GLOW Intro (faculty)


GLOW (Canvas) is Williams’ learning management system, a suite of integrated tools for online learning and interaction. All academic courses (and many other campus programs) have GLOW spaces. A GLOW course can help faculty streamline how they provide course materials, communicate and interact with students, and collect and grade assignments, among many other possibilities. Custom applications can be readily integrated into your GLOW course as well.

Most courses are created automatically in GLOW based on the information in the Registrar’s system, including conferences, lab sections and independent studies. GLOW synchronizes with the Registrar’s system daily to update course enrollments.

  • Log In: Log in to GLOW at with your Williams username (e.g. abc1) and password. Upon login, your Dashboard will likely already display your current courses. To access the list of ALL your GLOW courses (past, current, and future), use the Courses > All Courses link path from the Global Navigation menu, as in the screenshot below.

    screenshot highlighting the "All Courses" link on the GLOW dashboard.
    Click Courses > All Courses in the Global Navigation menu for your complete course list.

    Publishing: Students cannot enter a GLOW course (even if they’re enrolled) until the faculty member publishes it. You can publish your course in 1 of 2 ways: use the Publish button on the course tile on your Dashboard, or use the Course Status toggle button on your course Home Page.

    Design: Your GLOW course uses a default design template that shows students the Modules Index as the Home Page, with a subset of visible options on the left (in the Course Navigation menu). While this default design is useful, faculty have significant latitude to customize how students navigate the GLOW space. Your department’s Academic Technology Consultant can be an excellent partner in implementing your specific pedagogical designs in the GLOW environment.

  • OIT provides guides to the many specific features of GLOW, which we hope you’ll find useful. This page focuses on a quick start with 4 of the most common functions many faculty prioritize in using their GLOW course: the course syllabus; communicating with students; providing digital materials; and collecting submitted assignments.

    • Syllabus: Building a dynamic web page for your syllabus, instead of using a static file, can make updating simple instead of tedious. The GLOW Syllabus page includes a Course Summary table, which automatically lists chronologically all items in your course which have a due-date. Use the Edit button to compose your syllabus content, then click the Update Syllabus button below.
    • Announcements: The quickest way to share time-sensitive information to all your enrolled students at once. Use the +Announcement button, compose your subject and message, then click the Publish button below. All enrolled students immediately receive your message at their email addresses, and the Announcement remains archived in GLOW as well.
    • Modules: Upload and thematically organize the materials students need, regardless of type: files, assignments, pages, media, external sites, and more. Use the +Module button to create a new (empty) Module, then drag-and-drop files, or use the + icon in the Module’s title bar to start adding different types of content. (Make sure to publish items you’ve added.) Our Modules guide provides much more in-depth detail and options.
    • Assignments: Use the +Assignment button to create a new Assignment. Compose the title and instructions; specify a point value and submission type (document, media, etc.); enter a due date; then click the Save & Publish button below. Student submissions are collected in SpeedGrader, where you can read them directly online (no downloading required), and can annotate, leave comments, and enter grades immediately on the same screen with each submission. Our Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions guides provide much more in-depth detail and options.