The University-supported Learning Management System (LMS) at WPI is currently Canvas by Instructure. This policy is intended to ensure the integrity of the data contained within the University-supported LMS and compliance with existing WPI policies related to intellectual property as well as state and federal laws such as FERPA. The following policy was approved by the WPI Faculty on May 8, 2018.


This policy applies to all instructors, students, staff and others who use the University-supported LMS for academic coursework. The "managing unit" for the University-supported LMS is Information Technology Services, specifically the Academic Technology Center.


The LMS Use and Operation

  • Use of the LMS is optional and is not required by instructors.
  • All courses with a course registration number in the student information system (SIS) automatically have LMS sites created for them. Sites for projects categorized as IQP, MQP, PQP, ISP, SUFF, ISG, THES, DR, PHD in the SIS are not automatically created though they can be requested by filling out the LMS Activation form.
  • Students will only see the LMS course site after it is enabled by the instructor.
  • All users of the LMS must adhere to the WPI Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
  • Each user is responsible for the accuracy, integrity and legality of the content that he or she uploads to the LMS.

User Management and Access

  • The WPI user account provides access to the LMS for all instructors, students and staff.
    • Consortium students officially enrolled in WPI courses have a WPI user account.
    • Students who are making up an Incomplete, but are not presently enrolled in any courses (thus their account has been deactivated) must work with the Registrar to reactivate their status.
  • Roles available in the LMS are defined in the LMS Policy Definition.
  • The teacher role in LMS courses corresponds directly with the Instructor of Record as assigned by the Registrar's Office.
    • Instructors shall be allowed to have a test student account.
  • If the gradebook function is being used, students who are officially enrolled in a course may not have a role in that same LMS course site that enables their access to the course site gradebook.
  • Students who are auditing a course must officially register the audit through the Registrar's Office. Their LMS site enrollment will then come through automatically via the SIS.
  • Access to course site content is limited only to those officially enrolled in or teaching the course, unless access to the site is permitted by the Instructor, or their designee (e.g., a TA for the course). To facilitate this, an e-mail request to canvashelp@wpi.edu is required and must include the name and e-mail address of the designee and the duration of that status. Available levels of access are described in the LMS Policy Definition.
  • Guest Accounts can be created for testing purposes or for users who are not otherwise authorized to have official WPI computing accounts or have no need for WPI resources accessed by a WPI computing account. To facilitate this, an e-mail request to canvashelp@wpi.edu is required and must include the name and e-mail address of the person that needs a guest account, the course number, and the course role access level they need.
  • Students may be restricted from accessing the LMS due to academic or financial holds. In such cases, the restriction may be overridden by the managing unit at the sole direction of the Registrar.

Content Management and Access

  • The WPI Intellectual Property Policy dictates the ownership of teaching and other course materials.
  • The term course site is defined in the LMS Policy Definition.
  • Course Site Size Limitation: the default course site size limit is 1 gigabyte. This does not include student assignments and discussion board attachments. Course quotas can be increased on a per-course basis as needed by submitting a written request to canvashelp@wpi.edu.
    • Large documents that are reused from year-to-year should be posted in the user account-level Files area and linked within course sites. These files will not use up course quotas. The managing unit will assist with posting multimedia files to the streaming media server.
    • In master courses with multiple sections, the default 1GB size limit includes all sections. The managing unit will monitor quotas for large-enrollment or master courses and increase as needed.
  • Course Retention: Course sites will be maintained for six academic years on the active database server.
    • Concluded courses include student assignments.
    • Course retention policies will be re-evaluated any time a significant version change of the current LMS is installed or a different LMS is selected by the LMS Evaluation Subcommittee convened by the Academic Computing Policy Working Group (ACPWG).
  • Copying Course Materials: Instructors using the LMS must use the new course shell created each term. Instructors are able to copy materials from one course to another as long as the older course is still available on the LMS server by using the "Import Content into this Course" or "Export/Import Course Content" features.
  • The LMS system administrators may use the "become" emulator tool which allows them to enter any username and emulate that individual for troubleshooting purposes. This use is covered under the WPI Code of Conduct for IT Administrators.

System Maintenance, Outages and Upgrades

  • The managing unit will notify users of any planned outages of the LMS that occur outside of the posted weekly downtime.
  • The managing unit will respond to unplanned outages to provide updates concerning the resumption of services as quickly as possible.
  • The managing unit will oversee communication efforts to announce upgrades, and bug fixes when appropriate (e.g. when a bug is resolved or when there is a significant change to how a tool or feature is accessed/used).


CITP will periodically review this policy.


Comments or questions, email canvashelp@wpi.edu.