The Survival Kit for Final Grading

Can you believe finals are around the corner? Don’t panic if you haven’t sorted out the grading in Canvas, here are a few tips for wrapping up your final grades.


  1. Set-up weighted assignment groups

If you would like to weight your assignments by percentage, you need to create assignment groups in the “Assignments” page and assign percentages to those groups. Percentages are assigned to each assignment group, not to the assignments themselves. Within each assignment group, Canvas automatically calculates a percentage by dividing the total points a student has earned by the total points possible for all assignments in that group. Here are the instructions for how to set up weighted assignment groups:

  • Add assignment groups.

On the “Assignment” page, click on “+ Group” on the top right.


Enter “Group Name” and the percentage of the total grade.

Click on “Save.”

  • Weight the final course grade.

On the “Assignments” page, click the vertical ellipsis icon:

Check “Weight final grade based on assignment groups.”

Enter the percentage each assignment group should be worth.

Click on “Save.”

For more detailed resources, please check “How do I weight the final course grade based the assignment groups?

  1. Check for any missed grades

When you are doing the final review of the Gradebook at a glance, make sure to enter “0” in the Canvas Gradebook for any missed assignments. When a value is not entered for a specific assignment, it shows up as a dash (-) in the cell, which means that it will be excluded from the final grade.

The shortcut to enter “0” in the Gradebook for all missed assignments is to use the Treat Ungraded as Zero function of the Gradebookafter clicking this option, any grade you haven’t entered automatically becomes a zero.

  1. Mute and Unmute Assignments

Muting an assignment while entering grades prevents students from receiving notifications about that assignment’s grades or viewing its grades until the instructor finalizes the grades and decides to make them live. Be sure to unmute all assignments that you may have muted.


  1. Hide Total Grade until finalized

Total grades are visible to students by default. Instructors can hide totals in students’ grade summaries. Here are the steps to hide totals:

  • Go to “Settings” in your course.
  • Open “Course Details.”
  • Open “more options.”
  • Select the Hide totals in student grades summary option.
  • Click the “Update Course Details” button at the end.

Here are the detailed instructions with screenshots: How do I hide totals in my students’ grade summaries? Be sure to update this setting after you finalize your course grades by choosing to make the course total visible to students.

Remember that the grades you enter in Canvas are NOT official! To submit your final grades to the College, you must use eCommon. To do so, please see these instructions.

If you have more questions regarding Canvas grading, please consult ITG (, 617-824-8090) for help.

In a Nutshell: How to Use the New Canvas Scheduler

Official guides for tools like Canvas and Panopto are dense out of necessity—the authors need to cover EVERYTHING about each topic. In this series, “In a Nutshell,” I’ll condense frequently requested instructions into practical, bite-sized chunks.

Learn a new tool in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee!


How Do I Create Appointment Groups?

The nut we’re cracking today is the new Canvas scheduler (live as of this Fall). This tool creates groups of time slots your students can reserve, called appointment groups, on your course calendar. Here’s how.

1. Log-in to Canvas. Click the Calendar button in your account menu. It’s the purple strip to the far left:

The Calendar button in the Canvas account menu, a purple strip to the far left.

2. Click the day of the month on which you wish to create appointments. If you’re not already there, toggle to Month view using the switch at the calendar’s top right.

3. In the window that appears, click the Appointment Group tab. Fill out the form to create your appointments and (optionally) limit the number of participants. Note that you’re creating a group of appointments; name this group something that clearly reflects its nature, such as “Office Hours” or “Project Consultations.”

Be sure to click the Select Calendars button and check the box for your course’s calendar. Each course you’re teaching has its own calendar.

You can enter your desired appointment times manually, one-by-one: a new row will appear each time the previous row is completed. Or, you can enter the entire range of appointments (say, 1pm to 3pm) in the first row, enter the length of time each individual appointment should be, then click Go. Canvas will automatically divide up the appointments:

Options when creating a new appointment group.

4. When you’re satisfied with your group of appointments, click Publish. Students can now find and reserve your appointments.

The appointment group will appear as a series of time slots on your calendar. They’ll be greyed-out because no one has reserved any yet:

Greyed-out appointment slots on the Canvas calendar in Month view.

When students reserve slots, they will appear bolder on your calendar. To view all your appointment slots at once and see who’s signed-up, click Agenda at top right of the calendar:

The Agenda view of the Canvas calendar displays a list of appointments and reservations.

To remove a student from an appointment, or to message students who have reserved an appointment, click on the appointment in either Month or Agenda view. Click the X next to a name to remove it, or click Message students to communicate:

The window that appears when you click on an appointment. It gives options to remove students, message students, or edit the appointment group's details.

To edit an appointment group’s settings, click on any appointment in the group, then click Group Details. You’ll be taken to a form with the same options as when you created the group.


How Do Students Reserve Appointments?

Students can find your appointments by going to the calendar in Canvas, then clicking the Find Appointment button on the right. Here’s where students will see that:

The "Find Appointments" button on the Calendar in student view.

They’ll be prompted to choose a course’s calendar. When they choose your course and click Submit, the appointments you’ve created will be revealed.

The student can click on an appointment to view its details, then click Reserve to book it:

The window that appears when a student clicks an appointment, with the option to "reserve" the slot.


That’s it!

You can find the full (exhaustive) documentation here:

Add an appointment group
View and edit an appointment group
Remove students from an appointment

And as always, please reach out to if you run into trouble, or if you’d like to suggest a topic for this series.

Introducing Deep Embeds: An Easier Way to Show Videos in Canvas

You’ve probably heard that Panopto, Emerson’s video-hosting platform, underwent a major update this summer. Now you can simply embed Panopto videos in Canvas, and students will automatically be able to view them! Here’s more about what this change means for your teaching.

What you don’t need to do anymore

In the old days (prior to July 2018), for students to see a video, you’d have to edit its sharing settings and add your whole “class group” to the video before finally embedding it in Canvas. To add to this delightful complexity, you had to add the version of your class labeled “viewers” (students) rather than “creators.” The cherry on top: if a student hadn’t yet clicked the course menu’s Panopto button, the video would STILL be unwatchable. Rather than displaying a helpful error, the video would prompt the student to “request access,” sending an email to the confused instructor who couldn’t do anything but pass on the request to ITG, who would tell the student to click the button and try again.

Fun, right?

How it works now

Now, there’s no longer any need to change sharing settings for videos you’re placing in Canvas. Even better, there’s no longer any need for students to click the Panopto button before attempting to view videos. I’d say the new steps to show video are as easy as 1-2-3, but they’re actually even easier:

1)    Upload your video to Panopto (or record a new video).

2)    Embed the video on any Canvas page (or assignment, discussion, etc.—anywhere there’s a rich text editor) using the green embed button above the text editor. It looks like a recycling symbol:

The Panopto embedder button above the Canvas rich text editor.

That’s it! Any member of your Canvas course will be able to view the embedded video in the place where you embedded it.

This works for students, too. Students can easily embed videos into their discussion posts for the whole class to see. Or, they can embed video in their submissions to assignments that accept “text entry,” so you can privately view and grade them in Speedgrader.

Some caveats

  • You can also make videos visible to students in Canvas by uploading them to the Panopto course folder (the one with your course’s name), then directing your students to the Panopto section of Canvas. We don’t recommend this method: if you ever teach the course in a future term and want to copy your previous content, you’d have to move or re-upload your videos to the new course folder. When you embed videos instead, those embeds are carried over to future copies of the course. No need to redo your work!
  • The ONLY way to make this work is to use the green button in Canvas’ rich text editor to embed your video. Using the embed code found in a video’s sharing settings will NOT make the video visible to students, nor will placing a link to the video in Canvas.
  • If you want to display your video OUTSIDE of Canvas—say, on a WordPress page—you’ll still need to change its sharing settings to make it visible. Deep embeds only work in Canvas.

For a detailed guide with screenshots, check out this support page. And as always, ITG is happy to provide Canvas and Panopto training whenever you’d like. If you’d like to start using videos in your teaching and need some help, email or call us at (617) 824-8090.