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Course Support Class Website

Web Site Features

Though UIT continues to provide maintenance support for this legacy Course Support System, the recommended learning management system (LMS) for Stanford is Canvas. Canvas is a cloud-based LMS that provides communication, collaboration, assessment, and course material storage features in one modern, easy-to-use interface. Stanford Center for Professional Development ensures that every current academic course is available in Canvas, and faculty and instructional staff may log in with SUNet IDs to explore the system and determine whether to publish the course site. For more information or assistance, visit

A Course Support class website can serve many purposes: you can use it to advertise your course, communicate and share materials with students (e.g., assignments, syllabi, video), and even assign and grade students’ work.

Following are the website services available with University IT Course Support:

Web Site Features and Characteristics Compared to Canvas

  University IT Course Support Canvas
How do students access the course web site? Each course has its own URL in the form “<name of your class>”. You can request a virtual host name (“vanity URL”) to make the URL shorter and easier to remember. Student logs in to, then selects the course name from those s/he is registered for.
Does it require a password? Not by default. You can request a restricted web directory that will allow part of your site to be protected by a SUNet ID and password. Yes. In addition, guest registration and login can be accommodated.
Can I make announcements? Not on the web site, but you can use the class email list for announcements. Yes. Announcements created in Canvas are available within the site and trigger automatic email and/or text notification to students, depending on preferences.
Can I control the layout of the course home page? Yes. No. Canvas displays your content within a standard framework but does provide several customizable options for selecting your course home page.
Can I include multimedia files? Yes, but you may need assistance from your ATS. Yes. Upload or link to your file or record video or audio within a Canvas course page.
Can I assign work and collect student responses on the web site? If you make a separate request to use Stanford’s CGI Service, you can create your own — or install off-the-shelf — web applications. Yes. Canvas provides tools for submitting assignments, posting to discussion boards, completing surveys, and signing up for groups and events .
Can I have online quizzes? If you make a separate request to use Stanford’s CGI Service, you can create your own — or install off-the-shelf — web forms. Yes. Canvas provides automatically-graded or essay response quizzing.
Is it integrated with the Registrar’s class list for secure access? Yes Yes
Can students self-register for my course web site? You control access; there is no need for self-registration. Yes. Students who register for a course are automatically added to the corresponding course site.
Can I have a course web site without learning HTML? Some familiarity with HTML — or use of an HTML editing program such as Dreamweaver — is required. Yes.
How do I upload content? You can use Secure FTP (see, or OpenAFS for Mac or Windows (see Essential Stanford Software). There are other methods, but these are the most common. Just follow the prompts in Canvas to drag-and-drop single or multiple files from your computer to your course or embed images, videos, or links from the web.
Last modified September 7, 2023