Author: lswanles

iClicker and student engagement

As we return to in-person learning, many faculty are pursuing ways in which they can engage students in the learning process. One effective approach is to poll students during a live classroom session. A short poll midway through a lecture allows the instructor to gauge comprehension of course content or receive student input. Michigan Tech currently supports iClicker Cloud software to conduct polling in an effort to increase student engagement. The software allows instructors to summarize, share and react to student responses. Points can be applied based on participation or correct answer responses. Students can participate in the polling sessions by using their mobile device or laptop.

Getting Started

Are you interested in polling your classes but not sure where to start with using iClicker? You can get started by downloading the iClicker Cloud software and establishing a free instructor account and creating an iClicker course. I would also encourage you to review the CTL webpage for more info on Student Polling.

Now that you have downloaded the software and established your iClicker course, the next step would be to pull your Canvas course roster into iClicker Cloud as well as become familiar with how to sync your iClicker Cloud grades to your Canvas gradebook. You can reference the iClicker Instructor Guide for further details. Linked below is a great video that summarizes the entire process from downloading the software to running a classroom poll to how students respond on their devices.

Overview of iClicker Cloud and polling

iClicker question types

If your students are using the iClicker Student app on a mobile device or laptop to respond, you have a great deal of freedom in the types of questions that you are able to ask. iClicker offers multiple choice, short answer, numeric and target type questions. You may want to review our previous blog post on iClicker Question Types for more details. If you have students who are still using the physical iClicker device, you will want to limit your question type to only multiple choice.

Taking iClicker to the next level!

Interested in using iClicker beyond just classroom polling? iClicker recently introduced the iClicker Assignment feature. The Assignment feature allows instructors to upload pre-authored questions on the iClicker Cloud instructor website. Students are able to respond to Assignments in the iClicker Student App at their own pace. iClicker has a wealth of great Knowledge Base articles on Assignments and best practices to incorporate them into your courses.

Reach out to us!

If you are interested in finding out more about using iClicker in your classroom or have questions about setting up the iClicker cloud account, feel free to reach out to us at elearning@mtu.edu.


Need help grading?

Are you teaching a large class section this semester and feeling overwhelmed by all the assignment submissions that need grading? MichiganTech has recently added Gradescope to its list of university-supported EdTech Tools. Gradescope is an AI-assisted grading tool. It is designed to help the instructor efficiently grade assessments while still providing detailed feedback. Gradescope can support variable-length assignments such as homework problems as well as fixed-template assignments such as worksheets and exams. Gradescope easily links with Canvas allowing you to set up Gradescope assignments that students can access via your Canvas course. The scores from Gradescope assignments can sync to your Canvas gradebook. Instructors have commented that Gradescope has cut their grading time in half!

Interested in getting started? Follow this KnowledgeBase article that will provide guidance on logging into Gradescope and setting up a Gradescope course.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com (Lum3n)

Gradescope Assignment Types

So, now that you have logged into Gradescope and set up a new course, lets take a look at the various assignment types that can be created in Gradescope:

Homework & Problem Sets — supports variable length assignments such as handwritten homework problems. It is designed to allow the students to submit their work to Gradescope. Our Gradescope – Homework & Problem Sets article provides additional details to assist you in setting up this type of assignment.

Exams & Quizzes – this assignment type allows the instructor to upload the blank copy of the exam and create an outline that defines the details of the exam such as question regions and question point values. The completed student exams would be collected by the instructor and scanned into Gradescope for grading. Our Gradescope-Exams & Quizzes article goes into further detail.

Programming Assignments – This assignment type allows students to submit code projects which can be automatically graded with a custom written autograder or (if you prefer) you can manually grade the code project using the traditional gradescope interface. You will want to reference our Gradescope – Programming Assignment article for information on how to set up the autograder feature.

Linking your Canvas course to Gradescope

Once you have your Gradescope course and assignments defined, you will need to be sure to link your Canvas course with your Gradescope course and sync your roster so that grades from assignments can be pulled into your Canvas gradebook.

Grading Assignments

We have finally reached the point where you can see the benefits of Gradescope — the grading of the submissions! Once the submissions are scanned in by the instructor or submitted by the student, you are ready to grade by applying the appropriate points and comments to the submissions. Before you get started on grading that first stack of assignments, you may want to reference Gradescope’s tutorial on this process.

Follow up with us!

If you would like to discuss Gradescope in more detail or just want to let us know how Gradescope is working for you….please reach out to us at elearning@mtu.edu or call 7-3000.


Starting the semester!

Image courtesy of Pexel.com ( Tiachard Kuntanom)

With the start of another semester underway, you are probably busy getting your courses set up in Canvas, recording your introductory video in Panopto-Huskycast or figuring out how best to incorporate iClicker, Turnitin or Gradescope into your courses. Has it been some time since you used these tools?… (or maybe you never have!) and you have several questions about set up. Well, you are in luck, this blog post will link you with some great previous posts and resources to get you back up to speed on the educational technology supported by Michigan Tech.

I would like to begin by referencing a great blog post we did (not that long ago) where we compiled all the support resources for EdTech Tools into one table. Check it out! It should save you some time searching around for answers to those questions that you only seem to ask yourself at the start of each semester.

Michigan Tech Basic Teaching Tools Course

Are you new to teaching or in need of a refresher on the basics of Canvas, Panopto-Huskycast or Zoom? Curious to find out more about iClicker, Turnitin or Respondus Lockdown Browser? The CTL recently launched a new self-paced course intended to strengthen your knowledge of the three most frequently used blended course delivery tools (Canvas, Panopto-Huskycast and Zoom) along with several other tools we support. You can self-enroll in the course with this link to the Michigan Tech Basic Teaching Tools Course. You are welcome to work through only the modules that interest you or the entire course! The CTL is also offering a 30 min. consultation at the end of the course to follow up with a course facilitator on any additional questions you may have.

Moving beyond the basics

Are you already savvy in Canvas, iClicker or Huskycast and want to know if there are any unique new features that have recently been added? Great news from Canvas for instructors who would like to be able to hand back an assignment 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. Our blog post this past spring entitled, “Speedgraders latest feature!” outlines the details.

Are you using iClicker and wish you could take it beyond the classroom? Be sure to check out this blog post on the Assignment feature in iClicker.

If you are busy using Panopto-Huskycast to record great videos within your classroom, office or lab setting for your students, I would recommend you check out our post about the Three Huskycast features you should know about. There are some great details in this post on how to set up a video assignment or embedded quizzes.

Reach out to us!

If you still have some unanswered questions about the EdTech tools that Michigan Tech supports, feel free to reach out to us at elearning@mtu.edu or 487-3000. Have a great semester!


Grammar checking available in Turnitin

If you regularly use Turnitin to check students’ written work, you may have recently noticed an additional item in the list of Similarity Report options, as you set up a Turnitin Assignment within Canvas. This option is “Enable grammar checking using ETS e-rater technology“.

Similarity Report options

Enabling the grammar check on a Turnitin Assignment will allow student submissions to receive detailed grammar feedback generated automatically through e-rater technology developed by ETS. This technology can automatically check and markup submissions for grammar, usage, mechanics, style and spelling errors while also providing in-depth feedback. When an instructor sets up a Turnitin assignment they can select which of the above categories are enabled by default.

Category options

Viewing the Grammar checking results (e-rater marks)

For a student to see the results of the grammar check on their submission, the instructor should be sure that the e-rater results are visible. You can hover over the ‘stack of papers‘ icon (just above the ETS symbol) on the similarity report to determine if the grammar results are visible or not to the students. If the icon is highlighted to show the results, be sure to verify that the category choices are also selected within the e-rater side panel. To access the e-rater Results side panel, click on the purple ETS symbol.

e-rater icon on the Similarity Report

Here is an example of what an e-rater mark and feedback looks like within the submitted student document. The e-rater feedback also provides space for you to add a comment. Once you have written your comment, simply click anywhere outside of the text box to save the comment.

e-rater mark and feedback

So, next time you set up a Turnitin assignment, you may want to consider including the grammar check option in the Similarity Report. The automated system saves you time from having to annotate the document while still providing great feedback to your students about grammar and mechanics.

If you would like to discuss Turnitin or the e-rater feature of Turnitin in greater detail, feel free to contact the elearning team at elearning@mtu.edu.


Color codes and icons

In the Canvas gradebook, there are several colors and icons that appear in the assignment columns. These are used as indicators to help you define the status of an assignment from a grading perspective. However, these colors and icons are not very helpful if you are not familiar with their meaning. So, if you have ever wondered what all the colors and icons mean in the Canvas gradebook, this blog post will help to introduce you to some of the more common colors and icons.

Color codes

The Canvas gradebook uses a set of default colors to identify the various submission stages of an assignment.

Canvas Gradebook colors
  • Blue(1) – Late submission
  • Red(2) – Missing submission
  • Green(3) – Resubmitted assignment
  • Orange(4) – Dropped grade
  • Yellow(5) – Excused assignment

Assignment Type Icons

The Visibility icon (which looks like an eyeball with a line through it) indicates that the grades for an assignment are hidden from students or the assignment is moderated if all cells are grayed out.

Visibility Icon

The Assignment icon (which looks like a piece of paper) indicates that an assignment submission needs to be graded.

Assignment Icon

The Red Warning icon indicates that the entered grade is not supported in the grading scheme.

Red Warning Icon

If you have a Turnitin Assignment, you will see a Turnitin score icon when the similarity report has returned a score. The color of this icon will depend upon the percentage score received.

Turnitin Icon

This is only an introduction to some of the more common colors and icons that will appear in the Canvas gradebook. For further details about color indicators and icons used in the Canvas gradebook, please reference the Canvas guide on Using the icons and colors in the Gradebook.

If you have further questions about the Canvas gradebook or any of our other institution-supported educational technologies, please feel free to email us at elearning@mtu.edu


Share your presentation as a virtual background in Zoom

Do you typically use Powerpoint slides to present to your audience during a Zoom meeting? Do you know that Zoom now allows you to make the slide presentation more engaging by imposing you video directly onto your screenshare?!

This feature is available on any Zoom Desktop Client for Windows or Mac using a version 5.2.0 or higher. As I write this blog, our institution is on version 5.6.4, so if you are working from an on-domain computer you should have access to this feature. If you are working from a personal computer, you may want to check for updates to your Zoom client to be sure you are using the latest version available.

Sharing a presentation as the background

Once you have your Powerpoint slides created and have started your Zoom meeting, you will want to select the ‘Share Screen‘ button on your meeting controls. Select ‘Advanced‘ at the top of the screen and then you should see an option to ‘Select Slides as Virtual Background‘.

Advanced setting Options

Now you can simply browse and open your Powerpoint Slide presentation file. If your video is ‘on’ by default in the Zoom meeting, your video will automatically be imposed on your screen share. You will see a toggle feature at the top of your meeting controls that will allow you to advance through your slides.

Recording the presentation

So, how will this look if you typically record your Zoom meetings? If you record the meeting locally and are on a Zoom client version 5.2.0 or higher, the video will be embedded on the slides in the recording. If you record to the cloud, the recording will capture the slides and video as a normal screen share recording.

Additional items to consider

  • Sounds, transitions and animations within slides are not supported.
  • If a participant joining the Zoom meeting is on a version below 5.2.0, the presentation will appear as a normal screen share of slides with the presenter video separate.
  • For full details about this Zoom feature, please reference this Zoom support article.

If you have further questions about Zoom meetings or any of our other institution-supported educational technology, please feel free to email us at elearning@mtu.edu


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 elearning@mtu.edu


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 elearning@mtu.edu


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 iClicker Student App

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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 elearning@mtu.edu 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 elearning@mtu.edu