Canvas & Integrated Teaching Tools

The McGraw Center aims to ensure that Canvas and the educational technologies that integrate with it serve the evolving needs of students and faculty. We hope that the Canvas ecosystem will be a space for experimentation, play, and innovation, as well as for course communication and management, assessment, and grading.

One of the advantages of the configuration of Canvas at Princeton is that a number of other teaching and learning tools--including social annotation tools, discussion tools, and multimedia tools—seamlessly integrate with it (an overview of current integrations can be found in the Canvas Field Guide.) Faculty can feel confident that these integrations have been thoroughly vetted with respect to security, data privacy, accessibility, etc. There are no fees for faculty or students when using current Canvas integrations, and they are fully supported by OIT’s technical team as well as the McGraw Center’s instructional design team.

To ensure that the Canvas ecosystem stays both dynamic and manageable, we will retire tools that no longer serve Princeton faculty’s needs. The Teaching Tool Governance Board, consisting of members from the McGraw Center, OIT and the Graduate School, oversees the process of adopting, managing, and retiring integrations with Canvas.

We follow these steps to adopt and retire learning tools:

Onboarding new integrations

  1. Identify an educational need/gap. In some cases, the McGraw Center will identify the need for a new integration, but faculty or departments can also request that we integrate a tool they are familiar with or identify a teaching need they have that a technology tool might help to meet. If you have a request for a new integration, please direct it to one of McGraw’s instructional designers or
  2. Information gathering and vetting. If we determine to move forward with a request, the McGraw Center will take some or all of the following steps:
    1. Determine which educational tool might best serve the teaching need in question.
    2. Set up a demonstration of the product with the vendor, test and explore the product. Evaluate documentation, peer experiences and usage of the tool, vendor support, etc.
    3. Evaluate cost. The McGraw Center does not have a separate budget for educational technologies, but relies on the partnership with OIT for funds. Request an Architecture and Security Review (ASR). The ASR board assesses whether a product is compatible with the University’s information security architecture, security, compliance, accessibility and privacy principles. More information about the ASR process can be found here.
  3. Assessment of pedagogical value. The McGraw Center will evaluate whether the proposed tool can align with active teaching principles or support other pedagogical goals.
  4. Review by the Teaching Tool Governance Board. The board might recommend a pilot of the tool, its adoption, or that we do not move forward with an integration.
  5. Run pilot. On the recommendation of the governance board, the McGraw Center will define the goals of and run a pilot in a limited number of courses. A pilot is not a guarantee that the tool will be adopted on a more permanent basis.


Supporting and retiring existing integrations

  1. Vendor meetings. To ensure that we provide effective support and are informed of upcoming product updates, the McGraw Center meets with each vendor at least once every semester.
  2. Training sessions and support. The McGraw Center’s instructional designers have the expertise to provide training and support for each of the teaching tools that integrate with Canvas. In some cases, we will partner with the vendor to offer training sessions. OIT’s learning management group will provide technical support for Canvas and its integrations.
  3. Retiring learning tools. The Governance Board will review existing learning tools on an annual basis. The following considerations will be taken into account when determining whether a tool should be retired. Vendor/product changes Overall usage at Princeton Cost and changes to contract terms