Canvas Dashboard Course Scanning

Screenshot of Course dashboard with scan status

Scanning is how Pope Tech finds accessibility issues on courses.

Most of the time your course is scanned automatically whenever it’s updated.

You can view the status of any automatic or manual ongoing scan, when the last scan happened, or manually rescan the course from your Pope Tech Accessibility Course Dashboard.

How Pope Tech scans Canvas course content

When Pope Tech scans your course, there are two parts to the scan:

  1. First, we sync the content, which means we find all the content blocks.
  2. Next is the actual scan, or accessibility evaluation of the content.

When Pope Tech is installed, usually your institution runs a sync and scan for the current term(s) courses. After this initial sync, most scanning happens automatically on enabled courses using Canvas Live Events. A Canvas Live Event just means when a course is updated.

However, if Canvas doesn’t notify Pope Tech of a change to content, a course can be manually rescanned from the course dashboard.

What Last event, Last scan, and Progress means

In the top right corner of the Course Dashboard is the Last Scan widget. Use the Refresh button to update the information without refreshing the entire page.

You can see the Last event, Last scan, and Progess in the widget.

Last event

Last event is the last time Canvas notified Pope Tech that content was updated, added, or deleted for that course. In the example above, the last event reported to Pope Tech was on March 10, 2023.

If a course hasn’t been updated after the initial course scan, this would be blank.

Occasionally, this notification is delayed or Canvas doesn’t notify Pope Tech. To fix this, you can do a manual rescan following the instructions below.

Last scan

Last scan is the last time any scan was completed for the current course. When Pope Tech scans a course, it’ll check the last edited timestamp of the content and only rescan if the content has changed.


Progress only shows if a scan is currently in progress. A scan in progress will either be Syncing or Scanning.


Syncing means Pope Tech is finding all content blocks. Threre are two syncing statuses:

  1. Syncing (queued position #) – This is the first syncing status. The course is queued for scanning with the indicated queue number.
  2. Syncing – This means the course is currently syncing. When it has found all the content blocks, the progress will change to Scanning.


Scanning means Pope Tech is performing the accessibility evaluation on the content. There are three scanning statuses:

  1. Scanning (waiting) – This is the first scanning status. After a page is updated, Pope Tech waits a few minutes to see if any other pages are updated to combine them in one scan.
  2. Scanning (queued position #) – After the waiting period, the course is added to the Scanning queue with the indicated queue number.
  3. Scanning (# of #) – When the scan is in progress, the widget indicates how many content blocks have already been scanned.

Rescan a course

You can only rescan a course when a scan isn’t in progress.

To rescan a course, select the Rescan button at the top of the Content Blocks table.

screenshot of content blocks table with text above that says Missing course data? and a Rescan button

Most of the time, you won’t need to rescan a course manually. But, occasionally, Canvas won’t notify Pope Tech of an update, and a Rescan will sync your content blocks and scan any updated content that has changed.

After selecting Rescan, you can track the progress in the Last Scan widget at the top of the Course Dashboard.

Enabling a course

If a course wasn’t enabled as part of the initial sync or automatically enabled when added after the initial sync, you can enable the course and run the first scan to view your course’s accessibility data.

Screenshot of a course with a message that says, course not enabled

If this happens, there’ll be a green Enable and Scan button when you go to your Course Dashboard.

After selecting Enable and Scan, Pope Tech starts the first scan.

If you don’t have this option, it’s turned off for your account, and a Canvas Admin must enable the course from the Admin Pope Tech LTI settings.

Related resources

Looking for more? Here’s Pope Tech’s Canvas Documentation for the Accessibility Guide and Dashboards.