Service Description 

Canvas is a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) developed by Instructure, Inc. Canvas provides a set of tools for teaching and learning allowing faculty to manage instructional workflows, communicate class requirements, share documents, manage assignments, assess student performance, distribute grades, support course collaboration and discussions. Canvas also offers the ability to integrate with many external tools. Canvas courses are linked to official U-M course rosters so course site access is automatically managed based on course enrollment.


Canvas is a university contracted-for service covered by the university’s agreement with Unizin. Canvas provides a secure environment in which to maintain or share share the university's sensitive unregulated data, as well as some—but not all—types of sensitive regulated data. All Canvas user data is stored in Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers.

While Canvas is secure, it does not comply with some specific regulatory and U-M policy requirements for certain types of sensitive regulated data. Data types that may not be maintained, shared, or processed in Canvas are:

  • Export Controlled Research. This is because Canvas cannot ensure that only U.S. persons have access to or maintain its systems.
  • Protected Health Information.This is because Canvas has not signed the necessary Business Associate Agreement mandated by HIPAA.
  • Credit Card or Payment Card Industry (PCI) Information. Credit or debit card numbers cannot be stored in any electronic format without the expressed, written consent of the U-M Treasurer's Office. That office is responsible for the only PCI-compliant environment at the university.
  • Data regulated by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). This is because Canvas does not have documentation or certification that demonstrates FISMA compliance.
  • Student Loan Application Information (GLBA). Canvas is not designed to store financial information related to student loan and financial aid applications.

Additional Resources 

Canvas at Michigan: Piloting a New Learning Management System. Provides news, support materials, event information, and feature changes related to using Canvas at the University of Michigan.