Tag Archives: update

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:


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.

Canvas Release Notes for December

Before you all venture to food, friends and family for the Holiday break, we at ITG wanted to let you in on some Canvas functionality changes that will await you when you return to Canvas and campus. One of the major requests we have heard from all of you (faculty and staff) has been that the Files area of Canvas wasn’t very “21st Century”. Well, Instructure has heard you as well! Here is a great overview over the new look and feel of Files:

Files has been redesigned for a more improved user experience. The new files redesign allows users to view more details about their files, manage editing permissions, and preview files. In addition, Files is fully accessible for all keyboard users and screen readers.

Files is fully searchable by file name and offers quick access to add a folder or upload a file. The left panel shows all folders for quick navigation. Clicking the name of a folder displays all the contents of the folder in the right panel. For each file, users can view and sort files by name, the date the file was created and modified, the name of the person who modified the file (if modified by another user), and the size of the file. Files can also be published and unpublished within Files.


Note: Currently, files can only be published and unpublished within the Files page. If a file is placed in a Module, Modules only displays the state of the file; you cannot directly publish or unpublish files within the module itself.

Additionally, Files is built with responsive design to adjust for browser scaling. The folder navigation window, file displays, and even file names adjust to the width of the browser window.


Files can be uploaded and previewed without the use of Flash. Users can view a queue of uploaded files and their status. To upload a file, click the Upload button, or drag and drop a file from the computer desktop.

When a file is selected, Files displays the file toolbar at the top of the window. Users can download the file, edit the file name, share the file, delete the file, and move the file to another location. Users can also edit permissions for files, including setting the state of the file (published or unpublished), schedule availability dates for the files, or make files available to students who have the link. Users can also download, rename, move, or delete a file using the Settings icon for each individual file. Users can select and manage multiple files at one time.

To move a file, users can also drag and drop the file into different file folders. Files will display the icon for the file type that is being moved.


To view a file, click the file name. Files can also be previewed by clicking anywhere on the file information and clicking the View button in the toolbar. Files displays any file type that is compatible with the document previewer in Canvas. The preview displays the file and file information details, as well as a link to download the file.


The full release notes can be found on Instructure’s website and, as always, feel free to contact ITG by emailing itg@emerson.edu or calling 617-824-8090 if you have any questions about the new Files or any other Canvas feature.