Canvas Student Guides

Your Canvas course sites may be simple or complex, depending on how your instructors have set them up. Here are 5 things that every HCC student should know about Canvas.  Hint: Click on the links to be directed to the Canvas guide for the linked item.


1.  Getting to know the Canvas interface.

  • When you first log into Canvas, you will start off at the User Dashboard. The User Dashboard allows you to view course related activity and “To Do” It also provides access to your Canvas e-mail (Conversations), profile and notification settings, courses, grades, and calendar.
  • The Global Navigation Menu is the menu next to the Canvas logo on the left side of the It provides links to courses, grades, calendar, and Hawkmail.
  • The Course Dashboard will be the first page you land on within a Canvas On this page, you will find areas for items such as course content and course navigation links.
  • Canvas offer Course Navigation Indicators. This allows students to know when they have new grades posted without having to access the
  • The Course Activity Stream allows students to view recent activity within a If your instructor has included it, this feature may be present on your course home page when you enter the course; otherwise, it can be accessed through the View Course Stream button in the sidebar to the right of the page.

2.  How can I set up my profile and notification preferences?

  • Edit your Canvas profile – You can add a picture, change your display name, and
  • Edit your Canvas notification preferences - By default, all Canvas notifications are sent to your Hawkmail e-mail address ( The default notification setting cannot be changed or deleted.). However, in addition to your Hawkmail account, you can choose to receive course notifications through an additional e-mail account, text messages, or social media such as Twitter on the schedule that works best for you.

3.  Where do I submit my assignments? How can I see my grades?

  • In your course site, check the Modules or Pages link to find your assignments, course files, readings,
  • If your instructor has created assignments in Canvas, you may be able to submit them online. Open the assignment, and look for the Submit Assignment link at the top of the panel on the right side of the
  • You can view grades for all of your courses on the Grades link at the top of any Canvas There’s also a Grades link in each course site’s navigation menu.
  • You can enter What-if grades for ungraded assignments to see what the impact may be on your total course Just click in the empty grade field and enter a score; it won’t save an actual assignment grade, and your instructor won’t see it. 

4.  How do I Take a Quiz or Test?

  • Quizzes can be viewed in Canvas either through the Quizzes link in the Course Navigation or, if your instructor has hidden this link, through a link in a Module or on a Page.
  • To take a quiz, click on the link for the quiz that you need to take, and you will be redirected to a page that contains information for that quiz (e.g. due date, points, instructions) and a blue Take the Quiz
  • Once you have completed a quiz, you can submit the quiz by clicking on the Submit Quiz
    • If your instructor allows students to retake quizzes, when you click on a quiz link for a quiz that you have already submitted, you will see a Take the Quiz Again

5.  How can I get help if I have questions?

  • Check out the online Canvas Student Quickstart Guide and more comprehensive Student Guide; they are always up-to-date.
  • All HCC Canvas users can get technical support 24 x 7 x Click the Help link in the upper right corner of any Canvas screen. You’ll see options for online instructions, and live support via phone, Web form, and chat.

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