Digital Learning Webinar Series: Canvas Tips & Tricks Recording

Faculty exploring Canvas

Canvas training

On Thursday, February 28th, 2018, Academic Technology and Internet Development Coordinator Brian Boston and Online Course Coordinator Kylie McGraw delivered the first Georgetown University Digital Learning Webinar of 2019, “Tips and Tricks for Managing Canvas & Enhancing Your Course.” You can re-watch the webinar below as well as view the slides.

This blog post will address some of the questions asked during the webinar that needed a little extra explanation.

What’s the best way to share class notes in the Module or Page layouts?

There are a number of options to share your class notes from a different platform and ensure that your they are properly formatted in Canvas. Typically, you would create a page where you are copying and pasting from another document (Word or Google Docs, for example). Because the formatting in a program like Word is different than the formatting used in Canvas, you may have to use the formatting bar in the Canvas Page at the top of the text box to reformat your content:

screenshot of the text formatting options in the Canvas Rich Content Editor

Screenshot of the text formatting options in the Canvas Rich Content Editor

You can also add a file directly to Canvas using the Content Selector. For example, upload a Word file directly into Canvas for students to access and download. You can do the same with a  PDF file and it will automatically preview on the page you are creating.

Finally, you can insert a link to an external file (e.g., a Google Doc) using the Rich Content Editor or add a link as an external URL to a Module.  For instance, if you plan on making revisions to your syllabus throughout the semester, linking to it may make more sense.

Can the announcement be saved and sent later?  

Yes! Instructure, the company that makes Canvas, has produced a helpful video showing you exactly how to do that! Please note that the announcement will appear in your list of announcements, but students won’t be able to see it until the date/time you’ve selected.

How can create a surprise or pop quiz in Canvas if a student is notified automatically as soon as I create a quiz and thus create a new column in the gradebook?

This is a tricky question, although you aren’t the first person to ask if an instructor can do this in Canvas. One issue is that students control what notifications they receive from Canvas. But regardless, a column will show up in their Gradebook, as well as a notice on their calendar. The best option is to create the quiz but not publish it until you are ready for your students to see it. For a quick breakdown of what you can do in Quizzes, check out Instructure’s getting started guide, which also has instructions further down the page on publishing and unpublishing the quiz.

What is the default viewing for Assignments uploaded to Canvas in the Gradebook?  Can I hide or unhide them?

When you grade an assignment, the default is that the student can see their grade right away. However, there might be cases where you want to grade all assignments and release grades to students at one time. Then, you would mute the assignment before you start grading, and unmute the assignment when all grades have been entered.

From the presentation, it seems like Canvas is basically for faculty. As support staff, where do I come in?

While Canvas is mainly used by faculty and students for course sites, staff who are assisting with a course may be added to the Canvas site in one of various roles by an instructor. Georgetown staff may also request a Canvas organization site (e.g., for a department, campus committee, etc.) or be added to an organization site as a participant.

Need assistance with Canvas? Access direct 24-hour / 7-days-a-week support from Instructure from within Canvas.  Instructure also provides robust documentation on the Canvas Community site. See also the Georgetown Canvas Support Site which lists upcoming training opportunities and a number of faculty resources, such as Getting Started with Canvas videos and the GU Canvas Guides.