Emerson.build: Rule Your Domain!

Emerson.build has been building a larger following!

If you haven’t heard of it, Emerson.build is a pilot of Reclaim Hosting’s “Domain of One’s Own” program. It allows any Emersonian to register a free web domain, install content management systems (CMS) in it like WordPress or Drupal, and build websites! The major advantages of .build over other Emerson platforms like Word.emerson are its realism and flexibility. Building a website in your Emerson.build domain is the real deal. You and/or your students can have the authentic experience of building a website from the ground up. For example, if you install WordPress in your domain, there will be no restriction on the themes and plugins you can use on your site (unlike Word.emerson, which is a “multi-site network” with themes and plugins curated by ITG). If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even work with your site’s code and file structure, though no knowledge of coding is necessary to use .build.

Think of Word.emerson as the shallow end of a pool—totally safe but relatively tame—while Emerson.build is the deep end—daunting at first glance, but with much more potential.

Usage of Emerson.build has nearly doubled since Fall 2017. At that time, there were 184 registered domains. Now, there are 396. What, you may ask, are all these domains being used for? Anything and everything! Take a look at this chart for an idea:

This chart divides our collected Emerson.build domains into their purposes or genres.
This chart divides our collected Emerson.build domains into their purposes or genres.

Emersonians have utilized .build to showcase their art, video, photography, reporting, and creative writing. Some have ventured even farther out, building websites to host interactive Twine stories, games, podcasts, and even delicious recipe collections. Despite all of this shiny finished content, one of the platform’s most prevalent uses is to provide a space where students can practice coding (from scratch using HTML) or web-building (with the help of a CMS). Over 40% of all Emerson.build domain-owners use the platform to hone their web-design chops! This is an invaluable experience to give to your students, who can take their skills and maybe even their first professional websites with them into their careers.

The next chart demonstrates that Emerson.build is predominantly used by students; however, faculty have created some impressive projects of their own. Some faculty use their domain to build a course website, or to collect their students’ individual websites.

This chart divides the pool of users who have registered for an Emerson.build domain into their roles at the college or elsewhere.
This chart divides the pool of users who have registered for an Emerson.build domain into their roles at the college or elsewhere.

Emerson.build is a wide-open frontier waiting to be developed…so get building! Want to showcase your magnificent website on our blog? Show it to us by sending a link to ITG@emerson.edu!

To learn how to use Emerson.build, check out docs.emerson.build. You can find tutorials there as well. To register for a domain, go to Emerson.build and click “SIGN-UP FOR EMERSON.BUILD.”

Canvas feature request: Adjust all Due Dates on a Single Page

One of the most frequent start of the semester questions we get is people asking how to adjust the all the various dates in Canvas while they’re importing a previous semster’s course. This is an interesting feature request that might make your lives easier:

Adjust all Due Dates on a Single Page

If you’ve never voted on a Canvas Feature request, it’s easy! Log into Canvas first, then go to community.canvaslms.com and click “Log In”. You’ll have to confirm your profile details, but then you can vote feature ideas up or down and help influence Canvas’s development. If you get stuck, here’s a guide on how to log into the community.

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.


The "Assignments" button in the Navigator Tool

The Add Group button

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

Text box to enter a name for the group

Click on “Save.”

  • Weight the final course grade.

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

Vertical ellipses button

Check “Weight final grade based on assignment groups.”

Check box for the "Weight final grade" option

Enter the percentage each assignment group should be worth.

Text boxes to enter percentage of final grade for each assignment group

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.

Screenshot showing the difference between a "zero" entered and a "dash"

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.

"Treat Ungraded as 0" option

  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.

Mute assignment option     Unmute assignment option

  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 (itg@emerson.edu, 617-824-8090) for help.