Canvas - Tips and Tricks

Canvas Tips and Tricks

Here are some Tips and Tricks about Canvas that instructors have found useful.

For additional information and training, please visit our Workshops Calendar.

If you would like other Canvas instruction, please visit the Canvas Instructor Guide which is maintained by Canvas.

 

New Semester Course Setup

  • To prepare your course for the next semester, use this Start of Term Checklist.  
  • You can copy your course from this semester to setup your course for next semester by using the instructions in Copy Canvas Course.  
  • Create a Home page for your students before the course starts, then publish your course with only that page showing.
    • This should be a basic “Welcome to my course” page so students know what to expect from your course.
  • Use Modules to publish the parts of your course when you want them made available to students.
  • Use Canvas Syllabus to automatically create links to assignments based on availability dates.
  • Instructors can see what a student will see if they click on Student View under Settings.
  • Clean up your course for your students
    • Remove any menu items you are not currently using
    • Displaying both Assignments and Modules is confusing for students
    • Make Announcement Titles the same as the actual document names
    • Link Files and Assignments to Announcements when appropriate
    • Organize Assignments by Due Date
    • Re-order Grades to make sense for the student

Modules

Layout Modules the way you organize the dates in your Syllabus.

Include a checklist at the end of each module for all components of the module. This allows students to know they have not missed anything from a module. Include reference materials, assignments, quizzes, and anything else you have included in the module.

Assignments

Everything published in Assignments and ALL Assignment groups show up in Grades.

Create Assignment Groups the way you organize grading groups in your Syllabus.  Use the same terms and you can provide Weighted Grades which will automatically calculate in Grades

Undelete Assignments by changing the URL to have “undelete” at the end.  For instance: https://canvas.ivc.edu/courses/15071/undelete

Grades and Grading

Assign a 0 to work the student has not handed in but has been graded for other students.  This allows a student to see their current grade, based on not handing in the assignment.  If you do not, a student can get a false sense of what their grades actually are.

To add a column in the Grade Book, go to Assignments and add and publish an assignment to the appropriate group.

Organize your Grade Book by left clicking on the top of the columns and dragging them to where they make sense.

Use SpeedGrader to Grade student assignments quickly.

Cross-Listing Courses

You can Cross-List courses that are virtually identical.  This allows the instructor to only have to post assignments, announcements, and setup only one course but will work for all students.  This also makes grading easier because all the students are within one course. Make sure you check with your department chair before requesting IT do this.

Be careful Cross-Listing courses that are not the same level.  Students get confused if they took an A version of a course and now are in a B version but both courses are in the same cross-listed course.

Student View

Instructors can see the last time a student logged into the Canvas course and how long they have been logged in, by clicking on People.

Instructors can see what a student will see if they click on Student View under Settings.

Clean up your course for your students
•    Remove any menu items you are not currently using
•    Displaying both Assignments and Modules is confusing for students
•    Make Announcement Titles the same as the actual document names
•    Link Files and Assignments to Announcements when appropriate
•    Organize Assignments by Due Date
•    Re-order Grades to make sense

Workshops

Please visit our Workshops Calendar for more information on how to develop your Canvas course.

Redirect Tool

Use the Redirect Tool to add external links to the left navigation menu.  This allows students to access specific web pages from anywhere they are in your course.

Do Not use the Redirect Tool to add links to Canvas Pages to the left navigation menu.  Students can login from more than one site (IVC, Saddleback, etc.) therefore links will not work for all students.

Canvas Settings

Students cannot view a course until the semester start date.  Feel free to publish your course at any time, just understand only teachers can see the course.

Students have read-only access to courses for 1 month after the end of the semester.

If you do not want students to view your course outside the term, in Settings, click on Restrict students from viewing course after End Date.

At the bottom of settings is a more options link which allows you to see several additional options

  • Discussion Options
  • Hide grade options from students

How to hide grade distribution information from students

If you would like to hide grade distribution information from your students, please read this article and follow the instructions: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12715

How to hide or display courses on my Canvas Dashboard

To display or hide courses within your Canvas Dashboard, follow these steps:

  • Login to Canvas
  • Click on “Courses” on the left
  • Click on “All Courses”
  • Make sure the courses you want to see have the Star on the left, highlighted
  • Click on “Dashboard” on the left
  • You will see all the courses that were highlighted

How to add events to course calendar without setting up an assignment

Sometimes you want to add an event to the students' calendars for your course, that is not associated with an assignment or quiz.  This can be a field trip, art show, or even Spring Break.  

To do this, follow the steps in this article: How to add event to calendar