Managing and Sharing Content in Canvas Commons

In this article

Canvas Commons is an institutional repository (digital library) that enables the University of Maryland (UMD) community to share, find, and import learning objects and instructional resources. A preview feature facilitates a limited view of content before one imports it into an ELMS-Canvas course space. The Canvas Commons platform can be accessed from the Commons link on the global menu in ELMS-Canvas.

Who can access content in Canvas Commons?

The Canvas Commons link is visible to individuals with the following roles at the university or in an ELMS-Canvas course space:

While students generally do not see the Commons link on the global menu, those who have one of the roles noted above in an ELMS-Canvas term-based course or organization space will see the Commons link and be able to share or import content.


Authorizing access to your Commons Environment

The first time you click on the Commons link, you will be presented with an authorization screen. Click on the Authorize button to proceed in your use of the Commons environment. This screen is only presented once.


What permissions can be associated with Canvas Commons content?

A content owner can choose to share an object with anyone affiliated with UMD, with a predefined group or with him or herself. (Currently, the UMD Canvas Commons community can find learning objects placed in Commons by individuals at other Canvas institutions, but the ability to put UMD content in the public domain has not been enabled.)

Groups provide a means for managing or constraining who can preview, share or import course content. Groups can be created at the college, department or program level, but require administration. A group manager is responsible for enrolling individuals in the group. Requests for group administration can be made through the IT Service Catalog or by sending an email to with the Subject line: Request for Canvas Commons group administration.


What can be shared to Canvas Commons?

The Commons repository houses fully developed courses, course templates, assignments, pages, modules, quizzes, announcements, discussions and files (see Supported Document and Media Files).

NOTE: Shared content should not contain links to external tools such as TurnitIn or publisher content as these learning tool interoperabilities don't convey with the template.

NOTE: If an employee leaves the university and their Canvas Commons resources need to be transferred to another employee, then the employee should email to request that the resources be transferred.

The DIT, LTS team has developed a set of ELMS-Canvas course templates that can be imported from Canvas Commons into an existing ELMS-Canvas course space. See the Course Templates service catalog entry for details.


Resources on Canvas Commons

For more details on Canvas Commons, review the resources below: