How is Canvas Different?
- Add RSS feed.
- Add links to course content, images, files, etc.
- Receive notifications via web services, text, etc. You can’t opt to have this Announcement emailed out to students as was the case in Blackboard
- Announcements are linked to Discussions. Students can respond to an Announcement, which then puts the thread in a Discussion.
- Announcements appear in Canvas’ news stream on the User Dashboard welcome screen.
|Communication with students|
- All Assignments are created here. Assignments are understood more broadly than in Blackboard: they can be any graded item, or even just stuff you wish to record, like attendance, for which students turn in nothing.
- Create Assignment Groups to categorize work or tasks such as attendance, discussions, papers, quizzes, etc. All groups can be used to create a weighted total for the final grade.
- You can customize, if you opt to enable digital submissions from students, how students can submit their work. Students can input the assignment; upload files (you can restrict the kinds of files allowed); provide a URL; create a media recording as submissions for Assignments.
- Students can resubmit their work for an Assignment and Canvas will track their submissions.
- You can designate Assignments as group work, customize the settings, and require peer reviews. Canvas will aid you in creating groups and peer reviewers.
- Currently, only by creating an Assignment can you create a column in the Gradebook.
The Assignments area gives students a place to submit graded work. Submitted assignments are time and date stamped; it's clear to both students and faculty when and if work has been submitted. The Speed Grader is tied to each Assignment. Assignments are automatically added to the Calendar and the course’s Syllabus area.
Control Panel > Settings > Course Availability
Published/Unpublished Course Setup Checklist> Publish Course
- Canvas courses first appear as "unpublished" and instructors must "publish" their course for students to access it.
- In the Course Setup Checklist click on the link "Publish Course."
- Publishing a course is irreversible--once published, a course stays published, unlike in Blackboard where a course's "availability" for students could be repeatedly toggled on and off.
- You can "conclude" your Canvas course at the end of a semester and switch it to a read-only mode. This tutorial explains how.
- Learn about the different states of a Canvas course here.
Instructors control when a course is launched; by default, courses are not accessible to students when first created.
- Copy the calendar feed link into any calendar app that takes iCal feeds (Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, etc.)
- Drag & drop items on calendar to make changes in dates. Any change made is applied automatically everywhere in Canvas.
- View up to 10 classes at once with color-coded global calendar view.
- Dates are automatically populated.
- Each user also has a personal calendar (listed as his/her name) for events that aren’t class-related.
- Calendar items will be listed in Canvas’ Syllabus automatically.
To help students and faculty know what is due when in all of their classes
Control Panel >
Manage Course Menu
Settings > Navigation
- Canvas does not let you create unique course navigation menu links nor rename existing menu links.
- You can hide menu items from students via Settings> Navigation, then drag the menu items downwards.
- You can also rearrange the order in which these navigation menu items are vertically stacked via Settings> Navigation, then drag into place. However, Home always remains on top and Settings (which students don’t see) remains on the bottom.
- Any menu button with zero content has its name in gray until activity starts there.
Provide links to different course areas. These areas aren't just holding tanks as they were in Blackboard 8--typically they contain features and you would create and work on materials directly in that space, rather than elsewhere, e.g. no equivalent to Blackboard’s Control Panel as Canvas' Settings area is focused on the course's settings.
Course Documents (or other content areas)
Modules (or Pages)
- Drag and drop for ordering modules and module content.
- Can set module prerequisites and module completion requirements.
- Can require students to go through module requirements sequentially; you customize what counts as completing a module
- Modules can be "locked" until a given date
- Modules appear on the Modules page.
- You can hide other navigation buttons like Quizzes from students and simply post everything in modules
Modules are a way to organize your course. They can be based on dates (for example, weekly) or on content (chapters 1 through 5, or topics). They provide a place to link to all of the activities associated with a topic or week – faculty notes, files, quizzes, Canvas Pages, links to external URLs, Assignments, etc. Modules are primarily an organizational tool.
Course Documents (or other content areas)
Pages (or Modules)
- Pages exist in Canvas courses as a way to create wiki pages which can hold content and educational resources that are part of your course but don’t necessarily belong in an Assignment
- Pages can be repeatedly used across your course or referred to in multiple Assignments or modules--you can post the same page in multiple places and by editing it once, you’ve updated it everywhere
- If you customize the Home Page Layout of your Canvas course, you'll be creating a special page named Front Page
- Pages can include text, video, links to your files. YouTube and other web videos automatically embed on a Page.
- Pages can be linked to other Pages. If you’ve ever used a wiki, this is essentially a wiki with a more usable interface.
- The Pages section in your course lists all Pages and is one place where you can generate a new Page
- Canvas preserves the entire history of the Page so tracking changes is easy
- Pages can be restricted to teacher-only editing or teacher and student editing
Pages are a way to gather together different types of content. Pages can also be turned into wikis.
|Discussions; Discussion Forums||Discussions; Topics|
- View just Topics or view both Topics and Announcements.
- Easily drag & drop to reorder topics.
- Add links to course content, images, files, etc.
- Receive notifications via social web services, text, etc.
- Canvas permits threaded discussions--be sure to look for this choice when you set up a Topic
Discussions enable two-way communication between faculty and students and between students and students. The discussion area can be used as a "lecture" area for faculty, for peer review, and as a place for students to communicate with each other.
|Email||Conversations (the Inbox at top right when you first log in)|
- Private messages appear in your Conversations inbox; depending on how you set up your Notifications in your profile, you will receive alerts about these messages in different ways via different means.
- Discussion responses can be accessed from Inbox.
Comments students make as they turn in work are automatically copied to your Conversations inbox.
- Messages can include file attachments, webcam recordings, audio or video uploads, or just text.
- Messages can be Announcements.
- Messages can be sent to any of your classes from Conversations.
- Students and faculty control when and where they receive class messages.
- Any Canvas user can use Conversations to write a message to any other Canvas user. No shared courses necessary.
- Conversation messages are also generated by a comment that a student makes when turning in an assignment, or that a teacher makes when grading an item; if this is the case, then you can click through directly to the item referenced.
|Email is a private, two-way communication tool for smaller groups.|
- Everything you upload or copy into Files is accessible to students by default. One exception is that tests uploaded to Canvas via Respondus are “locked” by default.
- You can create folders to organize materials; folders can be locked so that you can skip locking each item inside the folder.
- Drag and drop files into the order you desire or into folders.
- All files in this area can downloaded as a .zip file.
- You can upload a .zip file to this area and Canvas will unzip it for you.
Files is a file management area where you can organize and upload files that will be used in the class. Files can hold PDFs, Office documents, images, and other types of files.
- Grades is part of the User Dashboard displayed when you first log in; it displays overall grades and stats from all courses.
- Grades is also a section in each course
- In the course-specific Grades, students can easily calculate hypothetical grades.
- Easily sort columns in one click by due date or assignment group.
- Message students who haven't submitted yet, scored less than or more/less than a certain criterion on an assignment.
- Download submissions from the grades area or just view them online in Canvas. Canvas stamps students’ names on downloaded files for you.
- Employ text or media comments to provide assessment feedback.
- Students can message instructor within the grade column.
- The SpeedGrader tool displays submitted assignment, grading rubric, and media comment options all in one interface.
- Columns for Assignment groups are shaded, and appear at far right of Gradebook by default
Maintains grades for students. Gradebook columns are automatically created for faculty as assignments and quizzes are created. WebAdvisor will still be used for issuing final grades.
- Ease of use -- drag feature to add columns. Click to add a criterion.
- Ability to add media comments and integration with SpeedGrader interface.
- You can always override the grade the rubric produces
Rubrics help students to more clearly understand faculty expectations around assignments, particularly written or multi-media assignments.
- Automatically connects students for collaborative activities.
- Uses a variety of web-based applications such as GoogleDocs and EtherPad.
Collaboration provides a location within the LMS for students to participate in group activities. Online collaboration is a 21st Century skill that many of our students need to master. Collaboration eases the set up and organization of group activities.
- Grade all submissions for an Assignment quickly in one place. Grade tests too--you can provide feedback to individual questions, even for multiple choice tests.
- iPad app is available for the SpeedGrader.
- Record audio and video feedback for each student assignment.
- Sort students in various ways so that you work on them alphabetically, or by submission date, or anonymously (their names can be hidden from the teacher), or by whether or not they’ve submitted the assignment.
The Speed Grader is tied to each Assignment, Test, graded Topic or other Assignment. This is a very flexible tool that allows faculty to grade more quickly using rubrics, but still add comments in written and multimedia formats. No need to download files that were submitted--you can view them all inside Canvas.
|No Equivalent||Notifications (under Profile, at top right when you first log in)|
- Set up your communication preferences including the frequency of alerts from Canvas.
- Set up your web services such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, Diigo, and Delicious.
Notifications allows students and faculty to tell Canvas how they want to be communicated with outside of Canvas and how often that communication should occur. This tool is significantly different from Blackboard.
- All Assignments can be connected to rubrics which then will appear in the SpeedGrader when you launch it to grade that Assignment.
- Outcomes reports to instructors and administrators.
- Learning outcomes can be created in the Outcomes section and added to rubrics’ criteria
The Outcomes area is used to ensure your course meets the required outcomes and learning objectives. CMC is planning more research around this tool to discover whether or not it can be used for program level outcomes as well as course level.
Tests/Quizzes (Test Manager, Test Canvas)
- A quiz can either be associated with an assignment group or by itself.
- All quiz options are on the same page as you are creating the quiz.
- You can hide the Quiz navigation area from students altogether via Settings and post your quizzes in modules you build if you wish.
- Quizzes must be “published” for students to take them
- Quizzes can be categorized using Assignment Groups
Quizzes are similar to quizzes in most LMS, including Blackboard. The Respondus software can be used to create and upload tests, surveys, and question pools; as well as to extract them from Blackboard or another LMS and then upload them into Canvas.
- Connected to course calendar.
- Provides organizational view of course based on assignment and quiz due dates.
- You can write a page in Pages that you can link to in Syllabus as well as just edit the space above the automatically generated table of assignments--you can link to full syllabus, post images, video, links, etc. in this space.
The Syllabus area in your Canvas course provides a place to link to your full course syllabus. Alternately, you could create a Page here to include your syllabus' text. The Syllabus area also includes an automatically generated table of assignments and quizzes.
This page courtesy of content developed by Howard Community College.