What is Canvas?

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS).

Washington and Lee is transitioning to Canvas as the university's official learning management system (LMS). Canvas is the world's fastest-growing LMS, used by more than 3,000 universities, school districts, and institutions around the world. Canvas is an innovator in educational technology, and their learning platform is known for being customizable, adaptable, and reliable.

The selection of Canvas was made after consideration by an LMS replacement working group composed of faculty, staff, and student representatives from across the university, charged with finding a solution that offers the best possible learning experience for students and an optimal platform for course delivery. The working group also conducted a thorough review of best practices at peer institutions. As an enterprise-wide technology, Canvas will be managed and supported by ITS Academic Technologies.

In addition to Canvas, Sakai will continue to operate as usual during the transition (2019-2020 Academic Year). Please note that at the end of Spring Term 2020, no more classes may be offered in Sakai, as it will be retired in June 2020.

How do I access it?

Use your W&L network credentials to log in at

How are my students added to a Canvas course site?

Students are added automatically to course sites at W&L.

My students don't see my course--What's the issue?

Make sure you have published your course. There's a publish button in the upper left corner on the site main page.

How do I get help with Canvas as an instructor?

The searchable Canvas Guides have a wealth of information on frequently asked questions; in particular, the Canvas Instructor Guide [PDF version] will likely answer any questions you have. Note that some sections refer to Canvas products that W&L does not license, such as ePortfolio, Quizzes.Next, and Web Services.

Also, visit the Canvas Community to find some invaluable resources, including links to videos and discussion forums. In addition to the Canvas Guides for faculty and students, you can ask questions, chat with other users of Canvas at other schools, and propose new features for Canvas. 

We love seeing and working with you! Contact Brandon Bucy at for assistance. And you can always contact the ITS Information Desk in Leyburn Library at (540) 458-4357 (HELP) or by sending an email to

How do I get help with Canvas as a student?

The Canvas Student Guide [PDF version] will likely answer any questions you have. Stop by the ITS Information Desk in Leyburn Library, call (540) 458-4357 (HELP), or email if you need additional assistance.