Canvas Time Zone Reminder

SMU’s schedule of classes must be held at the same schedule time as the class is held on the physical SMU campus.  All class start times and end times will continue to be on Central Standard Time (CST).

  • Students who live in time zones other than SMU’s Central Standard Time (CST) should adjust time-zone settings within Canvas
  • Students who are in Canvas courses where faculty use Zoom’s in-Canvas integration should adjust time-zone settings within Canvas’ Zoom integration

For more Canvas Time Zone information, please review the frequently asked questions below.

Courses in my.SMU and Canvas follow the master class schedule and are reflected in Central Standard Time (CST). Any synchronous course sessions and activities/assignments should flow from the master class schedule in CST—especially to avoid conflicts or overlap with other course sessions.

In Canvas, you can set your own time zone; this means that Canvas dates are localized to display to you in your local time zone. For instance, an CST instructor sets a due date for 11:59 p.m. A student in the course on the West coast, who set their time zone preferences, will see the assignment as due at 9:59 p.m.

For more information, please see How do I set a time zone in my user account as a student?

There are a few potential problems with time zones in a course:

  1. A student in a different time zone has to turn in the assignment at a different time for them to avoid the assignment being late.
  2. An assignment or activity uses the availability features of Canvas, so a student could be locked out of an activity at an earlier time in their time zone.
  3. Zoom’s “In-Canvas” integration defaults to Pacific Time and students must manually adjust this setting.

All due dates should be set to 11:59 p.m. (CST). The due dates are just a guide for students to ensure that their work is turned in on time. As long as an availability date isn’t set, an assignment can be turned in late. If an assignment is turned in after the due date in Canvas, it will make a note in SpeedGrader that it was late.

SMU online courses typically allow instructors the discretion to give students until 11:59 p.m. in their local time zone to turn in an assignment without penalty. If a student on the West coast turns in an assignment at 11:59 p.m., Canvas will show it as being turned in at 1:59 a.m. (CST) the next day. SpeedGrader will inform you that the assignment was turned in late.

We suggest that you do not change the due dates for assignments after students have been enrolled, as it becomes confusing for all parties.

If you are scheduling Zoom sessions through Canvas, your students will need to manually click Zoom (in the Canvas interface) and edit their settings to the correct time zone

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Academic Technology Service Director for your school or the IT Help Desk at or 214-768-HELP (4357).