Canvas Collaborations: Overview

The Collaborations section in your Canvas course is a tool that allows you to create collaborative Google docs to share with your students. A collaborative document allows you and your students to work together either synchronously (such as during an in-person class session or over a web conference) or asynchronously to share ideas and conduct group work. Google Docs allows you to work collaboratively on tasks like group papers or note-taking. Collaborations gives you and your students an easy place to keep track of those collaborations, and also to set them up without having to swap emails.

Not all faculty / students have EliApps (Yale's Google for Education) Accounts. This means that when you use the collaborations tool with Google, some students may need to create a personal Google account so that they can collaborate.

Because of this limitation, we do recommend that you try to use other tools like OneDrive, which is provided to all Yale University members, even though it is not fully integrated with Canvas at this time.

Why Use Canvas Collaborations

  • Collaborations can be used to edit a shared document with your class
  • Copy and paste notes that everyone can access
  • Create a text-based whiteboard that everyone in the classroom can see and refer to later

Use Cases for Canvas Collaborations

A non-exhaustive list outlining what Instructors can use the Canvas Collaborations tool to facilitate include:

  • Sharing editable document templates with students
  • Facilitating group collaboration on shared documents / materials
  • Reviewing student group work in progress
  • Creating a shared notes / whiteboard space for students to write and take notes as a class
  • Empowering students to organize and collaborate independently from instructor direction

How do I get started using Canvas Collaborations?

To learn more about how to use Canvas Collaborations to facilitate your online course work, please reference:

What will my students see?

Students may need to acquire a Google / Eli Apps account. If they need an account they can reach out to the ITS Help Desk.

  1. Students will access the "Collaborations" section from the Course Navigation.
  2. If they are new to using Canvas Collaborations with Google Drive / EliApps, they will need to click the link below the collaboration document title that says "To access this collaboration you must authorize Canvas to access your Google Drive account."
    1. Once authorized, the students selected to collaborate on the document will be able to open the Google Doc in a separate tab and participate in editing the shared document.
  3. Students are also able to start their own collaborations with the instructor and other students to facilitate their own group work by clicking the "Start a new collaboration" button.

For more help, please contact canvas@yale.edu.