Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex

Canvas Guides & FAQs

Please see below for a series of commonly asked queries. If you cannot find an answer to your question here then please email



What is Canvas?

Canvas is a state-of-the-art, cloud-based VLE, taking advantage of the latest web technologies to ensure a thoroughly robust, reliable and forward-facing provision for online teaching and learning for staff and students.

How do I log in?

The URL for Canvas is Over the Summer, links to Canvas will be introduced wherever there are currently links to Study Direct and these will be in place for all staff and students by the start of the 2018/19 Academic Year.

When is it coming?

Canvas will be introduced for students at the beginning of the 2018/19 Academic Year, when it will replace StudyDirect as the VLE for all University of Sussex modules. University of Sussex staff will be able to log into Canvas over the Summer to prepare their module sites.

Who will be affected?

Everyone involved in teaching and learning at Sussex. The biggest change will be for students and module tutors, but anyone who supports our students in their studies will need to become familiar with Canvas.

What training & support is available?

A comprehensive staff training programme is being planned to ensure everybody is ready for the new VLE - more details of this will be announced in the near future. We will also be working with USSU to promote awareness and familiarisation with Canvas amongst Sussex students.

As part of our agreement with Instructure (the company behind Canvas) staff and students will have access to a 24/7 online and telephone support team, ensuring that timely and personal help is always on hand.

Will Turnitin or Lecture Capture be affected?

No, both Turnitin and Lecture Capture will continue to be available in Canvas.

What will happen to StudyDirect?

Students and staff will still be able to visit StudyDirect to review previous years’ modules, but you will not be able to add any new modules or activities.

What is the Office365 course menu item in Canvas?

The ‘Office 365’ course menu item allows staff and students to access their files stored in OneDrive. There is a Canvas guide on this at

The first time you click on Office 365 in the course menu, you will be asked to Log In to your Sussex Office 365 account, which you can do with your usual login details. You can then view and access your files in OneDrive whenever you are working in Canvas.

If you want to add a file from OneDrive to Canvas you can use the Office 365 icon on the Rich Content Editor toolbar to search and attach the file. Please note, this file will not be added to the Course Files.

You can find out more about Office 365 at the University of Sussex on the ITS website at

Can I cut/paste from Microsoft Word/Excel?

You can copy and paste content from Microsoft Word and Excel into the Rich Content Editor  (RCE) in Canvas, but the formatting may not copy across successfully. If there are only minor differences you may be able to correct them in the RCE or using the HTML Editor. Otherwise, there are a couple of options:

  1. Copy and paste the portion you want into a new Word document or Excel spreadsheet then add that as a file in Canvas.
  2. Remove the formatting from your document, copy and paste into Canvas then add formatting using the RCE.
Can I write maths equations in Canvas?

Canvas allows you to use maths notation based on LaTeX wherever the Rich Content Editor (RCE) appears (in Announcements, Pages, Discussions, Quizzes etc.). There is detailed guidance on how use the LaTeX Maths Editor in Canvas at


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