Integrating OneNote and Canvas: A Companion Piece to Shared Spaces

If you have read the recent CAT blog post by Anita McCauley and Lynne Yengulalp you may be excited to use OneNote as a digital whiteboard with your course.  However, there are a few setup steps that need to happen before you get started.  The Canvas and OneNote Class Notebook setup isn’t hard and we encourage you to walk through the process, however, always know that the ITGs and IS are here to support you with installing apps in Canvas and setting up OneNote. I’ve included links to support at the end of this post, as well as, this Google Drive handout that you can print.

The process includes 4 main steps:

  1. Installing OneNote Class Notebook App in Your Canvas Course
  2. Adding “Class Notebook” to Your Course Menu
  3. Setting Up Your Class Notebook via Canvas
  4. Adding Your Class Notebook to a Canvas Module

NOTE: Instructors can request OneNote be installed by going through the IS ticketing system and “Request Installation of an Additional Tool” in Common Requests.

Installing OneNote Class Notebook App in Your Canvas Course

  1. Log In to Canvas and select the course you are teaching. 
  2. In the Course Navigation menu, select “Settings” and then, across the top tabs, select “Apps”.  The OneNote app should display in your External Apps area.  Click on the “OneNote Class Notebook” link and follow the instructions for registering the LMS with OneNote. (When it asks you to “register a new LMS”, just create a name such as your course name and year and then “register”) You’ll need the Consumer Key and Shared Secret information that will be displayed at the end of the registration process.
    OneNote App installation page
    OneNote app installation
  3. Once you have the Consumer Key and Shared Secret, you’ll want to go back to Canvas and click on OneNote to “+ add app”. A dialog box will display and ask you for these items.  Add them and select “Add App”.
    Adding the Consumer Key and Shared Secret
  4. You should see that the OneNote app is now “installed”.
    Screen showing app is installed

Adding “Class Notebook” to Your Course Menu

This step will enable you to create a OneNote Class Notebook for your specific course and keep all of your digital whiteboard screens centrally located.

  1. You’ll need to add the Class Notebook to your Canvas course navigation. Go to “Settings > Navigation” and drag Class Notebook from the bottom, disabled menu to the top menu. Once you add it, select “Save”. If it’s not there immediately, close out of Settings and refresh your web browser. Then walk through these steps again.
    Canvas Navigation menu
  2. Go back to the Canvas Home page and click on Class Notebook.  You will be prompted to sign into Microsoft Office 365 and led through the creation of the Class Notebook where you will create and share your whiteboards with your class. Login using your WFU login credentials.
    Office365 login from Canvas

Setting Up Your Class Notebook via Canvas

  1. Since you will be walking through the process of creating your Class Notebook in Canvas, there a just a few settings to pay attention to in the process.  You’ll need to give your Notebook a name and then continue clicking “next” until you get to Step 4: Add Student Name. Make sure you leave this set to “automatically add students form your LMS as they access this notebook”.
    OneNote Notebook setup
  2. Move through the remaining steps and click, “Create”. You can now open OneNote in a new window and start creating whiteboards. Let’s stay in Canvas and I can show you how to add the Notebook you just created to a Canvas Module.

Adding Your Class Notebook to a Canvas Module

  1. In the module where you want your students to access the Class Notebook with your whiteboards, select the “+” and then select Add “external tool”. Scroll down until you see “Office365” and select it.
    Add External too option
  2.  When you select “Office365”, (a) a new dialog box will display with all of your Class Notebooks. (b) Select the name of the notebook you just created for your course. It will be located under “Class Notebooks”. Select your Notebook and then select, “Attach File”.  (c) You’ll return to the original Canvas external tool window. You should now see that the URL is linking to your class notebook adn that the Page Name is the same as the Class Notebook you selected. Select, “Add Item” to add to your course module.
    External Tool option
    Selecting new Notebook
    external tool added
  3. In your module, you should see a link to your Class Notebook.
    Class Notebook in Module
  4. When you click on the Class Notebook, you’ll see that the Notebook doesn’t display immediately. Click on the “Load in new window” button. Your notebook now displays in a new window or tab. This is how your students will access your whiteboard!
    Load in new window button


You are all set. You are now ready to create those amazing whiteboard spaces and have an easy way for students to access them through your Canvas course. Here is the handout where the images might be a bit clearer for you and you can easily print it out.

Want to learn more? Need support?  Your ITG’s can help you with all of the steps in this process, as well as, more on how to use OneNote Class Notebook.  If you are looking for more ways to use these tools effectively in your teaching, reach out to the Center for the Advancement in Teaching (CAT) or the Office of Online Education (OOE)