Category: eLearning News

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


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.

Resource


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.

elearning@mtu.edu | 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 elearning@mtu.edu


Grade Submission Options

Grades

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.


Resources

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.

elearning@mtu.edu | 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.

Overview

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.

Content

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.


Resources

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.

elearning@mtu.edu | 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 elearning@mtu.edu


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.

Resources


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.

elearning@mtu.edu | 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 elearning@mtu.edu or contact the CTL at 487-3000.