New Canvas Features for November

Canvas has been just as busy as you these past few weeks. While there have been lots of little changes in the admin-side of things, two very visible features will be arriving soon to assist you in how you moderate quizzes and review student activity in your course.

Moderate Quiz Updates

The Moderate Quiz page has an updated design for a cleaner look. Additionally, the page also adds functionality for improving outstanding quiz verifications for large courses.

When a student views a timed quiz and time expires, Canvas auto-submits the quiz. However, if a student navigates away from the quiz page, the quiz submission remains outstanding. Previously instructors had to manually submit each outstanding quiz individually as indicated in the Time column as Time Up! Now, when instructors open the Moderate Quiz page, Canvas generates a warning message so instructors can manually check outstanding submissions for the entire quiz at one time.

Screen shoot of the new quiz moderation page.

User Access Report Additions

User access is now logged in the following areas of Canvas:

Course Home Page
Outcomes
Modules

At the course level, user access activity appears in a user’s Access Report. User access information also displays at the account level in user page views.

accessreport

As always, don’t hesitate to call ITG at 617-824-8090 or email us at itg@emerson.edu if you have any questions about this update or Canvas in general. For the full release notes from Instructure, visit this link.

New Canvas Features – October

New Canvas Features for October 2014

The latest updates from Instructure to Canvas include some very popular requests that we’ve been getting from faculty since Canvas was first introduced here at Emerson. We here at ITG wanted to take some time and highlight the two biggest, new features! As always, the full feature list can be found on Instructure’s website, or by going here.

New Grading Symbol For Quizzes in Gradebook

When students complete a quiz that includes a manually graded question, the Grades page displays a Quiz icon instead of the current score, indicating that the quiz score is not yet complete. When students hover over the icon, students can view a message indicating that grading is in progress.

Student Grading Screenshot

The Quiz icon displays in the Gradebook for instructors as well, indicating that some questions in the quiz need to be graded manually. When the instructor assigns a score for the manually graded question, the icon for both the instructor and the student will be replaced with the complete quiz grade.

Screenshot of New Quiz Symbol For Instructors

Note: For instructors, the Quiz icon in the Gradebook can also mean that a Quiz score has been deleted and a new score needs to be assigned.

CC Yourself in Conversations

The Number One requested feature from Emerson faculty has finally made it into Canvas Conversations.

Users can set a new notification preference that allows them to receive a copy of all conversations they created. When enabled by the user, this feature allows users to see what conversations have been sent and how they appear in their specified communication channels.

Note: When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, Canvas generates only one notification for the sent message. Notifications cannot be sent from the beta environment.

CC Conversations Screenshot

Reminder: In Conversations, sent messages appear in the Sent folder. When a message receives a reply, the message thread will appear in the Inbox. When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, the Sent folder displays one message for each user, as replies are treated as individual messages.

As always, feel free to get in contact with us if you have any questions about integrating Canvas into your teaching. We can be reached via phone a 617-824-8090 or via email at itg@emerson.edu.

File naming standards: eliminate future headaches

There are a lot of reasons that file naming standards should be your best friends. They are rad, responsible, and reliable. Just like the three R’s of old.

But most importantly – you will not run into problems opening your files on another computer, uploading them to Canvas, or attaching them to an email. The reason? By following the tenets listed below, you have significantly decreased the chances of the file becoming corrupted or unusable. Go you!

Adapted from the University of Stanford’s list, here are some best practices to follow when naming your files:

  • Never use special characters – such as  ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ‘ ” and |. Avoid at all costs! If you’re not capitalizing a letter or generating an underscore, you shouldn’t be hitting the shift key. 
  • Keep it chronological. Using the format YYYYMMDD or YYMMDD ensures all of your files stay in chronological order, for years to come.
  • Keep names as short as possible. Depending on the software, longer file names may not work or be recognized.
  • Use zeros to ensure numerical order. When using a sequential numbering system, using leading zeros for clarity and to make sure files sort in sequential order. For example, use “001, 002, …010, 011 … 100, 101, etc.” instead of “1, 2, …10, 11 … 100, 101, etc.”
  • Do not use spaces. Some software on sites will not recognize file names with spaces. Try using these methods to denote spaces:
    • Underscores, e.g. file_name.xxx
    • Dashes, e.g. file-name.xxx
    • No separation, e.g. filename.xxx
    • Camel case, where the first letter of each section of text is capitalized, e.g. FileName.xxx

Further reading: http://library.stanford.edu/research/data-management-services/case-studies/case-study-file-naming

Across the pond: http://www2.le.ac.uk/services/research-data/organise-data/naming-files

New Canvas Features – June 2014

Once again it’s time for some new feature highlights that have been added to Canvas. As usual, the complete set of changes can be found on Instructure’s website, and this feature release is found here.

Grading and Comments, Now Without SpeedGrader Required

One can now make comments and give grades directly from the Gradebook without having to enter the SpeedGrader tool. Here are some screenshots from Instructure showing this new functionality:

Screenshot of Gradebook

Screenshot of Grading Popup

Of course, you can always click on “More details in the SpeedGrader” if you’d like to annotate the submission or review the students’ work.

Total Student Activity At A Glance

Within the “People” section of your course, you’ll now be able to see the total amount of time a student, observer, or TA has spent viewing and interacting with the course.

Screenshot of Total Activity

Take That Mixed-Content!

Finally, a small but very welcome change to us administrators is the ability to have external websites open in a new window from a Module. Previously, websites would fail to load within Canvas if the site was an unsecured site. This lead to many news articles and organizational websites failing to load unless one “right-clicked” and forced them to open in a new window or tab. Now, when adding an external URL, you can force the behavior automatically!

New Window Option

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact ITG by emailing itg@emerson.edu or by calling 617-824-8090 if you have any further questions or requests.