Tag Archives: canvas

Excused Assignment Feature

This Saturday, June 27th, Instructure will be bringing a new feature to the Canvas Gradebook that we’ve been hearing faculty request for quite some time. Now, instructors will be able to excuse individual assignments without having to worry about altering a student’s grade. Here is what Instructure says of the new feature:

To excuse an assignment for a student, enter the value of EX in the corresponding Gradebook cell. The Gradebook will reflect that the assignment is excused for the student. Excused assignments are not included in the calculation for a student’s total grade.

Students can also be excused from a Group Assignment; the other members of the group will still be able to view and submit the assignment.

Note: Currently, the Gradebook only accepts a standard Canvas-wide value of EX for assignment exemptions. In phase two of this feature, instructors will be able to choose from a list of statuses for the excused assignment or for a graded assignment, such as latemissingabsent, etc.

Excused Submission Screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When students have been excused from an assignment, they can view the excused status on the assignment submission page, or when they view the grades page. Students who are excused from an assignment will not be able to submit the assignment, though they can still view the assignment details.

Excused Submission Screenshot

 

In Modules, assignments are still shown as a module item. If submitting the assignment is a module requirement, students can progress through the Module as if he or she had submitted the assignment.

We hope that this makes managing your grades just a little bit easier, and as always, feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or requests. ITG can be reached via email at itg@emerson.edu or by phoning 617-824-8090.

SpeedGrader App Update

Great news for faculty who enjoy the SpeedGrader functionality of Canvas and have an iPad! Instructure has released an updated version of the app (search for “Instructure SpeedGrader” on the App Store) that has some great new features. The latest version requires iOS 8.0, so be sure to check your software by going to the Settings app and taking a look at the “General > About > Version” section. Here’s more about the update from Instructure:

Dashboard

SpeedGrader includes a completely redesigned dashboard modeled after the Canvas by Instructure app. By default, the dashboard displays favorite courses as selected either in the Canvas browser or in the Canvas by Instructure app (favorites cannot be modified in SpeedGrader). Toggle the button at the top of the window to view all courses.

Course colors can be changed by tapping the course arrow. Within the course assignment page, assignments are displayed by course color.

Submissions are indicated by a circle with the total number of submissions in the course that need to be graded.

Screenshot of SpeedGrader app

User Navigation

The user navigation menu provides simplified access to instructor account information, help with the app, and all SpeedGrader settings.

SpeedGrader App screen capture.

Assignment List

Tapping the name of a course displays the list of all assignments, quizzes, and discussions in each course. Assignment submissions are indicated by a circle with the number of submissions. For courses with sections, assignments can be filtered by section in the menu bar. Tap an assignment to view the submissions.

SpeedGrader app screen shot.

The menu bar displays the name of the first student in the course. Swipe the screen to advance forward or backward through the list of students. To view all students for the assignment, tap the name of the current student to display the entire student list. By default, student names are shown as last name, first name. You can also toggle between sorting by name and sorting by grade.

SpeedGrader screen capture.

When viewing an assignment, you can use the assignment menu (or sidebar) for grading, which includes all options available in the browser version of SpeedGrader. Grades supports all grade format types.

Use the mute icon in the menu bar to mute the assignment for grading so students can’t see their scores.

Crocodoc is also supported in SpeedGrader; use point comments to create annotations within a submission.

SpeedGrader screen capture.

As always, if you have any additional questions for ITG, feel free to contact us by emailing itg@emerson.edu or by calling 617-824-8090.

Canvas Update – March 2015

Hey there! We here at ITG wanted to share a new feature of Canvas that allows you to publish or  unpublish a file directly from a Module. Here’s what Instructure has to say about the change:

Instructors can manage files directly from the Modules page. This feature aligns publishing functionality of all items within Modules and allows an instructor to publish, unpublish, or restrict a file.

First screenshot of new modules feature.

2nd screenshot of new module feature.

The state of the file is aligned with the Files Index page. If a file is unpublished within Files, the file will also be shown as unpublished on the Modules page.

Third screenshot of new Canvas module feature.

This new feature will give faculty even more control over how students will interact with their course contents. As always, if you have any questions about this or any of the other new Canvas  features presented here, don’t hesitate to contact us at itg@emerson.edu or call 617-824-8090.

Fall 2014 Faculty Showcase Series

In November and December we invited Emerson faculty with exemplary use of technology in their instruction to share their methods and impact with other members of the community.

Presenter Department Topic
Paul Mihailidis Marketing Communication Socrative, Storify
Ruth Grossman Communication Sciences & Disorders EduCanon, Whiteboards
Janet Kolodzy Journalism WordPress
Daniel Kempler Communication Sciences & Disorders Canvas
Jena Castro-Casbon Communication Sciences & Disorders Facebook

In addition to introducing the tool and sharing a little bit about how it operates, all of the presenters offered some insight into its success in their course.

Every presentation focused on a different technology, but there were a few common goals:

  • Facilitating communication to improve the classroom experience.
  • Giving students a public forum for their work to improve its quality and relevance.
  • Building learning objectives around the technology that will help to accomplish them.

Both sessions were live-streamed using Adobe Connect, which served as a digital classroom and allowed people who couldn’t attend in person to listen, ask questions and give feedback.

 

ROLL CALL

How well are your students understanding your lectures? How valuable would it be to know this when preparing tomorrow’s lecture? How about in the middle of class, before moving on to the next topic?

whiteboard

Personal whiteboards

Let’s just talk whiteboards for a moment. Of any technology in the faculty showcase series, I was most impressed with the simplicity of dry erase markers on personal whiteboards distributed to each student at the start of class. Ruth Grossman highlighted the benefits: easy to acquire, easy to use, the insight of a pop-quiz with the atmosphere of a game show.

Grossman encouraged talking about the purpose of the process and stressed 100% participation for every question. Once students adopt this platform you’ll be better able to gauge their understanding of topics as they’re presented and adjust lessons on the fly.

Whiteboards aren’t the only tool that can get a quick read on the room. If you’re familiar with clickers, a polling technology with remote controlled units, you understand that hardware and software can come together to capture the student response to questions digitally.

socrative

Socrative

For a large class, Paul Mihailidis made use of Socrative, web-based polling software that allows anyone to use a mobile device to answer questions that have been prepared in advance or impromptu. He recommended it for use with sections of 60 or more students and found it to be a powerful way to guide the focus of smaller breakout groups.

This kind of data can also be useful outside of the classroom. Ruth Grossman highlighted her use of eduCanon to annotate recorded lecture materials. These videos play back just like any YouTube clip, but at predetermined time-stamps the recording will pause and present a question to the viewer that they must answer to continue watching.

EduCannon

eduCanon

Grossman got overwhelming feedback in her course that multiple choice questions were helpful when presented at the times she specified in the clips. By providing insight with the responses, the students could see the answer in the context of the lesson and also learn why other answers were incorrect.

 

RISING TO THE OCCASION

While Grossman used eduCanon with her own recordings, the tool can be paired with any publicly visible YouTube clip. As this trend grows, it’s important for web users to be savvy about what resources they’re utilizing. To this end Paul Mihailidis challenged his students to create narratives that make use of this digital gluttony of information.

Storify

Storify

Storify is part word processor and part search engine. It lets you do your research and writing side by side so that the evidence becomes part of the story. Mihailidis uses this tool experimentally and treats it as an opportunity to help build an understanding of what makes a source credible.

In Janet Kolodzy’s courses, budding journalists face similar challenges in their research for the Survive and Thrive project. Visit surviveandthriveboston.com and you’ll find articles that were prepared using WordPress, a self-publishing platform.

WordPress

surviveandthrive.com (WordPress)

Each student commits to a topic and writes their post with a shared audience in mind. They are collaborating to tell their own stories in the context of a larger one. Kolodzy appreciates WordPress for its ease-of-use and real-world application and believes that students take greater ownership in their work when publishing online.

 

EXPLORING DIGITAL SPACES

Synchronizing a technology with course learning objectives is an art. In Jena Castro-Casbon’s Connecting Online group she crafted a meaningful tool for her graduate students that also enhanced the lives of the clients they supported through the Robbins Speech, Language and Hearing Center. This is an example of Facebook at its finest.

facebook

Facebook

Castro-Casbon created a closed Facebook group that she, her students, and the clients joined to connect privately without revealing their interactions beyond the group or personal account details to one another. Over the course of the semester, the students guided the clients through the communication challenges and hesitations they had while educating them on the social customs prevalent in the platform.

With Castro-Casbon’s adminstrative oversight the students improved in their ability to support the clients. The clients, though, got a different benefit – they left feeling confident in their ability to communicate with friends and family in a previously daunting digital space. This was a successful match between the technology implemented and the educational goal.

canvas-discussion

Canvas discussion board

Daniel Kempler also made use of a digital space to improve communication. He wanted his students to be able to have professional conversations on industry topics online so that they would be able to better connect with their colleagues as they entered the professional realm. Utilizing a few key features in a Canvas course, Kempler had his students work through two assignments.

In one, he asked students to share a journal article and comment on those selected by their peers. Questions on why a treatment worked or didn’t and what could be done differently fostered thoughtful discussion from students that might have otherwise been silent in a classroom.

In his second assignment, Kempler assigned a short paper and had students break into small groups. He asked them to collaborate outside the classroom but did not designate a particular technology to facilitate the group work. Students suggested that they would have benefited more from completing this assignment during class due to the confusion around how and when students would contribute to the shared effort.

Similar to the other projects reviewed, both of these assignments generated valuable feedback and illustrated the importance of the relationship between course goals and the tools used to achieve them. The Fall 2014 Faculty Showcase highlighted just a handful of the creative ways technology can enhance education and demonstrated some of the challenges and rewards of innovation.

As always, if you have any questions about bringing a new technology into your teaching, don’t hesitate to contact ITG by emailing itg@emerson.edu or by calling 617-824-8090.