Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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.


As always, don’t hesitate to call ITG at 617-824-8090 or email us at 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

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.
    • Dashes, e.g.
    • No separation, e.g.
    • Camel case, where the first letter of each section of text is capitalized, e.g.

Further reading:

Across the pond:

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