Introducing Canvas Commons

Watch the Commons: Find and Import Resources video.
Watch the Commons: Share Resources video.
Find more information in the Commons guides

ITG and the Iwasaki Library have started you off with some Emerson content in Commons: if you search for Emerson College, the first results are from us. We’ve shared an Emerson College syllabus template, a student research page for your Canvas course, and CC100 Library Resources.

Quizzes Can Be Used for Learning!

One of the most interesting (and easy) strategies for helping students learn that I’ve encounted recently centers around quizzing. Yes, quizzing, the thing students dread to take and teachers dread to correct. However, much of the negative feelings around quizzes and tests is caused by how they’re commonly weighted in higher education. It’s often the case that doing poorly on a quiz or test will sink a student for the whole semester. However, there is a RESEARCH-based strategy on how to use quizzes and tests that not only achieves better learning outcomes, but also helps with fostering a less anxious atmosphere with students. The strategy is called Frequent, Low-Stakes (FLS) Grading, and you can read up on it in much greater depth here at this Faculty Focus article. As you can see, you don’t need to take my word for it (and I know I dated myself with that Reading Rainbow reference).

Where this blog post comes in is how ITG can help you achieve this strategy. Within Canvas, quizzes and tests can be created to auto correct students’ work, providing almost immediate feedback that adult learners do so well with, and can also feed directly into your Gradebook. Furthermore, it’s possible to use this technology in a non-graded way to check for understanding and to assess where your students might have gaps in, say, previous knowledge or after completing a dense reading assignment. Another great use of non-graded quizzes is to use them as practice for a more heavily weighted exam later in the semester. If you want to talk more about how to implement FLS grading in your course, give ITG a call at 617-824-8090 or send us an email at We’d love to sit down and help you implement your ideas!

OneClass plugin for Chrome is malware

Canvas issued the following security alert on 12/19/16:

When a user installs the OneClass Chrome extension, it asks for permission to “read and change all your data on websites you visit.” If a user grants this permission, the plugin places a button in Canvas labeled “Invite your classmates to OneClass.” If the user clicks this button, OneClass sends messages to all of the other users enrolled in the course via Canvas Conversations. Each message says:

Hey guys, I just found some really helpful notes for the upcoming exams for Emerson courses at [link redacted]. I highly recommend signing up for an account now that way your first download is free!

We strongly encourage you not to install or use the OneClass Chrome extension and to remove it if they’ve already installed it. OneClass is not affiliated with Canvas in any way. The invitation feature spams your classmates, and the permission the extension requires opens you up to a lot of security risks.

To remove an extension from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Click More.
  3. Select More tools > Extensions.
  4. Next to the extension you want to remove, click Remove Remove.
  5. Click Remove.

If an extension has an icon in your Chrome toolbar, you can right-click the icon and select Remove from Chrome.

Median Search Updates

We’re upgrading to a new video hosting platform! Please help us by taking our survey:

Faculty survey

Student survey

The surveys will be active until December 22nd at 12pm. We will share results of the survey right here in the spring semester.

Why get rid of Median?

We debuted Median in 2008 because there were no products available that did exactly what Emerson needed. At this point, the market for educational video streaming has matured and there are many good solutions available.

When is this happening?

ITG is contacting vendors now, and we’ll share their responses in Spring 2017.
Also in Spring 2017, ITG will hold beta testing sessions on campus where faculty, students, and staff can explore and evaluate each video hosting platform (and eat pizza).
Median will still be up and running through Summer 2017. We hope to have new uploads using the new system at that point while still keeping Median running.

When are you turning Median off?

No decisions have been made about that yet.

What happens to all my stuff?

We don’t yet know what the exact process will be for migrating content – it will depend on the system the community chooses. We will make information available as soon as we can!

Who will help me, and when?

ITG and IT will be running all sorts of trainings, as well as helping faculty one on one. Again, stay tuned for details!

What will I like about a new system?

Our hopes for a new system include:

  • Easier and more reliable uploads from anywhere
  • In-depth analytics that include how and from where your audience is engaging with your content
  • Ability to record screencasts
  • Improved branding, like the ability to choose your own thumbnail
  • Integration with Canvas