Canvas Learning Management System

Canvas Logo

Instructure is an educational technology company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the developer of the Canvas learning management system, which is a comprehensive cloud-native software package that competes with such systems as Blackboard Learning System, Moodle, D2L and Sakai Project (SmartSite).

The following is an update on the transition to UC Davis Canvas, the new learning management system (LMS) for the campus.


  • A basic version of UC Davis Canvas is now available. Approximately 60 instructors and 1,900 students are using it during Summer Session 1.
  • 2016-17 is the transition year to UC Davis Canvas. SmartSite will remain available for teaching through spring quarter 2017.
  • Faculty, students and staff can log in to UC Davis Canvas.
    • The initial focus for 2016-17 is to transition all course sites to Canvas. If you have a project site in SmartSite that you want to re-create in UC Davis Canvas, please hold off for now.
    • All Summer Session 1 course sites were generated and loaded with enrollments before instruction began. Summer Session 2 courses have now been loaded with enrollments, and Fall courses will be added in the middle of summer. Instructors who want to start developing course sites for future quarters can do so with sandbox sites that have been created for them; content created in these sites can be easily imported to a course site later.
    • Students are likely to use both SmartSite and UC Davis Canvas in 2016-17, depending on which system their individual instructors choose to use.
    • Instructors should consider when to start using UC Davis Canvas. A short guide can help them decide. Early adopters should be comfortable with technology, and/or intend to use Canvas for basic tasks, such as sharing files and communicating with students. UC Davis Canvas will offer a fuller set of features and integrations later in the academic year.


The Move to Canvas project team has been presenting information about UC Davis Canvas to individual colleges, departments and groups, and has sent versions of this update to faculty, administrative and student groups. Throughout this transition, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or ideas, please contact us at