Using developer keys to integrate with Canvas

Last updated: August 15, 2022

Developer Keys

Developer keys provide developers the ability to build an application that can access the Canvas application program interface (API) as the user (e.g., the student or the teacher), using an authorization technology called oauth. For example, an instructor might build an external learning activity tool that offers features not found in Canvas, but this tool also sends the students’ scores back to the Canvas gradebook. When a student uses this learning activity tool, they will be prompted to authorize the tool to access their Canvas account in order to save the score.

Canvas also has an open API that developers can access. If a school, college, or department is developing a programmatic integration with Canvas that requires API Access, please contact to arrange a consultation with the UW-IT service manager and engineers.

Vendor Developer Keys  

If a school, college, or department is working with a vendor on a programmatic integration with Canvas that requires a developer key, UW-IT requires a signed contract that includes a data security and privacy agreement before a developer key will be issued. More details available in the UW LMS Vendor Integration Program documentation.

UW Employee or UW Org Unit Developer Keys

Any UW employee, or school, college, or department developing a programmatic integration with Canvas can request a developer key. Before a developer key can be issued, the individual or representative of the department must complete the Internal Data Sharing MOU describing the scope and purpose of the integration. Please contact for more information. 

Student Access to Developer Keys

Students who are learning about web application development, online learning pedagogy, and learning analytics, among other subjects, often request access to the Canvas API.  Unfortunately, students cannot access the API, as it contains confidential information about their peers, which is protected under federal and state regulations.  UW-IT is working on creating a Canvas sandbox for student use.