Canvas: Tips and Troubleshooting

Tool by tool in alphabetical order

Analytics

It is necessary to hide grade distribution graphs from students. Canvas courses include analytics that show the distribution of student grades for each assignment. Because students, as well as instructors, can see* the high, low, and mean grades, it may be possible for them to figure out the grades of classmates in very small classes.

To protect student privacy, we recommend that in very small classes, e.g., <10 students, you hide this feature from students. To do this:

  1. While in your course site, click Settings at the bottom of the left-hand navigation.
  2. Click more options, which is at the bottom of the “Course Details” page. (Just above the Update Course Details button.)
  3. Check the box next to “Hide grade distribution graphs from students.”
  4. Click Update Course Details.

* If not hidden, students can view grade distribution graphs by clicking their own grade to the right of an assignment.

Read more about Analytics.

Announcements

  • There are no section-specific Announcements.
  • Students manage their own notification preferences, which can include auto-blocking messages sent from Canvas. If you are concerned that some may have opted out of receiving announcement notifications you want to send an email to students, you can use the Inbox feature in the upper-right corner of the screen to send an email to all students. In addition, the MCommunity Directory automatically creates a Google Email Group for your course. A nice side benefit is that this group can also be used to share Google docs with your entire course. Read more about Google email groups.
  • Creating a delayed announcement
  • You can get an immediate confirmation that you sent out an announcement or assignment.
  1. Click Account in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click Notifications.
  3. Hover over the area to the far right of Announcements Created by You and choose the checkmark.
  4. Choose the checkmark to the right of Due Date if you want a confirmation that you sent an Assignment out.

Read more about notification preferences.

Read more about Announcements.

Assignments

  • Students sometimes need to scroll down to view comments from the instructor. You may want to remind your students about this.
  • Students are able to resubmit assignments until the Available Until date, even past the due date or after the instructor grades it.
  • There is no “draft mode”.
  • Resubmitted Assignments stack with previously submitted.
  • Students who do not submit an assignment by the "Accept Until" date can no longer see that assignment.
  • Students need to click "Submit Assignment" before they can enter their assignment content.
  • When an Assignment is “un-muted”, a notification is pushed to students, with no way for the instructor to opt out.
  • Non-Canvas-administered Assignment data can be uploaded via csv directly to Assignments by first downloading a blank csv from Grades, then using Grades/Settings/Upload Grades csv.
  • Canvas has several different assignment submission types, including rich text, file upload, media recording, and Box.com. While students can submit only one type of assignment at a time, they can submit an assignment more than once.

     

    For example, if your assignment requires both an uploaded file and a media recording, your students can upload a file the first time they submit the assignment and then resubmit the assignment with a media recording. (You would enable both submission types when you create the assignment.)

    Note that students can also use the comment feature to include additional information with assignment submissions.

  • You can get an immediate confirmation that you sent out an announcement or assignment.
  1. Click Account in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click Notifications.
  3. Hover over the area to the far right of Announcements Created by You and choose the checkmark.
  4. Choose the checkmark to the right of Due Date if you want a confirmation that you sent an Assignment out.

Read more about Notification Preferences.

Read more about Assignments.

Crocodoc

  • It is possible for your students to print submitted assignments with annotations that you've made using Crocodoc in Speedgrader.

To do this, a student should choose Submission Details and then click View Feedback. When the annotated document opens, he or she should click the download icon and choose Download annotated PDF. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the PDF. Mac users can also use the Mac Preview application.

Read more about Crocodoc.

Files

  • It is not possible to create an item in Files that is simply a link, which you could do in CTools. However, there are a few workarounds for this.
  • CTools Resources lose their metadata when copied to Canvas Files.

Read more about Files.

Groups

  • Instructors who create groups should check for new students enrolling in the course until the drop/add period is over. Students added to the course during the drop/add period must be manually added to any previously created groups.

Read more about Groups.

Grades and Gradebook

  • CTools “Gradebook Categories” maps to Canvas “Assignment Groups.” More on assignment groups.
  • Students are automatically notified of their assignment grades: Instructors cannot schedule the release of grades for a future date. You can mute the assignment to prevent this behavior.

Read more about Grades and the Gradebook.

Home Page

Changing your Home Page

  • In July 2017, Canvas changed the course default home page to encourage the use of Modules.
  • Previously, the default home page was the Course Activity Stream page. 
  • To change your home page from Modules, follow the instructions here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10458-4152724499

Modules

  • If a page is used in more than one module and one of the modules is not published, students will see the page title but they will not be able to open that page in a module that is published.
  • Canvas Modules that are migrated from Lesson Builder will automatically be published in Canvas
  • A file that is included in both a published Module and an unpublished Module will be invisible to students in both.

Read more about Modules.

Notifications

  • Students manage their own notification preferences, which can include auto-blocking messages sent from Canvas. If you are concerned that some may have opted out of receiving announcement notifications you want to send an email to students, you can use the Inbox feature in the upper-right corner of the screen to send an email to all students. In addition, the MCommunity Directory automatically creates an MCommunity Google Email Group for your course. A nice side benefit is that this group can also be used to share Google docs with your entire course. More on course groups.
  • You can get an immediate confirmation that you sent out an announcement or assignment.
  1. Click Account in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click Notifications.
  3. Hover over the area to the far right of Announcements Created by You and choose the checkmark.
  4. Choose the checkmark to the right of Due Date if you want a confirmation that you sent an Assignment out.

Read more about Notification Preferences.

Pages

  • Changing the name of a Page reverts it to unpublished.

Read more about Pages.

Printing

  • It is possible for your students to print submitted assignments with annotations that you've made using Crocodoc in Speedgrader. To do this, a student should choose Submission Details and then click View Feedback. When the annotated document opens, he or she should click the download icon and choose Download annotated PDF. To see the pdf, students will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which they can download, on their computer. Mac users can also use the Mac Preview application.
  • Although it will not appear the same, you can print quizzes: click the Preview button to see a preview of the quiz and then use your browser's print function to print the preview.

Publishing

  • You must publish your Modules, Quizzes, Assignments, and Discussions, and the site itself, to make them visible to students.
  • Use Student View at any time to double check what they can see.
  • A file that is included in both a published Module and an unpublished Module will be invisible to students in both.

Quizzes

  • You can shuffle answers at the quiz level, as opposed to question by question. More on quiz options.
  • Learn about quiz settings to maximize security.
  • Instructors can rename quiz questions. Click the word "Question" while in editing view to change the name. This is helpful for reordering. To students, they will still be named "Question."
  • If you use a multiple Fill In The Blank (FIB) question, students earn all or nothing. It's not possible to have each blank scored individually (e.g., 5 blanks = 5 points).
  • If you use a single FIB type question, the blank will always be at the end of the question text. If you want a blank in the middle of a sentence, you have to insert text along the lines of [ _________ ]. Instructors can also choose the Multiple Blanks option.
  • There is no option to include an “Explanation” text box for students to use with a multiple choice or any other kind of question.
  • Canvas saves any quiz answers every 60 seconds. Students can leave a quiz that they started and if they return before the time or date expires, they can "Resume Quiz."
  • Although it will not appear the same, you can print a quiz: click the Preview button to see a preview of the quiz and then use your browser's print function to print the preview.

Read more about Quizzes.

Roster

  • Students will not be able to see an unpublished site.
  • Published sites will still be invisible to students until the first day of term, unless an exception is requested from ITS.
  • Since ITS only updates overnight, newly registered students won't be able to view the course right away, but students with uniqnames can be added by instructor instantly.

SpeedGrader

  • It is possible for your students to print submitted assignments with annotations that you've made using Crocodoc in SpeedGrader. To do this, a student should choose Submission Details and then click View Feedback. When the annotated document opens, he or she should click the download icon and choose Download annotated PDF. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view thePDF. Mac users can also use the Mac Preview application. Mac users can also use the Mac Preview application.

Read more about SpeedGrader

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Last Updated: 
Monday, October 3, 2016