the assignments tab.




Course cards have some new customization options. By clicking on the notepad and pencil symbol in the top right of a course card, you can change the color of each tile and give their courses nicknames. Changing the color of a course card also changes the color of that course’s items in the calendar. These changes only apply to the individual who makes them. In other words, if you change the color or nickname for a course in your Canvas account, this change will have no effect on the rest of the individuals in the course.



We also have a short video demonstrating navigation within the new UI.


If you have any questions, or difficulty navigating the new UI, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

*This post was drafted by Paige and Rebecca, Instructional Technology Collaborators.

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