Adding a lab environment to a Canvas course module

After the Skytap integration for Canvas is installed, instructors can add Skytap lab environments to course modules. The lab environments are created from a defined Skytap template.


Before you begin

Create a Skytap template

Use Skytap to create a golden template for the lab environment. If someone within your organization manages your environments, this may be already done for you.

As you prepare the template:

  • Check that any sharing portals have been properly configured to provide the correct level of access to the environment. If no sharing portals are defined, the application will create a sharing portal with use permissions for each VM. Use permissions allow students to interact with the VM, but not start, stop, or suspend it.
  • Remove any sharing portals that you do not want displayed to students.
  • Review Best practices for preparing student VMs.

Add Skytap credentials in the course settings

This step may be optional. Work with your Canvas administrator to determine whether you need to add Skytap credentials in the course settings. These credentials are used to create lab environments for modules within the course.

To add credentials
  1. Navigate to the course you want to edit.

  2. Click Skytap.
  3. The Skytap configuration page loads.

    Enter the username and API key for your Skytap user account. The user must have access to the templates the lab environments will be created from. To locate your username and API key (also called an API security token), see Finding your username and API security token.

  4. Click Submit.

Add a lab environment to a module

  1. Navigate to the course you want to edit.

  2. Click Modules. canvas course modules
  3. (Optional) Click + Module to create a new module; skip this step if you already have a module you want to add the lab environment to.
  4. Next to the module name, click +.
  5. The Add Item to…. dialog displays. Select External Tool from the Add drop-down menu. canvas module item
  6. Click the name of the Skytap application.

    The Link Resource from External Tool dialog displays. canvas module, link resource

    In this dialog:

    1. Enter the Template ID number for the Skytap template you want to create lab environments from. For instructions, see To find the ID for a template.
    2. Select from the following environment cleanup options:
      • Do not automatically delete environment.
      • Delete environment after time elapsed. Select a time period of up to 24 hours, days, or weeks from the time the environment is created.
      • Delete environment on a specific date. Set a deletion date and time.
    3. Click Submit.
  7. (Optional) Provide a custom Page Name. This name is visible to students as the module item name.

    Do not edit the URL. Changing the URL could break the module item.

  8. Click Add Item.

If your students need to use the same lab environment over the course of several modules, add a separate lab environment item to each module. Configure the module items so that they have the exact same settings (same template ID, page name, deletion settings, etc.). After the student creates the environment in the first module, subsequent module items will display the access link(s) for the environment that has already been created.

Additional information

When students are ready to use the environment, they click Create lab within the module item.

canvas unstarted module

The Skytap integration for Canvas creates the lab environment, runs it, and provides student access via a sharing portal. If the environment has a single VM, the access link provides direct access to the VM desktop via the SRA browser client.

canvase module in progress

Within Skytap, the student lab environment name includes the template name, the student’s name, and the student’s Canvas ID number.


  • If the module item displays a Couldn’t find valid settings for this link error message, it is likely missing a template ID. Delete the misconfigured module item and repeat the steps in Add a lab environment to a module to re-add the module item.
  • If the Skytap integration for Canvas cannot provision the lab due to an error, the student is prompted to retry the process.