Author Archives: Jenn Stevens

SPSS workshop on Tuesday January 21st

Introduction to Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS) Workshop
January 21, 2014
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Walker 633, 120 Boylston Street

Sponsored by the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship, a hands-on workshop to learn and utilize the SPSS software package for statistical analysis.

Come and learn from Michael Duggan, Emerson’s Associate Vice President for Institutional Research and professional SPSS user!

RSVP for this and all Spring 2014 neXus events on this Google Form »

December 7th Updates to Canvas

As you may know, Instructure updates and repairs Canvas every few weeks. Here are some highlights from last weekend’s update:

New Features

Test Student Placement in the Gradebook

The Test Student (populated when using Student View), will always be listed at the end of the Gradebook, no matter how the Gradebook is sorted.

screenshot of gradebook showing Test Student at the bottom

The Test Student can still be removed from the Gradebook completely by managing your course section enrollments.

As deployed in our 11/16 release, the Test Student no longer affects analytics.

Note: Placement of the Test Student at the end of the user list does not apply to CSV downloads, which will be updated in the 12/28 release.

Individual Messages Option Update in New Conversations

In the New Conversations (Beta Version) compose window, the bulk message checkbox has been renamed to Send individual messages. This change makes individual messaging more intuitive and functions similarly as an email BCC (blind carbon copy) feature.

To send a conversation as individual messages, enter your recipients in the To field, and then select the Send individual messages checkbox. Otherwise Canvas will send the message as a group message, and all recipients will be able to view all recipients of the message.

screenshot of "Send Individual Messages" checkbox

In new Conversations, reply to all is never the default option for group conversations. As in email, users can always choose how to reply to a message: they can respond only to the sender with the reply icon [1], or if they want to reply to the entire group, they can click the gear icon [2] and select the reply to all option [2].

screenshot showing the reply icon and gear icon

When composing a reply, users can also check the intended recipient(s) in the To field and add or remove names as necessary.

screenshot of the "To" field of a message

Fixed Bugs

Calendar 2: Dates and Times

  • After importing a course, Calendar 2 will enter the date and time of an event exactly as it exists in the original course or content package.
    • Explanation: When a calendar event was imported, the Start/End times changed to the UTC offset (e.g. for Mountain Time it defaulted to 6pm) on the previous day if no date or 12:00am were used. Canvas code has been updated to accept the date and time as per the imported event.


Partially Submitted Quizzes

    • Canvas saves all student answers within a quiz and no longer auto-submits quizzes that are closed before the quiz is completed.
      • Explanation: Some quizzes were being auto-submitted with unsaved quiz questions. Canvas engineers determined that pressing the back button within a browser window would cause Canvas to stop auto-saving quiz questions, causing quizzes to be partially completed when auto-submitted. This situation occurred when students clicked the back button and chose to remain on the page, when students clicked the back button and closed the quiz window, and also when students downloaded a file.
    • This fix is a followup to a bug addressed in our 11/16 release: If a quiz is auto-submitted because of a time limit, Canvas will submit the quiz completely so it can be moderated by the instructor.

Question Groups

  • Canvas truly randomizes quiz questions within question groups.
    • Explanation: When an instructor sets up a quiz question group, some students would not get a truly randomized quiz with quiz question groups containing more than 25 questions. Canvas would not generate randomized quizzes consistently, often only randomizing one or two questions.

Regrade Questions

  • When notifying students about the number of quiz questions affected by a quiz regrade, Canvas will consider all regrade attempts.
    • Explanation: When an instructor regrades a student quiz where a quiz question was affected by the regrade, Canvas will notify the student with the following message: “Your new score reflects # questions that were affected.” However, this message only reflects the student of the number of scores affected over the last two regrades. Canvas will consider all regrade attempts in reflecting the number of affected questions.

 Other Canvas Updates

Accessibility Updates


If you’d like to see all the gory details, check out

October 26th Updates to Canvas

As you may know, Instructure updates and repairs Canvas every few weeks. Here are some highlights from last weekend’s update:

New Features

Conversations Updates (Beta Version)

[ITG note: Beta means that there may still be some bugs, but you’re welcome to try this new feature out and see if you like it better!]

Archive Conversations

Conversations can be archived to help users clean up their message Inbox. To archive a message, click the message thread you wish to archive. Then click the Archive button at the top of the Inbox toolbar.

highlighted message thread and archive button

Users can also unarchive messages and place them back in the Inbox. In the Inbox drop-down menu, select the Archived message folder.

image of inbox dropdown menu

Click the message thread you wish to restore. Then click the Archive button again. The icon tooltip will display as Unarchive and restore the message to the Inbox.

message thread highlighted and unarchive button highlighted

Note: Currently, messages can only be selected one at a time.

Automatically link URLs in messages

Conversations that contain a URL within a message will display the URL as a clickable link. This feature only applies after the message has been sent.
image showing clickable url in sent message

About the New Conversations

The new Conversations was introduced as an opt-in feature as part of the 9/14 release. To try Conversations, click the question icon and select the Try New Conversations option.

image of question mark button that allows you to try new conversations

You can switch back to the old Conversations at any time. Click the question icon and select the Switch Back to Old Conversations option.

image of same question mark showing how to revert back to old conversations

Fixed Bugs


  • Even more improvements to labeling and screen reader navigation

Calendar 2

  • Calendar 2 displays the correct due dates for Assignments.


  • Conversations show more than 10 courses in the drop-down list. Users can scroll through the courses or search within the search field.


  • Changing quiz dates does not affect quiz sorting.
  • In One-question-at-a-time quizzes, students are redirected to resume the quiz if they are disconnected from the Internet.
  • Submissions do not appear late on quizzes with a time limit.

If you’d like to see all the gory details, check out