E-Learning Blog: Canvas App for All iPhone Users

by Carlos Montoya, M.Ed

Note: this post was updated on 09/08/14 to take into account changes that were made to the Canvas interface after publishing.

Mobile learning is enhancing the way students and instructors interact with each other and with the course content. Canvas contribution to enhance online learning is the Canvas 3.0 App. This app works with iOS and Android mobile devices. On this post you will find the tutorial for iPhone users.

  • Go to the App Store and download the Canvas Application
  • Two ways to log in:
    • Enter your canvas URL: usflearn.instructure.com
      Canvas URL
    • Connect to Canvas Network: learn.canvas.net
  • Log in with your NetID and password
  • You can also access Canvas using a mobile browser on youriOS device (to interact as you would on the regular web version of Canvas):
    • Use Safari or Chrome
    • Enter URL: usflearn.instructure.com

Canvas App Navigation


Dashboard (1) View your Course and Groups.
(2) View Conversations messages.
(3) View your To-Do list.
(4) View Course Notifications.
(5) View your Profile.
(6) Get Help with the Canvas App.

Conversations, Messages, Inbox

Messages It displays all messages you received and is organized from newest to oldest.
New messages are bold.
A number and group icon will indicate group conversations.
Refresh as you would any other app.
You can view the inbox, unread and archives messages.
Tap the message you want to see and it will take you to the conversation.
To return, tap on “Messages.”
To compose a message, tap on the pencil icon.
Tap on the + sign to find recipient by name or course.
You can select multiple names and add attachments.

To Do List

To Do Instructors will see To Do notifications about grading assignments.
Grading within the App is not available yet.
Grading on mobile devices can be done by using a Mobile browser (except in Android tablet).
SpeedGrader is available only on the iPad. Download the SpeedGrader App.

My Files

Profile My Files
You can view or add your personal files.
Click on profile, then tap on “My files.”
Tap on the file folder you want to view.
Tap on the gear icon on the top right corner, to add a folder, upload a file or edit any items.
If “upload a file” is selected you have the choice to select from the iPhone camera or from Dropbox (slide to the right).
To add files from another app like Google drive. Just go to the app, select the file and when tap on open select the Canvas app. It will automatically send it to your files. Then click upload.

 View Course Navigation

Course Navigation 1 When you log in to your Canvas App …
Select the course you want to view.
Course Navigation Menu You will be taken to the course’s navigation menu.
The course menu will vary among courses, depending on what is enabled and disabled by the instructor.

How to View Announcements

Announcements Selected Select the course, and then select Announcements.
You will be taken to the course’s navigation menu.
Select “Announcements.”
Select Announcement Select the announcement you want to view.
If enabled by the professor, students can reply.


Writing Assignment Selected Select Assignments from the course navigation menu, and then select the desired assignment.
Assignment Windows View the details or direction of the assignments (students only). View the due date (students only).
Submission Tab Add comment (text, video or audio) (students only).
Submission Types Select “Turn in” to open submission type window (students only).
Grade Tab View the rubric (if one was assigned). View your grade or possible grade.

How to View Discussions

Discussions Select Discussions from the Course menu, and then select the discussion you want to view.
You can reply to any discussion if enable by instructor.
The number of replies within the reply is indicated by a gray notification (1), the blue indicator shows the unread replies (2).
To expand a threaded discussion, tap the heading of the threaded reply.
Add a Discussion Icon If enabled by the instructor, students can create discussions. To create a discussion, tap the “+” icon.
Add a Discussion Window (1) Title. (2) Text field. (3) Allow threaded discussion. (4) Add an attachment. (5) Post it.


Syllabus Tab Selected The app lists all assignments for the course. Assignments are grouped by past due, next 7 days, future, and no date.
Syllabus Window (1) Syllabus description. (2) Tap to open the assignment.

Visit the Canvas guides for more information.

— Carlos