Importing Content in a Canvas Course

When preparing for a new semester of teaching one common job on your list is to import instructional materials from a previous course. Canvas provides a robust tool for this job with with options to customize which content to import. Read on as we review the options and some important considerations when importing content to a Canvas course.

Import Course Content

Import Course Content option from course settings sidebar

From the course Settings you choose the “Import Course Content” option to begin importing content from another Canvas course that you have instructor access in. Choosing the option “Copy a Canvas Course” for a content type will let you search for the course you want to import from. Courses will be listed alphabetically by most recent term. Once your source course is selected you have the option to simply import all content OR select specific content.

Import Content Options

How much content do you need?

Be thoughtful here. If you really only need some assignments and files from a previous course, choosing specific content can be a better option. There are many Canvas courses out there with lots of unused legacy content that just creates clutter and confusion for both the instructor and their students. So just import the content you really need for the new semester. You can always come back and import other items you may have missed.

Select Content Dialog

Canvas makes it pretty easy to choose specific content. Once you choose the “Select Specific Content” option from the Import Content menu you click the blue Import button. This cues up the import job in Canvas and provides you a Select Content button. When you click this, Canvas will display all content in the course you are importing from, sorted by type (modules, assignments, quizzes, etc.). You can expand the content item menu and check the boxes for just the items you need. Once you identify all content needed click the Select Content button to begin the import process. If you forget and item or two, no problem. Just start a new import job using the same process to retrieve any additional content you need.

Adjusting assignment dates

During the import process Canvas provides the option to retain assignment and events dates for the content you are importing. In most cases you will not want to use the old dates. Canvas lets you adjust dates by checking the options box and then either shifting dates for the imported content or removing dates entirely. Removing dates is often a good choice since it removes the possibility of you using an assignment with old dates and possibly creating an access problem for your students. All content comes into the new course clean and you can add current term due dates and availability dates when you are ready. The adjustment date feature works for assignments, announcements, quizzes, modules and files.

A powerful feature when used carefully

The course import tool can save instructors lots of time during course setup. The ability to use the custom features to target specific content for import and the ability to shift or remove dates can mean less time spent managing legacy content in your next course and more time available for creating new content and teaching.


Need Help?

Contact the elearning support team in the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning if you have questions about Canvas, Huskycast, Zoom or other educational technology tools. | 487-3000

Direct Share in Canvas

As an instructor of a Canvas course, you have the ability to share any announcements, assignments, discussions, pages or quizzes that you have created with another Canvas user (who also has instructor status). The Canvas feature is known as Direct Share. To send the course content to another user, you simply click on the Options icon to the right of the content and select the ‘send to‘ option. Enter the user’s name to find their account and select send.

Send to option

How does the other person receive the content that was sent?

All shared content is sent to a user via their Canvas User account. If you open your user account, you will see an item in the list entitled, “Shared Content“. All content that has been shared with you will reside here until you decide to preview it, import it into one of your courses or delete the shared content. All three of these options are available when viewing the shared content in the ‘Received Content‘ page.

Canvas user account settings

Important items to note:

  • Any assets within the shared content (ex. images, files, etc.) will be included in the Direct Share feature.
  • If you delete content from the Received Content page (that you previously imported into your course), it will not be deleted from the course only from the Shared Content area of your user account.
  • Shared Content is only held in your account for a limited period of time and should be previewed or imported shortly after being received.

If you would like to learn more about the Direct Share feature or managing your Canvas user account settings, please feel free to contact us at

Grade Submission Options


As we near the finish line of a challenging spring semester it’s a good time to review the options instructors have for submitting their final course grades. Read on to learn more about using the Canvas gradebook or Banweb to accomplish this.

Submit Grades from Canvas Gradebook

If you keep your Canvas gradebook accurate (with no muted or ungraded assignments and a correct grading scheme in place) you can choose to have Banner extract grades directly. The grading scheme validates Michigan Tech letter grades so they can be used in the Canvas gradebook. The Total column of the Canvas gradebook automatically calculates grades based on all published assignments in the course (including any weighting established with individual assignment groups). This column can be used for final grade submission, but this is a calculated column and cannot be manually adjusted.

To provide flexibility, all Canvas courses are created with an unpublished assignment called Final (course grade) which allows instructors to enter letter grades directly in Canvas. Once grades are entered you can choose to extract final grades from this assignment column by selecting it when using the Canvas grade submission tool. Details on submitting grades from Canvas are available in this knowledge base article.

Submit Grades from Banweb

You can also submit grades directly in Banweb via the Faculty/Advisor tab. This options allows you to manually enter grades and works well for smaller course sections (less than 30). When you choose the grade submission option in Banweb you are directed to choose the course and then the final grade option to begin entering grades. Any “I” or “F” grades that you enter will require you to provide additional information about student attendance in the course. A Banweb submission knowledge base article details this option.

Regardless of the grade submission option you choose it’s important to make sure that the grade information in your Canvas gradebook is up to date and accurate so your students know their status as the term progresses.


Need Help?

Contact the elearning support team in the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning if you have questions about Canvas, Huskycast, Zoom or other educational technology tools. | 487-3000

The Ally Course Accessibility Report

Ally Course Accessibility Dashboard

Ally is a course accessibility tool that works within Canvas. It automatically scans Canvas course content and provides accessibility scores and feedback to instructors about specific accessibility problems, why they are important, and how to remove them. One valuable component of Ally is the course accessibility report. Let’s review this feature.


You access the Ally course accessibility report from the Canvas course navigation item on the left. The report has two main areas: an overview and a content detail page. The overview provides a comprehensive tally of all course content types including images, content pages, announcements, assignments, discussions, documents, etc. It also sorts course content into a group of easiest to fix issues, and a group with the lowest accessibility scores. These sorted groups help instructors prioritize items that can have the most impact for their students.


The content view lists every item Ally has identified in your course and assigns it an accessibility score. These scores are reported as a percentage with an associated color-coded gauge.

Ally scoring gauges
  • Low (0-33%)- severe accessibility issues exist
  • Medium (34-66%)- somewhat accessible but needs improvement
  • High (67-99%)- file is accessible, but improvements are possible
  • Perfect- no accessibility issues identified by Ally, but further improvement may be possible.

When you click on a gauge Ally opens a preview of the content item (when available) and provides a prioritized listing of all accessibility issues. Ally also provides guidance about what the issues mean and why they are important. In some cases corrections can be made directly within the Ally interface (such as adding alternative text descriptions for images), while in other cases you would need to correct problems in the source document directly. As you make improvements to your content Ally updates the accessibility score immediately.

It’s A Process

Improving access to your instructional materials takes time. Ally can help you prioritize your limited time to make the most impact on your course. While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of problems Ally identifies, and you may not know where to begin, it’s important to just get started and make improvements. Over time this can have a big impact on your Ally course accessibility score, and, more importantly, remove digital barriers within your instructional materials so more students can use them effectively.

Check back for future posts about other valuable features of Ally in your Canvas courses.


Need Help?

Contact the elearning support team in the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning if you have questions about Canvas, Huskycast, Zoom or other educational technology tools. | 487-3000

Speedgrader’s latest feature!

Here is some great news for instructors who would like to be able to hand back an assignment (within Canvas) to a student and allow them to revise their work and resubmit. The feature is known as Submission Reassignment and it basically allows the instructor to reassign an assignment (with a due date) back to an individual student and ask them to redo their submission. When an assignment is set up for Submission Reassignment, a ‘Reassign Assignment‘ button will be visible under the comments box in Speedgrader.

Speedgrader view

Example for using Reassign

A great example of where Submission Reassignment works especially well is a written assignment. Written assignments often go through varied levels of revisions before reaching the final draft. For some students that may only be two revisions for others it may be four revisions. The Submission Reassignment would allow the instructor to give feedback on areas to improve on and hand back the submission so that the student could see the comments. Students can then apply the necessary revisions and resubmit a revised version to the same assignment. This feature is certainly not limited to written assignments but could be used on basically any assignment as long as the Assignment type is defined as an online assignment with a designated due date within Canvas.

Items to keep in mind when using Reassign

  • Reassign Assignment is not available for External Tools, on paper or no submission type assignments…only online!
  • The number of submission attempts allowed needs to be defined in the assignment details and needs to be greater than 1.
  • This feature is only available for assignments with defined due dates.
  • The Reassign Assignment button will be ‘grayed out’ until the instructor provides comments in Speedgrader.

If you would like to learn more about Submission Reassignment or have additional questions about using Speedgrader, you are welcome to contact

Immersive Reader: Support tools for learners in Canvas

Microsoft Immersive Reader interfaace

Canvas recently added support for Microsoft’s Immersive Reader tool-set within content pages. It provides features similar to other literacy software like Read & Write from Texthelp (also available to all MTU students, staff, and faculty). When viewing a Canvas content page learners can click the Immersive Reader button in the upper right corner of the page to access the tools.

Immersive Reader button in Canvas content page

Text to Speech

Immersive Reader features a read out loud feature that allows learners to listen to the text read back to them while the words on the screen are highlighted. Options to select a female or male voice and adjust reading speed are available. Text to speech assistive technology supports improved reading comprehension. When combined with the text translation feature learners can also listen to page content read to them in a different language.

Customized text display

Learners have access to many tools in Immersive Reader to customize the display of text on the Canvas content page, including:

  • Text size
  • Text spacing
  • Display font
  • Color theme
  • Text formatting

These text features support learners with dyslexia or other conditions that make reading comprehension more difficult. For example, increasing the text spacing can reduce visual crowding on a content page which can help increase reading speed with fewer reading errors. Increasing the text size also reduces line length which can also help improve reading speed. Adjusting the color theme of the page can help some readers who experience visual discomfort or symptoms of eye fatigue while reading the default text display on a page. There is a choice of display fonts including a standard sans serif option (Calibri) or a screen-optimized serif font called Sitka that can improve legibility and readability. A final font choice, Comic Sans, is targeted at early readers who are still developing their skills with letter recognition. The informal character of the font mimics the handwritten text that young learners practice often during primary school.

Grammar Options

Grammar Options panel in Immersive Reader

The grammar tools in Immersive Reader allow learners to see a visual indicator of the syllabic components of words and identify the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) via color coding and/or labels. These features support reading comprehension in both child and adult readers as well as non-native English learners.

Sample text in Immersive Reader showing syllable indicators and parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs).

Reading Preferences

The line focus tool in Immersive reader can help learners with attention deficit disabilities by focusing on one, three or five line segments of text. They can manually scroll through the page content or listen via the text to speech feature while viewing in line focus mode. Finally, a picture dictionary option is available for some words. When learners click on supported words a representative image is displayed next to the selected word.

Improved access

Tools like Immersive Reader support the Universal Design for Learning framework which encourages multiple ways for learners to engage with instruction materials (multiple means of representation). Students may also feel more empowered to engage with their instructional materials through additional modalities that can support comprehension and build confidence.


Need Help?

Contact the elearning support team in the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning if you have questions about Canvas, Huskycast, Zoom or other educational technology tools. | 487-3000

iClicker Cloud Polling Question Types

Over the course of the past year, many instructors have incorporated iClicker Cloud into their online or remote learning environments as a way to engage students in the course content. Students are able to respond to questions via their mobile device, tablet or laptop using the mobile/website application known as REEF.

The ability for students to answer questions via a mobile device, tablet or laptop, opens up the opportunity for instructors to ask varied question types during the polling session. An instructor is no longer limited to just asking multiple choice type questions! iClicker Cloud offers the options of multiple answer, short answer, numeric and target type questions.

iClicker question types

Question Types

  • Multiple Answer – A multiple answer question type engages the student in evaluating each response for correctness or incorrectness instead of simply finding the single ‘best’ answer in a multiple choice type question. Multiple Answer questions allow for a maximum span of six responses (A-F) to choice from. The Results Chart will show number of responses that are correct, partially correct and incorrect.
  • Short Answer – A short answer question type allows the instructor to ask an open-ended question. Students have the ability to enter up to a 140 character response. The Results Chart will group identical answers together. The instructor has the option to ‘star’ the best response. If the responses are one or two word phrases, the instructor also has the option to display this as a Word Cloud.
  • Numeric – The numeric question type allows students to respond with up to an eight digit (plus decimal point) answer. Just like the short answer, identical answers will be grouped together in the Results chart and the instructor can ‘star’ the best answer.
  • Target – A target question type allows the instructor to provide an image to the student. The student would touch or click (based on device capability) on the appropriate portion of the image to answer the question. Students using any type of iClicker remote will not be able to respond to this question type.

Anonymous Polling

iClicker Cloud also allows an instructor to ask any of the question types listed above in Anonymous mode. To switch to anonymous mode, select the menu icon and turn Anonymous to ‘on’. The toolbar background will turn black to indicate Anonymous mode. *Performance points can NOT be given during Anonymous mode.

Anonymous mode in iClicker Cloud

Additional support for iClicker Cloud

If you have further questions or would like additional support in using iClicker Cloud, feel free to reach out to the elearning team at or contact the CTL at 487-3000.

Regrade Option for a quiz question

Have you ever written and published a quiz only to find out later that you had an incorrect answer marked on a multiple choice question or your students have pointed out that the True/False question should have been True not False!

Now that all (or most of) the students have taken the quiz how do you go back and update the quiz question to reflect the correct answer??

Canvas offers a Regrade Option for Multiple Choice, True/False and Multiple Answer type questions. The Regrade Option will become available when you change the question to reflect the correct answer. Canvas will present you with a Regrade Option box that offers four regrade options based on your situation.

Canvas Regrade Option
  1. Award points for both corrected and previously correct answers – This option should be used for Multiple Choice questions where you determine that the question was written with more than one answer that would be accepted as correct. Please note: this option is not available for a Multiple Answer type question.
  2. Only award points for the correct answer -use this option when you have marked an incorrect answer as the correct answer and would like points to reflect the correct answer.
  3. Give everyone full credit for this question – In some instances, the answer options on a question may have written in such a way that it created confusion or misinterpretation for the student and you prefer to give everyone credit towards the question.
  4. Update question without regrading – This option will allow you to update your question to the correct answer but will not change the points earned by students who have already taken the quiz.

Regrade Option not available for the following quiz question changes

If you are making any of the changes listed below, it is recommended that you moderate the quiz and allow students who have taken the quiz an additional attempt in order to see the updated version of the quiz.

  • The Regrade Option is not available when you are adding or removing a question from a quiz.
  • Adding or deleting answers from a question will disable the Regrade option from being available.
  • Changing the points value of a question does not enable the Regrade Option.

One last note….the Regrade Option does not apply to questions linked to question banks!

Reach out to us!

If you would like to learn more about Canvas quizzes or other features available within the Canvas learning management system, feel free to email us at

Canvas Quizzes, Extended Time, and the Moderate tool

Moderate Quiz link in published Canvas Quiz

If you use Canvas quizzes frequently you’ve likely had the need to provide extra time for students with formal accommodations. This need has escalated during the current remote instruction environment as Canvas quiz usage has increased. While there is more than one way to accomplish this, using the Canvas quiz moderate feature is the best way to easily provide extra time for specific students.

Moderate this Quiz

Once you publish your Canvas classic quiz a “Moderate this Quiz” feature appears in the quiz sidebar to the right. The moderate quiz page supports several important functions:

  • View progress of student submissions
  • View number of quiz attempts taken (where appropriate)
  • Provide extra quiz attempts
  • Provide extra time (for timed quizzes)
  • Manually unlock quizzes for a specific student

To provide extra time for a student find their name from the list of all enrolled students then click on the edit icon (pencil icon) at the far right. A student extensions window will appear with options to provide extra time. The amount of time you enter there will add on to the standard time allowed for all students. Don’t forget to click Save to apply the extension changes.

Student extensions window in Canvas quiz moderate feature.
Student Extensions window in Quiz Moderate tool

If you have more than one student that needs extra time you can select multiple students (click boxes next to their names) first and then add extra time to all students as a group.

Moderate Quiz selection screen
Select multiple student and apply extensions

If you’re in a situation where you need provide additional time while a student is taking the quiz you can do that too. The moderate page shows the running time for all active students in a quiz. You can click on the clock icon for a student and add extra time to their current attempt. Review the resource guides linked below for additional details on this process.

Make sure you also assign due dates and availability dates to your quizzes. The due date is critical to remind students when the quiz must be completed. Availability dates are the open and close doors when a quiz is available. These dates can provide your students with some flexibility for when they take the exam.

There is a lot of power under the moderate page hood. If you are a regular user of Canvas quizzes you should take some time to familiarize yourself with the available features so you can react quickly when you run into an unexpected situation.


Need Help?

Contact the elearning support team in the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning if you have questions about Canvas, Huskycast, Zoom or other educational technology tools. | 487-3000

Support resources for EdTech tools

EdTech tools: Canvas, Panopto, Zoom, iClicker, Respondus, Turnitin, Gradescope

Pandemic-induced remote instruction has required us to spend more time online supporting our students. Many people are using EdTech tools now more than ever before in their teaching careers. At Michigan Tech the “Big Three” EdTech tools are Canvas, Panopto-Huskycast, and Zoom. Using these tool effectively is critical for a successful teaching and learning experience for you and your students. Have you also found yourself “pushing” these tools to the next level? To do more with the tools you need to learn more about their capabilities. The elearning team helps instructors with that every day. But we don’t do it alone. We rely of the extensive support and training resources available from our vendors. To help you find “how-to” information more quickly we have gathered the links to the training resources for some of the most common EdTech tools you are likely using often.

EdTech ToolSupport Resources
CanvasInstructor Guides
Instructor Video Guides
Student Guides
Video tutorials
ZoomHelp Center
User Guide FAQ
Top 20 Resources
Respondus (online testing tools)Training resources
turnitin/gradescopeturnitin Feedback Studio
gradescope getting started guides
gradescope remote assessment resources
iClicker CloudInstructor guides
Quickstart guide for remote instruction

Need Help?

Contact the elearning support team in the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning if you have questions about Canvas, Huskycast, Zoom or other educational technology tools. | 487-3000