Canvas@Oxford Programme

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Welcome to the Canvas @ Oxford programme.  
Canvas is the virtual learning environment (VLE) that will replace WebLearn for teaching and learning. 
The selection of Canvas by Instructure is the result of a process that began with the 2016 Digital Education Strategy implementation consultation. This identified the need for a more intuitive and user-friendly VLE.
More information about the process that led to the selection of Canvas is available on the  VLE Review page.

The Canvas vision

Advancing education at Oxford by providing an intuitive digital platform for all. 

Canvas is about so much more than a technology replacement programme. Explore the thinking and the 'why' behind the vision.

Canvas Early Adopters

learning design

The work of our early adopters is critical to the success of the Canvas programme. 27 programmes of study were selected across all divisions. The University of Oxford Language Centre was the first early adopter department to start teaching courses in Canvas in August 2018. More about the early adopter phase. 

We continue to work with college tutors to explore interesting and innovative opportunities for them to use Canvas.


Bringing Canvas to Oxford

Roadshows and events: we will be running roadshows and similar engagement events during the lifetime of the programme, with the dates being widely communicated across the University each term.

Rolling out Canvas across Oxford: Canvas is the VLE of choice for the University, and it is important to ensure that the widest possible adoption is achieved across the collegiate University so that our students receive a consistent and modern digital experience. Talk to us about adopting Canvas for your department or faculty. 

Canvas Terms of Use policy

In June 2019 a Terms of Use policy for Canvas was formally ratified by the Education Commitee and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education. The policy governs how Canvas is used across the University. More details

The future of WebLearn

WebLearn will continue to be supported for now, including for purposes other than teaching and learning, until alternative solutions are identified, support is in place and prior notice has been given. For more information please see what will happen to WebLearn?

Canvas FAQs

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Canvas is a virtual learning environment (VLE) delivered by Instructure, an educational technology company founded in 2008 and based in the United States. Canvas, which was launched in 2011, is used in more than 50 countries by over 20 million students. The software is intuitive and easy to use, scalable and secure.

Canvas was the unanimous choice of the VLE review project board as the preferred supplier to deliver the new virtual learning environment and was chosen as it was felt it would provide the best quality of user experience to support teaching and learning at Oxford, and in doing so provide opportunities to advance education. 

The decision is the result of a process that began with the 2016 Digital Education Strategy implementation consultation. This identified the need for a more intuitive and user-friendly VLE. More information about this process is available on the VLE Review web pages.

Canvas is used in the UK by institutions including the University of Birmingham, London Business School, University of Wolverhampton, St Georges University of London, Henley Business School and Manchester University. It is it the leading VLE used by a number of Ivy League universities including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell and MIT.


The Canvas VLE will be delivered in three tranches beginning with an early adopter’s phase in summer 2018, with full roll-out completed by Trinity term 2021. The roll-out of usage over two years will enable academics and course administrators to schedule their transition to Canvas at a suitable time to fit with their teaching.



The implementation approach will support academics, departments and divisions by providing a wide range of events, workshops and individual support including:

  • Opportunities for academic staff to reflect on how they will teach and how students will learn using digital tools and spaces. This will be underpinned by the Learning Technologists who will facilitate learning design workshops, with support from the Oxford Learning Institute.
  • Individual support for academics and staff to design their Canvas course and migrate their content.
  • Training to familiarize staff with Canvas and orientation sessions for students.  

Yes, you can copy and exisiting Canvas course and it automatically adjusts the dates. The system will notify existing course members of the date changes. 




Canvas has recently launched their so-called Plagiarism Framework, which enables ‘deep integration’ with Turnitin. This means that when creating an essay-type assignment in Canvas, the user can invoke the Turnitin integration. The student submissions will then automatically go through Turnitin ‘behind the scenes’, and return the Originality Report into the Canvas assignment interface

Canvas works really well with Panopto.  There will be seamless integration with Panopto ‘behind the scenes’, that is, lectures can be recorded via the applicable Canvas course, from where students can access the recordings. 

 A large number of training opportunities and materials will be provided. The Projects Training and Technology Enhanced Learning teams in IT Services will offer the following types of training and support:

• Learning Design workshops for early adopters, and later on request
• Hands-on Canvas fundamentals face-to-face training courses: Canvas Fundamentals 1; Canvas Fundamentals 2
• One-to-one support and assistance from learning technologists for early adopters
• Online guides and videos available from Canvas
• The Canvas @ Oxford team also plans to produce some webinars (live and recorded), quick start guides and customised videos.

Yes, there is a Quiz tool in Canvas that is viewed as an ‘assignment’ and can be embedded into an assignment. It has features such as being able to provide one stimulus (e.g. a video or image) and posing multiple short questions about that stimulus.

Yes, these can be embedded into Canvas pages and modules (like the Lessons tool in WebLearn).

Canvas offers detailed analytics displays and reports, as well as a Gradebook into which markers can insert marks and feedback to students. This provides a full record of all assessments in the course and marks earned.

The primary purpose of Canvas is to support teaching and learning across the collegiate University, and the storing of commitee papers is not permitted. For guidance on what Canvas can and cannot be used for, the Programme has published a Terms of Use policy which has been ratified by the University's Education Commitee and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education. Contact if you have any questions about the policy. 


Email f you have any questions or queries, or would like to join our mailing list.

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