Category Archives: CTL Tips

To Do List Links for Fall 2014 Canvas Courses

Your new Canvas course shells for teaching Fall 2014 semester courses are ready to be used.  Once the upcoming semester’s Canvas courses become available there are a few things many instructors and instructional staff often want or need to do in Canvas.  We’ve included links to help you with a handful of them below.

You will probably need to Customize your Courses drop-down menu to remove any courses from previous semesters, and possibly add some course to that menu too. Instructors at Michigan Tech can use the Combine Canvas Sections tool on the CourseTools page to combine two or more BANNER sections into one Canvas course.  Go to Combining Canvas Sections for directions.  If you would like to copy the content in one of your previous Canvas courses into a new Fall 2014 Canvas course, you can do that too.  See Copying Content from Another Canvas Course to find out how.  If you would like to enroll a TA, additional instructors, etc. into your course, see Adding New Users to your Canvas Course.  And finally, you will need to Publish your Canvas course in order for your students to be able to see and access it.  See How do I publish my course? for directions.

You may just want some help or information, and the best place to start is Canvas One Stop .  From there you can Contact Support, find out about eLearning Walk-in Hours for Canvas Help, get quick links to online help resources, and more.  The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Michigan Tech.

Canvas Draft State Features Now Available

Canvas has implemented a new Draft State feature set that allows instructors to publish or unpublish course content.  It allows instructors to hide access to course content by making it published or unpublished.  The unpublished feature is available in assignments, quizzes, pages, discussions, and modules.  Unpublished course content is not visible to students and is excluded from course grade calculations.  Draft state has also added significant new user-interface elements in Canvas. Draft State features are available to ALL instructors teaching Track A courses this summer.

To enable Draft State in your course click on the “settings” tab in the left navigation.  Then click the “feature options” tab at the top of the page, and click the “on” button for the Draft State feature.

Draft State will be a part of core Canvas at the beginning of Track B summer courses on June 30, 2014.

Additional information and comprehensive screencast

Draft State screen

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.

Submit Grades via Banner or Canvas and Coursetools

Instructors have two choices for submitting grades. They can be submitted
electronically either via Canvas and CourseTools, or via Banner Self Service.
Banner Self Service is the simpler of the two systems. Instructors can simply type
their grades directly into BanWeb, click submit, and be finished!
Grade submission through Canvas requires a couple more steps. It is often most
beneficial for larger classes, and for courses where grades are already entered in
Canvas or another spreadsheet program. Grades need to be entered or uploaded
in Canvas first, and then extracted from Canvas and submitted to Banner using the
Grade Wizard on “Coursetools.” Those who have the correct letter grades for their
students in their Canvas Total column can choose that column in the first step of the
Grade Wizard, so there’s no longer any need to copy grades out of the Total column,
unless you want to “tweak” them.
Information and instructions can be accessed on eLearning’s Electronic Grade
Submission Information & Resources page. Instructors can also attend one of the
two grade submission workshops, and are also encouraged to utilize eLearning
Walk-In Hours, available on Canvas One Stop, to get help. The CTL Tip of the Week
is brought to you by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

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).

Enable, Create, and Edit Letter Grading Schemes in Canvas

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.

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.

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.

Creative Canvas Course Contest (C-4)

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.

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.

Notification and Communications Preferences in Canvas

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.

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.

Submit Mid-Term Grades via Banner or Canvas and Coursetools

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.

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