Archives—November 2012

Weighting Grades by Assignment Group

The Canvas Gradebook efficiently supports two main organizations.  Creating all assignments in a single category and indicating a “points possible” for each allows the total column to display a straight percentage earned for each student.  In this example, 720 points are possible, so if a student earned 600 points at the end of the semester, 83.3% would be displayed as the Total.

The alternative is to calculate an overall grade as a weighted average of various assignment types (Class Participation = 10%, Homework = 15%, etc.). This can be done by creating Assignment Groups for each grading category. Then either create new assignments in each group, or move assignments you have already created into the appropriate group by dragging and dropping.  Weights can then be assigned to each category, as shown in this example.

You can review the Instructure Guide “How do I weight the final grade based on Assignment Groups?” and watch Organizing Your Canvas Gradebook, the eLearning screencast, to learn more about weighting grades by Assignment Groups in Canvas.  You may also find our Canvas Tips about grading schemes and ungraded assignments useful when organizing your Canvas Assignments and Gradebook.  We encourage you to visit the Canvas One Stop page for more general information, for help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops as you begin building your Spring Semester 2013 courses, which are now available in Canvas.

Michigan Tech Canvas Support Resources Course

In a spirit of continuing improvement, eLearning has improved its index to Canvas help resources to better support our Canvas users here at Michigan Tech.  The index is in a public Canvas course called Michigan Tech Canvas Support Resources.  This course has a combination of links to documentation and videos created by eLearning @ Michigan Tech, Canvas, and others. The links are organized in an alphabetized list by tool or feature.  (Look under “Pages”, “Quizzes”, etc.)  In case you don’t find what you are looking for, the top of the homepage also has a direct link to all Instructor Canvas Guides and to Canvas One Stop, which has links to contact support, sign up for a workshop, learn about eLearning Walk-In hours, etc.

You can go directly to this course from the Online Help button on Canvas One Stop, and now by clicking the red Help link in the upper right corner inside Canvas and selecting Michigan Tech Canvas Support Resources.  You may also notice a link to Michigan Tech’s CourseTools page has been added to the Help menu inside Canvas.  This will provide a direct link from inside Canvas to CourseTools, a page used to combine Canvas sections and submit grades. As always, for help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, you can start at Canvas One Stop.

Canvas Gradebook: Ungraded or Zeros?

It’s important for faculty to understand how the Canvas gradebook treats ungraded assignments.  By default, ungraded assignments are NOT included in any assignment total calculations.  This means that when assignments are left as “ungraded” (shown with a ‘-‘ dash), they are treated as if they never happened.  At first glance, this may seem problematic, but Canvas is really designed to allow faculty to enter assignments well ahead of when grades exist.  Many faculty members enter assignments for the whole semester right at the start, which builds a nice calendar and set of reminders for students as due dates approach.  Not including upcoming ungraded assignments is done by design, but Canvas assumes that for any past assignments some score will be entered – even if that score is zero.

Some of you may have noticed an option called “Treat ungraded as zeros” on the Gradebook Options menu (gear tool) in your gradebook.  It should be emphasized that while choosing this option does show the INSTRUCTOR how things would look if all ungraded assignments were zeros, it does NOT “stick” when you leave the gradebook, or affect what is seen by students.  It’s therefore important to actually enter a zero grade when a student doesn’t complete an assignment, rather than to leave it ungraded.

For large classes where missed assignments are common, there is a short cut.  In the dropdown list of any gradebook column, you can use the “Set Default Grade” option to enter zeros for any ungraded assignments. (See How do I set a default grade for an Assignment?) Best practice, then, is to make sure that zeros get entered along with other scores, leaving no “ungraded” dashes once an assignment is complete in your course.

You can watch the eLearning screencast Canvas Gradebook: Ungraded or Zeros? for a video demonstration.  For more information, or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.

Downloading Grades and Uploading Scores in your Canvas Gradebook

Your Canvas gradebook has a feature that allows you to both download your gradebook as a .csv file so you can work on it in a spreadsheet application like Excel, and then upload a .csv file with those scores back into your Canvas gradebook.  You can access this feature from the gradebook options menu, which is the ‘gear’ symbol in the upper left corner of the Canvas gradebook.  The options are listed as “Download Scores (.csv)” and “Upload Scores (from .csv).” You can read more detailed instructions for downloading your gradebook as a spreadsheet file at How do I download scores from the gradebook? Instructions for uploading a .csv file to your Canvas gradebook can be found at How to upload changes to the Grade Book?

Instructors can utilize this feature to take advantage of the capabilities of applications like Excel to more quickly and easily cut and paste grades, perform calculations using the features of a spreadsheet program, facilitate the process of importing grades or scores from other programs and sources, etc.  It’s a good idea to start by downloading a .csv file of your Canvas gradebook and use that as your template to work in.  Then when you upload that .csv file back into your Canvas gradebook it will contain the information it needs to synch the file and the gradebook together.

You can watch Downloading Grades and Uploading Scores in Canvas for a video demonstration of a simple download and upload of scores.  For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.