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More Faculty Requested Features Now in Canvas

Instructure, the company behind Canvas, is always improving its product, and the last few weeks have seen many great new features. At ITG, we wanted to highlight three that have been requested by Emerson faculty that finally made it into production. First, Groups have been redesigned to be more intuitive and versatile. Here is what Instructure had to say:

To allow for a better user experience, we’ve redesigned the Groups page. The new design more closely aligns with the look and feel of other pages within Canvas. The sidebar has been removed to maximize the Groups view, and creating groups within a group set is more intuitive with the new Group and Group Set buttons. Each group has its own gear icon where you can not only edit and delete the group but also access the Group homepage. Functionality remains the same in that you can continue to drag and drop students within groups and collapse and expand the group lists. (source)

Image showing the new group interface.


The Gradebook also got a little love from Instructure with the ability to add a new “Student Notes” column:

Instructors can use a Notes column in their Gradebook to keep track of extra information in their course, such as SIS IDs or just general student notes. This feature is the second-most-requested feature by our users, so we hope it helps with your course management.

To show the Notes column in the Gradebook, click the Gear icon in the Gradebook drop-down menu and select the Show Notes Column link. When the column is shown, Gear icon drop-down option will change to Hide Notes Column. (source)

Image of how to access the new show notes feature.

To make a comment in the notes, click the note field for the appropriate student and type into the text box. Click the Save button to save your note. The note field allows up to 255 characters. (source)

Image showing how to add a note.

Finally, with an uproarious cry of excitement, faculty can now select and perform functions on multiple messages within the Conversations tool! Here is more from Instructure:

When multiple or all messages are selected, the right panel displays a multiple conversations message, and users can collectively archive, delete, mark messages as unread, or star or unstar the messages. (source)

Image of multiple messages selected.

As always, if you have any questions about how these work in more detail, or how to integrate these new features into your course, don’t hesitate to contact ITG at 617-824-8090 or email

Canvas Training for Faculty!

The end of WebCT is drawing near. Are you ready to use Canvas?

Sign up for a Canvas Training and learn all about this new system. Dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday 11/7, 5-6pm in Walker 638 (JRL)
  • Tuesday 11/13, 2:15-3:15pm in Walker 638 (JRL)
  • Monday 11/19, 12:30-1:30pm in Walker 418 (ATL)
  • Thursday 11/29, 9:15-10:15am in Ansin 112 (3DL)
  • Wednesday 12/5, 5-6:00pm in Walker 638 (JRL)
  • Monday 12/10, 12:15-1:15pm in Walker 418 (ATL)
  • Wednesday 12/19, 11:00am-12:00pm Walker 418 (ATL)
  • Thursday 12/20, 2-3pm Walker 418 (ATL)

Space is limited! Register at

ITG will also be running Canvas Open Labs every Friday until December 21st. Canvas Open Labs are open office hours where you can work on your courses in Canvas with guidance from ITG staff. They will be held at ITG in Walker 403.

We hope to see you soon!