Author: tfreeman

Submitting Grades via Banner Self Service

The “Un-Canvas” Tip of the Week

Instructors don’t have to use Canvas to submit 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!   You can access a both short text only and a more detailed illustrated guide, and a Power Point version, at Guide to Submitting Grades via Banner Self-Service, and watch the eLearning screencast Submitting Grades via Banner Self-Service for a video demonstration.

Electronic grade submission through Canvas will be covered in next week’s Canvas Tip of the Week.   Since the process requires more steps, it’s most beneficial for larger classes where grades have been totaled in Canvas or another spreadsheet program.  Grades will need to be entered or uploaded into the “Final” column in Canvas first, and then extracted from Canvas and submitted to Banner using “Coursetools.”

Those who want even more details about the grade submission process can sign up for grade submission workshops to be held during week 14 and early Finals week, or stop by eLearning’s Walk-in hours for help and consultation. For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.

By your eLearning Team!


Weighting Grades by Assignment Group

The Canvas Gradebook efficiently supports two main organizations.  Creating all assignments in a single category and indicating a “points possible” for each allows the total column to display a straight percentage earned for each student.  In this example, 720 points are possible, so if a student earned 600 points at the end of the semester, 83.3% would be displayed as the Total.

The alternative is to calculate an overall grade as a weighted average of various assignment types (Class Participation = 10%, Homework = 15%, etc.). This can be done by creating Assignment Groups for each grading category. Then either create new assignments in each group, or move assignments you have already created into the appropriate group by dragging and dropping.  Weights can then be assigned to each category, as shown in this example.

You can review the Instructure Guide “How do I weight the final grade based on Assignment Groups?” and watch Organizing Your Canvas Gradebook, the eLearning screencast, to learn more about weighting grades by Assignment Groups in Canvas.  You may also find our Canvas Tips about grading schemes and ungraded assignments useful when organizing your Canvas Assignments and Gradebook.  We encourage you to visit the Canvas One Stop page for more general information, for help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops as you begin building your Spring Semester 2013 courses, which are now available in Canvas.


Michigan Tech Canvas Support Resources Course

In a spirit of continuing improvement, eLearning has improved its index to Canvas help resources to better support our Canvas users here at Michigan Tech.  The index is in a public Canvas course called Michigan Tech Canvas Support Resources.  This course has a combination of links to documentation and videos created by eLearning @ Michigan Tech, Canvas, and others. The links are organized in an alphabetized list by tool or feature.  (Look under “Pages”, “Quizzes”, etc.)  In case you don’t find what you are looking for, the top of the homepage also has a direct link to all Instructor Canvas Guides and to Canvas One Stop, which has links to contact support, sign up for a workshop, learn about eLearning Walk-In hours, etc.

You can go directly to this course from the Online Help button on Canvas One Stop, and now by clicking the red Help link in the upper right corner inside Canvas and selecting Michigan Tech Canvas Support Resources.  You may also notice a link to Michigan Tech’s CourseTools page has been added to the Help menu inside Canvas.  This will provide a direct link from inside Canvas to CourseTools, a page used to combine Canvas sections and submit grades. As always, for help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, you can start at 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?) 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 the eLearning screencast Canvas Gradebook: Ungraded or Zeros? for a video demonstration.  For more information, or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.


Downloading Grades and Uploading Scores in your Canvas Gradebook

Your Canvas gradebook has a feature that allows you to both download your gradebook as a .csv file so you can work on it in a spreadsheet application like Excel, and then upload a .csv file with those scores back into your Canvas gradebook.  You can access this feature from the gradebook options menu, which is the ‘gear’ symbol in the upper left corner of the Canvas gradebook.  The options are listed as “Download Scores (.csv)” and “Upload Scores (from .csv).” You can read more detailed instructions for downloading your gradebook as a spreadsheet file at How do I download scores from the gradebook? Instructions for uploading a .csv file to your Canvas gradebook can be found at How to upload changes to the Grade Book?

Instructors can utilize this feature to take advantage of the capabilities of applications like Excel to more quickly and easily cut and paste grades, perform calculations using the features of a spreadsheet program, facilitate the process of importing grades or scores from other programs and sources, etc.  It’s a good idea to start by downloading a .csv file of your Canvas gradebook and use that as your template to work in.  Then when you upload that .csv file back into your Canvas gradebook it will contain the information it needs to synch the file and the gradebook together.

You can watch Downloading Grades and Uploading Scores in Canvas for a video demonstration of a simple download and upload of scores.  For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.


Canvas’ SpeedGrader™ now even better with Crocodoc!

SpeedGrader is an innovative Canvas feature that vastly improves instructor workflow, which has impressed many instructors here at Michigan Tech and across the country. SpeedGrader™ exemplifies Canvas’ philosophy of embracing new ideas for constant and forward-thinking innovation, which sets Canvas apart from the rest of its competitors.  Instructors can use SpeedGrader™ to view different types of online assignment submissions right inside Canvas without needing to download them, and this is a significant innovation in itself. canvas_speedgrader_icon Also, instructors can use SpeedGrader™ to send text and/or audio-video comments to students about their assignment, to attach files for students to view, and to grade using a point scale or rubric, whether the assignment was an online submission or not.  Follow this link to Using SpeedGrader™ in Canvas to read more about it.

The ability of SpeedGrader™ to view and grade online submissions right in Canvas has now been improved with the addition of Crocodoc.  This latest innovation allows instructors to use Crocodoc in SpeedGrader™ to comment and annotate directly on those online file submissions without the need to download or save files to their computer.  Crocodoc’s online annotation features include drawing, highlighting, using strikethrough, adding text comments, and more.

Check out How do I use Crocodoc in the SpeedGrader™? to read more about Crocodoc and see a more detailed list of its tools and features. Refer to Crocodoc Markup in SpeedGrader™ for a video demonstration.  For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.

By Tom Freeman – eLearning


Turnitin® Available for use with Assignments in Canvas

Michigan Tech has a contract with TurnItIn® to use their service. Turnitin’s OriginalityCheck® helps instructors check students’ work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against their text comparison database.  When a file is submitted, Turnitin shows how much of the student’s paper matches content from their databases so instructors can quickly understand how much of the paper is unoriginal.

Turnitin is also integrated into the Assignments tool in Canvas.  Instructors can check the “Enable Turnitin Submissions Evaluations” box when creating or editing Assignments in Canvas.  When Turnitin is enabled, online file upload and text entry submissions by students for that Assignment will automatically be submitted to Turnitin.com for an OriginalityCheck.  The instructor will be able to see the results in the Originality Report, including what percent of the student’s document matches other documents, and what those other documents are.  They can also use Turnitin’s GradeMark® service while viewing the Originality Report.  Students can see the results of their Originality Report in Canvas too.  Instructors can make them available to students immediately, after the assignment is graded, or after the due date.

Directions for using Turnitin in Canvas:

For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to sign up for eLearning workshops, visit the Canvas One Stop page.


Submitting Mid-Term grades from Canvas

Entering Mid-Term grades into your Canvas grade book has been made much easier this semester.  All the Banner-created Canvas courses for Fall semester 2012 were pre-set by default to have a Mid-Term assignment and grade book column with an appropriate letter grade scheme attached.  That means instructors can simply go directly to their Canvas grade book and type the SA and UN grades right into the Mid-Term column without having to select, modify, or attach a letter grade scheme to it first.  They will then need to go to coursetools.mtu.edu and click on Submit Grades Electronically via Canvas to use the Grade Wizard to exact those grades and submit them to BANNER.

Instructors still have both choices available to them for electronic grade submission:

You can access these links later at coursetools.mtu.edu.

For directors on Submitting Grades Electronically via Canvas, visit the Submitting Mid-Term grades from Canvas page. For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, and to register for eLearning workshops, visit Canvas One Stop.


Customize your Courses List

You can and should customize the courses displayed on your Courses list and user dashboard in Canvas.  Canvas displays up to twelve courses in the Courses menu on the Global Navigation bar on the left, and as course cards on your User Dashboard. This allows Canvas users to disregard any other courses not on your active course list.  Once users have more than twelve courses, they may customize that menu to choose which courses will display on it and as course cards, allowing you to then ignore any other courses that get pushed back to your All Courses  list and only use your courses list and user dashboard.   The All Courses link is at the bottom of your Courses list.  Once you have selected it, you can click the star next to a course to add or remove the course from your list of active Courses.  You can access the written guide online at How do I customize my Courses drop-down menu?  You can also see all your courses by clicking on Courses Tab on the left, then the All Courses link. For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, visit the Canvas One Stop page.


Tom Freeman
eLearning@Michigan Tech


Notification Preferences

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 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 about Notifications in Canvas and how to adjust them on the Notification Preferences page, or watch the eLearning Video guide: Canvas Settings and Notifications.  For more information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, visit the Canvas One Stop page