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
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 uses Letter Grade Schemes to associate letter grades with a certain percentage range, and those ranges can be chosen and managed by instructors. Your Spring 2014 Canvas courses currently have a Default Final Column Grade Scheme enabled to work with the Total Column in your gradebook. This is known as the course grading scheme. The Default Final Column Grade Scheme is also attached to the “Final (Course Grade)” Assignment and gradebook column.
You can find out how to enable or not enable a course grading scheme on the page linked below, so you can choose whether or not your Total column also displays letter grades along with percentages. You can also find out how to hide or reveal the Total column from your students there. You can use your own grading scheme, instead of the default one, as the course grading scheme, and with various grade columns and assignments, like the Final (Course Grade) Assignment and gradebook column. Since instructors can now use the Total Column in their Canvas gradebook to submit final grades from CourseTools, having your own, accurate letter grading scheme in use is more important than ever. For more information and directions, refer to our Enable, Create, and Edit Letter Grading Schemes in Canvas page to access an eLearning screencast, Instructure Guides, and more.
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.
This spring semester the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning will host an “explosive” program intended to showcase the most effective and user-friendly Canvas Courses at Michigan Tech. The second-annual C-4 competition will focus 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.
Students, faculty, or chairs can nominate a spring term course for C-4 in just seconds by entering the instructor name, course name, and reason the course deserves recognition. Nominations should be entered on this form no later than April 4, 2014 for consideration.
You and your students can control the destination and frequency of the notifications Canvas sends out to you. Canvas pushes out notifications for a wide variety of activities and events that occur in a Canvas course. Your notifications will come to your @mtu.edu email address right away by default, but you can edit how often these notifications come to you, and choose to get them somewhere else, like a text to your mobile phone, a tweet on Twitter, a message in Facebook or LinkedIn, etc.
With the explosion of social media and mobile electronic devices, we live in an increasingly connected world. Canvas understands that, and gives you a wide variety of communication options to keep you connected to your courses and your students. Notification Preferences allow you to select how and when you want to be notified when various events occur within your course. This same functionality is extended to students, so they’ll be notified whenever there is a change in a due date, an updated assignment, or a message sent from within Canvas. You can access written documentation and information and watch the eLearning screencasts on eLearning’s Notifications and Communication Preferences page.
Instructors have two choices for submitting grades. Mid-Term (and Final) grades can be submitted electronically either via Canvas, OR via Banner Self Service. Banner Self Service is the simpler of the two systems; instructors can enter grades directly, click submit, and be finished!
Grade submission through Canvas requires a couple more steps. It is often most beneficial for larger classes or courses where grades are already entered in Canvas or another spreadsheet program. Grades will need to be entered or uploaded into the “Mid-Term” column in Canvas first, and then extracted from Canvas and submitted to Banner using “Coursetools.”
Mid-Term grades only need to be submitted for first year students and only SA and UN grades can be used. Information and instructions can be accessed on eLearning’s Electronic Grade Submission Information & Resources page.
Many, if not most, Michigan Tech instructors copy content into their new, blank Canvas courses before each new semester from one of their previous Canvas courses. This allows them to reuse content and formatting choices and avoid building things twice. Importing content into Canvas courses is also often used at any time to bring individual tests, modules, pages, etc. from one course into another without rebuilding.
Instructure will be implementing a redesign to their Canvas course imports interface around the time of our Spring Break. The “Select migration content” option has been redesigned within Course Imports. When instructors copy or import courses and choose to select the course content, Canvas will no longer select all content by default. Many found this to be annoying since they had to manually uncheck everything they didn’t want to import one item at a time, and others often unintentionally imported everything when they only wanted certain items. You can see more about the redesign to the course import interface on this page, and check out Copying Content from Another Canvas Course to learn how to import course content.
Both the Provost and the University Senate (policy 505.1) advocate distributing an early term survey during the fourth or fifth week of the term to direct and improve instruction. This anonymous survey has traditionally been done on paper during class time, but it can also be done using Canvas. Using Canvas saves class time, provides more legible feedback, and allows faculty to quickly see survey results and statistics.
The senate policy suggests two free response questions: “What is good about this course?” and “How could it be better?” The template for Spring 2014 Canvas Courses contains a sample Early Term Survey for faculty to use as is, or modify and use. All you would have to do is publish the survey if you would like to use it as is.
You can watch an eLearning screencast and look over the Canvas Instructor Guide’s Quizzes Chapter on our Early Term Surveys Canvas page, and faculty can stop by eLearning walk-in hours for help building surveys and quizzes in Canvas. 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
Instructors can use a new Notes column in their Canvas Gradebook to keep track of extra information in their course, such as student group membership, student number, or just general student notes. This feature has been the second-most-requested feature by Canvas users, and the folks at Instructure say they hope it helps with your course management.
To show the Notes column in the Gradebook, click the Gear icon in the Gradebook drop-down menu and select the Show Notes Column link. When the column is shown, Gear icon drop-down option will change to Hide Notes Column. To make a comment in the notes, click the note field for the appropriate student and type into the text box. Click the Save button to save your note. The note field allows up to 255 characters. You can see some illustrated instructions on using the new Notes column and see a video demonstration from Instructure on eLearning’s Gradebook Notes Column page.
The Experimental Education Environment (E3) is a new space meant to support all Michigan Tech instructors’ experimentation with instructional designs, use of instructional technology or educational media, and room or furniture arrangement. As a collaboration among the staff of the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, Information Technology’s Media Services, and the Van Pelt and Opie Library staff, instructors interested in using this space for formal instruction or informal student groups can receive support for their pedagogical ideas or challenges. With its partners, the library has developed this space to encourage faculty innovation as it evolves towards an Information and Learning Commons.
The initial start-up, supported by the Herman Miller Corporation, was based on the ideas of a group of faculty, CTL, IT, and library staff and jump-started by a student team under the leadership of Linda Wanless from the School of Technology.
For the next year, Dr. Wanless will be leading an educational research program in consort with the Herman Miller team to assess the value of the space and instructor and learner satisfaction. The space will also support testing of new technologies, media, or furniture prior to larger-scale use.
Ways to fully maximize use of this space will be developed during the coming year. To begin, a first-come, first-served method will be used; so even if your interest is tentative, don’t hesitate to book time now. Refer to the Van Pelt and Opie Library’s Experimental Education Environment webpage for more information about the using room, scheduling, orientation, the research, and more.