Canvas @ Yale

Best Practices / Alternatives for Canvas Course File Storage

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Canvas provides 1.5 GB (1500 MB) of storage space for each Canvas course site. This limitation can make it easy to quickly reach your storage quota cap. Alternative storage options are made available by Yale to supplement your course file storage needs based on file type and size, access, and origin.

If you find that you are running out of space on your Canvas site, or have specific access needs, review the following file storage alternatives.  

Storage for Audio / Video Media Files

Audio and video files are often some of the largest files to store. As a result, they can quickly use up the 1 GB storage allotment in your course without being the most advantageous way of sharing and disseminating your media course materials.

Media Library (Panopto)

Media files (video and audio files) are best kept in the Media Library tool. In this space, you can upload an unlimited amount of media content. This tool is hosted by Panopto, and integrated into Canvas. The media library tool is located in your course navigation. Media uploaded to the Media Library can be disseminated and shared directly with students or embedded in Canvas pages for students to engage with in the context of other course materials.

Review our Media Library support documents for more information how to start using the Media Library in your course.

Media Library in Course Navigation

The Yale University Library can provide licensed access to several streaming resources for videos and films.

Contact [email protected] to see if the content you are looking to share is available via one of the Yale University Library's services.

Contact [email protected] if you need additional assistance with the Media Library tool.

Storage for Faculty-Created Course Materials

Faculty-created materials (Microsoft Word and PDF documents, presentation materials, images, etc.) can be stored outside of Canvas and then shared through a URL link or embedded page to students in Canvas. Using external storage can be useful for any materials, but particularly for large files like PowerPoints with many high-resolution images embedded in the slides.

External storage solutions typically have higher storage quotas and also allow you to avoid the process of copying files to your new course site each semester if the sharing permissions on your externally housed files and folders are set up correctly. Below are several options provided to Yale University Faculty for file storage.


OneDrive is an Office 365 based cloud service that connects you to all the files you work with in the platform. OneDrive allows you to store files you own in a secure environment, share them with others, and access them from anywhere on any device. This makes OneDrive an ideal option to store your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and other faculty-created course materials.  

Once you have the files stored in OneDrive, you can get the direct link to the file/folder of files and post it in your Canvas course as a link (on a page, assignment, announcement, etc) or as an external URL item in a Module.

 OneDrive features include:

  • Personal file storage in the cloud.
  • The ability to share files and manage security allowing you to securely share files within or outside the organization.
  • Access and work with your OneDrive files easily via the Mobile App or through the browser portal.
  • Versioning, “Backup” and the Recycle Bin allow you to revert a file back to one of the last 500 changes made in the past 90 days. Deleted files can also be recovered from the Recycle Bin within 90 days.
  • Co-Authoring on Office files allow multiple users to view and work on documents together.
EliApps / Google Drive

Not all students and staff at Yale receive EliApps accounts. If you have access to EliApps you can use it for storage, but be cautious about requiring others to use and collaborate on EliApps documents and tools.

Google Apps for Education at Yale is called EliApps. EliApps promotes collaboration on a cloud-bases storage platform. Google Drive is one of the core services of EliApps that provides a single place to store, access, create, edit, and share documents, files, and folders of all types.

Once you have the files stored in Google Drive, you can use the URL for your file / folder of files and post it in your Canvas course as a link (on a page, assignment, announcement, etc) or as an external URL item in a Module.

Box @ Yale

Box @ Yale is a cloud-based file sharing and storage workspace that enables users to collaborate and share information. Box @ Yale provides you with up to 50 GB of storage, and can be accessed with your NetID and NetID password.  

Once you have the files stored in Box @ Yale, you can use the URL for your file / folder of files and post it in your Canvas course as a link (on a page, assignment, announcement, etc) or as an external URL item in a Module.

Box @ Yale features include:

Storage for Copyrighted Course Materials

The Yale University Library has expanded its reserves service with a reserves management system that is fully integrated with Canvas. The Course Reserves tool should be used to link to and store all copyrighted materials for your course.

Course Reserves

Materials that are requested through Course Reserves will be collected by Yale University Library staff and licensing costs will be covered by the university for these materials.

Reserves lists should be initiated by clicking the "Course Reserves" tool in your Canvas course. For more detailed information on how to use Course Reserves, please follow this article. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Guest Instructors and Guest Students enrolled in your Canvas course site can access any materials stored in Course Reserves.

To organize your Course Reserves, you can use item tags. One or more tags can be added to any item in your Course Reserves list to help identify the materials by date / section / week / topic / etc. For example, an item could be tagged as Week 1, Industrial Revolution, and Exam 1 to help students understand and identify your course materials. To add a tag:

  1. Click on "Edit" for the item in your course reserves list you wish to tag and type in the appropriate tags for that item in the Item Tags box (place commas between multiple tags).  
  2. Students can then click on the Tags at the top of the reserves page to filter the list.

For more help with any of these tools / file storage solutions, please contact [email protected].

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