Canvas – Make Sure Your Browser is Up-To-Date

It would be a shame if you entered grades and came back later to find them gone. this scenario was recently reported to me. The word from Canvas support was that an out-of-date browser (Firefox in this case) was the culprit.

Regardless of the browser you use please make sure you keep it up to date. This is important as Canvas is a web-based tool.

Contact the Helpdesk if you need assistance updating your browser(s) on Lawrence-owned computers.

#forewarned-is-forearmed

Canvas Studio – Assignment Issue

We recently became aware of an issue that is created by an account setting, Assignment Enhancements – Student, and Canvas Studio. The issue is described in detail here. We have contacted support and been added to the open engineering ticket. As soon as a fix is created we will be notified. The issue presents itself when a student attempts to submit a video from Canvas Studio as a file upload. The effect is that the upload fails and a document containing “Invalid Launch” is produced. This is what instructors will see in Speedgrader.

There are two workarounds for this issue: only allow students to submit to the assignment via Media Recording, or by embedding the Studio video in a Text Entry submission. I strongly recommend the latter.

Canvas submissions settings. Online text entry is selected.

If you have assignments in which students have already made submissions, you should be able to change the submission type setting without losing any data/submissions.

Canvas: Clarification About Inbox and E-mail

It appears that I was mistaken about the way that the Inbox connects to LU email.  I thought that messages would be copied to LU email, but this is not the case. Inbox messages/conversations are not copied directly to email.

While Inbox messages are not copied to email it is possible to set an immediate notification which will be sent to your email. The notification should contain the contents of the message. It is possible to reply to Canvas from the email notification.

I tested this and was able to reply to the notification message from email and have it posted back to the student Inbox. There is some lag when replying this way. The response is much faster through Inbox. I contacted Canvas support and they mentioned that a reply from email may lag up to as much as an hour depending on the server activity. If a message is time-sensitive I recommend replying from the Canvas site.

Canvas: Observer Role

It is now possible for an instructor to add a user as an Observer in a Canvas course.

From the Canvas documentation:

Observers can

  • View and read announcements
  • View assignments index page
  • View the calendar
  • Join conferences, if invited
  • Join collaborations, if invited
  • View personal inbox
  • Send conversation messages to instructor and student they are observing*
  • View the dashboard
  • View and read discussions
  • View files unless they are locked
  • View grades, view assignment due dates and comments, and print grades*
  • View modules and see due dates and point values
  • View pages and contribute if the instructor enables the Anyone can edit it setting
  • View profile pictures, if available
  • View syllabus
  • View outcomes
  • View quizzes index page

Observers cannot

  • Comment on announcements or discussions
  • Submit assignments or quizzes
  • View course rosters
  • Send conversation messages to students in the course they are not observing
  • View locked files or folders
  • Join groups
  • View unpublished courses
  • Access the Chat tool
  • Reserve appointment slots in the Scheduler
  • View grade audit trail

* These capabilities are only available if the Observer is linked with another student account. Linking an Observer must be manually completed. Because we are not doing this the Observer role cannot access grade information.

Canvas Q&As

Questions have arisen during Canvas training sessions. I am listing those questions and answers here and will update as questions are added.

What do I do for a student with an incomplete?

We set term beginning and end dates within Canvas. Once the term passes students will only have view access of a course. If the student has an “Incomplete” they will need a way to access the course to submit unfinished work. As an instructor you can allow a student access by setting course participation dates. The course participation dates will override the term dates. Please note that doing so will change the access for all students in the course. You may want to unpublish all else except what the select student(s) will need.

Can I import grades into the Canvas gradebook?

The instructions on this page share the steps to import grades into Canvas.

How do I download and re-upload at once all student submissions?

It is possible to download all student submissions to an assignment.

It is also possible to re-upload student files back to Canvas. You will want to make sure you have not changed the names of the submission files from your bulk download. Canvas will not be able to recognize the files that should be replaced if the file names are different.

Is it possible for me to create an anonymous survey?

Anonymous survey is possible. (Select Survey Type, point 4) One note about the anonymous survey:  
“The anonymous option can be enabled or disabled before or after a survey has received submissions, allowing a user with sufficient permissions to see a student’s identity and responses. To collect fully anonymous survey responses, you may want to use a third-party survey tool.”

How can I import a course from Moodle to Canvas?

Here a link to a video demonstration of how to backup a course in Moodle and import into Canvas.

Why don’t I see any past enrollments on my “All Courses” page?

Whether a course appears in current or past enrollments is controlled by the term dates. If all the courses listed are for Fall ‘21 and beyond, then there will be no past enrollments.

How can I access and manage question banks in Canvas?

Question banks are imported from Moodle courses which contain them. Here is some information about accessing and managing question banks.

Does the Canvas quiz/survey support question branching?

This doesn’t currently exist in the quiz tool or currently in the new quiz engine Canvas is developing. There is a convoluted way you could create something like this in a course, but I don’t know that I can recommend this as a way you should go. One option you might try is using a Microsoft Form to create a quiz with branching.

How can I download all my course files?

I am pleasantly surprised that this is possible for you (and students if they have access to the Files area.)

How do I give a student extra time on a quiz?

This is possible using quiz moderation.

Can I set different due dates for different groups of students within a course?

This is possible. One thing this solution references is sections. Because of the way we are syncing enrollments, faculty are prohibited from creating/managing sections. If using groups does not work for you please contact me and we will investigate how to get this working for you.

Canvas Updates

I routinely receive updates for changes to various aspects of the Canvas platform. To make it easier for faculty to know what has changed I will be listing those changes/updates here. I will also note which roles (FacStaff, and/or Students) are affected by the change.

June 25, 2021

Gradebook Gradebook CSV Column Order


Summary: The Gradebook CSV assignment columns display in the same order as shown in the Gradebook for an individual user.

Affected User Roles: Instructors

When an instructor or other grader customizes the Gradebook assignment columns and downloads the CSV file, the CSV file assignment columns display in the same order as shown in the user’s Gradebook. Previously CSV files were always ordered by Assignment Group ID and Assignment Order. 

Pages Mark as Done Button Placement


Summary: The Mark as Done button for students has been moved to the bottom of the page.

Affected User Roles: Students

When students are required to read a page and mark it as done, the Mark as Done button has been moved to the bottom of the page. The button can be marked more easily after students have reached the bottom of the page. Previously users must scroll back up to the top of the page to mark the page as done.