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Do I need to set up a Canvas account?

Accounts are automatically created for students 24-48 hours after enrollment. No action is needed to create an account.

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Do students need formal training in Canvas?

Canvas is an intuitive system, designed with ease of use in mind. During the project pilot, students generally needed little help navigating the system and using its features. We found that the ability of students to participate successfully in a course primarily depended on design, organization, and communication choices made by the instructor.

Student questions tended to focus on the availability of courses materials and how to find them. That is, instructors who were clear about where to find information in their courses and how assignments were to be submitted seldom received questions about the system from students. Experiences reported by peer universities who are actively using Canvas support these findings.

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How do I access the Canvas Similarity (Turnitin) Report?

Visit Turnitin to learn how to access and interpret the Similarity Report.

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How long will I be able to access my course after the semester ends or I graduate/leave WashU?

Generally, courses will be available for 365 days after the end of the semester. Note: Instructors or admin can make changes and end access sooner. Check with your instructor to verify length of access.

After graduation, your WUSTL Key continues to remain active for certain systems, like Canvas, even though you are no longer a current student. However, the above rules about length of Canvas course access after the end of the semester still apply.

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I can’t log on. What do I do?

As of November 28, 2018, all students are required to enroll in 2FA (two factor authentication) for all WUSTL key enabled applications. If you have not enrolled, visit the Information Technology website for step-by step directions. If you have enrolled and are still experiencing issues, follow the steps below:


  1. Check to make sure your WUSTL Key is working by logging on to
    1. If your WUSTL Key is NOT working contact visit the WUSTL Key website for more information
    2. If your WUSTL Key IS working go to Step 2.
  2. Make sure you are logging on to the correct version of Canvas.
    1. Most WashU students/faculty access courses via the main WashU MyCanvas instance of Canvas
    2. MD program students/faculty access courses via WUSM MD Program Canvas.
  3. If your issue is not resolved in steps 1 or 2 above, contact the Help Desk at 314-933-3333 and explain the issue.

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I want my name to display differently. How do I change it?

Canvas displays the “preferred name” you provided to WashU. If you haven’t already, submit a preferred name according to the Preferred Name Policy.

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What do I do if I received a message that I’m “unauthorized” to access a file or component in my course?

Contact your instructor. You may have discovered a broken link. Include details about what you attempted to access.

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Why does a different course section display on my Dashboard than the one in which I am enrolled?

Check with your instructor. Your section may have been merged with another section of the course.

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Why is a course missing from my dashboard?

Check your complete course enrollments.

In the Global Navigation Bar, click Courses and then All Courses. 

Course navigation
  1. If the course is unpublished (“No” displays in the Published column), contact your instructor.
    Status of course as published or unpublished
  2. If the course is published, check WebSTAC to ensure you are truly enrolled in the course.
  3. If it has been less than 24 hours since you registered for the course, it might take until the next day to appear in Canvas.
  4. If it has been more than 24 hours since you registered, contact 24/7 Canvas Support via the Help button.