How do I navigate a Canvas course as an observer?

Navigating a Canvas course as an observer is simple.

Open Course

Open Course

In Global Navigation, click the Courses link [1], then click the name of the course [2].

View Canvas Interface

Observers can view Global Navigation, Course Navigation, Breadcrumb Navigation, Sidebar, and Help link.

  • The Global Navigation helps you get to where you want to go across all of your Canvas courses [1].
  • The Course Navigation helps you get to where you want to go within your canvas course [2].
  • The Breadcrumb Navigation shows you where you have navigated to inside of a course and gives you a quick and easy way to move backward [3].
  • The Sidebar will be mostly empty for Observers, but will come in handy when its time to edit a course Page [4].
  • The Help link is very important. When you need assistance from your instructor or the Canvas Support Team, click the Help link [5].

The Course Navigation links on the left side of your screen help you get to where you want to go inside of Canvas. As an Observer, you will see up to 11 links. They are:

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Discussions
  • Pages
  • Files
  • Syllabus
  • Outcomes
  • Quizzes
  • Modules
  • Conferences
  • Collaborations


If you ever have trouble in Canvas and need to communicate with the Instructor about what you are looking at, use these terms and he or she will understand exactly what you mean.