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New Student-Requested Features Available in Canvas

In the fall, Northwestern IT Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) surveyed students to understand better what additional features they wanted to see offered in Canvas. From that engagement, TLT customized two new features in Canvas—dark mode and adjustable fonts—with plans to add more enhancements in the coming months.

Dark Mode

Dark mode was one of the more frequently requested features. It is a standard display setting in many apps and browsers that can reduce eye strain by minimizing exposure to blue light. However, while dark mode was previously available in the Canvas Student app, it was not available when accessing Canvas in the browser. We are pleased to report it is now.

Adjustable Fonts

Users can change fonts with their browser, but doing so affects every website visited in the browser. This new feature allows users to choose a font specifically for display in Canvas without impacting web pages outside of Canvas.

For more information about using dark mode and customizing fonts in Canvas, please visit the Canvas Learning Center.

More Features to Explore

All course sites include the Microsoft Immersive Reader. This accessibility feature strips a page of formatting and provides a text version of the page that can be read aloud (users can even specify voice type). Font size can also be adjusted to fit individual reading preferences, and there are options to enhance grammar. To access Immersive Reader, click the button at the top right-hand corner of your course site. Learn more about using Immersive Reader in Canvas.

Are you looking for an accessible Canvas site? Explore the list of accessible courses on the AccessibleNU site. Students can refer to this resource to learn whether the course they are interested in offers an accessible site. To be included on this list, Canvas course content must be designed to meet seven core accessibility criteria for digital content. Instructors dedicated to helping make Northwestern’s digital space more accessible and inclusive to all students are named on the Mission: Accessible Wall of Fame.

More to Come

An enhanced to-do list is coming this spring that will allow students to sort tasks by class and dismiss items that have been completed. Custom tasks like scheduling study time can also be added to your Canvas calendar as a reminder. Look for more information about this upgraded feature in the coming months.

Suggestions Welcome

Is there a feature you want to see incorporated into Northwestern Canvas? Let the Teaching and Learning Technologies team know by emailing