Tutorial: Azure Active Directory integration with Canvas LMS

In this tutorial, you learn how to integrate Canvas with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

Integrating Canvas with Azure AD provides you with the following benefits:

  • You can control in Azure AD who has access to Canvas
  • You can enable your users to automatically get signed-on to Canvas (Single Sign-On) with their Azure AD accounts
  • You can manage your accounts in one central location - the Azure portal

If you want to know more details about SaaS app integration with Azure AD, see what is application access and single sign-on with Azure Active Directory.

Prerequisites

To configure Azure AD integration with Canvas, you need the following items:

  • An Azure AD subscription
  • A Canvas single-sign on enabled subscription

Note

To test the steps in this tutorial, we do not recommend using a production environment.

To test the steps in this tutorial, you should follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use your production environment, unless it is necessary.
  • If you don't have an Azure AD trial environment, you can get a one-month trial here.

Scenario description

In this tutorial, you test Azure AD single sign-on in a test environment. The scenario outlined in this tutorial consists of two main building blocks:

  1. Adding Canvas from the gallery
  2. Configuring and testing Azure AD single sign-on

To configure the integration of Canvas into Azure AD, you need to add Canvas from the gallery to your list of managed SaaS apps.

To add Canvas from the gallery, perform the following steps:

  1. In the Azure portal, on the left navigation panel, click Azure Active Directory icon.

    Active Directory

  2. Navigate to Enterprise applications. Then go to All applications.

    Applications

  3. To add new application, click New application button on the top of dialog.

    Applications

  4. In the search box, type Canvas.

    Creating an Azure AD test user

  5. In the results panel, select Canvas, and then click Add button to add the application.

    Creating an Azure AD test user

Configuring and testing Azure AD single sign-on

In this section, you configure and test Azure AD single sign-on with Canvas based on a test user called "Britta Simon."

For single sign-on to work, Azure AD needs to know what the counterpart user in Canvas is to a user in Azure AD. In other words, a link relationship between an Azure AD user and the related user in Canvas needs to be established.

In Canvas, assign the value of the user name in Azure AD as the value of the Username to establish the link relationship.

To configure and test Azure AD single sign-on with Canvas, you need to complete the following building blocks:

  1. Configuring Azure AD Single Sign-On - to enable your users to use this feature.
  2. Creating an Azure AD test user - to test Azure AD single sign-on with Britta Simon.
  3. Creating a Canvas test user - to have a counterpart of Britta Simon in Canvas that is linked to the Azure AD representation of user.
  4. Assigning the Azure AD test user - to enable Britta Simon to use Azure AD single sign-on.
  5. Testing Single Sign-On - to verify whether the configuration works.

Configuring Azure AD single sign-on

In this section, you enable Azure AD single sign-on in the Azure portal and configure single sign-on in your Canvas application.

To configure Azure AD single sign-on with Canvas, perform the following steps:

  1. In the Azure portal, on the Canvas application integration page, click Single sign-on.

    Configure Single Sign-On

  2. On the Single sign-on dialog, select Mode as SAML-based Sign-on to enable single sign-on.

    Configure Single Sign-On

  3. On the Canvas Domain and URLs section, perform the following steps:

    Configure Single Sign-On

    a. In the Sign-on URL textbox, type a URL using the following pattern: https://<tenant-name>.instructure.com

    b. In the Identifier textbox, type the value using the following pattern: https://<tenant-name>.instructure.com/saml2

    Note

    These values are not real. Update these values with the actual Sign-On URL and Identifier. Contact Canvas Client support team to get these values.

  4. On the SAML Signing Certificate section, copy the THUMBPRINT value of certificate.

    Configure Single Sign-On

  5. Click Save button.

    Configure Single Sign-On

  6. On the Canvas Configuration section, click Configure Canvas to open Configure sign-on window. Copy the Change Password URL, Sign-Out URL, SAML Entity ID, and SAML Single Sign-On Service URL from the Quick Reference section.

    Configure Single Sign-On

  7. In a different web browser window, log in to your Canvas company site as an administrator.

  8. Go to Courses > Managed Accounts > Microsoft.

    Canvas

  9. In the navigation pane on the left, select Authentication, and then click Add New SAML Config.

    Authentication

  10. On the Current Integration page, perform the following steps:

    Current Integration

    a. In IdP Entity ID textbox, paste the value of SAML Entity ID which you have copied from Azure portal.

    b. In Log On URL textbox, paste the value of SAML Single Sign-On Service URL which you have copied from Azure portal .

    c. In Log Out URL textbox, paste the value of Sign-Out URL which you have copied from Azure portal.

    d. In Change Password Link textbox, paste the value of Change Password URL which you have copied from Azure portal.

    e. In Certificate Fingerprint textbox, paste the Thumbprint value of certificate which you have copied from Azure portal.

    f. From the Login Attribute list, select NameID.

    g. From the Identifier Format list, select emailAddress.

    h. Click Save Authentication Settings.

Tip

You can now read a concise version of these instructions inside the Azure portal, while you are setting up the app! After adding this app from the Active Directory > Enterprise Applications section, simply click the Single Sign-On tab and access the embedded documentation through the Configuration section at the bottom. You can read more about the embedded documentation feature here: Azure AD embedded documentation

Creating an Azure AD test user

The objective of this section is to create a test user in the Azure portal called Britta Simon.

Create Azure AD User

To create a test user in Azure AD, perform the following steps:

  1. In the Azure portal, on the left navigation pane, click Azure Active Directory icon.

    Creating an Azure AD test user

  2. To display the list of users, go to Users and groups and click All users.

    Creating an Azure AD test user

  3. To open the User dialog, click Add on the top of the dialog.

    Creating an Azure AD test user

  4. On the User dialog page, perform the following steps:

    Creating an Azure AD test user

    a. In the Name textbox, type BrittaSimon.

    b. In the User name textbox, type the email address of BrittaSimon.

    c. Select Show Password and write down the value of the Password.

    d. Click Create.

Creating a Canvas test user

To enable Azure AD users to log in to Canvas, they must be provisioned into Canvas.

In case of Canvas, user provisioning is a manual task.

To provision a user account, perform the following steps:

  1. Log in to your Canvas tenant.

  2. Go to Courses > Managed Accounts > Microsoft.

    Canvas

  3. Click Users.

    Users

  4. Click Add New User.

    Users

  5. On the Add a New User dialog page, perform the following steps:

    Add User

    a. In the Full Name textbox, enter the name of user like BrittaSimon.

    b. In the Email textbox, enter the email of user like brittasimon@contoso.com.

    c. In the Login textbox, enter the user’s Azure AD email address like brittasimon@contoso.com.

    d. Select Email the user about this account creation.

    e. Click Add User.

Note

You can use any other Canvas user account creation tools or APIs provided by Canvas to provision AAD user accounts.

Assigning the Azure AD test user

In this section, you enable Britta Simon to use Azure single sign-on by granting access to Canvas.

Assign User

To assign Britta Simon to Canvas, perform the following steps:

  1. In the Azure portal, open the applications view, and then navigate to the directory view and go to Enterprise applications then click All applications.

    Assign User

  2. In the applications list, select Canvas.

    Configure Single Sign-On

  3. In the menu on the left, click Users and groups.

    Assign User

  4. Click Add button. Then select Users and groups on Add Assignment dialog.

    Assign User

  5. On Users and groups dialog, select Britta Simon in the Users list.

  6. Click Select button on Users and groups dialog.

  7. Click Assign button on Add Assignment dialog.

Testing single sign-on

In this section, you test your Azure AD single sign-on configuration using the Access Panel.

When you click the Canvas tile in the Access Panel, you should get automatically signed-on to your Canvas application. For more information about the Access Panel, see Introduction to the Access Panel.

Additional resources