Canvas offers two ways to access your courses – a mobile app or web browser. Accessing the Canvas website on a desktop or laptop with a compatible browser will give you the best overall experience. The mobile app can help you stay on top of what’s happening in your courses when you’re on the go. This article provides recommendations for using each to stay current in your courses.
Canvas offers a mobile app for students using Apple and Android devices: Canvas Student App.
Because certain features may not function as intended on the website when accessed through a phone’s browser, we recommend using the app on a phone. However, course content can still appear differently on the mobile app than it does on the website.
Canvas tries to ensure that critical features and functions work on browsers for tablets with a screen size of 7.9” or larger used in landscape mode. If your screen is at least that big, you can choose to use either a browser or the mobile app on tablets.
If you want to access Canvas through your browser, use the most recent versions of either Safari (iOS) or Chrome.
Feature Comparison: When to use the App or the Browser
Although the Canvas app offers many features, some things are easier to do on the through a browser (either on a larger tablet or a computer). Here are our suggestions for the best way to use each.
|Receive push notifications
Check what’s due via calendar or to-do list
View grades and feedback
Read and send messages to instructors and other students
Read syllabus, announcements, readings and commentaries
Participate in discussions
Take quizzes and exams
Let’s look at each of these items in detail below.
- Receive push notifications. You can sign up to receive push notifications to your mobile device for specific course activities (i.e. when an instructor posts an announcement or grades) on your Notification settings page. Read more about Notification preferences.
- View what’s due by viewing the calendar and/or to-do list. Take a quick look at what’s due in your courses while on the go.
- View grades and assignment feedback. Get notified as soon as grades are posted, if you have push notifications enabled.
- Read and send messages to instructors and other students. You can quickly message other people in your courses. If you have push notifications enabled, you can get notified when you receive messages. If you are adding an attachment to your message, you may want to use the browser version of Canvas.
- Read course syllabus, announcements, readings, and commentaries. If you have the mobile app, you can review this week’s readings, announcements, and commentaries from your phone wherever you are.
- Submit assignments. If you are submitting multiple files or submitting something lengthy (i.e. report), you are better off submitting your assignment using the browser. This is also the best way to ensure that your instructor can view your submission.
- Participate in discussions. Discussions can be difficult to view and navigate on a small screen. We recommend using a browser for this activity so that you can see the discussion prompt while you are writing your reply to the discussion.
- Take quizzes and exams. It’s easier to navigate through quizzes and exams in a browser. Because most exams are worth a lot of points and you usually only get one chance to complete them, we recommend using a browser.
Is your browser compatible with Canvas?
Canvas supports the most current version of most popular browsers. You can view the browsers that Canvas supports here.
My passion is developing instructional activities that make complex ideas simple and interesting to learn.
Outside of work, you can probably find me working on a craft project or learning something new. I enjoy trying new recipes, taking long walks, and playing board games.