Tips for creating accessible Canvas courses

Course Building Considerations

Your Canvas course layouts should be simple, clean, and uncluttered. The course navigation should be clear and consistent. Headings should allow for quick scanning and always be descriptive.

Use these features for accessible formatting

Alt Text is read by screen readers. It describes embedded images and displays when the image cannot display.
Descriptive hyperlinks give students context to links, provide clarity on link destination, and should always be underlined
Headings help all students navigate course materials, assist when using screen readers, and provide structure for content.
Tables should display data & information, and should not be used to create layouts.
Text emphasis helps text stand out for visually impaired students. Use bold, italic or underlined text. Never use color for emphasis.

Additional resources:

Setting up student accommodations in Canvas

With final exams approaching here’s a reminder about how to set up accommodations in Canvas. 
If you are conducting an exam on Canvas, and you have students with accommodations needing extra exam times, please make sure that the “assign to” section does not say “Everyone.” You should have different “available from” and “available until” times for students with accommodations.
Here’s more about setting different start times for specific students:

If your exam is a timed exam, there is a second part to setting up accommodations. You must use “moderate this quiz” to give extra time to your SAA students.

Your Educational Technologists are happy to meet with you in advance to help you set up your quiz or to look over the settings. Email us

Printing a Canvas Quiz

There may be times when you would like to print a copy of a Canvas Quiz. To do so, navigate to Quizzes, and click the name of the Quiz. Then, click the “Preview” button.

From your web browser, select “Print” or click “Command” plus “P.” Here’s an example from Chrome:

Then, you can either select a printer, or save the document as a PDF.

If you are using “New Quizzes” you can print a blank Quiz or one with the answers by following the steps on this page:

Please reach out to Educational Technology if you encounter any issues.

Canvas grade posting policies

If you use the Canvas Gradebook here’s how you can change your grade posting policy from “automatic” to “manual.”

By default, Canvas sets an “automatic” grade posting policy for all courses. This means grades are automatically visible to students when they are entered. When the posting policy is changed to “manual,” grades are hidden and must be manually posted to students using the “Post grades” option in the Gradebook before they can be viewed. Hidden grades are visible to instructors, but students cannot see them.

Posting policies can be set for an entire course or for individual assignments. Assignment-level posting policies will override the course-level posting policy for that assignment. Posted grades can also be hidden using the Hide grades option. The Hide grades option only hides grades that are currently visible to students. In order to ensure all future assignment grades are hidden, you will need to use a manual posting policy for the assignment or course.

If you want to change your grade posting policy please reach out to Educational Technology or follow the steps below: 

More information about Grade Posting Policies can be found here:

Immersive Reader in Canvas

Canvas has a feature called Immersive Reader that can enhance users’ reading experience by improving accessibility and boosting reading comprehension. Immersive Reader lets users change font size, adjust text spacing and background color, and read text aloud. 

Once enabled, the course Home Page, Assignments, Pages, and Syllabus will display an Immersive Reader button in the upper right. The button is not visible in Quizzes or with attachments such as PDFs. 

Immersive Reader is a user-controlled setting. If you enable it for yourself it does not become enabled for the students in your class. 

To enable Immersive Reader reach out to Educational Technology or follow the steps below.  

  • Click Account on the upper left, then Settings from the menu. Note: this area of Settings is not the same as Course Settings.
  • Scroll down to Feature Options and enable Microsoft Immersive Reader. 

More information about Immersive Reader can be found here:

Canvas Course End Date Extended

After receiving faculty requests, and following discussion with the LMIS (Library, Media, Information Services) committee, a change has been made to the end date for Canvas courses. Students will now be able to access Canvas courses 28 days past the end of the semester, instead of 14 days.

 This change will resolve a problem that had occurred between semesters where some students were not able to view feedback on their assignments. For example, student access for Fall 2022 courses ended on December 29 yet grades were due on January 2. 

If you want courses to end earlier please reach out to Educational Technology or follow the steps below: 

  • Click Settings in the course
  • Remain on the “Course Details” tab, and scroll down to the “Ends” section
  • Enter the date you would like the course to end for students 
  • Scroll down and click “Update Course Details” to save your changes 

More information can be found here:

Grade Distribution Graphs in Canvas

A default setting in Canvas is the student visibility of Grade Distribution Graphs. The distribution graphs show the mean score, the high score, and the low score. Personally identifiable information is never provided to students. However, this type of data may not be useful information for all courses, especially in small classes.

Canvas sets the default global setting for grade distribution for all courses to be Enabled/ON. We cannot turn off the feature at the campus level, but it can be turned off at the course level by an instructor.

When the grade distribution graph is hidden, students can view their scores, but cannot view the mean, high, or low scores.

To hide the graphs contact Educational Technology or follow the steps below:

  • Click Settings in the course
  • Remain on the “Course Details” tab, scroll down, and click the “more options” link towards the bottom of the settings page.
  • Under “more options,” click the box next to “Hide grade distribution graphs from students.”
  • Scroll down and click “Update Course Details” to save your changes so the graphs will no longer be visible to students.

More information can be found here:

Fall 2022 Welcome Back

Welcome back for the 2022 Fall semester! We hope you’ve returned to campus refreshed and excited for the coming semester. We’ve seen a few changes over the summer.


We’ve enabled new features in Canvas, like Final Grade Override and Enhanced Gradebook Filters. See here for a full list and information on all of them.

Need a quick start guide for Canvas for the semester? Check out our Beginning of Course Checklist.

Need OCR (optical character recognition) services for readings added to Canvas? Check out Collins Library’s OCR for Canvas resources.

Puget Sound now has a new way for students to update their pronouns and chosen names. Previously, this was done directly in Canvas. Now, students can update their pronouns in myPugetSound, after which they’ll be imported into various campus systems, including Canvas. Please see for more information. Faculty & staff: you will be able to make changes to your myPugetSound profile later this fall.

You may have noticed that your Canvas courses now have an “Academic & Administrative Policies” navigation link. This was done in partnership with the Academic Deans Office in response to faculty feedback about the length of syllabi and a desire to make information more accessible to students.

As a reminder, Chrome and Firefox are the recommended browsers for Canvas. Safari and Internet Explorer are not recommended at this time.


As a fully functional Zoom Room, room LI-017 in the lower level of the Collins Library can be used for remote instruction if desired. The room contains two wall-mounted cameras, ceiling drop mics, two wall-mounted displays, and a digital whiteboard. The room is reservable through 25Live Room Scheduling. Contact your Ed Tech for a demo.

If you plan on using classroom technology, such as projectors or podium computers, we recommend testing your classrooms. If you have any questions about how to use technology to enhance your teaching or research, please contact your Ed Tech or

Zoom Updates

After an update, the Zoom desktop client now includes native closed captioning. Make sure to update your Zoom client to take advantage of this feature. See enabling or disabling closed captioning – Zoom Support for more information.

Zoom Focus Mode is now available. This is a mode that shows only hosts and co-hosts’ videos and profile pictures during a meeting. Focus Mode can be found in the “More” menu in the in-meeting toolbar and can be enabled when scheduling a meeting. See here for instructions to enable to disable Focus Mode.

Other Important Contacts

The Technology Service Desk is the main point of contact for any assistance needed with campus technology. Email or call 253.879.8585.

Media Services handles equipment loans and manages classroom equipment support, troubleshooting, and repairs. Various technologies available for checkout can assist in your coursework. Please inquire with Media Services for further details. Email or call 253.879.3963.

Student Technology is located on the lower level of the Collins Library. They assist students with antivirus requirements for the campus network and provide students with technology troubleshooting and support. Email or call 253.879.8585 #2.

Beginning of Course Checklist

As the new term begins, you may find this resource useful when creating or copying your Canvas courses. This resource was developed by Canvas and edited by the Educational Technologists. It can be accessed via this link or seen embedded below. Please contact your Educational Technologist with any questions.