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About Canvas

Canvas is a user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) adopted by UNF in 2016. A cloud-native system, its clean layout allows instructors to set up course content and tools efficiently, while students easily navigate course sites and submit work. Canvas connects digital tools and resources that instructors use into one simple place with strong mobile capabilities for both students and faculty. The Canvas Teacher app supports most course features on iOS and Android mobile devices as does the Canvas Student app, also available for iOS and Android.

Canvas offers robust Course Statistics and Analytics to provide instructors with insight into student activity and progress. Users can make audio and video posts to discussions with just a few clicks, and instructors can leave video or audio comments when grading assignments using a webcam or microphone. The integrated Canvas Studio video platform provides for easy media publication and additional opportunities for student and instructor engagement.

Canvas is managed at UNF by the Learning Management System (LMS) Team. This team consists of representatives from Information Technology Services (ITS), the Center for Instruction & Research Technology (CIRT), and the Registrar's Office who meet regularly and jointly make strategic and operational decisions regarding the Canvas. ITS provides integration, development, and technical support for the system, and CIRT serves as the functional and operational owner of the application. The LMS Team is responsible for ensuring that Canvas meets the needs of the campus community, particularly in regards to supporting teaching and learning, and so regularly provides reports to, seeks input from, and vets proposed changes through the Faculty Association's Campus Technology Committee (CTC) and the University's Distance Learning Committee (DLC).

Canvas policies Policies

Adding Users to a Canvas Course

In order to better protect the privacy of registered students, instructors are not able to add student enrollments to term-based Canvas courses. All registered students will automatically be added by the University’s Student Information System (SIS). Instructors can add Teacher, TA, Academic Coach, and Designer enrollments to their courses in cases where that is appropriate.


Instructors who have a valid reason to add a non-registered student to a term-based Canvas course, such as a student who needs to finish an Incomplete, or to allow a currently active student temporary access to participate in a specific and relevant lesson or topic, may request that a non-registered student be added to their course by completing the Manual Student Enrollment form request. Requests will be fulfilled within two business days and instructors will be notified upon completion. For guidance on valid reasons to add a non-enrolled student to a term-based course, please contact the University Registrar.

Manual Student Enrollment Request Form

Combining Course Sections

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records to protect their privacy. Per FERPA, students cannot have access to student information (including enrollment information) for students in course sections other than their own. Individual Canvas course shells are created for each course section (CRN) on the University’s course schedule. The only exception are sections that are cross-listed in the UNF course schedule (which are combined into a single Canvas shell at creation).


Non cross-listed sections can be combined in Canvas when there are educational or pedagogical reasons related to the course during the semester, such as physical or online collaboration. Instructors who wish to combine course sections themselves in Canvas can do so using the native Canvas Cross-listing tool.  


When course sections are combined into a single Canvas course for administrative convenience, instructors must take additional steps to ensure student privacy and compliance with FERPA. View the Knowledge Base article – “Limited Section Privileges in Combined Canvas Shells” – for specific information about how to take steps to ensure student privacy. 

Data & Account Retention

Term-based courses created in UNF’s Canvas LMS are retained for five years after the end of the term in which the course section was offered. Once the retention period passes, the term-based course is deleted during the next intersession, including all content and records of student activity. For example, a course offered in Fall 2016 will be deleted at the end of the Spring 2022 term.

Effective December 2021, a user’s account and data will be deleted from Canvas if both of the following conditions are met:

  • User is no longer associated with any term-based courses in Canvas
  • User is no longer an active faculty, student, or staff

Starting with the Fall 2021 term, all users’ LMS data will be retained in Canvas courses until the end of the 5-year course retention period, even after those users are no longer active faculty, student, or staff and no longer have access to Canvas. This change provides instructors and academic departments with access to records of instructional activity for the full 5-year retention period for all semesters from Fall 2021 forward.