Canvas is our primary classroom tool. It's accessible from any device and provides the following resources:
- access to each class you're currently taking, and the video lectures, syllabus, readings, assignments, and more that come with each class
- small group assignments with links to your group's dedicated online study room for video meetings
- class notifications and announcements from faculty within Canvas
Your new Westminster Canvas account
By the start of the term, we will add you to your Westminster courses in Canvas. You can access Canvas anytime from the Westminster Dashboard to sign in (or visit canvas.wts.edu).
You will use your Populi username and password to access Canvas.
Upon signing in to Canvas, you will be directed to a landing page that shows your current classes.
This home screen contains upcoming deadlines, assignments, and notifications. Or click on a class to see its lectures and materials. The left side bar offers various other tools and options.
Once inside a course you can navigate the weekly video lectures and assignments.
Since Canvas is so easy to use, most people figure it out simply by navigating around and exploring. But if you want more training on using Canvas, we've automatically added you to a special course in Canvas called "Canvas Tips" (listed within Canvas with your other courses) which offers additional videos that overview the features and uses of Canvas.
You can always get back to Canvas via the Westminster Dashboard, or directly at "canvas.wts.edu" where you would sign in again with your Populi username and password.
How to get the most out of online lectures
Being a successful online student requires learning some new habits and skills, including how you manage and engage your online lecture videos. They contain the core of the content you'll learn in courses, so it is important to learn them well and optimize the learning experience for you personally. There are several features we think you'll like:
- watch videos at faster and slower speeds, however helps you learn
- watch videos multiple times through the term to help master the material
- watch videos in sets, or spread them out across the term, whichever helps your learning. Note: You'll often receive access to course videos even before the term officially begins, and you are welcome to begin videos early if it helps your schedule
- watch videos on multiple devices in multiple locations and life-settings. Videos can only be streamed. Make sure you are connected to Wifi for best viewing.
With flexibility comes the responsibility to also manage your learning experience to be sure it promotes your focus and retention of the material. This is called developing your "video literacy," which means developing the skills necessary to engage and absorb information through the unique experience of video. Here are some tips:
- be sure to set aside time to dedicate attention to the video lectures. Focus is key, just as if you were reading an advanced book
- don't try to multitask (which is actually impossible scientifically!), but try to focus only on the lectures at least once through each one. Though, you may find it convenient to listen or watch them again while managing other tasks like washing dishes, going for a run, etc
- consider practicing active listening by taking notes or outlining the discussions during the lectures. We provide course notebooks in each course which are helpful outlines to assist in active listening and note-taking
- don't pack too much in at once. If you are watching an hour or more in a single setting, try to take frequent breaks (usually every 45–90 mins), eat healthy snacks, and recap materials and notes along the way through a session
The Canvas mobile app is a great way to watch video lectures and keep up with course calendars and notifications from your mobile devices. We love them! Just search for "Canvas by Instructure" in your App Store to download the apps on phones and tablets.
Note about videos on mobile. If you're using your mobile data connection to watch course videos, please note that you're using your mobile data plan and will be responsible for that activity if your plan has data limits or costs associated with it. Also, while our newly designed classes have been optimized for streaming on mobile connections, any older lectures over 2 hours in length may not stream well on an average, LTE mobile connection.