Canvas for students

Welcome to Canvas 

Canvas is the new virtual learning environment that will replace the University’s current VLE, WebLearn, for teaching and learning at Oxford. 

WebLearn is still being used on many programmes of study at the University. You may be using it on other courses at Oxford. 

Why Canvas? 

The University’s Digital Education Strategy (2016) identified the need for a more intuitive and user-friendly VLE. After a rigorous selection process, Canvas was chosen because it was felt it would provide the best quality of user experience to support teaching and learning at Oxford. 

Early Adopter Phase 

The use of Canvas at Oxford is currently in an ‘early adopter phase’. This means that Canvas is being used by a small number of departments and faculties (or ‘early adopters’) who are using the platform to help deliver teaching in some of their programmes of study. 

These users will report back on the general performance of Canvas and raise any areas for which improvement might be necessary. 

The work of our early adopters is crucial to the successful take-up of Canvas across the University of Oxford. As a student on an early adopter programme of study, you are part of a small but highly important community of users. 

Tell us what you think about Canvas  

You can have your say in two ways: 

  • Join our Early Adopter User Group: we will be meeting with early adopter academics and/or course administrators twice a term to discuss how Canvas is being used. The user group will ideally include one student from each programme of study. If you are on an early adopter programme of study and would like to represent the student voice at these meetings, please speak to your tutor or course administrator. 
  • Drop us a line at our email address: contact us on if you have any questions, suggestions or just want to share your thoughts on Canvas. 


Student frequently asked questions

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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.

As a student, you will find Canvas intuitive and easy to use. We also recommend that you download the mobile app for students. You can then view materials, contribute to discussions and send emails and more from your mobile device. The app is available for both Android and Apple devices.

Once the new VLE was chosen, we invited departments and faculties to contact us if they wanted to become early adopters of Canvas. We were approached by a large number of potential candidates and after careful consideration chose a small number of these to take forward to become early adopters.

The University and the Canvas @ Oxford programme are extremely serious about the quality of education that students receive at Oxford. The work that our early adopter courses are engaged in is of crucial importance for the way that Canvas will be delivered across the University for teaching and learning. Nothing will be done that will put your learning at risk.

If you are on an early adopter course, it is not possible to opt out of Canvas if teaching activity is being delivered through the VLE. If you have any questions or queries about how Canvas works, or are having any problems with the VLE, please do speak to your tutor.

You can find out more about Canvas by going to their official website

List of site pages