Archives—April 2014

Creative Canvas Course Contest (C-4) Winners Announced

This spring semester the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning hosted an “explosive” program intended to showcase the most effective and user-friendly Canvas Courses at Michigan Tech.  The second-annual C-4 competition focused on Canvas courses that are intuitive and easy to navigate, feature good course design, provide convenient access to information and materials students need, and offer resources and activities that help students succeed in the class. Canvas courses were nominated almost entirely by students, but other faculty and chairs were eligible to nominate spring term courses for C-4 too.

Congratulations to this year’s C4 winners:

  • Lauren Bowen (HU3151)
  • Paul Charlesworth (CH1150)
  • James DeClerck (MEEM3502)
  • Timothy Havens (CS5821)
  • Kalen Larson (FA3650)
  • Michele Loughead (BUS1100)
  • Gordon Parker (MEEM4700)
  • Judith Perlinger (UN5100)
  • Joe Wagenbrenner (FW4370)

The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).   For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop.


Tips on Submitting Grades this Semester

A side effect of entering letter grades in the Final (Course Grade) column in
Canvas has been causing some instructors problems or concern after submitting
grades via Canvas. The Final (Course Grade) column uses a letter grade
scheme to match numbers between 0 and 100 with letter grades. When
numbers are entered into this column the matching letter grade for that range
is also displayed. The default letter grade scheme attached to that column will
display an AB if an 89.5 is entered, for example. If a letter is entered first though,
Canvas will display that and also automatically display the highest possible
numerical score in that letter grade’s range. The default letter grade scheme
attached to that column will display a 91.9 if an AB is entered, for example. This
has sometimes resulted in students contacting instructors to inquire about being
so very close to the next letter grade, when in fact they may have earned that AB
in our example with a numerical score of 88.2.
If you are hoping to avoid this, you have a variety of options. You can always
choose to submit grades via Banner Self Service and just enter letter grades
there. You now can also submit grades via Canvas and CourseTools from
your Canvas gradebook’s Total column too. This means if you have your
Canvas gradebook functioning properly and up to date, and your Total column
is already displaying the correct letter grade for your students, you can just go
to CourseTools and choose that column to submit grades from. It is not the
default column, so you will need to click on the Change Canvas Grade Book
Column button in the beginning and select “final_grade”, then click the Save
Changes button in the grade wizard. Finally, if you need to ‘tweak’ some grades
or don’t have grades ready in Canvas but want to use Canvas for final grade
submission, you can enter the appropriate numerical score in the Final (Course
Grade) column and the letter grade for that number from the grade scheme
you are using will be displayed and can be used for final grade submission via
CourseTools.
For more information and directions about grade schemes, refer to our Enable,
Create, and Edit Letter Grading Schemes in Canvas page to access an
eLearning screencast, Instructure Guides, and more. For more information and
help with grade submission go to our Electronic Grade Submission Information
& Resources page. And as always, you can contact support, get online help,
and utilize our eLearning Walk-In Hours for Canvas help, all available on Canvas
One Stop. The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Jackson Center for
Teaching and Learning (CTL).

A side effect of entering letter grades in the Final (Course Grade) column in
Canvas has been causing some instructors problems or concern after submitting
grades via Canvas. The Final (Course Grade) column uses a letter grade
scheme to match numbers between 0 and 100 with letter grades. When
numbers are entered into this column the matching letter grade for that range
is also displayed. The default letter grade scheme attached to that column will
display an AB if an 89.5 is entered, for example. If a letter is entered first though,
Canvas will display that and also automatically display the highest possible
numerical score in that letter grade’s range. The default letter grade scheme
attached to that column will display a 91.9 if an AB is entered, for example. This
has sometimes resulted in students contacting instructors to inquire about being
so very close to the next letter grade, when in fact they may have earned that AB
in our example with a numerical score of 88.2.
If you are hoping to avoid this, you have a variety of options. You can always
choose to submit grades via Banner Self Service and just enter letter grades
there. You now can also submit grades via Canvas and CourseTools from
your Canvas gradebook’s Total column too. This means if you have your
Canvas gradebook functioning properly and up to date, and your Total column
is already displaying the correct letter grade for your students, you can just go
to CourseTools and choose that column to submit grades from. It is not the
default column, so you will need to click on the Change Canvas Grade Book
Column button in the beginning and select “final_grade”, then click the Save
Changes button in the grade wizard. Finally, if you need to ‘tweak’ some grades
or don’t have grades ready in Canvas but want to use Canvas for final grade
submission, you can enter the appropriate numerical score in the Final (Course
Grade) column and the letter grade for that number from the grade scheme
you are using will be displayed and can be used for final grade submission via
CourseTools.
For more information and directions about grade schemes, refer to our Enable,
Create, and Edit Letter Grading Schemes in Canvas page to access an
eLearning screencast, Instructure Guides, and more. For more information and
help with grade submission go to our Electronic Grade Submission Information
& Resources page. And as always, you can contact support, get online help,
and utilize our eLearning Walk-In Hours for Canvas help, all available on Canvas
One Stop. The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Jackson Center for
Teaching and Learning (CTL).


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? via the link below) 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 an eLearning screencast for a video demonstration, link to directions for setting a default grade, and see where to access your Gradebook Options Menu on this page.

The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop.