Month: January 2024

Early Term Surveys

Is your Early Term Survey ready for your students? The fourth and fifth week of the term is right around the corner and it’s your opportunity to gather valuable and constructive anonymous feedback from your students about your instructional processes; the survey results provide a roadmap for pedagogical adjustments early in the term. Both the Provost and the University Senate (Policy 505.1) advocate for distributing an Early Term Survey.

In each Canvas course shell, an Early Term Survey resides within the Quizzes section. Three default questions are provided; however, instructors have the ability to add, delete, or modify the survey questions based upon the type of feedback they are seeking. Creating a survey question is the same as creating a Quiz or Assignment.

Once an instructor is satisfied with their questions, the quiz can be published and accessed by the students during the allotted time frame. 

After the surveys are complete, instructors are able to see the results through Moderate This Survey.

For more information and general guidelines about the Early Term Survey, please refer to the Faculty Handbook.

If you have further questions about administering the Early Term Survey or would like to discuss ways that you can successfully apply the feedback to your course, feel free to reach out to the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning at 487-3000 or email us at

Interpreting Course evaluations

Even as a new semester is starting, we should not lose sight of all the effort that went into teaching last semester.  The start of a new semester is a perfect time to reflect on your course evaluation results and the student feedback received.  

Previous course evaluations can provide valuable information and insight as you begin to take the time to reflect on where you would like to refine your courses in the new semester. But where do you begin to make sense of all the data and feedback that is provided on course evaluations? 

Starting Point

Select a recent course evaluation and run the report with comments.  At the top left corner of the report will be your response rates.  Do you have a good response rate to justify the value of the data?  If you have a very low response rate, you may want to be careful in making generalizations of the course overall. Be sure to use course evaluations that have at least a 50% response rate. For this reason, it is important to encourage students to complete the evaluations so that it will generate sufficient usable data later on. High response rates along with high scores also leads to teaching award nominations!!

Review the overall average of the 7 dimensions.  

The average of the 7 dimensions will be found towards the bottom of the report just under the likert scale questions.  Typically questions 5-11 are the seven dimension questions determined by the university.  Your average score on the 7 dimensions will depend on many variables such as class size, experience teaching this particular course, etc. If you would like to improve your overall average of the 7 dimensions, it is important that you look at each individual dimension and find the one with the lowest score.  This dimension would be your best indicator of a starting point in refining your course.  Going forward, you will want to select and  incorporate some different approaches or strategies that would hopefully strengthen this dimension from the student perspective.  

Student Feedback

Are you overwhelmed by reading through all the student comments at the bottom of your course evaluation reports?  Wondering where to start to incorporate this feedback into your future course offerings?  Begin by trying to categorize each comment into broader topics.  You will begin to see that most of the comments correlate with one of the 7 dimensions.  The category with the most comments will be an indicator of where to refine your approach moving into future offerings of this course.  

Feel free to reach out to the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning – we have a wealth of strategies and approaches that you can try based on your course structure and comfort level.

Creating Accessible Equations in Canvas

Canvas provides multiple ways to add equations to pages. In this blog post, you will learn a method that will create accessible equations in Canvas, which means that these equations will be automatically accessible by a Screen Reader and no additional effort is required. 

Now you can add LaTex code directly into the Rich Content editor. For those who do not know, LaTeX code is a powerful markup language for mathematical typesetting. If you are familiar with LaTex or you just need to create simple equations, please follow the instructions in Displaying equations in Canvas to create accessible equations in Canvas; if you do not know LaTex, please check out Tools to create equations in Latex format and then follow the instructions in Displaying equations in Canvas to create accessible equations in Canvas. 

Displaying Equations in Canvas

So now how to display equations in Canvas? First, please login your canvas course and located a Canvas page you want the equations to display, and then follow these steps: 

  1. Click Edit button and Locate Text Field where you would like to put an equation.
  2. Type the appropriate Delimiter to signal that the equation should be rendered in LaTeX.
    • \( and \) should be used for equations that are meant to be displayed inline with text.
    • $$ should be used for equations that are meant to be displayed in separate blocks.
  3. Type the Equation between the delimiters.
    • Ex: \(x^2+3x+4=7\) for inline text or $$ x^3+2x+4=9$$ for block text
  4. Click Save for whatever text field you are working in.
  5. Check that the Equation is being displayed correctly. It should look similar to the screenshot below.

You can create more complicated equations, like the one displayed below using $$\frac{\sigma_y}{\partial{y}}+\frac{\tau_{xy}}{\partial{x}}+Y_b=0$$.

Tools to Create Equations in LaTex format

If you do not know LaTeX code, don’t worry. You can write equations in MS Word or EquatIO and covert equations easily as LaTex.  

Please check the Write an equation or formula in MS Word page for how to convert an equation to the Linear (LaTex) formats. 

For EquatIO, after you finish creating the equation, you can click the LaTex editor (see screenshot below) to find the LaTex format. 

If you have any questions or need any assistance in creating accessible equations in Canvas, please contact