Author Archives: Paula Damigella

WordPress 3.8 update

Happy New Year! In the spirit of starting fresh, on Thursday, January 9th, from 6 – 8 a.m., WordPress will be unavailable while it updates to the latest version, 3.8.

Version 3.8 includes the usual security updates and patches, but also a gorgeous new dashboard design, that offers eight color scheme options for your enjoyment. However, all functionality within the Dashboard, while updated, remains the same.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ITG at ext 8090 or at

Known Issue – Canvas Annotations Displaying Incorrectly in Chrome 31+

Canvas recently reached out to ITG and other Canvas admins, informing us of a Canvas-Crocodoc bug. While it is a known issue, there is no ETA at this time.

Annotations that have been applied to student papers via the Speedgrader Crocodoc tool are being displayed incorrectly in Chrome 31+. 31 refers to the current version of Chrome – so it may be possible your browser is older and you do not experience these issues. However, once you update, they will probably start appearing.

On Macs, the annotations may look like this:

Mac Incorrect Crocodoc Annotations

While on a PC:


Students and faculty alike will experience this problem. Though Canvas and Crocodoc are working diligently on this, they again, did not provide a time frame for a fix. For now, to view annotated documents, please use another browser, such as Firefox or Safari.

(Just as a note – sometimes students have difficulty locating annotated documents.)

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact ITG directly. We can be reached at ITG @ or ext 8090

New features in Emerson Google Apps: Google+ and Hangouts

Red Google Plus Icon

Google Apps at Emerson now has Google+, a social networking platform where you can connect with your peers in a virtual campus. Join communities to network with people who share your interests. Hangout via video calls to discuss a project. Keep the creativity going after class – on your time, from anywhere.

Interested in utilizing aspects of asynchronous classrooms? Google+ can help you start to explore the world of social learning. Communication Studies professor, Cathryn Edelstein, has created a Google+ community with the aim of connecting professors and students from around the world. Cross-Cultural Higher Education Collaboration is open to the public and steadily growing. During the Fall 2013 semester, Cathy’s students worked with peers in Romania and Fiji. They used Google+, to share links and engage in discussions on the community’s wall; and collaborated on documents using Google Drive.

Instructions on how to set up Google+

You may already have a Google+ account with your personal Gmail. If so, an Emerson Google+ account would be a separate, second account under your name. Emerson College is already a “Circle” on Google – so you will be able to connect to anyone with an Emerson account that has activated Google+.

Icons of various Google Plus features

Create a profile, form circles with classes, video chat, store photos in the Google Cloud – or collaborate on the go!

Integral to Google+ is Google Hangouts, a set of video conferencing and group chat tools. In a video call, you can hangout with up to ten users in a video call via any device with a webcam. In group chats, the current quota is one hundred users. Either way – converse to your heart’s content.

Google Plus Hangouts Banner

You can set up the Google+ mobile app with your Emerson account information. Enter your first name_last and your password, and it will recognize it. Note – if you already have an account in the app, you are able to add a second one. Sleek and highly rated, the mobile app is good for on the go collaboration, and is available for Androids and iPhones.

If you have any questions about setting up Google+ or using Hangouts, please feel free to email ITG or call us at ext 8090!

Please note that Google+ and Hangouts are optional features of the Google Apps for Education at Emerson College. Users are NOT protected by the Google Educational Terms of Services that apply to Drive, Maps, Calendar, and Sites. For Google+ and Hangouts, Users will have to agree to accept Google’s Consumer Terms of Services and Privacy Policy, which means NO sensitive academic information should be shared, posted, or saved on Google+. Click here for more information or contact ITG with questions and concerns. 

The Power of File Restriction in Canvas

Don’t want students uploading a docx instead of a pdf? Or a pages file at any point in time? Well you can, because Canvas allows File Restrictions!

While editing your assignment in Canvas, below the text entry field are a series of options – including Submission Type. Choosing “Online” will give you a series of options including: “Allow File Uploads.” Checking this off will bring up the “Restrict File Upload Types” option. This gives you a text entry field where you can enter whatever file types you wish to ALLOW. (A little backwards, I know.) So, whatever file type you enter will be allowed, while all others will be disallowed.

Canvas Restrict File Types under Assignment Options Picture

Don’t worry – if a student attempt to upload an incorrect file type – Canvas gives a big red warning that the specific file type they are attempting to upload is not allowed BUT, x, y, and z file types are allowed.

Worried you don’t know what file type to allow? Here’s a basic rundown of the most common file word editor file types:

.pdf – Portable Document Format. PDF’s are great because they can be read across different operating systems, and the format will stay the same. It’s like a snapshot of a document. PDF’s are always a safe bet if you are sending a document to someone and you have no idea what kind of word processor they use!

 .doc – Microsoft Word Document. Doc’s are another safe bet for sharing a document across different platforms. The older, more universal standard of Microsoft Word, it has fallen a bit by the wayside with the release of .docx

.docx – Office Open XML document. The new default when saving a Word document, .docx is Microsoft looking to make their product more standard with the rest of the world – that is to say, you can read it across different software platforms.

.pages – Apple iWork Pages document. Apple’s answer to Word, Pages is word editing software that is restricted to Mac operating systems only. Whereas you can use Word on both a Windows and an Apple computer, you cannot use Pages on Windows. If you have ever tried to open a .pages document, and you didn’t have Pages, you probably ran into some trouble. That’s because it’s not a true “file.” Basically Pages is a great tool – but anyone using it in college should probably learn how to export to .docx or .pdf pretty quickly.

.txt – Plaintext file. Exactly what it sounds like. It is simply to write with, not doing anything fancy. There is little to no formatting with .txt files. And they can be read almost universally by any software or operating system.

.rtf – Rich Text Format. Think a step up from .txt, .rtf is also a file type that is widely accessible.

.odt (.odf) – OpenDocument. You’ve probably heard rumblings about Web Standardization and Open Source – this is more or less a child of that effort. This is something that the creators hope would become a universal standard – accessible to everyone – no matter where or what they are using. If you or your students are savvy enough to get a product like OpenOffice (think a free, slightly more basic Word) – they will probably not be sending you .odt files, but .doc or .pdf.

.html – HyperText Markup Language. The language of the Internet! (Basically the backend of any website.) Students probably won’t be ever submitting this kind of file unless you are having them create websites and want to make sure they are closing their </p> tags.

Something to be aware of with File Restrictions…

In Canvas, the field where you enter your accepted file types is a bit finicky. It does not want any spaces between the file types – just a comma. So if you want only .doc and .pdf – you would put in: doc,pdf – NOT – doc, pdf. The reason for this is simply to avoid sending extra information – why waste the space?! :D

Correct File Type Field Entry Picture

Correct File Type Field Entry Picture