Create a barrier-free experience for all students

Features and options

Product accessibility

Canvas meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to an AA level. WCAG 2.0 are the World Wide Web Consortium’s current official guidelines for web accessibility.

Content accessibility

Course content authors and editors play a big role in the accessibility of content in Canvas.

  • The Canvas course Inclusive design for Canvas outlines the minimum essentials to create an inclusive, accessible Canvas course.
  • Our guide Structure content and style – Common-sense approaches for inclusive Canvas course design offers three approaches toward inclusiveness.
  • Our guide Create an accessible Canvas course offers University of Auckland disability advisors’ top six accessibility recommendations.

Inclusive Design for Online Accessibility (PDF)


Access the Canvas Course:

On Canvas Community:

On WebAim:


Structure content and style – Common-sense approaches for inclusive Canvas course design (PDF)

Create an accessible Canvas course (PDF)

Features and options

  • The global navigation menu is located on the left margin of every page in Canvas. This menu is not course-specific. At the University of Auckland, links in this menu are: Account; Admin (only visible to admin users); Dashboard (an overview of activity in your current courses); Courses; Calendar; Inbox; Commons; and, Help.
  • The course navigation menu is available from within a course and is located to the right of the global navigation menu. This menu is course-specific. Depending on the structure of your course, you can choose to reorder and hide course navigation links.

Rich content editor

Use the Canvas text editor

Features and options

  • Add text and image content, as well as embed other items such audio, video or math formulae.
  • Switch between the rich content editor (default view) and the HTML editor.


On Canvas Community:


Consider the first page your students will see when they open your course

Features and options

  • The home page helps students understand how they can navigate through the course.
  • Change your course home page to reflect one of five options: Syllabus; Pages Front Page (with this option you first create the Canvas page intended as your home page, then choose this home page option); Course Activity Stream; Course Modules; or, Assignment List.


On Canvas Community:


Provide course information and a list of course requirements

Features and options

  • The syllabus is automatically generated based on assignments and events within a course. It can only be changed by editing or deleting the assignments or events.
  • The syllabus description is editable. The University of Auckland requires the inclusion of course information with teaching staff contact details, course assessment and course learning outcomes.
  • All assignments (unpublished and published) are listed in the syllabus view for teachers.
  • You can make your syllabus public so that people who aren’t enrolled in your course can view more information about the course.


On Canvas Community:


Track mastery in a course

Features and options

  • Import University of Auckland outcomes into your course.
  • Align University and faculty graduate profiles to course assessments.
  • Pull graduate profile attributes to course-level outcomes.
  • Associate outcomes to assignment rubrics.
  • Create nested outcomes by dragging and dropping outcomes to create structure. This can be done at the account, sub-account or course-level. Remember the hierarchical structure of top-level accounts, sub-accounts and courses.


On Canvas Community:


Control the flow of your course and its content

Features and options

  • Create a linear flow of course content for your students to work through, organised by weeks, units or a different organisational structure.
  • Add new modules and add learning materials as module items such as files, discussions, assignments and quizzes.
  • Edit modules and module items you’ve created.
  • Set up prerequisite modules, where students must complete one module before moving to the next module.
  • Add requirements to modules, where students must complete all requirements within one module before moving to the next module.
  • Lock a module until a given date.
  • Reorder modules and module items using the drag and drop feature.
  • View the progress of your students within the course.
  • Use draft state to keep modules in an unpublished (draft) state. Unpublished modules are invisible to students.


On Canvas Community:


Publish content and educational resources that aren’t assignment-specific

Features and options

  • Add new pages, edit pages, and manage page settings.
  • Include text, images, videos and links to files and other pages.
  • Use pages as a collaboration tool for group wikis where only specific users have access.
  • Recover earlier versions of your page by rolling back to a previous version.
  • Use draft state to keep pages in an unpublished (draft) state. Unpublished content is invisible to students.


On Canvas Community:


Store documents on Canvas

Features and options

  • Place files in modules, assignments, pages or in any feature that uses the rich text editor.
  • Restrict access to folders and files.
  • Set folders and files to unlock on a specific date.
  • Store and access files:
    • Personal files are located in each user’s profile and are accessible to the individual user (Account>Files>My Files).
    • Course files are located in each course and are accessible to all users enrolled in the course unless restricted/locked (Account>Files>[Course name] or Courses>[Course name]>Files).
    • Group files are located in each group and are accessible to all group members unless restricted/locked (Account>Files>[Group name] or Courses>[Course name]>Files).
  • We recommend that you check the accessibility of your files before upload.


On Canvas Community:

Multimedia (audio and video)

Use audio and video in your course

Features and options

Upload multimedia:

  • Use the rich content editor to upload an audio or video file. Uploaded this way (rather than through the files section of your course) means that the files do not contribute to your overall storage quota.
  • Create and upload caption files when you add video content in the rich content editor.

Link to multimedia:

  • Use the rich content editor to link to a video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Create caption files for videos hosted on YouTube or Vimeo (if you are the video owner).
  • Use the rich content editor to link to your University of Auckland lecture theatre recordings.

Record multimedia:

  • Use the rich content editor to record audio and video.

Talis reading list

Use Talis to create course reading lists that comply with New Zealand copyright law

Features and options

  • Develop your reading list in Talis, then simply link to it in Canvas from the Reading Lists tab in the course navigation menu.


University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services:


View events across all of your courses

Features and options

  • View calendar events by day, week, month or agenda list.
  • Filter the calendar view by selecting or deselecting courses in the sidebar. The calendar is designed to display up to 10 calendars at any given time. You can label a course as a favourite course to list that course at the top of the list in the calendar sidebar.
  • Create calendar events. A Canvas event is a non-graded Canvas activity. Events you create on the calendar will not appear on the assignments page or in the gradebook but they will show up on the syllabus page and student calendars.


On Canvas Community:

Lecture Theatre Recordings

Capture lecture recordings and release to Canvas

Features and options

  • All lectures delivered in recording-enabled rooms will be recorded and released to students from semester two 2019

  • In semester one the University will be transitioning to the new requirement and teachers may opt in at any time to lecture capture and release. 

  • The Recordings Tool has a staff view and a student view.  

    Read more on Canvas documentation:

  • Recordings – About 

Apply for an exemption

  • Contact your faculty to apply for an exemption
  • In most faculties, the Dean has delegated the authority to approve lecture release exemptions to the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching). 

Read more about exemptions:


Delegated exemption approvers

Faculty of Arts

Dr Lindsay Diggelmann | Associate Dean – Teach & Learn

Faculty of Business and Economics

Ms Susan Laurenson | Associate Dean – Teach & Learn

Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries

Ms Carol Mary Brown |  Associate Professor

Faculty of Education and Social Work

Mrs Gail Ledger | Associate Dean

Faculty of Engineering

Mr Peter Jacob Bier | Associate Dean – Teach & Learn

Faculty of Law

Mr Rob Batty | Senior lecturer

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Ms Bridget Kool | Associate Dean – Teach & Learn

Faculty of Science

Dr Julia Catherine Novak | Associate Dean – Teach & Learn

Recording-enabled lecture theatres

A list by sector of the recording-enabled lecture theatres on the City, Grafton, Epsom, Tamaki and Newmarket campuses:

Policy and procedures

Read more on the University of Auckland Learning and Teaching pages: