Month: January 2021

In-Class Polling

Interested in polling your classes? Have you heard the terms iClicker Classic, iClicker Cloud and REEF? You may be wondering what the differences are between these terms and where to start with in-class polling. Let’s begin by defining these terms…

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iClicker Cloud, REEF and iClicker Classic

iClicker Cloud is a platform that allows an instructor to run synchronous polling, quizzing and attendance activities in class. iClicker Cloud can be downloaded to a Windows or Mac system. REEF is the mobile/website application students use to participate in the polling, quizzes and attendance. To connect with the course, students run the REEF app from a mobile device, tablet or laptop. REEF is available to students for a small one-time subscription fee.  iClicker Classic is classroom-based polling software designed for use with physical clicker remotes, but can also support student responses from the REEF app if configured properly. 

Getting Started with iClicker Cloud for Remote Instruction

Instructors who want to use iClicker Cloud for Remote Instruction, can establish a free account at Setting up your account will include setting up the names and details of your courses so that students can easily find them on REEF app. Once your account and courses are established, you can download the iClicker Cloud desktop software and you are ready to start polling. Want to run some practice polling sessions before you go live in your classes? Your iClicker account allows you access to a (free, limited term)student REEF account, so you can practice answering your own polling questions as a student…so let’s get started! Here is a great QuickStart Guide: Using iClicker for Remote Instruction that outlines the details.

Incorporating REEF into an iClicker Classic class session.

Are you currently using iClicker Classic polling software (designed for use with physical clicker remotes) in your face-to-face classes but want to allow students to be able to respond to your polling using their smartphone, tablets or laptops? You can do this by simply enabling iClicker REEF in your iClicker Classic software.

Additional Resources

For additional resources on student polling, be sure to visit the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning Instructional Resources webpage

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.

A New Editor in Canvas

You’ve probably noticed that things look a little different in the Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE) these days. The updated editor became available in all Michigan Tech Canvas courses at the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester. We’ve seen several support requests come into the CTL recently asking how to do things like insert course links, images, media, and documents in the new editor. Our knowledge base article provides a good overview of changes and Canvas offers many guides about specific functionality as well. Below I will outline a few common pain points we have been seeing since the change to the new RCE.

Links tool in Canvas Rich Content Editor


In the new RCE there are separate tools for inserting content. These tools are grouped in a section of the toolbar and are also available from the Insert menu at the top of the RCE interface. The process to link to other course content has changed. When you select the Course Links option a sidebar will open allowing you to browse and select where you want to link in your course. You can also insert external links (and add descriptive link text) from this tool.

Image tool in Canvas Rich Content Editor


The image tool lets you insert images via upload, or from your course files directory. With the upload option you can drag/drop or browse to a file on your computer. You can also link to a url from a photo hosting service. To support accessibility make sure to include alternative text to any images that convey important meaning, or click the available box to tag the image as decorative only. You can also insert files already present in your course files directory or from your Canvas user files (global files attached to your Canvas profile).


The upload/record media tool lets you insert media files (short audio/video clips) by dragging them into the upload box or browsing to a media file on your desktop. The record media option allows you to record media on the fly using your available camera and microphone devices. Existing media files in your course or Canvas account can also be inserted. Any video content that is stored in your course

Huskycast embed tool in Canvas Rich Content Editor

Huskycast folder can be inserted by selecting the green Huskycast icon. When you click this tool you can browse and select the video session in Huskycast that you want to insert. Remember Huskycast video content is not stored in your Canvas course files area so it does not count against your course file storage quota. We highly recommend that you store all video content in Huskycast and not in your Canvas course files area.

Document insert tool in Canvas Rich Content Editor


Insert links to existing documents in your course files or drag and drop new document files from your computer into the upload window.

Try it Out

Yes, there are some significant changes in the new Canvas RCE, but once you update your workflows you should benefit from the more robust editing features available. Let us know if we can help.


Canvas: Rich Content Editor Guides
MTU: New Rich Content Editor

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

Turnitin Similarity Report offers a new feature!

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Turnitin can be applied to a Canvas assignment as a way to detect plagiarism by identifying unoriginal content submitted in a written assignment. When Turnitin is applied to a Canvas assignment, a Similarity Report is generated and uploaded into the Canvas gradebook. This report identifies the percentage of content from the written assignment that matches with Turnitin’s repository of previous student submissions, publications, etc. Upon review of the similarity report, you may notice that some of the exact matches of content are to be expected, such as the assignment instructions or assignment layout that was provided, cited work or valid collaboration. Ever wish you could view the similarity report without these expected matches?

Text Match Exclusion Feature

Turnitin has just launched their Text Match Exclusion feature! This feature allows you to do just that. You can select the match you would like to exclude and then click the “Exclude this text” in the upper left corner of the Similarity Report and choose why you would like to exclude it.

Image provided by Turnitin

Re-instate excluded matches

If you decide later on that you did not want to exclude a section of content from the Similarity Report, you can easily re-instate the matched content by selecting Similarity Exclusions from the Right-side panel menu and selecting the “eye” icon.

Interested in learning more about Turnitin or need further assistance in interpreting the Similarity report? Reach out to with your questions.

Zoom Features to Support Student Access

If you have been teaching in the past year you have likely spent time (too much maybe?) using Zoom. Two important new features have been released for all Michigan Tech Zoom accounts over the last few months that help support access to your Zoom recordings for all your students. Most recently, live transcription was enabled just in time for Spring semester courses. Previously, an audio transcription feature was added that generates transcripts from completed Zoom recordings. Read on for more details.

Zoom toolbar with live transcript feature highlighted
Zoom live transcript button

Zoom Live Transcription

When conducting a Zoom meeting you now have the option to click the “Live Transcript” button in the Zoom toolbar to enable live auto-transcription in your meeting. Once complete all attendees will see the live auto-generated transcript appear at the bottom of the Zoom screen with options to adjust the size of the transcript text or turn the feature off. If enabled by the meeting host, the live transcript file can also be downloaded by attendees.

Zoom enable auto-transcription button for the live transcript feature
enable the live transcript feature

Zoom Audio Transcripts

In addition to the new live transcription feature, meeting hosts can also have Zoom auto-transcribe completed cloud recordings to obtain audio transcripts. This feature has been available for the past year. It’s great if you use Zoom to pre-record presentations, or when you don’t want to use the live transcript feature. Once you end your cloud recording meeting, Zoom begins the auto-transcribe process and adds the audio transcript file to the cloud recording list in your Zoom account. One added benefit of this feature is that the audio transcript will automatically transfer with the Zoom recording into a designated Huskycast course folder and be available to students from the closed caption (cc) button in the player. This transfer to Huskycast only works if you have requested the Panopto-Huskycast/Zoom integration and are using recurring cloud recordings.

Who Benefits from Transcripts and Captions?

Many people can benefit from having a transcript of class sessions available including the following scenarios:

  • Deaf or hard of hearing viewers
  • Viewers who know English as a second language
  • When content includes new and unfamiliar jargon
  • Consuming content in loud or very quiet environments where regular audio playback is not feasible
  • Can help with concentration for viewers with certain learning disabilities or attention deficits

Remember that automated transcription tools like those available in Zoom are not fully accurate and should not be considered fully compliant solutions for students with formal accommodations for closed captions or transcripts to support their learning needs.


Zoom Live Transcription Feature
Using Audio Transcription with Zoom Cloud Recordings
Using the Panopto-Huksycast/Zoom Integration

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

Helpful Tips To Building a Canvas Course

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The start of each new semester brings with it the opportunity to build new Canvas courses for each of your classes. Building these courses each semester may seem a little overwhelming…right? It can be especially overwhelming for those who teach several classes, those who are new to teaching or using a learning management system.

Not sure where to start in building your courses? This blog post will walk you through several helpful tips to develop the basic structure and content of your Canvas course so it will be ready to publish in no time at all!

Re-purpose previous course content

Have you taught this course before? Do you have some great course content you wish you could use again? Canvas provides you the ability to import course content from any previous course where you were enrolled as an instructor. You can import a single assignment or the entire course.

Take advantage of the Homepage Template

Want to create a homepage quickly and easily even without much understanding of the Rich Content Editor? Each Canvas course has a Instructor Info Front Page Template already available for you to use. Simply select the template to be the front page and edit the page to include your course and instructor information. The homepage is also an excellent place to post a link to your syllabus!

Establish Assignment Groups

Course content can be divided into categories (ex. quizzes, homework, projects, etc.) with each category having a defined percentage of the final grade applied to it. These categories are known in Canvas as Assignment Groups. By initially defining the assignment groups, percentage value and course content, Canvas can easily calculate the course grades for you as the semester progresses. Each time you create an assignment, you can designate which assignment group it should reside under.

Plan your course structure

Having a structured organization to your course content can make it easier for your students to navigate through your course. Course content can be easily organized by weeks, units, chapters, etc. using Canvas Modules. The modules can be set up with requirements so students need to work through the content in a specified sequence. Lock/unlock dates can be placed on Modules–this allows the instructor to create and publish content within a module but the content in the module is not visible to students until a defined date.

Familiarize yourself with the gradebook

The Canvas gradebook provides a wealth of detail about course grades. Canvas uses many color codes, icons, views and grading type symbols to convey the detail about each students’ submission/score. It is helpful to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the layout of the gradebook as well as the color codes and icons.

Hope these tips prove useful to you when setting up your Canvas courses! Have a Canvas question you need answered? Contact the elearning team at