Course Management in CANVAS

Course Management in Canvas: Managing the teaching and learning experience with Canvas

What is Canvas?

Canvas is the Learning Management System, or LMS, used at Weill Cornell Medical College. Learning Management Systems are web–based programs designed to provide faculty with an online means for sharing information and files related to a course with students enrolled in the course, without instructors needing to learn how to code and publish for the web. Over time, the features of an LMS have grown to include means for assessment, collaboration, and communication, among many others.

There are a number of LMSs available, including our former LMS, Angel, and the selection of and transition to a new LMS is not taken lightly, as it means a new system must be learned and course materials must be migrated. WCMC selected Canvas because it stands out in a market made up mostly of dated, unstable products that are cumbersome to use. While no LMS is perfect, Canvas tends to work in all browsers and on any operating system and device and offers faculty and students an expanded and more modern set of tools to enhance the learning and teaching experience.

What is meant by course management?

Managing your course in Canvas might include:

  • Content management – collecting student work and disseminating information and resources to students 
  • Learning activity coordination – facilitating collaborative group work, scheduling events and due dates on the calendar, and communicating updates to schedule, location, or other logistical information 
  • Tracking student progress – creating and delivering formative and summative assessments, grading and providing feedback on student work, monitoring student attendance and participation in online activities, and generally forming a record of each student’s learning experience

What's the best way to get started with Canvas?

Start small.

Course coordinators maintain a Canvas site for each course with the intent of creating a useful reference, productivity, and communication tool for students and faculty. Your session or lecture is an important component of the unit and course to which it belongs, and any contribution you make to the course site will make it an even more valuable resource. As you determine the Canvas features most relevant to your session topic and logistics, contact your course coordinator so that he or she is aware of your intention and can help you plan for implementation.

Focus on a goal.

While use of the Learning Management System can have a significant, positive impact on the student learning experience, don’t adopt an instructional technology just for the sake of using it. Instead, consider any past experience with the specific session or content area that you will be teaching. Were there logistical pain points that could be alleviated? Did students struggle with one or more concepts in particular that could use additional explanation or opportunity for practice?

Learn from others.

  • Talk to other faculty and find out what’s working well for them. 
  • Ask your students what kinds of technology–supported learning experiences they would like to see more of in their courses.

Explore Canvas.

With your desired outcome of course site utilization in mind, explore the features and tools available in Canvas using the links below.

Additional Support: Contact


Office of Admissions 445 East 69th Street
Room 104
New York, NY 10021 (212) 746-1067

Office of Medical Education 1300 York Avenue, Room C-118 New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1050