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Fall 2020 Penn Libraries Media Support


undefinedGet to know CANVAS, your Penn course learning management system (LMS).

Most, if not all classes at Penn will use a learning management system called Canvas. You can organize syllabus, assignment, discussion boards and many other types of information on Canvas. The makers of Canvas have created an introduction to getting started in the system, and an overview of Canvas guides to explore the many tools and integrations available within the Canvas environment.

Penn Libraries staff have created this guide that will give you an overview and introduce you to some of apps that are integrated for courses at Penn and a helpful guide to setting up your profile, using the Canvas calendar features, discussions and best practices for exams, assignments among other topics. If you are new to Canvas, you can start with this Course Design and Setup Guide.

Looking for a quick video introduction to Canvas? Take a look at events on the Penn Libraries Canvas training calendar or check out this four-minute video tour. If you have questions or issues that aren't covered in the overview materials, you can reach out to the Penn support team at


undefinedPanopto is a video creation and storage platform that integrates into Canvas which enables users to organize existing videos, record materials, perform inside-video searches, take quizzes, administer quizzes, and more.


undefinedPiazza is an anonymous question and answer tool that has been integrated into Canvas for courses taught in the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS), the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), and The Wharton School of Business.


VoiceThreadVoiceThread is an application designed for people to have discussions about shared digital media. The tool can be used both individually and collaboratively. VoiceThread allows users to combine images, video, text, and audio to enable multimedia conversations. Using the tool students can, among many things:

  • Collaborate asynchronously on class presentations.
  • Create a mixed-media portfolio of work.
  • Comment on peer work in a variety of ways (including text, audio, and video).
  • Collect and re-mix research for a range of audiences.

Voicethread is integrated into Canvas and provides an easy way for instructors and students to create, share, and provide feedback on a variety of audio, video, and text content. Each VoiceThread discussion consists of slides – just like a presentation – and each slide contains a piece of digital media, like an image, video, or document. These slides can be commented on by anyone with permission to access to the VoiceThread discussion. Users can share comments in many forms including audio, video, and writing. The tool also provides the option to “mark-up” digital media by highlighting and drawing on items in a shared slide.

Want more info about the types of projects you can do with VoiceThread?  You'll find some examples of  VoiceThread projects here.