IDEA Courseware Team Support
Online assistance for Canvas and Learning Tools from Wharton Computing

About PennKeys

A PennKey is a University of Pennsylvania username for online authentication. Your PennKey and the password associated with it serve as your login credentials for Penn Canvas.

All users must have a PennKey to log in to Penn Canvas. This is a University of Pennsylvania policy, one for which we can't offer exceptions.

New PennKey

To get a new PennKey issued for a guest - someone with no prior affiliation with the University - please contact your department's IT representative (see table of contacts below) or write to You will want to begin this process well before access will be needed; we recommend at least a week.  Your department's IT representative is also the right contact for helping a new colleague obtain a PennKey.

We also strongly recommend that once a new PennKey is obtained, the user enrolls in PennKey Recovery Service (also known as "Challenge-Response") so that he or she may reset the PennKey online if the password is forgotten.  If you do not enroll in PennKey Recovery Service, it will make resetting a lost password far more difficult.

Penn Canvas doesn't always learn of new PennKeys, especially for people who aren't taking classes or teaching.  After a new PennKey has been created, please contact the Courseware Team and provide the following information so that we can establish the new user in Canvas:

  • first name
  • last name
  • email address
  • PennKey
  • PennID number

PennKey Reactivation

If you previously had a PennKey (eg, you're an alum), and you need it reactivated to gain access to a Canvas site, please see PennKey Contacts below.

PennKey Problems

If you've forgotten your PennKey or password, please refer to the PennKey website. If you are need further assistance, please see PennKey Contacts below.

PennKey Contacts

Resetting or testing a known PennKey
  • PennKey website (Recovery Service is located there)
Faculty and Staff
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