Canvas has a number of features to help you stay up to date on course activity.
Found in the Dashboard, the Global Activity Stream displays recent activity from all of your courses including announcements, discussions, assignments, and conversations. This stream is separate from but similar to the Course Activity Stream found in individual courses.
To display the list of recent activity, you may need to change the view in your dashboard by clicking on the gear icon and choosing "Recent Activity" instead of "Course Cards."
The To Do list and Coming Up sections are also found in the Dashboard's sidebar and help keep you informed of impending assignments and events in all of your courses.
For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Dashboard, Global Activity Stream, and To Do list in the sidebar, visit: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10460#jive_content_id_Global_Navigation
Canvas includes a set of default notification preferences you can receive for your courses. You can change the default settings and receive alerts about your course when (immediately, or in a daily or weekly summary) and where (by email, text, or social media) you want. Notification settings apply to all of your courses; you cannot change settings for individual courses.
For step-by-step-instructions on how to set your notification preferences visit the articles under "Profile and User Settings:" https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10460#jive_content_id_Profile_and_User_Settings